WTB: Solbourne computer

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Wed May 23 21:11:58 CDT 2018

On Wed, May 23, 2018 at 9:58 AM, Alan Perry <aperry at snowmoose.com> wrote:

> You are correct. I misremembered this section from
> https://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/solace/
> Why don't Sun keyboards work? What about mice? None of the Sun keyboards
> will work with the Solbourne and vice versa. At best they won't work; at
> worst you might short something, depending on the model. In addition to
> different signaling, the Solbourne keyboards have different scan codes and
> earlier ones have more keys as well.
> The Sun-3 optical mouse (with the RJ-11 plug) can connect to the "Cherry"
> Solbourne 102691 keyboard and will work, but needs adjustment
> <https://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/solace/shack/Compatability.html#Mice> due
> to the lower resolution.
I talked with my friend who worked at Solbourne longer than I did.

This isn't quite right. The connectors are different, but the signalling is
the same. You need a custom adapter, though, so you get the right signals
on the right pins. Solbourne specifically made their keyboards incompatible
with Suns at the connector level to force people to buy keyboards from
Solbourne, but used the same basic parts as Sun keyboards to save on
development costs. While the big battleship keyboards have extra keys, the
scan codes for the basic keys are the same (though he cautioned me that was
only his memory, but based on how fanatical they were about being Sun
compatible). After he told me that, I recalled that I found an odd cable a
few years ago in my big box of cables that could have been such an adapter,
though I don't have it any more. He suggested using the SE guide that was
on bitkeepers to make an adapter.

I went looking for special keyboard maps for the Solbourne, and all I found
was Tom LaStrange's name in twm from the updates he did while working at
Solbroune, so maybe my friend is right. I'd have expected to find that they
would have been in X11R4 or X11R5, but no dice. The CG30 card was a simple
clone of sun's cg3 dumb frame buffer. The graphics card had to be 100% code
compatible with Sun, so it would be odd to have different. I also couldn't
find anything in my .x* files, even though I had OI specific resources I
deleted in 2010...

He confirmed the mouse thing was 100% correct. He used that setup for
several years. Though I was incorrect: he gave all his Solbourne stuff to a
local computer museum that seems to have disappeared...


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