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Closure of CERN Support for SunOS 4 and ULTRIX Operating Systems and SGI Desktop Systems

  Alan Silverman CN/DCI

At the present time, the UNIX Workstation Support team in CN/DCI Group offers support on a total of 7 UNIX architectures plus 2 flavours of X terminals. With ever-increasing demands on our services (the number of UNIX workstations has increased by some 50% over the past 2 years and the number of X terminals has at least doubled) and no prospect of increasing our resources, we are forced to look closely at limiting services to the more popular and commonly-used systems installed on site. For these reasons we will be ending support at the end of the year for SunOS and ULTRIX operating systems, which are anyway naturally decreasing in usage and where the remaining population by the end of this year is expected to be very small indeed. The situation for SGI desktop is slightly different, see below.

SunOS 4

Support for SunOS 4 will cease at the end of 1996.

SunOS version 4 is becoming more and more rare on-site as most users have upgraded already to Solaris (which is based on SunOS version 5). We therefore believe that, by January 1997, there should only remain a very small number of SUNs which cannot be upgraded (lack of memory on very old models or the non-availability of old software are the only two reasons). Between now and then, the remaining SunOS 4 users on site are invited to contact us either to get advice or even for us to help perform the upgrade. From January next year, the node SUNSOFT will be closed. SUN kits and patches will be made available to those requiring them via the CD media; problems must be reported directly to SUN and anyone requiring SunOS software currently on SUNSOFT will be obliged before then to take a local copy. A few non-related services on SUNSOFT will be moved to other nodes.


Support for ULTRIX will cease at the end of 1996.

The case for ULTRIX is slightly different in that there is no direct upgrade path as the newer Digital workstations run a different operating system (Digital UNIX, OpenVMS or Windows NT). For people with older systems (mostly DECstations or servers based on MIPS processors) Digital Equipment offer some trade-in packages for the equipment. Here again, we shall close the central server, DXSOFT. Anyone requiring ULTRIX software next year will have to borrow the CD distribution kits; anyone requiring any of the software that is currently on DXSOFT should make a local copy; and problems with ULTRIX must be sent directly to Digital.

SGI Desktop

Support for SGI Desktop will cease on June 30th, 1996.

Lastly, SGI desktop systems: on the batch side of CN, there is heavy reliance on SGI servers and this will remain absolutely unaffected by the withdrawal of SGI desktop support. Nevertheless, there is only a very small number of SGI desktop systems in CERN and this produces an inordinately heavy support load on our services for the number of systems installed. We are therefore reluctantly forced to end SGI services forthwith. We are currently in discussions with colleagues and with SGI on how to establish replacement services for users in the areas of access to SGI kits and licences; the provision of CERN software; and how to pass problems from users to SGI. Final details of this will be announced in a news item shortly.


In all three cases, we shall continue our software maintenance contracts for one more year (1997) in order to obtain any new operating system releases or patch kits for users to borrow. We shall keep you informed via news in the respective news groups (CERN.SUN, CERN.ULTRIX and CERN.SGI respectively). We invite anyone for whom any of these changes causes particular problems to contact me.

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Next: CablingRouting and Webbing Up: General Previous: General

Michel Goossens
CN Division
Tel. 3363
Thu May 30 20:08:07 METDST 1996