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I've got an old SunBlade 100 workstation that I'm trying to install OpenBSD on. The first step in the process is to bring up the OpenFirmware prompt to select the boot medium, which you do by pressing STOP+A.

The computer didn't have a keyboard when I bought it, but I found one that will work. However, it doesn't have a STOP key. Is there another way of bringing up the prompt?

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  • This is something of a test to see what constitutes "retro". The SunBlade line was discontinued ten years ago, right on the suggested threshold. If you vote to close this, please leave a comment here or in that thread.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:02
  • 2
    Seems legit to me. But I'm of the opinion that anything running Forth automatically retro-izes what it touches.
    – user12
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:35
  • (But, I get it if folks think this belongs over on StackOverflow instead.)
    – user12
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:45
  • Does Sun support this at all? But I think this question is OK on retro because it involves non-standard (and I assume discontinued) hardware.
    – user3169
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 22:37
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    Yes. Yes it is. Congrats! You solve the puzzle!
    – user12
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 12:44

2 Answers 2

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I only know these a little from messing about with OpenFirmware, but I did run across this reference that says:

One glaring omission by Sun is that you cannot enter OBP from the OS using a regular USB keyboard. You can enter OBP from the serial console using Ctrl-Break, and Sun keyboards can do Stop-A, but there is no way to enter OBP from a non-Sun USB keyboard.

Which is something I didn't know. I think this implies you are going to have to beg, borrow, or steal a keyboard.

Or try to boot to the serial console.


I do not have a SunBlade around anymore to test, but I just ran across a hint that you can get to the OBP if you push the power button twice after the first beep. Apparently, this was an alternative for this exact situation.

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    Your question at the end should be a comment on the question, not in your answer.
    – user3169
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 22:38
  • Do follow-up if the power button trick works.
    – user12
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 19:23
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    I can confirm that tapping the power button brings up the firmware prompt. No idea how many presses are needed; I just kept hitting it until I heard the startup beep.
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 22:00
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If you need a custom USB keyboard, this ought to be possible with any microcontroller which implementes a full USB device, so long as you can find the relevant codes to generate - that would maybe be simpler than sourcing the right hardware.

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