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SPARC Trivia Quiz

Test your knowledge of Sun's technologies and marketing strategies.

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - August 3, 2004
Love them or loathe them you can't ignore Sun Microsystems, its technologies and hype. This playful quiz is designed to test your knowledge and understanding of the Sun, SPARC and Solaris market and Sun's market strategies. To do the quiz seriously you may need to print it out. For answers - go to the end.
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SPARC Trivia Quiz questions

The first commercially available SPARC computer was launched in 1987. What does the acronym "SPARC" stand for?

(a) - Sunos Pipeline Accelerated Risc Computer?

(b) - SBus Processor ARChitecture?

(c) - Sun's Plan to Accelerate Risc Chips?

(d) - Sun Proprietary ARChitecture?

(e) - none of the above?

Sun's skills at designing processor chips, memory caches and network interfaces are legendary and have been an important factor contributing to Sun's performance lead over competing processor platforms. Where is Sun's main wafer fab (chip factory) for SPARC technology located?

(a) - Texas?

(c) - Cyprus?

(d) - California?

(e) - Java?

(f) - Israel?

(g) - None of the above?

Sun's CEO, Scott McNealy has been a creative source of sound bites for the media over the years. When referring to the "Evil Empire" did he mean...

(a) - the Soviet Union?

(b) - IBM?

(c) - the British Empire?

(d) - Red Hat Linux?

(e) - Iraq?

(f) - Microsoft?

(g) - Fujitsu?

Sun has had an impressive track record of promoting innovation and inventing new computer technology, especially in its younger more creative days. Which of the following statements is true?

(a) - Sun invented the microprocessor.

(b) - Sun invented Unix.

(c) - the first C compiler was written on a Sun-1 workstation.

(d) - Sun was the co-inventor of Ethernet (along with Xerox and DEC).

(e) - Sun invented RAID.

(f) - Sun invented RISC.

(g) - all of the above.

(h) - none of the above.

Sun has coined many phrases and slogans which have been used from time in its marketing. Which of the following is not a genuine Sun marketing slogan?

(a) - the network is the computer?

(b) - the dot in dot con?

(c) - may the iForce be with you?

(d) - SPARC vinquat ubique?

(e) - the soul of the machine?

(f) - to infinity and beyond?

According to statistics regularly reported in Sun's own press releases, Sun is the world's most successful server company. Which of the following statements is true?

(a) - Sun has a bigger share of the SPARC market than IBM, HP and Dell combined.

(b) - Sun is the biggest supplier (quarterly unit shipments) of Unix servers (excluding Linux and non SPARC Unix).

(c) - Sun is the #1 company in the Solaris server market.

(d) - Sun makes servers.

(e) - Sun has sold more Oracle servers than DEC, Data General and Prime combined.

In the dotcom boom days, Sun's stock SUNW was highly valued and much sought after. What is the best advice for someone who bought Sun shares at $60 and still owns them?

(a) - hold onto them in the medium term and hope they will rise in value.

(b) - wallpaper your office.

(c) - don't give up the day job.

(d) - wait for IBM, Fujitsu or Red Hat to make an attractive offer.

(e) - add them to your collection of Confederate dollars and advertise them on eBay.

Sun's vision and the clarity of its roadmaps have helped steer the company and its users onto a single unitary software platform which has scaled succesfully for 20 years. Now it's more important than ever for users to understand Sun's OS strategy. Which of the following do you think best sums it up?

(a) - Sun is committed to SPARC and Solaris as its main platform.

(b) - Sun is committed to AMD's Opteron and Solaris as its main platform.

(c) - Sun is committed to AMD's Opteron as its Linux platform.

(d) - Sun does not think Linux is an OS for the datacenter.

(e) - Sun will rebrand AMD's Opteron as the SPARC VIII - and put a big warning label on the server which says "opening the box and peeking at the processor invalidates the warranty".

Here are the Correct Answers

Unfortunately due to my imminent vacation (I work in Europe where we have 185 days off - not counting Christmas and public holidays) and I haven't had time to research the correct answers. But here's a temporary fix until I get back and publish them.

If you are an Employee of Sun Microsystems...

Congratulations! Everything you ticked was right. Congratulate yourself on a job well done. But how come you've got the time to do this quiz? We're all counting on you to save the future of computing, stop global warming and reduce taxes. Get back to work now! Shame on you for slacking off.

If you are an iForce Partner, or just a Lowly Sun VAR...

Sorry, this quiz was just another one of those endless thankless tasks which are designed to make your life more difficult. And the correct answers will not count to your self certification under Sun's new quiz partner competence program. You probably got more of the answers right than the guys above. But don't throw your answers away. You may need them.

If you are and End User or just someone who likes doing quizzes...

Sorry, but until I publish the real answers, which I may not even get round to unless there is sufficient demand, you have 4 ways to currently check your score.

1) - phone Sun technical support.

2) - phone IBM technical support. They'll probably have better answers than (1)

3) - phone your Sun VAR. If there are any left.

4) - start your own local Sun Trivia Quiz User Group. But remember to put the proper legal disclaimers on your home page - saying it's got nothing to do with Sun.
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Solaris / Windows/ Linux Notebooks?
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ads from SPARC history - the above ad ran here in 2005.

NextCom was one of many SPARC notebook makers who
advertised here in the 1990s and early 2000s. Another of our
ad customers for many years was the inventor of the original
SPARCbook - Tadpole Technology.

The ads below are current (and I hope) relevant.

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