The SUN workstation (the name usually used, a shortened form of Stanford University Network workstation) was, as the name indicates, a workstation created by Stanford University for use there. It was designed around the then-new Motorola MC68000 microprocessor, and also contained a raster-scan bit-mapped display, and an Experimental Ethernet network interface, all connected together via a Multibus.
The concept of what it would be/do changed over time. From the start in 1979: "A raster-scan graphics system has been designed at Stanford that features: a monochrome display of 1024 by 800 points, vector writing speeds of 1 pixel per microsecond, raster manipulation at a rate of up to 16 pixels per microsecond, a parts cost of less than $2,000. Eventually, this graphic system will be integrated with a Z-8000 host processor, an Ethernet connection, and optional file storage to form a personal computer system for standalone or network use. The entire system has been nick-named SUN (an acronym for Stanford University Network, but also reflecting a nice property of the West Coast)."
In a 1980 document, it was described as more of a terminal concentrator: a single CPU simultaneously supporting up to 16 users via individual display terminals: "only the basic PUP Telnet protocols need be implemented on the workstation's MC68000 processor. The SUN terminals could then be programmed to emulate currently available terminals, such as Datamedias, Telerays, Tektronix 4014 graphics terminals, or III displays." It was also intended for use in other roles, e.g. as a router.
By 1982 the concept had changed to be a now-classic workstation: "The SUN Memory Management Unit has been designed to support a multitasking operating system such as Bell Lab's UNIX."
- The SUN Workstation - initial proposal
- The SUN Workstation Architecture
- SUN display