Sun Microsystems Type 6 Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Type 6

Sun Microsystems Type 6 keyboard is one of the worst. The following shows the one that is the keyboard for Sun Ultra 5 computer (year 1998).

Sun Microsystem's Keyboard
Sun Microsystems Type 6 Keyboard

This keyboard i used around 2000. (photo taken during that time) The key feel is mushy. It's using rubber dome switch.

[see Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms]

Xah Lee Netopia office
My Office, 2001, at Netopia.
Sun Microsystem's Keyboard
Sun Microsystems Type 6 Keyboard

Some interesting aspects:

I hardly ever use this keyboard or sit in front of this computer. So i don't know what these keys actually do. Not sure the Copy, Paste, etc keys actually work out of box in Solaris. I don't think most of these special keys do anything useful by default. The desktop on unixes at the time (CDE) is quite unusable.

DECwindows openvms v7.3 1. (Year ~1998)
X11 on Solaris. [ ]

This is CDE. This is how i remember X11, ~1999. Mac OS of the time, or even Windows, is ten times better.

[see The Unix Pestilence]

Most of the time, i just telnet/ssh from the PC running Windows NT, using a generic cheap computer keyboard. This Ultra5 is used as a server, it is one of the test bed for releasing our ecommerce software.

Sun keyboard
Sun Microsystems Type 6 Keyboard. Note, the Backspace ⌫ is above Return key, and key ` is above it.

Meta Key

The key marked with a diamond (U+25C6: BLACK DIAMOND) is the Meta key, a key inherited from Lisp Machine's keyboards and today mostly known for its use in Emacs. Sun's documentation call this key Meta. This key is similar in purpose to the Command key ⌘ command on Apple Keyboards ⌨ , or the Windows key ❖ Window on Microsoft Keyboards .

See also:

Compose Key, Alt Graph Key

sun keyboard ret
The Meta, Compose, AltGraph keys

Note the Compose key and Alt Graph keys. They are both used to input special characters such as é ä ç ¿ £ ¥ ©.

[see Alt Graph Key, Compose Key, Dead Key]

sun keyboard mid
Mid section close-up
sun keyboard top
Top indicator LEDS
sun keyboard right
Note it has keys for {sound level, screen brightness, power}.

The sound key and screen brightness keys seem funny to me, because i'm not sure these keys work out of the box on a typical unix workstation in the 1990s. Not sure if these machines typically have sound capabilities at all (e.g. a sound card).

Sun Microsystems Type 7 Keyboard

Sun Microsystems type 6 keyboard d5e03
Sun Microsystems type 7 keyboard [image source imgur]
Sun Microsystems type 7 keyboard gDJsK-s1000
Sun Microsystems type 7 keyboard, with Oracle logo, probably dated after 2009 since Oracle bought Sun in 2009. 2047×1416 [image source]

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