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September 30, 2009 | TAGS:

Yesterday I was working on a very old server – a Cobalt RAQ 4.  I actually leased a RAQ 3 for web hosting back in 2001 and thought it was the neatest thing, but found it too limiting in many ways.  These servers were popular because they could be administered using a series of push buttons and an LCD screen up front.  It also has a web interface that controlled everything.  These servers were highly popular back in there day.

The Cobalt product line went away back in 2004 or so, but obviously a good number of these servers are still in use 5 years later.  As this server booted up, I saw an email address ending in and wondered if that was still around.


Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:       Sun Microsystems, Inc.            [email protected]       4150 Network Circle       Santa Clara, CA 95054       US       1-650-960-1300 fax: 650 336 6623

Record expires on 15-Jun-2010.    Record created on 30-Jul-2004.    Database last updated on 30-Sep-2009 00:06:34 EDT.

Domain servers in listed order:


So the domain is still in existance, at least until 2004.  However, it doesn’t resolve to anything.  The reason for that is that the domain name (notice ns1 and itself has been purchased by another company, completely unrelated to the Cobalt server product.  So this is interesting in that Sun not only let go, but they never bothered to update the domain to point to an active name server. Sun paid about $2 billion for the Cobalt name and now it sits in a neglected corner of the Internet, just a few months away from finally expiring.

This is one of many such example found on the net of things that vanish without a trace. Cobalt was one of the first companies to really produce a polished interface for managing a web server.  Part of me wonders what would have happened if Cobalt/Sun had released that code as open source before the end came.  Would the community have picked it up and developed something amazing with it, or would it have vanished like the parent company.  Based on recent happenings with BeOSand Haiku, I suspect the former would have occurred.