Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

FreeBSD Success

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

So, I did finally manage to get FreeBSD installed last weekend. There were a few factors stabbing me in the back (and making me slag FreeBSD more than it deserved). Specifically, I’ve decided, after about 15 tries, that:

  • I think the machine got thrown out because one or both of the IDE ports got funked up
  • I think the Developer’s (no X) install of FreeBSD 6 was too big for my small hard drives

So, I ended up getting it to work by installing it on my 4Gb SCSI from the FTP (remember, no IDE at all, so no CD drive…). The machine’s been up for 5 days now, so it’s been a bit of a success. Daniel says he’ll find me some more SCSI drives so that we can get the reasonable drive space.

Final notes:

  • My only bitch with FreeBSD was that it couldn’t figure out how to DHCP to my router, so I had to do the stupid manual network config and then wait for what seemed like a long time for it to accept the valid manual specs I’d given it
  • The FreeBSD minimal install is very minimal. I was amazed at how many things I would have expected on any ol’ Linux box are actually unnecesary
  • When pressed, I don’t actually need that much more than the minimal install, vim, bash, wget, and mzscheme. That’s nice to know

Now for the box to blow up…

Building the Imperfect PC

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

O’Reilly has a book called Building the Perfect PC. I have built many PCs in the last 6 or 7 years, starting with the machine that I built for myself to take to college. Yet, I have never built the perfect PC. In fact, almost every PC I’ve built then has used a significant number of parts from that first PC despite their growing age and lack of reliability.

Anyone familiar with builders of imperfect PCs knows that they, by definition, keep huge piles of garbage, which they call “parts,” lying around the house. After years of friction with my wife caused by my collection of (worthless) “parts,” I began reducing that collection. She seemed pleased.

Yesterday, Daniel and I went to PG’s house to pick up a computer that had died. I offered to take it home to store it. This morning, I brought the computer inside. “I thought we were trying to reduce the number of computers?” was all she said above her distainful expression.

So, I was pretty stoked to finally be playing with some new parts, rather than my horrible collection of broken hand-me-downs. It even has a1Ghz processor, faster than anything I’ve ever used. And it might even have a working motherboard (something I have a problem with).

Well, I got more angry looks when I went down to Colin’s and re-possesed on of my old machines that I had given to him (see above reduction in “parts”). I spent the afternoon playing around with hardware, deciding that I liked my case better than Daniel’s, and generally getting to do everything in the most difficult way. Then I got to install FreeBSD.

Daniel likes FreeBSD for some reason, so it’s what we’re using for the servers at work. I’d sorta like to assume that the problems I’ve had aren’t it’s fault. It’s driving me to thoughts like this:

WHAT THE [HE]CK?! I’ve tried to install this worthless piece of software on every single drive I own and it still won’t work!

So, I dunno why it refuses to write to any of the drives I have (maybe the motherboard is indeed screwed). It’s getting pretty annoying, as I’ve now switched hard drives more than 7 times (not all ATA either, I tried my SCSI first…).

Hmm… so much for new parts.

KUbuntu Rocks

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

My younger brother wants a laptop for XMas, so I’m going to give him the Apple (Lombard) Powerbook that I acquired from Colin this summer (for free!). As soon as I got it, I took the time to get Gentoo running on it next to OS 9 (which I didn’t need). It ran fine and would even sleep after I played with it for a few days.

<Skip ahead to December.>

Now that it’s supposed to go my brother, I thought I’d clean it up a little. I grabbed the newest (“Breezy”) PPC .iso this morning in a few minutes (the Kubuntu servers were letting me download at >700Kb/s), burned the disc on my iBook, and slapped it in the old Powerbook. It booted without problems and installed everything (everything!) without making me do anything but select my country and language. I’ve never had such an easy time putting Linux on anything, let alone an old PowerPC laptop.