[vox-if] Installfest Hardware, etc.

javilk at mall-net.com javilk at mall-net.com
Tue Mar 18 14:14:02 PDT 2008

> javilk at mall-net.com wrote:
> >      I am considering coming to the installfest.  I've been running 
> > Linux for 12 years, etc. etc.  No Windows in this house!  But I'm an 
> > applications programmer, not a systems administrator.

    A little bit late now...

> 1996?  Not bad ... were you using Yggdrasil or pillbox?  I was running 
> FBSD at that time personally ... ah the days of the open internet

     Caldera "Network Desktop". A friend walked in on my birthday in 
1996, gave me a CD, told me to install it on a spare machine.  A day 
later a mathematician friend came over asking if he could run a real 
cruncher of a problem for a few days on one of my "spare" machines.  We 
compiled it under Caldera.  I didn't even notice it running in the 
background!  At the end of the week, four of my six desktop machines 
were turned off.  (The other being an SGI Indy.  I have five of those 
old machines and two monster CRT's in the warehouse if anyone is 
interested. Got to clean that warehouse out by the end of April...  
They were such nice machines back in 1993...)

      Yes, the days of open internet... Usenet news, and spam that came 
in a can.  I wrote one of the first anti-spam FAQ's in 1996, set up some 
chat pages that are still running twelve years later, etc.

> >      I have a 2002 HP Pavilion zt1235, 1.3ghz P4... but the CD/DVD 
> > reader is broken, and before that, the BIOS would issue checksum 
> > failures on all recent CD's I hear the loader is larger now, than when 
> > the notebook was built.  No Floppy on that notebook.
> Those with small vocabularies would call this "broken".  We at the 
> installfest, however, thirst for a challenge.

    Yes... Even before it was shipped by HP.

> >      That notebook is running an older Mandrake (pre-Mandriva) installed 
> > before the CD/DVD reader failed.  Installation would be to a more "new" 
> > hard drive which does not yet have a boot sector, etc., but is 
> > partitioned for installation the way I want it.
> Alright --- I recommend you drop mandriva unless you have a functioning 
> system with limited scope.  Simply for the fact that more resources are 
> put into distributions like Ubuntu and so therefore more of the kinks 
> and bugs are worked out

    Ubuntu... I run three root sessions, two webmaster sessions, and 
four or more login sessions on consoles (plus two to five gooey web 
browser sessions) when I'm working.  I hear Ubuntu does not like root 
sessions... Anyone who does not allow the user to fry his own machine is 
a crook!  It's how we learn...

> >      Is a network install possible without a CD boot or floppy boot?  
> > Can we beat the older BIOS loader checksum issue?  
> Can you boot from ethernet?

    Ah!  Didn't think of that. Like I say, I'm an applications guy. (She 
is my sys, and I admin her, but...) Actually, I think it can... And I do 
have other machines... (I'm on solar, so the real machines require a 
running generator.  Really crimps my style, but I could run it for an 
hour or so. Or wait till I get down to the warehouse this weekend.  My 
real machines run in the warehouse, this notebook is just a low power 
terminal to them.)

     How could I set that up?

> >      If not, there is no point in my driving several hours to get to you 
> > from Santa Cruz.  (Or do you know where else I can look for help 
> > without having to drive a few hours?)
> Oh, don't give up so easily friend...

> We can take the drive, put it in ANOTHER laptop and then install linux 
> on that machine.  Then transfer the drive back to your machine to give 
> you a working system!

      I tried that. It produces a catatonic machine because all the 
custom I/O chips, etc. won't let me talk to the peripherals.  Done this 
on several notebooks, I just can't seem to get that to work.  The other 
method... seems you can't stick (or I don't know how to stick) a boot 
sector on a USB mounted drive... I tried.  Won't boot when the drive is 
put inside the notebook.

> >      I also have a desktop 2.8ghz hyper-threading desktop machine running 
> > Mandriva Spring 2007 freebee, which I can't get to do NFS.  I don't 
> > particularly care what installation, just as long as it supports NFS and 
> > SSH logins.  
> No need to blow it away.  Just elaborate a bit more and bring it in.

     I can mount the rest of the "cluster" (a group of five to twelve 
NFS coupled machines using a common queue to run tasks); but the rest of 
the cluster can't mount any of it's drives.  (And right now, that 
machine is down.  A migration script moved /bin and /sbin ... I'll have 
to drive down to the office some night soon to put them back where they 
should be... The joys of doing things remotely as Root.  The first time 
this happened, I was able to deduce where those were and put them back 
before the session link was interrupted. This time, mv won't execute.  
Ah well, life in the fast lane.  That's what rescue CD's are for.)

      Something about various components not being included in the 
Linux Format magazine freebee version.

      And a whole bunch of other issues with no TCPIP on the Novell 
demo, inadequate tag queue depth in the Fedora version... etc.  If I saw 
these guys had a GOOD WORKING version, I'd toss them the cash!

      I know I really ought to compile my own... but then I'd really get 
lost!  The only thing I'd really like to do that would be worth while, 
is fixing the absurd variable processing in BASH.  If they separated it 
out and recursed it the way they did in Wordstar Mail Merge, you could 
do real AI in the shell level. That was Grand! I collapsed a 56 man 
month project to four months using Mail Merge to generate C code.  
Script GML wasn't half as powerful; but I managed to get a 70:1 
total improvement using a few other tricks. 

-JVV- (javilk at Mall-Net.com)
John V. Vilkaitis

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