The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

What a nice weekend

Posted By on June 1, 2004

Saturday, I ran errands, paid bills, and cooked food for Sunday.

Sunday a spent the say with my parents at their house. My dad fired up his smoker and we had some wonderful smoked meats. I made potato salad and cucumbers/peppers in balsamic vinegar. Lots of folks showed up, including many of my brother's friends. There were LOTS of motorcycles (they're all in to bikes).

Monday (for those of you not in the US, Monday is a holiday here), I helped Liz strip old paint off her bureau. Not the most fun job, but it gave me an excuse to buy and play with a power tool (an orbital sander).

– Put in my new RAID 5 card, a 3ware escalade 7500-8. This is basically the current 7506 card, only with a 33MHz interface. Not really a big deal considering that the max throughput (say 80MB/s at best) is nowhere near the limit of the 64bit/33MHz interface that the 7500 has. However, given that I got it at 1/3 the price of the 7506, it’s worth it. Super-simple upgrade too – just replace the card, cable up the drives correctly, and it just works. Meanwhile, my data transfer (as reported by hdparm -tT) went from 20MB/s to 50MB/s. (For comparison, my 7200 RPM Maxtor 160GB ATA/133 is about 55MB/s. Bear in mind that the RAID drives are 5400RPM 80GB Maxtors). Not too shabby, eh? – Putting the finishing touches on my gentoo installation; some custom scripts, like that. – Flipped from XFree86 to X.org. So far, so good. Haven’t tried it on a machine that handles DRI yet, and right now wine seems broken (even after re-emerging. I don’t know why). Aside from that, it’s working. Wine not working is a showstopper though, but I need to put some time in before I flip back. – By the way, someone said something awhile back that cheesed me off. Some anonymous lamer posted and said that I was a hypocrite because I was so against Gentoo back in college, and that now I said that it was the best thing since sliced bread. That’s wrong on a couple counts: 1.) One can change one’s mind – it’s been two years since I’ve graduated; do you think that my life has stood still? 2.) I never said that Gentoo sucked. I’ve said: – It’s not suitable for mainstream use – It’s not suitable for production use – It is a nice hobbyist distro, but not much else. Let us expand on this: It is not suitable for mainstream use My brother can install Redhat, Mandrake, Suse, etc. He probably could install Gentoo if he wanted to put his mind to it, but it’s more than he wants to do. It’s more than most people want to do. Hell, it took a long time for ME to get it working, and I’ve been using Linux for years. For a newbie/casual user? Heck no. It is not suitable for production user By this, I primarily mean servers, and there are a couple issues. The main issue is one of consistency – I have a bunch of servers, and I want them to be using the same versions of everything and have a similar configuration. Now, this is actually an easily solveable problem. Doing some research, I realized that I can set up a portage mirror for all the boxen. The mirror gets packages first, and then all the other boxen use the same versions that the server is using. This, coupled with very stringent installation instructions (I think it’s up to something like 10 pages), keeps machines nice and consistent. It is a nice hobbyist distro, but not much else Even though I’ve worked around the production problems, I still wouldn’t necessarily choose this for mainstream deployment at work. Debian may still be the best choice here. I’d have to think really hard about it. However, realize something: all the stuff I post here IS hobbyist. They’re my home machines. They’re NOT used by hundreds of people each day. I try things, I hack them up, and I play with things. This comes back to item 1 above – I HAVE changed my mind. I used to insist upon running things that other people (friends, businesses, etc.) would be running. Now, I just don’t care. I’m more interested in using things that haven’t made it to the mainstream yet than I am using things that I can recommend to other people. I want to be right on the hairy edge, because that’s where the cool stuff is happening. So, hope that explains it all, and be forewarned – my policy is to delete all unsigned/incompletely signed anonymous posts. For example, it’s okay for Liz to just write Liz, because I know who it is. However, if someone signs it “Bob”, then I have no idea who you are, and had better sign your full name of “Bob Jones” or whatever.

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