Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

tuxmachines' new rig

As many of you know, my old AMD 2800+ system popped a vessel approximately two weeks ago and a friend suggested I post a request for donations to help fund the purchase of new equipment. The response was great and we raised over 200 USD in 3 days. I sent out little 'thank you' notes as well as posting publically, and I received some heart-warming responses. I was very honored by the kind words, so thank you for those as well. The community surrounding Linux and open source software is an unique environment that most windows users can not fathom. I've always believed the community was the core foundation of oss and that's the ingredient windows will never be able to duplicate. It's their missing puzzle piece.

I purchased an Asus A8V motherboard, AMD 64 3700+ and 1 gig of Kingston HyperX DDR400 memory for a final pricetag with shipping of $439 (donations still accepted). This system is no where near bleeding edge, but my resources are less than they once were and the prices of processors have gone through the roof (or so it seems to me). That motherboard was one of the fastest in its day and got very good reviews. So far, I'm pleased with the set up. It's not noticably faster in the gui, but compile times are greatly reduced. However, the most important thing is the stability. So far the system seems rock solid. I have no cpu errors in the logs and have experienced no lock-ups or application crashes on my main gentoo system. The first symptoms that the old rig was going bad were lock-ups and logs full of hardware errors.

I used the heatsink and fan supplied with the processor and I must say, they sure are making those things easier to install these days. After assembly, I felt that familiar little tug of trepidation as I flipped the power supply switch on and reached for the power-on button. Thankfully, it fired up first try.

The first screen I saw was a pretty splash screen, that I turned off as I like to see the output. However, I might as well leave the pretty splash on as the post flies by so fast I can barely see the drives detected, let alone anything else. I'm running the system with the bios defaults. Or more precisely put, I'm letting it auto-detect voltages, multipliers, bus and clock speeds, and the rest. I disabled the on-board lan and sound for now, but I did compile support for them into my newest kernel. At the time of assembly, I wasn't sure they'd be supported and I didn't want to have to crack the case back open to put in a nic and sound card. So for now I just went with what I knew would work. I will test the new on-board components in a few days.

I'm running the same 32 bit gentoo system that I installed 15/16 months ago, except the first thing I did was compile up gentoo's 2.6.16.1 kernel sources. I changed the platform for it to K8 and set some of the faster options I've been too conservative to do in the past. Those include timer frequency of 1000 HZ and I went with Voluntary Kernel Preemption. Then I changed my boot splash from Aqua Matrix to Gentoo's cool 2006.0 livecd splash.

The next thing I did was compile KDE 3.5.2. I compiled up kdeaddons, kdeartwork, kdegames, kdelibs, kdenetwork, kdeutils, kdeadmin, kdebase, kdegraphics, kdemultimedia, and kdepim in less than 4 hours. That's roughly little over 1/2 the time of my old setup. These time estimates are very rough though.

So, despite Atang's sound advice, I did heat up the new processor the first night to 46 degrees for about 4 hours. It runs at 39 degrees Celcius at idle. Although if this one is like all the other cpus I've had in the past, it will probably stablize at about 5 degrees warmer when it becomes broken in.

At this time we are downloading beta 9 of suse 10.1 and we will carry on with the business of loading up Linux distributions and software, and reporting what we see. Thanks to all who contributed to our hardware drive and as stated, donations are still being gratefully accepted to help pay the remainder of the bill.

More in Tux Machines

Parental Controls for Linux Unleashed

For years, one of the overlooked areas for the Linux desktop was access to “effective” parental controls. Back in 2003, I remember the now defunct Linspire (then known as Lindows) offered a proprietary option called SurfSafe. Surprisingly, at least back then, the product worked very well in providing accurate content filtering capabilities; something that was not,in fact, available and easy-to-use at that time. Years later, an open-source alternative was released to the greater Linux community known as GNOME Nanny. Fantastic in terms of usage control, its web content web filter was laughably terrible. As expected, crowd-sourcing a filtering list isn’t a great solution. And like SurfSafe, the project is now defunct. Read more

Chapeau 24 Cancellara - Same same but different

Fedora plus Moka icons plus some extra software, mainly coming from proprietary sources. I guess that's the best way to describe Chapeau. But then, what separates one distro from another if not a collection of decorations, as software is essentially the same, apart from a very small number of standalone distributions trying to develop their own identity with their own desktop environments and app stack, re: elementary or Solus + Budgie? Except they struggle, too. Chapeau 24 is a nice effort to make Fedora friendlier, but then it does not achieve the needed result without pain. The biggest issues included a botched smartphone support. Samba woes and the horrible bootloader bug. Other than that, it behaved more or less the same way as the parent distro. Then again, why bother if you can pimp up Fedora without any loss of functionality? I do like Chapeau Cancellara, but I cannot ignore the fact Fedora does the same with fewer problems. All in all, it's a welcome effort, but it needs more polish. It does not quite capture the heart the way Fuduntu did. And with some issues looming high above the distro, the grade can only be about 6/10. Most importantly, the bootloader setup must be flawless, and there's not excuse for small app errors that we've seen. We know it can do more. Anyhow, if you're not keen on any self-service round Fedora, this could be a good test bed for your games. A moderately worthy if somewhat risky and flawed experience. Read more

Mofo Linux: The Raw Materials for Security

The developers of Mofo Linux talk a good game. From the name’s origin in abusive street slang to its self-description on the home page as “Linux designed to defeat state censorship and surveillance,” Mofo presents itself as a champion of security and privacy. Nor is the claim unjustified. However, rather than putting security and privacy into the hands of ordinary users, Mofo simply presents the tools and leaves users to figure them out with a minimum of help. The result is a promising distribution that with only slightly more work, could be a leading one. Just possibly, though, this approach is a deliberate tactic, and not the carelessness it appears. Based on Ubuntu, the current release of Mofo offers nothing different in the way of productivity tools. It uses Unity for a desktop, and its applications are the standard GNOME ones. In fact, Mofo shows such little interest in such matters that it does not bother to change the title bar in the installer from Ubuntu. Read more

Happily Announcing Mageia 5.1

As we’re getting closer to the end of the year, Mageia has a present for you! We are very pleased to announce the release of Mageia 5.1! This release – like Mageia 4.1 was in its time – is a respin of the Mageia 5 installation and Live ISO images, based on the Mageia 5 repository and incorporating all updates to allow for an up to date installation without the need to install almost a year and a half worth of updates. It is therefore recommended for new installations and upgrades from Mageia 4. The new images are available from the downloads page, both directly and through torrents. Read more Also: After a long wait, Mageia was released! Well, sort of...