Price: $49 US
Reviewer: Stuart Green
When I arrived home following the ALG (Austin Linux Group) meeting of August 28, there in the kitchen sat a rather large box from S.u.S.E. Being of sound disposition and sober manner, I tore the box open. Inside were a boot diskette, four CDs in a single jewel box and a 380 plus page manual. The packaging was of good quality and shrink-wrapped as if it were sitting on a shelf at a computer retailer.
The manual is excellent. This is the finest piece of comprehensive documentation I have seen. It includes practical and detailed setup instructions for services, such as firewalling, rational sendmail configuration, emulator setups (and many emulators such as DOS, Atari, Nintendo, CBM from the PET to the VIC-20, Sinclair/Timex, Gameboy and others).
The highly detailed table of contents and comprehensive index are rare in this type of documentation. Not only is information accessible, but it is presented very clearly. There are minor errors in translation from the German, including the presence of some characters unique to that language being left as is, in particular, in the names of individuals. These mistakes are easy to overlook. An unusual and very appreciated aspect of this manual is that it consists of original material and does not contain reprints of the LDP (Linux Documentation Project) HOWTOs. The manual's thoroughness is aptly complemented by the clarity and accessibility of the material. The manual alone is worth the price of admission.
The sheer amount of code available within this distribution is daunting—three of the four CD-ROMs are installation media. The fourth is a live file system that can be loaded in a demo mode that uses very little disk space. The explanation of how to permanently set up a small Linux partition and how to use the live file system to have a complete installation contains an accessible and cogent discussion of inode density, or how to cram 40,000 symbolic links into a partition.
S.u.S.E. has included utilities from Caldera and Red Hat; specifically Netware connectivity and Red Hat's RPM (Red Hat Package Management). The utilization of RPM, which is evolving into the de facto standard for installation, maintenance and replacement of software packages, is admirable.
I installed it on a variety of machines: a P166, a K6-166 and a PPro-II running at 300MHz. Kernel compile times were:
P-166: 7 minutes 15 seconds (64MB memory)
K6-166: 6 minutes 12 seconds (64MB memory)
PPro-II: 2 minutes 43 seconds (96MB memory)
The system-level information available is the most thorough I have encountered in any operating system. The disk information, for example, contains the actual disk geometry as well as the LBA translations, the amount of physical cache on the disk and the manufacturer's information down to the device serial number. The same can be said for this utility's output regarding any physical device, e.g., the screens for the networking card go to the level of reading the registers for networking statistics on the card. I find this information of great value in diagnosing networking problems, as well as for installation ease. The S.u.S.E. environment contains only software available under the GPL (GNU Public License); there are no commercial X servers or window managers. The overall product seems to be quite complete.
As is the usual case the printed documentation is behind the actual code, so don't rely on the printed instructions to be consistent with what is on the screen at all times. The process is well documented on the screen. The only confusing point is the order of the process. Like all Unix installations, the first step is preparing the storage media by partitioning and/or making file systems. Under S.u.S.E. this process is accomplished within a cleanly presented screen that requires using the function keys for selection of mount points, formatting options (inode density and bad block checking), etc. I found that the level of options is far above other distributions and, unlike some, S.u.S.E. does install.
The installation is simplicity itself. Once the machine is booted using the enclosed diskette, a series of questions is asked. The install process begins by prompting for the insertion of the first CD-ROM. It loads all selected packages from that CD-ROM and then boots into the newly installed system to complete the installation. It works well—it is a solid installer. The installation process is quick—a base installation taking a little over half an hour with reboots and all. The entire process is as smooth as an installation of this sort on Wintel architecture is going to be. Linux will not install with the ease of Solaris or Irix; but those are captive machines, where the manufacturer has total control of the hardware and choices are rather small.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide