Building the Ultimate Linux Box
Like many hackers of a certain age, I imprinted on the IBM Model M keyboard about 20 years ago. They have a relatively stiff travel with a sharp break and a positive keyclick that can only be described as crunchy. They inspire cult-like devotion. It's still possible to buy the real Model M, armor-plated case and all. They're not being manufactured anymore, but old stocks are still being sold. You want these IBM model numbers: 42H1292 (IBM 101-key, buckling-spring keyboard) and 1393278 (IBM SpaceSaver compact, heavy-duty 84 keyboard). They're both available from Unicomp. The dream system will get one of the 101-key PC-2 versions.
For my own use, I'll keep my original three-button Logitech TrackMan Marble. Sadly, Logitech doesn't make the original Marble any more; the replacement has a rather obtrusive wheel replacing the middle button.
There is only one possible modem for the dream system: the US Robotics V.Everything, external version. This featureful, rock-solid, reliable modem is the first choice of discriminating hackers everywhere. Rick has written an entertaining rant on the likely consequences of choosing lesser external modems, or any internal modem at all.
The floppy drive is a relic of the age before bootable CD-ROMs. Occasionally you'll want one for booting up diagnostic software. A plain old TEAC 1.44 3.5" drive will do.
Oh, yes, the software. I realize that the topic of favorite Linux distribution is a religious war, but I can't resist putting in a plug for my own favorite: KRUD Linux from Kevin Fenzi and the good folks at tummy.com. Subscribing to KRUD gives you a Red Hat base plus a monthly update, including all security fixes and a tasty selection of additional programs and tools.
We have two SCSI controllers. That's good, because we also have both LVD and single-ended SCSI devices in our parts list. Daryll observes:
LVD drives can drive the bus at 40MHz and 80MHz, whereas single-ended cannot. If you mix single-ended and LVD, the bus degrades to single-ended. So a bus with a single-ended device tops out at 20MHz Wide SCSI or 40MB/s, whereas LVD gets you up to 160MB/s.
Thus, we want to assemble the dream machine with two SCSI chains: a high-speed wide/LVD chain for the hard drives and tape, and a low-speed narrow/single-end chain for the CD-RW and DVD-ROM. We used an SM-20 from The Mate Company to convert the second motherboard channel to 50-pin narrow SCSI.
Because the hard drives are likely to be significant heat generators, we mount them with the spare internal bay between them, rather than stacking them in adjacent drive bays, to get better airflow.
The Antec case makes it possible to mount the intake fan directly in front of the hard disks. Normally, with drives in this class, the drives and the bay enclosure become uncomfortably hot to the touch; with this setup, the warmth is barely noticeable. This is a good thing because it probably extends the expected lifetime of the drives significantly. Another fan near the power supply at the rear helps pull air out of the machine. We ended up mounting a third fan because we noticed the memory chips seemed to be running hot.
We'll have two expansion cards in the machine, the SoundBlaster Live! and the Radeon. The Radeon will probably tend to run hot, the SoundBlaster not. Happily, the Radeon lives in the AGP slot at the upper end of the slot row, where the air it heats will be sucked into the two rear fans.
How does our noise budget look? IBM says our UltraStars emit 48dBA each, PCP & C says the power supply emits 44dBA and the fans 20dBA each, and Tom's Hardware rated the Silverado at 37dBA (but there are two). Applying the logarithmic-sum formula gives us 52dBA as the level of interior noise. Assuming the case blocks 8dB, that will leave us with an exterior noise level of 44dBA adjacent to the case. We can trim another 5dB or so by putting the machine desk-side.
Recalculating with four or five case fans barely nudges the second decimal place in the total. This means that in case our initial burn-in reveals a heat problem; we've got room to cool things down without making the machine substantially noisier.
Gary Sandine and John Pearson at Los Alamos Computers undertook to assemble my Ultimate Linux Box; in fact, they assembled two, one for me and one for Linus Torvalds. They solicited the vendors on our list for donations of parts, and their courage was rewarded when IBM generously volunteered $15,000 for the project budget.
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.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- SourceClear Open
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