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Xavier

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Ok, I've had enough of peering over the edge and wondering if it's for me, I'm sick to the back teeth of all this indecision, I've got a machine sitting here ready and all I need now is the assistance of some helpful patient individuals to make the proverbial leap.

I was going to ask TdC, Xane and Will via PM, but I've decided to beg the forum at large - guide meh!

We should have broadband back online in a week or so (*finally*) so downloading distros should be no problem.

Consider be a n00b (when it comes to linux/bsd I am) - forget that previous attempt at running a redhat box and please, point me in the right direction!

*grovels*
 

sibanac

Fledgling Freddie
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Xavier, what exactly do you want to use this machine for ?
If you just want a desktop thingy, any of the big linux distro's will do (suse, redhat, mandrake)
If you want a server i'dd say freebsd.

anyway feel free to pm me aswell :)
 

Xavier

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I've got plenty of desktop boxes ta.

Ideally, I want to tinker with its capabilities as a server, any idea how happy it is with 4-way setups and serverworks chipsets?

Xav
 

Will

/bin/su
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As sib said, it depends what you want to do with it.

FreeBSD is easy to set up as a server, but to make it a working desktop is a little bit harder.
OpenBSD is very secure, but not the easiest to use.
NetBSD I'd leave out, unless you have some very weird hardware going on.

Linux...I've been told SuSe is good, and Mandrake. I've installed Gentoo before, but I can't say I recommend it. It's good, but overly complicated. Fedora (formerly Red Hat) is supposed to be fairly good too.
Slackware (hi TdC ;)) is a very stripped down Linux, nice and clean, but for the applications I'd recommend that for, I'd take a *BSD instead.
 

TdC

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FreeBSD should sort you out just fine both in server and workstationesque machines. It's reasonably easy to use as far as a unixlike OS goes, and robust enough to run well untill you have the skills to configure it better (than a new user at least). A huge plus is that it has a large userbase, is well documented and isn't linux (sic).
Be aware that FBSD maintains two different releases at once: the production- and new technology release. Atm those are 4.9 and 5.2 respectively. Those mean exactly what you get: a production "tried and tested" release, and the new "dodgy cutting edge" stuff for those who like to live dangerously.

Once your BB is back I'd advise going the easy way and doing a web based install (based around two floppies).

freebsd webby
getting the software
installing freebsd

find out what your local mirrorsite is (something like www.uk.freebsd.org perhaps) and have a look. you'll be able to grab the floppies off there too. once you boot you'll be talked through the whole thing, and if you have the handbook about you should be able to muddle through.

there's always slackware though. it's about the most pure linux there is :)
 

sibanac

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Xavier said:
I've got plenty of desktop boxes ta.

Ideally, I want to tinker with its capabilities as a server, any idea how happy it is with 4-way setups and serverworks chipsets?

Xav

FreeBSD would be your best bet then.
I'dd say D/L the ISO's start messing around with it for a few days and nag us if you get stuck :)
 

Xavier

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ok, am i going to have to do anything special because it's a full on 4-way xeon server?


Xav
 

sibanac

Fledgling Freddie
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TdC said:
there's always slackware though. it's about the most pure linux there is :)
:flame: slackware is BSD without the balls :flame:


I'dd download the ISO's since if you screw up then atleast you dont have to D/L the whole thing again
 

TdC

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Xavier said:
ok, am i going to have to do anything special because it's a full on 4-way xeon server?


Xav
yes, you'll have to get the source code and compile your own kernel with SMP activated. it's easy enough, there are only two setting you have to change in the generic configuration to turn it on.
 

TdC

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Xavier said:
*gets tempted to rip three CPUs out*
don't, as it's really easy to do. in fact, let me ssh into your network and I'll do it for you. this does defeat the intent slightly though, as I imagine you want to do it yourself.
 

Xavier

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TdC said:
yes, you'll have to get the source code and compile your own kernel with SMP activated. it's easy enough, there are only two setting you have to change in the generic configuration to turn it on.
*gets tempted to rip three CPUs out*

heh, well I'll give it a try at the very least I guess, kinda keen to see what 4 2.8Ghz 2Mb cache Xeons are capable of. Worst case it will make a very whizzy seti box :)
 

TdC

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lol fear the editing spree!!1 :D
 

Xavier

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ok, now this thread is in a whole world of out-of-order messyness, heh.

*takes a bow*
 

sibanac

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Xavier said:
ok, am i going to have to do anything special because it's a full on 4-way xeon server?


Xav
No its never going to work, just send the box to TdC ;p

AFAIK SMP isnt enabled by default, you will need to recompile the kernel.
This can either be done during the installation or after. till you recompile the kernel with smp support you'll be using only 1 cpu
 

TdC

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heh, also as a plus, recompiling should take a *very* short time on a big xeon like that. unlike my lowly p166 where it takes a day and a half :/
for example, my barton 2800+ compiles a new linux kernel in about 3 or 4 minutes. a BSD kernel is a bit "bigger" and may take a little longer.
 

Xavier

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Surely I should recompile it twice?


Once to go from 1->4 processors

The second just for the hell of it, to see how much quicker on a 4 cpu jobby it is.

:D I'm a benchmarking whore, I know.
 

TdC

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hehe you could do that. the command make accepts a flag "-jX" where X is a number that directs (easy explaination) how many simultanious runs the compiler does. on a box like that you may be able to get up to 10 or more and things will go well fast heh. My dual xeon runs best at 6 imo, but I've not really benched it to see how far it will go.

edit: course, you can recompile everything (make buildworld / make installworld) and things will be optimised to your CPU specifically. there are other things you can do to further optimise the code, but that's another story.
 

sibanac

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and never optimaze the compiler because that will give you problems
 

TdC

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yes, a lovely paradox that :)
 

sibanac

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Actualy all this compiler talk makes me want to install another LFS, anyone got a dual opteron i can use ?
 

TdC

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the zen of computing that :) must be off now. laters.
 

sibanac

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Xavier said:
*scratches head*
sorry, LFS is Linux From Scratch, http://linuxfromscratch.rave.org/lfs/news.html
Its basicly compiling everything for your system.
You start with a basic compiler and kernel, then compile the compilere but with optimized options for your system, from that you build all the rest you want on the system.

Its alot of work (well mainly waiting) but you learn alot about how the system and compilers work and get an extreemly optimized install ofcourse.
The drawback is that you have to keep an eye out for patches for all installed software on the system (and thus not realy practiacal)
 

Xavier

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heh, not what I'm looking for then? :)

That would be quite cool, and do-able on the quaddie Xeon... sounds fun in a horrendously nerdy kinda way.
 

sibanac

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Xavier said:
heh, not what I'm looking for then? :)

That would be quite cool, and do-able on the quaddie Xeon... sounds fun in a horrendously nerdy kinda way.
Yep, its fun,





in a masochistic geeky kinda way.
 

xane

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FreeBSD is very automated, and because it is all based on make it tends to work very well, although it takes forever on slower CPUs.

Building a new custom kernel is easy, again controlled via make.

Keeping up-to-date is easy too, again through make and using cvsup to keep the source tree in sync.

FreeBSD is best suited to compiling everything rather than downloading binaries.

There is a wealth of utilities devoted to keeping FreeBSD in shape, both for the "production" and "development" version, have no fear !

My recommendation for a noobie site is http://www.freebsddiary.org/

My only gripe with FreeBSD is that it is the last in line for ported software, you are normally behind on latest versions and you rarely get commercial software ports (like NWN for example), but there is a good "linux emulator" package that overcomes this.

KDE is the desktop of choice for FreeBSD, and it is even replacing Gnome on Linux too, an example of how the BSD community always seem to make the right paths ;)
 

tRoG

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I've tried SuSe Linux on an old laptop (Thanks, TdC :p), a loved it, so switched to Slackware, to try and prove my nerdiness :)

Once you get used to the way of thinking, it's really quite easy.
 

Gurnox

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tRoG said:
I've tried SuSe Linux on an old laptop (Thanks, TdC :p), a loved it, so switched to Slackware, to try and prove my nerdiness :)

Once you get used to the way of thinking, it's really quite easy.
Yes, Slackware is ideal if you want to get your hands dirty. Wish they'd port Ximian for it though...... :(
 

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