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Wednesday, 20 December, 2006

Here I am, at long last in front of my 2003 vintage server repurposed as a Ubuntu 6.10 desktop. All I had to do was drop in the hard drives from the old machine, add a DVD burner, coerce it into operating …

Once the hardware was operating more or less correctly, with ECC active since I may as well use it, and I was confident the machine would indeed use both processors as intended all I had to do was boot from a system CD. Based upon the advice of people who with any luck are smarter than me:

  1. Boot from the 6.06 LTS disc.
  2. Configure the internet settings within the disc-based OS. Because I run an ADSL connection, this ability to hook up during the installation process is new to me. I like it.
  3. Ensure the disc-based OS can see all of the disk drives and optical drives. That’s three 3.5″ ATA-100 standard hard disks, and the included CD-burner and the additional DVD burner. Note: I can write and read CDs with the CD-burner, but the system won’t boot from it.
  4. Through the official Ubuntu mechanism, perform the upgrade to version 6.10. Evidently esoteric advantages exist when starting with the subtly different 6.06 then upgrading, rather than installing 6.10 outright. This involves downloading an additional 966 MB of data from a variety of sources. The system handles this on its own.
  5. Once the new system boots and loads, one then removes and installs software through Ubuntu’s handy, dandy GUI interface. Among the items to choose is the “K7 Generic” kernel, which by all evidence automatically runs in SMP mode.
  6. Download and install Automatix2, which is merely a front end for a script which installs essential elements for a modern system which can’t be included in the Ubuntu repositories.
  7. The entire process takes a good four hours, the vast majority of which runs unattended. It would be less time if I had a faster internet connection, but for twenty bucks a month what do you want?

Once I was satisfied with the system, I elected to load ye olde box with everything and see what happens.

    I was running:

  • A windows-media video with Totem
  • A YouTube video, which was still loading when the shot was taken
  • Downloading a ca. 700 MB file with Azureus a Java-based torrent app
  • Thunderbird and Gaim were running as well.

Under 47% total load with plenty of memory space left. Not too bad. I wonder how much faster she’ll be with resizing and editing video? I’ll find out soon enough.

The only problem I foresee, I can only communicate with the outside world via Internet and optical media. The box has two USB 1 ports, and nothing else. However, I have one, and only one, open PCI slot. I will wait to fill it, but once filled that’s it. The box will not support USB2. I have three open ISA slots as this is a server and ISA hung around the server boards much longer. I can’t imagine what one would do with such a thing these days. I even shut down the “legacy ports” in BIOS since I don’t have any idea what good they are either. Oh, my speakers went tits-up. I confirmed this was not a configuration issue.

I broke down yesterday about 3 PM. American Spirit Perique. It was like Natalie Portman licking my ears. I burned through those in about 18 hours. Since six tonight I’m on the Commit lozenge. I’m supplementing. I may pull this off.

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