Upgrades Galore

I fitted my new SSD to my fileserver yesterday as it was a rainy Sunday afternoon. Oddly enough the new 2.5″-to-3.5″ drive rails I got don’t fit in a floppy bay – well they do but the screw holes won’t line up, so I fitted it in my one remaining hard disk bay.

Anyway I was surprised how quickly I replaced the Ubuntu 9.10 setup with Debian 6.0.3 without losing any functionality. I decided to stick to Squeeze+Backports as Wheezy like on my desktop machine is way too much maintenance for a fileserver – I can’t cope with the “apt-get upgrade” fear! 😉

Speaking of backports, to replace OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice, you need to run this and answer “yes” to the dependency questions:

apt-get -t squeeze-backports install libreoffice libreoffice-gtk

Anyway the main thing I was worrying about – the printer/scanner was truly plug’n’play – I turned it on to do some scanning and CUPS automatically configured the printer part, and SANE just worked. None of the Epkowa (iscan+pips) Epson proprietary crap required.

I encrypted the boot drive using LUKS+LVM so I only need to enter the passphrase once, that seemed a lot easier than when I installed Wheezy and did multiple partitions.

I copied across the fstab and /etc/exports and all the various disks mounted and shared over NFS to the Mac seamlessly. I literally rebuilt the fileserver in two hours! Plus now it is all encrypted I can use it as a backup desktop machine for work.

Next up was the Mac Mini, currently running Leopard 10.5.8, I decided for £21 I might as well upgrade to Lion 10.7.2 as I already have 2Gb RAM and a Core2Duo, and apparently the new version of Plex doesn’t work on 10.5

Luckily I had a Snow Leopard 10.6.8 install in a virtual machine, so I bought Lion via the App Store (basically iTunes) using that. Wow the App Store is crap – I had to sign in about 6 times, I guess they’ve not heard of sessions at Apple.

I then used these instructions to create a bootable USB disk to do a fresh install of Lion – all within VirtualBox.

I’m actually dual booting Leopard and Lion using these instructions. Shrinking the disk so I could add a partition in the free space took the longest, installation was about 25mins. I’m glad I did it actually as although Lion runs fine (except it doesn’t like etherwake) the latest Plex is rubbish, so I’m booting Leopard and Plex at the moment.

Backup Night

I spent most of last night (bit sad innit?!) backing up my computers – well it started off as I thought I should clone my Mac Mini (in case I decide to buy OSX Lion) which I’ve never done before.

Booted Ubuntu 11.04 from a LiveCD, and dd’ed an 80Gb disk image to the 1Tb NTFS drive over USB. Ubuntu 11.04/Unity is a bit better than Fedora 15/Gnome Shell.

Click for fullsize
Click for fullsize

Did the same with the laptop, 160Gb image that time, but its XP+Fedora, did the 80Gb desktop the other day and the other 64Gb desktop a while back. I’ve got to clone my HTPC too, that’s running Win7+Fedora, think that’s 250Gb.

Then I backed up the images to my fileserver. I decided that over 300Gb of disk images (so far – all the PC’s would come to about 900Gb) was a bit much to keep on my desktop machine or eSATA backup drive, so I’ve just got images on the USB drive and the fileserver, I can’t see both failing. I’ve got a spare 1Tb drive lying around which I might get one of those weird docks for and free up a few hundred gigs on the fileserver!

Thinking about it, I should clone the fileserver’s boot drive too, although that would be a 250Gb image – I could just backup used blocks with Clonezilla or Acronis but I don’t trust either anymore. Maybe I’ll treat the fileserver to a little 64Gb SSD or something, its running Ubuntu 9.10 so could probably do with an upgrade when 11.10 gets released in October.

Halfway through all of this we had a power surge which rebooted my computers, so had to re-rsync the data drives on two of them and the eSATA drive, and check the image on the USB had copied properly to the fileserver (md5sum runs slow over USB2!) left that going this morning, its done now.

Fscking Hard Disks! (2)

The WD Caviar Black drive that I bought to replace the dead WDC Blue has died itself now – SMART reported 9 sectors it couldn’t reallocate before the thing just died completely. Oh I love backups!

So now I’m sending two drives back to the ebay seller for refund, as WDC’s RMA procedure was too complicated across two continents.

The problem now is what drive to buy – I think Western Digital suck these days, Samsung I’ll never touch again, so that leaves Seagate or possibly SSD, but the “economy” SSD drives from OCZ/Kingston are 65ukp for 32Gb, but at least with no moving parts or heat issues there can’t be much to go wrong with them I guess, plus read speeds are faster than HDD.

In the meantime I’m working off of my fileserver – installed Nessus, gSTM, gnote, knockd, GnuPG2 and Thunderbird and everything is mostly ok, I had VirtualBox, Firefox and Flash working before of course, no Skype though. All the versions are a bit old on Ubuntu though, but with my main box out of action I’m loathe to try a 9.10 to 10.04 upgrade on the fileserver! I could use my old Pentium4 which is running Fedora13 but its not encrypted and is 32-Bit.

I upgraded my F12 laptop to F13 and now it won’t work if its plugged into the docking station, even killing cpuspeed and Compiz doesn’t fix it. So I think I’ll just stick to WinXP.

VirtualBox 3.2.0

Whilst I’m waiting for my new hard disk to arrive for my Core-i5, I needed to use VirtualBox, so I decided to install it on my E5300 fileserver, which luckily has VT-x support, and of course is running a 64-Bit Ubuntu 9.10 install with 4Gb RAM.

It actually was easier than I expected, similar to the Fedora method you just add the repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list, import Oracle’s GPG key and run “sudo apt-get install virtualbox-3.2” as described here; which even pulls in the dkms system to rebuild the kernel modules automatically.

Then I just added my username to the vboxusers group and copied over my ~/.VirtualBox/ directory from the Core-i5, editing the paths to the VDI’s to point to the backups I made.

I had to upgrade my BIOS as it seems the one I was using didn’t actually have an option to enable VT-x, although it was detected in the flags of /proc/cpuinfo

Ubuntu 10.04

I installed Ubuntu 10.04 on Dad’s new PC he got for his birthday.

I was up until 2am as the ISO’s had to be redone at the last minute so downloads didn’t start until about 9pm, then I had to screw around with fdisk to deal with the Advanced Format Drive problem with the new type of hard disk. It has 4kb sectors but to get around some stupid WinXP bug the manufacturers make it report 512byte sectors, which dramatically slows the drive under Linux.

Once it was all up and running the download repositories were really slow, like my ISP’s local mirror was doing 36K/s where it usually maxes out my connection at about 1M/s, so installing packages took an age. I at least got Thunderbird and Firefox installed and migrated over their emails and favourites and setup BackInTime to backup their documents and emails to the spare hard disk weekly. I also got their Samsung ML-2240 laser printer working using these instructions – basically just copying the PPD and raster driver from the Samsung proprietary driver.

Dad seems fine with Linux, Mum’s had some practice of course with her laptops, but I’ve got to go over and teach them a few tricks (like installing software) at some point. Dad’s already liking the Compiz cube and desktop wall etc. OpenOffice 3.2 certainly is a lot faster than 3.1 that comes with Fedora 12.

All I’ve got to do now is to get a few Windows games working under WINE. I got one kind of working but it doesn’t seem to be keeping the serial number in the Registry and hangs when you quit it. I really have to look more into how you properly setup apps under WINE, I don’t fancy installing Crossover Office 8 Pro after the last fiasco.

When I’m confident I’ve migrated everything over I’m going to install Linux for Mum on their old Shuttle machine and give it a makeover – new fan if I can fit one, clean out the dust, I might see if I can put a gigabyte of PC3200 in it and underclock it to PC2100, at the moment its got 768Mb of underclocked PC2700 in it. I might try fitting my old Athlon XP-M 2600+ instead of the Duron 750, not sure if the cooling would be sufficient though, but it is a mobile chip…. I’ve also got an old Radeon 8500 or even an Nvidia FX5200 graphics card which might work at 4x AGP. I’ve got to see if I can find the old WiFi PCI card we used to have for it – then again that thing never worked under Windows so Linux might be pushing it, I do have a couple of USB wireless dongles which might work though.

Update: I’ve rebuilt the Shuttle – the PCI wireless card didn’t work (its an AMD Alchemy 1722) but I found a Netgear USB2 dongle which works at 54g with Linux! I got the 1Gb PC3200 working and the Athlon2600+ works but is running at 1.5GHz instead of 2.1 due to FSB limitations I guess, but that’s probably better for heat anyway. The Nvidia 5200 works fine at 4x AGP, although its heatsink is a bit hot as it doesn’t have a fan. The case was pretty dusty, the fan grille was about 50% closed up and the fan blades would have barely turned I expect. A blowout and a nice new 80mm LED fan and its silent again.