[volunteers] The 2230 formerly (and presently) known as brie

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Mon Dec 17 13:36:32 PST 2007

Beginning a new thread with a quote:

> The Marc Merlin-donated
> machine in question, a bog-standard VA Linux Systems model 2230 2U, a
> 2x700MHz PIII, built with an Intel L440GX+ motherboard with all four 
> slots filled with 128 MB ECC PC100 sticks, and 2x9GB + 2x18GB SCSI hard
> drives, is reported (1) unbootable, (2) sitting in _Ed Cherlin's_ house
> (not Heather's), and (3) having nothing at all done to it, with no work
> planned.

The only correction that needs to be made to this is to the second half 
of point #3. The following work is planned:

1) Attempt to boot the thing with "init=/bin/bash" in its present 
state. All indications are that this will succeed.
2) Go through the entire filesystem hierarchy, looking for stuff worth 
keeping, which won't be much, and put it temporarily on another 
3) Unceremoniously repartition all the internal drives and their RAID 
slices in a sane manner, without regard to their current contents, thus 
permanently extricating The Reiber Touch from the installed system.
4) Reinstall from scratch Debian onto the machine. Whether this should 
be Etch or Lenny has not been fully examined, and upgrading Etch to 
Lenny, if Etch is ultimately chosen, would be trivial; however, there 
have been changes to the Linux md driver since the Etch kernel that 
would be a must for use of the 9008 JBOD device, and the third-party 
safte-monitor package, IIRC, more cleanly fits on Lenny than Etch, 
although I may have that backwards.
5) Take advantage of Heather Stern's offer of many moons ago to provide 
a 1' SCSI ribbon cable ending in a slot cover. During the machine's 
brief stint at Via.net, the external SCSI cable reached into the case, 
directly to the MB, and was held in place solely by the top of the 
case. At some point, a Via.net employee brushed up against the cable 
while working on a non-SVLUG machine, and everything stopped working. 
This prompted the first of two visits to Via.net, with the second one 
resulting in the machine being pulled. The slot-cover-with-ribbon would 
eliminate this half of this problem. Now, for the other half: The 
printed manual for the 9008 clearly states that the end of the cable 
that attaches to the 9008 MUST be secured with the screws on the 
connector, because the vibration of eight hard disks will inevitably 
dislodge it in short order. Our 9008 is a prototype, and so there is 
nowhere for those screws to attach. As a result, periodic visits to 
Via.net will be required to inspect the connector.
6) Put the machine back in the Via.net rack.
6½) (optional) Fill the hole left by the dead drive in the 9008 with 
another 36GB drive.
7) Rebuild the md RAID array on the 9008 as a RAID5 with one spare 
drive. IIRC, this is NOT how the 9008 is currently set up, because 
although this setup was agreed upon, it never got the opportunity to be 
turned into reality before the machine was pulled.
8) Do useful stuff with the results.

Rick's contention that no work is planned is only accurate if one 
considers "no immediate work" to be identical to "no work." He has 
graciously offered to effect the above-explained previously-made plans, 
and more. The primary immediate dispute has been that of timing, with 
Rick favoring diving into the brie plans forthwith. I foresee possible 
snarls when implementation reaches step 8, but Rick feels that not to 
be an obstacle to the first seven. And so, the next time anybody hears 
of this, implementation may well already be on step 8. Thank you all 
for your interest.
"Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do."
                                                       --National Lampoon
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