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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Dec 18 19:10:57 PST 2007

Quoting Edward Cherlin (echerlin at gmail.com):

> So, Rick, whaddya think?

Initial thoughts follow.

> After a bit of thrashing and some pursuing of error indications,
> Clement created a new initrd. brie boots now.

Kudos to Clement.  I'd recommend doing some hardware stress-testing to
make sure the unit is sound.  My preferred tool, and unfortunately it's
a user-hostile one, is the Cerberus Test Control Suite ("CTCS").  See
"Burn-in" and "Cerberus FAQ" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Hardware/ .  

I wrote a long explanation about how and why to use CTCS, at this point,
but am just now deleting it.  You should get in-person help from a
qualified sysadmin.  (I'm certainly not saying you should use me; please
feel entirely welcome to ask around.)

[Repartition internal drives:]

> Either Daniel will do this, or he will provide the desired map to
> Clement to do it. Unless somebody else wants to join the discussion.
> We won't wait long to hear from you, though.

That's a long discussion.  I wrote a long and detailed explanation at this
point, and am just now deleting it from the draft.  You should get
in-person help from a qualified sysadmin.  If we do yet another badly 
conceived partitioning scheme, it'll just have to be blown away and done
over yet again later.

> Discuss. Lenny is in testing, with of course no release date set. 

Which really has nothing to do with it.  You're accidentally
over-reading the word "testing", and assigning the notion of "release
date" a significance that it doesn't have in Debian as it does in many
other distributions.  Also, media installation is not an end-point with
Debian, but rather a means to follow a development track thereafter.

This, again, is a long discussion.  Again, I wrote a long and detailed
explanation at this point, and am just now deleting it.  You should get
in-person help from a qualified Debian sysadmin.

> Do we want to be conservative, and use the current stable version
> until Lenny comes out....

No.  See above.

> > 6??) (optional) Fill the hole left by the dead drive in the 9008 with
> > another 36GB drive.
> Do we have one, or the offer of one, or would we need to buy one?

I'm not sure what your concern is.  The 9008 functions perfectly fine
with unoccupied drive bays, if that's your concern.

> 10) Mailman with spamassasin; Moinmoin; your suggestion here

Please let MTA and anti-spam setup be done by a qualified sysadmin.
It would be good to do this well, and there are myriad ways to do it
badly, which we would then regret for a very long time.

> So, 9) We set up one or another form of virtualization. We have
> proposals for User-Mode Linux, chroots,  or Xen. I'm not involved in
> that choice. I believe that Rick, Daniel, and Paul have something to
> say. Something polite and technical that does not rehash what has gone
> before.


(1) The model 2230's four RAM sockets in its Intel L440GX+ 
motherboard are populated with four 128MB PC100 168 Pin 3.3V ECC SDRAM
DIMMs.  There are no unoccupied RAM sockets.  

(2) Quoting prevailing new-RAM prices, expansion to 1.5 GB total RAM
would cost around $240 using PC100 or around $200 using PC133.  Note
that timing problems resulting from mixing PC100 and PC133 sticks can
cause memory errors.

(3) Quoting prevailing new-RAM prices, expansion to 2.0 GB total RAM
(the maximum the L440GX+ will support) would cost around $400 using

(4) Any likely in-service deployment of the machine for SVLUG public
server use will chew up at least 300MB or so in Resident Set Size +
shared memory.  Adding a VM layer, be it UML, or Xen, or VMware, or
OpenVZ, will chew up most of the remainder of the current 512MB total
RAM.  Attempting to launch a second VM is likely in my estimation to
immediately and severely overcommit RAM (barring purchase of
replacement, higher-density sticks, which costs real money, and does
anyone _really_ want to spend hundreds of bucks on RAM for a Y2K server?). 

(5) Chrooting is not a virtualisation technology.

(6) It's relatively easy to get donations of low-density RAM, because
people put it in drawers when they remove it and replace it with
high-density RAM, e.g., someone owning an L440GX+ that's maxed out with
128MB sticks.  Accordingly, it's vanishingly rare to get donations of
high-density (non-defective) RAM.

Some of the foregoing "rehashes what has gone before" because it is
necessary factual background.  My choices were to disregard your
suggested limitation or decline to help.  (Incidentally, reading that
phrase in your post is what finally motivated me to delete from this post 
several already-composed, detailed explanations.)

If you elect to not get help from a qualified sysadmin, I wish you luck,
and will possibly see folks again next rebuild.

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