The ravens are looking a bit sluggish. Tell Malcolm they need new batteries.

Saturday, November 21

Rant

Shoot Me Now

Linux gets the job done.  It may not be actually good in comparison with what is possible, with what has been achieved in the past (and indeed the present) in some minicomputer and mainframe operating systems.  But it turns inexpensive commodity hardware into a powerful and flexible computing platform.

And it doesn't require a reboot to change the hostname.

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Geek

Moving Right Along

Yurie is now up and running with Fedora 12, which - apart from the complete failure of software RAID on the boot partition - is quite nice. The video driver issues of 9 and 10 are gone (this was already fixed in 11) and the latest version of KDE, while still plagued by some terrible design choices in its application menu, is certainly pretty.

So now I'm installing Windows 2008 R2 on Haruhi. And look! Complete failure of software RAID on the boot partition! The motherboard supports "fakeraid", and has a driver for Windows 2003, but I can get the installer to even acknowledge the existence of the driver disk, much less load the driver.

Windows Server supports software RAID (as distinct from motherboard fakeraid), but there's no install-time option for that at all.

I think you can clone a drive into a RAID-1 set once installed. We'll soon find out, anyway.

Update: Oops. Picked the wrong install option and got Windows without windows. Starting again...

Update: Yes, you can mirror the system volume after install; indeed, once you find the right place (computer management, not storage management) it's quite painless.

I think, as with Yurie, this will protect the operating system and my data, but the system will not be bootable if the boot drive fails. Still, not too shabby. Also, it only seems to have RAID-1, so I'm left with a 750GB mirrored system volume and a single 750GB unprotected disk. I guess that can be for backups.

Now all that's left is to pull the capybara's nest of cables from under my desk, vacuum, and then plug all four computers into the KVM switch.

Update: Oh yeah, there's still the question of what to do with Nagi, with its three 1.5TB Seagate InstaBricks™ (the 7200.11).

These drives have two major firmware problems: First, they intermittently suffer from lengthy delays, which can cause problems if they're in a RAID array - they get marked as failed. Second, there's a bug where if you're on the last entry of the SMART event log ring buffer when you power up, it writes to the following memory location rather than the first buffer location, and permanently bricks itself.

There's a firmware upgrade, but the first couple of releases of the upgrade also bricked the drive. So for the past year my strategy has been frequent backups and try not to think about it.

I'm inclined to pull them out and replace them with a six-disk RAID-5 array of 1TB Seagate 7200.12 drives, which is what Tanarotte has.  Bit expensive though.

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Friday, November 20

Rant

Dear Fedora People, You Suck

If you install Fedora 12 with /boot on a RAID array - either as its own partition or as part of a root partition that is on a RAID array - and also install the bootloader to that partition rather than to the system MBR, the partition will not be marked as bootable, as it should be. This renders the installed Fedora unbootable. To work around this issue, you must manually mark the appropriate partition as bootable with a tool such as fdisk.
Yeah, I NOTICED.

Of course, this is the default behaviour.  Nice testing there.

Yeah, I know, open source, plenty of betas etc etc.  But you'd think someone would have bothered to actually install it at some point.

Update: Oops, I'm wrong.  The default behaviour is to install the bootloader to the MBR.  However, that doesn't work either.  I'm now trying it with the bootloader actually on the RAID array.  If that doesn't work, I'll try fdisking it with the rescue CD.  If that doesn't work, then screw it, I'll run an un-RAIDed boot partition.  Of course, by that point I will have installed it SEVEN TIMES.

Update: The Fedora installer is a blight.

Apart from being entirely unable to set up a proper software RAID boot partition (something Linux has supported for years), it crashed twice during disk partitioning,* once skipped the package selection stage entirely, and once failed to load the video driver.  Oh, and once it just failed in the middle of the install process with a read error, though that's not necessarily its fault.

On top of that, the install menu doesn't support my keyboard.  The keyboard works in BIOS, works after the install menu, but won't work in the menu itself.  I had the exact same problem in openSUSE, though...  Actually, openSUSE also failed to boot after installation just like Fedora.

Anyway, what with three failed attempts to get a working RAID /boot, one trial of a non-raid /boot, one trip into rescue land, one read error, and four outright installer failures, it's taken me ten tries to do a fairly simple install of a modern version of Linux.  And that's ignoring the failure with openSUSE.  And I'm hardly an inexperienced user; I've been using Linux continuously since RedHat 6.1.

This is just crap.

* Not an outright crash, but the installer's error handling is basically nil.  At the first sign of trouble, you get a dialog box that allows you to reboot.  No options, just reboot.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:38 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, November 19

Art

Doctor Who And The Zombies Of Mars

It's Doctor Who.  And Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who.  This does not imply, however, that it is actually good.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:07 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, November 16

Geek

Is It Beautiful Because It Is True Or True Because It Is Beautiful?

This is the police.  We have you surrounded.  Put down the regex and step away from the keyboard.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:25 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Anime

Kimi Ni Thatake

That Anime Blog reviews episode 6 of Kimi ni Todoke.
SMASHED INTO ATOMS
Spot on.  KimiTodo is the second coming of Gurren Lagann.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:16 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Geek

Damn You, Speed Of Light, Part The Second

When you're used to maintaining Linux boxen on the other side of the planet (I'm in Sydney, the servers I herd are variously in Seattle and Dallas) it's amazing how responsive a server that's five metres away (as the packet routes) can be.

When you've just spent four days working on a server five metres away, though, it's no fun to come back and work on machine three thousand times that distance.  No fun at all.

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Anime

Sasameki Koto

It's no Kimi ni Todoke, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve.  At least they have someone who can cry for the crying part.

Update: Okay, you got me.  I roofled.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:57 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, November 15

Geek

Lizardless

openSUSE locks up at the start of installation.  Feh.

I'm going to play with Citrix XenServer now, and see if that's any good.

Update: XenServer is good, except that they go out of their way to make it hard to use software RAID, and they officially support exactly one RAID controller.  So if you don't have a 3Ware 9650SE, it's not much good to you.

Mmph.  Fedora 12 is out in three days.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:21 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Anime

Kimi Ni Todoke

Take your standard high school teen romance angst-fest...  And attach a JATO unit and smash it into the side of a cliff at 600MPH where it explodes into a shower of rainbow-coloured sakura petals.

This one is actually good.  Double bonus points for teenagers who aren't all jerks and/or idiots by default.

Update: Okay, so Sawako's pretty much a poster-girl for but the show carries if off with such grace and charm that it...  Um...  Comes out charming and graceful. wink

Update: Oh, and some really gorgeous artwork.

This is also a 12-episode series, but unlike Nyan Koi, I think I'm going to miss it when it's over.

Update: I'm quite taken with the score as well.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:14 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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