PC-BSD vs Linux

So, in my new job, I was given an old desktop to play with (Dell Optiplex GX150 – a Pentium III CPU and 512MB RAM… yeah, “old” is a tenuous word – I think this is “ancient” bordering on “mummified”). Now, this box is NOT my primary workstation so I don’t need X or anything, I just need something that will act as a fileshare for the real work I do.

However, the dang box doesn’t even have a DVD reader in it, just an old CD ROM. Hence, I’m kinda stuck for what to install on it. Windows XP is crappy on it (was pre-loaded with it, and it was just godawful slow), so that was out. I briefly considered getting that Windows Gamer’s Edition that was floating around on the net, but decided that putting an unlicensed version of Windows on a company desktop was probably Not a Good Idea.

I decided to try to install CentOS 5.2 (i.e. Red Hat Enterprise), but couldn’t get the Net Install to go through my work’s proxy, so that’s out. I tried all sorts of tricks, even going as far as trying to pass kernel parameters on the boot prompt command line, but even that didn’t work. Curse you ISOLINUX!

I then tried Damn Small Linux 4.4.2 – installed like a champ! Of course, then a new problem arose: DSL wouldn’t let me upgrade to a full Debian system, even though DSL is based on Debian. Ugh, SO not helpful!!! (BTW, DSL 4.4.2 _is_ installed at home on an old K6-2 350 box that is strictly a file and log server, perfect usage!)

I then thought – hey, why not BSD? I used to use FreeBSD back in the day when I worked at TNI, I could certainly try it. Add that I had recently installed PC-BSD 1.5.1 on my son’s computer, an Athlon 850MHz Slot A system from 1999 that is just screaming along without any problems, and I figured I’d give it a shot. So, I tried it. And wouldn’t ya know it, PC-BSD hung time and time again at 1% installation, always at the same place: trying to install an LC_ADDRESS file in the /compat directory. ARGH!

I had just about given up. I went and discussed the issues with one of my co-workers. He was sympathetic about it, making a couple of suggestions that I tried, because he too wanted to see PC-BSD, and then we just gave up. I’m walking away and he’s calling me back – he found an unmarked CD in his drawer that he THOUGHT had Ubuntu 8.04 on it…

And here I am installing that right now… and go figure, it’s already 40% done.

I really truly believe that PC-BSD’s inability to install has everything to do with the fact that the hardware is a piece of crap, since PC-BSD installed flawlessly in my workstation’s VM (naturally). It’s just a shame I can’t tout the robustness and stability of PC-BSD to my co-workers though – even though I am a Linux guy to begin with, anything that just works after install with minimal intervention is a Good Idea in my book.

Looks like Linux is once again the winner. Oh well. Maybe PC-BSD 7 will be better. I’ll just have to wait until the end of the year to try it.

soooo busy

I’ve been really busy lately, enough to warrant a couple of days away from the blog. Ah, but being the gentle soul that I am, I remembered to keep handy all the topics I wanted to talk about in my little notebook… which I seem to have left elsewhere.

Well, let’s just take a shotgun approach and see where that gets us.

The Phoenix Suns: Coach D’Antoni is on his way out – it was a given considering that D’Antoni refuses to teach/preach defense and for the past three years his teams won because they simply spread the floor and out-shot the opponent. However, with the dynamics of the Western Conference changing this year, the loss of big-man coach Marc Iavaroni to the Grizzlies, and the fact that the Suns really couldn’t spread the floor like in years past (Raja Bell being the only real three-point threat), the Suns could’ve used a more defensive presence. They also could’ve taken the time to develop their young draft picks and players more, and gosh darn it maybe played their bench more. All of this becomes the downfall of D’Antoni. He’s looking at “opportunities” in Chicago and New York (neither of which is very palatable – the Knicks have virtually no roster outside of Nate Robinson, and Chicago is a mess no matter what happens), but he could literally end up back at the helm of the Suns as a lame-duck coach because there’s no way that Robert Sarver eats $9m for two years for a guy to do nothing.

The Arizona Diamondbacks: Ouch, Max Scherzer gets hit hard in his first majors’ start. In his defense though, he only gave up two earned runs in four innings, and three Phillies runs in the 2nd inning were the direct result of an error by shortstop Stephen Drew. HOWEVER, Edgar Gonzalez yet again allows another four earned runs in three innings, meaning that the last two games pitched by this clod have allowed D-backs opponents to score _10_ runs in a total of 5 and 2/3 innings!!! The D-backs need to designate him for assignment and recall Yusmeiro Petit already.

Guitar Hero III: I completed this game this past weekend. I especially liked the end boss duel, which was an updated rendition of the Charlie Daniels’ Band’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia. One of the songs in there was Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover, which I absolutely love. I re-played that song at least 10 times. Of course, then I went on a hugely insane tangent and looked up Eric Johnson on Wikipedia, which led me to Joe Satriani (another fav of mine), which led me to go find the latest Satriani album. Nice… one thing though, the Wikipedia trivia section neglects to mention that Satriani’s song Always With Me, Always With You was a staple on the series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (which is what drew me to Satriani in the first place, hearing that song on PLCL). So now, I have begun The Quest for the Parker Lewis Can’t Lose DVDs. 🙂

Anime: Finished True Tears (4 stars), Candy Boy (3 stars), and classic FLCL (4.5 stars). I watched also a couple of episodes of Elfen Lied (2 stars – couldn’t really finish it, couldn’t really stand it, follow it, want to watch it, etc. Not recommended). I have started series Amatsuki, Mnemosyne, and am about halfway through classic series Nadia Secret of Blue Water.

Manga: I picked up Akira vol. 2 this weekend as well. Yes, it’s classic, but it’s goooooooood. 🙂 Plus there’s talk of turning it into TWO live action movies (to be released in 2010 and 2011). On the same topic, the Robotech franchise will also see itself in a live-action movie in 2009 or 2010. All this talk leads me to…

Movies: Iron Man debuted this weekend – I wanna see!! And the announcement that The Hobbit will be released in 2009 and another ORIGINAL story to bridge the gap between the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is slated for 2010. And I’m probably going to have to see Kung-Fu Panda and Wall-E as well. 🙂

Tech: Ok, so I’ve got an old Compaq Presario with an 800 MHz Athlon CPU (Slot A – yes, that IS how old it is… go check Wikipedia for “AMD Slot A” and you’ll see), and it WAS running Windows 2000 (ooooh, another moldy oldie), but I’ve decided that this tower PC will get an upgrade. No, not to Windows XP, nor will Vista ever touch it. Rather, I’m going to just drop Fedora 9 on it. Wait, hear me out – I wanted to put Fedora 6 on it because I had nothing but praise for that version, and Fedora 8 was such a piece of crap that I wiped it from my server and reinstalled CentOS instead. But Fedora 9 includes the latest KDE desktop (KDE 4! drool…) and most of the latest packages out there that I really needed a place to play. ADD that this tower PC is destined for my son’s use, and I needed something that wouldn’t be such a pain in the ass to boot and run things like a word processor. Now, granted, I also wanted to move to Slackware 12.1, but in the end, Slack 12.1 is running KDE 3.5.9 and doesn’t include OpenOffice 2.0 (rather, it includes KOffice, which is servicable, but I’d rather go with OpenOffice), so that’s the deal-breaker. I’ll probably reinstall my second server with Slack 12.1 though because it’s a headless server and not a desktop PC.

Politics: Oh, geez, would someone win the Democratic nomination already so we can have an actual presidential race? Otherwise it’s going to be John McCain vs. a very broken and fractured Democratic Party nominee. And unfortunately, I really hate to admit this, but Barack Obama might end up winning the Dem ticket, which means that McCain will probably end up as President. Now, the LAST time this happened in the Democratic Party, the winner was some Republican ACTOR named Reagan. And even though I’m a registered Dem, I would vote for McCain over Obama. However, if Clinton won, I would vote Clinton over McCain. Obama just doesn’t have ANY experience, period. No way, no how. He’s just a bunch of rhetoric set to a popular background theme. McCain – well, he’s a good Commander-in-Chief, but I question how well he’d do on domestic issues. Clinton – the exact opposite of McCain, excellent on domestic policies, I worry about overseas. But then again, the crisis RIGHT NOW is here on our own soil, not across the water, so … my vote would go to her, if it got that far. And, it still might, if the Florida and Michigan votes are counted – for once, let’s hear it for the LAWYERS!!!

World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day, where penguins in Antarctica begin their migration northward. (No, it has nothing to do with Linux, lest you believe those stinkin’ Debian users… 🙂 )

To all those cold, flightless fowl I say good luck and avoid the walrus!