Gentoo on Desktop, Home Theater rebuilt

Posted in General at 5:14 pm by jw

Saturday saw my wife and I head out to the stores again.  Passing PC Club in Robinson I managed to convince her to go look for cases for the home theater box I had sitting on the living room floor in an ancient beige brick case which she absolutely detested.  Well, she picked one she liked and I randomly chose one of the two colors available to bring home.  Lucky I chose randomly as I ended up getting the opposite color I chose, but that’s the beauty of not caring!  Being a Micro-ATX case, I also got a new motherboard and a wireless keyboard+mouse combo in “stylish” black and silver to complete the system into one which would be aesthetically appeasing to the boss of the house.

I always enjoy building new PCs so I dived into putting this one together and found to my disappointment that it didn’t boot first try.  Pulling the components out one by one it slowly dawned on me that the CPU I was using (an ancient Duron 650) just wasn’t compatible with the motherboard that was trying to feed it a 266MHz FSB.  Luckily I still had my old Athlon XP 2800+ sitting in the cupboard which did support a faster FSB and I had the 1G of DIMMs that I’d pulled out of my wife’s PC earlier when I upgraded her to 2G.  Once I had all that together, the machine worked first try.  Got XP up and running pretty quickly (I’m so practiced at that now it’s just not funny) and now I’ve a home theater PC in a nice little box that sits in the component pile and gives good 5.1 surround sound for any xvid stuff or games I want to play viagra for sale uk.

Sunday, with all the new HDD space on my home machine I needed to find something to do with it, so I set about destroying my Windows Vista (beta) install and dropping on Gentoo.  This wasn’t a reflection on Vista itself (I need to look at it for work reasons) but just a practical case of which partition I didn’t need for playing around and I didn’t really want to mess with Partition Magic in creating some new free space.

As usual, I went with a stage 1 install because it’s way more fun that way.  I like compiling every last thing that goes onto my desktop – even the compiler itself!  Sure it takes a little while longer (gcc and glibc aren’t small) but it’s a good feeling to know that exactly the same compiler settings and compiler versions were used for every component in the system.  So, a few hours later I had gentoo up and running.  Unlike some of my previous experiences the whole bootloader experience went without a hitch and I even got vesafb working to give me a bazillion lines and columns of text on my console screen.

Building X11+KDE took a fair bit longer and still wasn’t finished after I’d finished watching “Phantom of the Opera” (ehh – prefer the stage version) and “Shrek 2” (love it) so I went to bed and let it run overnight.  If my UPS power readings (see links on the right) are anything to go by, the build finished in the wee hours of the morning so sitting up waiting wouldn’t have been a great idea.  Guess I finish playing with it tonight, trying to get the ATI drivers for my X850 going and other fun stuff.

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