Archive for August, 2005

08.19.05

Rebuild finished!

Posted in General at 1:52 pm by jw

It took 48 hours but it finally finished.  Updated the kernel to 2.6.12–gentoo-r9 and messed with the config some then rebooted.  Splat – nothing worked.  Always helps to do “make modules_install” before you try to reboot or it can’t load device drivers for ANYTHING!  Oh well – reboot again and things are back and running as good as new.

A couple of things I learned:

  • “screen” is really good for doing huge long compiles on a headless machine.  Having the compile terminate because your connection dies is a pain.
  • “emerge —resume” is good when things break, especially when I remember it’s there.
  • always remember to “make modules_install” or things die horribly on reboot.
  • building 300+ packages on a Duron 750 is sloooow.

In other news, I’m still playing Dungeon Siege 2 when I’m not playing EQ2.  Still reminding me more and more of a Diablo 2 sequel.  Lots of fun!

I’m also working on compiling my game collection.  I own a lot of junk!

08.18.05

Dungeon Siege 2

Posted in General at 3:08 am by jw

Went out to Best Buy and picked this game up today.  It’s been a lot of fun so far – much more depth to it than DS1 or DS1:LoA.  If anything it seems a lot like a sequel to Diablo 2 than a sequel to DS1 with a skill tree for each character, items with “slots” to embed augments in, automatic targetting of the main character off by default, significant storyline and all the other things that made Diablo 2 fun seem to be in there.

Even though I’ve only gotten a few hours past where the demo download left off, it’s still just as high quality as that first little show-off piece was.  Definitely going to play this one to the end.

(And in other news, my Duron 750 is *still* rebuilding the Linux system – onto package 160 of 320ish)

08.16.05

More gentoo and distcc

Posted in General at 10:48 pm by jw

Changing the USE flags on Gentoo can result in massive rebuilds.  Changing the C compiler flags rebuilds everything.  Normally this would be an overnight thing on my main PC but when it’s my 750MHz Duron it becomes a real ordeal.  So, to ease this pain I figured I’d enlist the help of distcc to allow me to use the CPU power of the 4 other 2GHz+ machines I have in the house in rebuilding the system – sounds easy, right?

Yeah, thought so.  Well, first attempt was using the 64 bit Gentoo installation I did on the weekend to cross compile for the x86 system.  I set up the cross compiler without too much of a problem but unfortunately for me, it just didn’t seem to work well with distcc, even on a quick “Hello World” test app.  I’m not about to rebuild my entire system unless I’m sure that the compiler is working properly, so on to the next thing to try.

I found a wiki article on how to cross compile on cygwin with distcc.  Again, I went through the steps of getting it working and got stumped at the “look through the ebuild file for XXX” and to my great surprise, XXX didn’t exist!  Oh well… on to the next thing to try!

For my next trick, I installed Gentoo onto a vmware image and worked at getting distcc set up with that image.  I even tried to get the same compiler options going, and 6 hours of installing Gentoo later, I was getting weird errors in the build about libraries suspiciously moving!  Well, that was no good so I’m now just falling back to the good old “build the whole thing on the slow computer” trick.  Should be done sometime next week I guess…

Well, lesson learned I guess.  Don’t mess with things that you haven’t tested trying to get a “quick fix”.

(Yes, I’ve been geeky lately on this blog.  I’ll write something interesting one day soon I promise)

08.15.05

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.

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.

08.12.05

New HDD, part 2

Posted in General at 2:17 am by jw

Well, exceeding 1TB was exciting.  I had a small problem though with the install, and it’s one that seems to recur every time I try it – the nVidia IDE drivers are broken.  Under load they just crap out and kill the OS, or even worse just write crap to the disk.  I don’t know how something like that got through QA but I keep believing that next revisions might be better however every time I install them I get bitten again!

This time I was moving 160G of captured video to the new HDD (don’t you love digital video cams?) using KillCopy and it was just dying after only a half gig or so.  Well, killcopy does stress the system (because it’s a damn fast copy utility) so I tried again with plain old xcopy and got the same thing.

Only one thing for it – into device manager and install the standard Microsoft IDE drivers for everything, which work acceptably well on my nForce4 board.  Changed them over easily enough and rebooted only to find that XP decided to put my main SATA drive in PIO mode – with hdtach telling me the throughput was something below 10M/s at 100% CPU load which is completely unacceptable.

So… back to google to find something useful and after some quick hunting I found the solution at this helpful web site.  To summarize I opened up the registry editor, went to  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Control\ Class\ {4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} and fished around for the blahblahDataChecksum values which I promptly deleted. On the next reboot – magically DMA mode 6 and hdtach reporting 65M/s sustained, 140M/s burst at approximately 0% CPU usage. Much, much better!

So, I set the copy going and went to bed.  It finished eventually.  Even with fast drives, 160G is a lot of data to move around.

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