Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Home server, part 3, quick update

As I alluded to on the GLLUG mailing list, I got stuck installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2 on the Viglen MPC-L because of this bug when installing RHEL or CentOS on a Geode LX. Consequently I trashed the Xubuntu pre-install and managed to make the machine unbootable. The BIOS claims to support all sorts of useful boot methods such as booting from USB flash drives and over the network, but in practice nothing seemed to work for me except booting from the local hard disk.

This means I'll have to remove the hard disk (it's a 2.5" laptop-sized HDD) and transplant it into another machine, and to do this I'm waiting for the correct 2.5" - IDE adaptor cable from Maplin.

I think the most common question people have asked me is how fast the Viglen is, with its AMD Geode LX central processor. When I had Xubuntu on the machine and while I was failing to install RHEL, I played with it and the conclusions are mixed. Firstly it's fair to say that it is not a fast machine, but fast enough to be useful for (eg) light browsing. But I did observe that some specific things are really slow. For example the timezone / graphical map selection during the RHEL install is really slow, but the rest of the RHEL install was perfectly fine. According to Alan Cox the Geode is quite a strange beast. Some pieces of "hardware" are in reality emulated (certain PCI devices for one), so my theory is that when you hit a piece of code which uses these emulated devices in a certain way, suddenly everything slows down.

The true test of this will come when I get RHEL installed and have it running as a server.


Luca Botti said...

Why the geode and not something like the Via Artigo (nano-itx, x86,faster) apart from the price?

I am thinking to replace my Fsg3-Wlan (nice, but somewhat limited) with one real x86 low power server.

Richard Jones said...

The Via Artigo is over twice the price of the Viglen MPC-L.

linickx said...

Hi there,
I can't seem to get Annaconda to even boot on my viglan (Centos 5.2) did you need some specific boot switches?
(I get a kernel panic, sync error)