There’s nothing like a fresh start. Unfortunately last weekend’s reinstall of juniper went less happily than I expected.
A source based distro notices problems quickly. It starts as simple compilation errors. The linker being unable to create a final executable, or being unable to spawn a new shell instance. A bunch of random errors in tasks that usually work.
You start to question your sanity in choosing this OS, it’s been historically reliable. It must be some other reason. But deep down the probability counters are incrementing towards the conclusion that means that no fancy fingerwork will fix. Presenting, The Hardware Problem.
I’m rebuilding juniper this weekend. It was getting a bit crufty recently. Now that I’ve had a chance to get comfortable with Xen, I think I am ready to attempt putting windows under HVM using the IOMMU and getting VGA Passthru to work.
The goal is simple, get a full-time Linux desktop which can still play games.
Here’s a neat trick.
In almost every Linux install I do these days, I make sure it uses LVM for partitioning.
This has some advantages over straight up MBR partitions.
– Not having to predetermine the sizes of the rootfs, home partitions etc. I can start with small LVs then lvresize && resize2fs/resize_reiserfs if I ever hit the end.
– Handle hardware expansion elegantly. Adding and removing the underlying HDDs without worrying about copying files and folders. pvcreate, vgextend, pvmove then a final pvremove is all I need to replace a Disk that is starting to show SMART errors.
– RAID1-like protection, but only on LVs that need it. Also RAID0-like striping for performance on SWAP LVs.
– Snapshots: OMG! how useful are these?!?! The use cases deserve a post of their own.
Well, today I found another useful tidbit. Data Migration and vgmerge.
Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology is a useful set of heuristics that are supposed to provide an advanced warnings of possible drive failures. With modern Hard Drives in modern Operating Systems, early SMART errors cause the filesystem to drop into read-only mode.