The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Those Computer Blues …

I haven't updated in the past few days. That's okay, because I have an excuse: my computer was dying.

Well, it wasn't exactly dying, but X Windows—sorry, A Windowing System Called X, was dying. It happened last week when the mouse suddenly went spastic then died. Then shortly thereafter A Windowing System Called X died too. Most horrible. Even worse, I didn't have the CD I installed Linux from (nor a CD-ROM but that's beside the point). Even worse, it was the Metrolink X Server that died.

The system was a RedHat 5.0 system. I did not want to upgrade or install RedHat 6.0 or 6.1. I wanted 5.2. Mark found his copy of RedHat 5.2.

So, I decided it was probably time to do a fresh install. I slapped a 1G drive, backed up what needed to be backed up (and missed /root and /tmp in the process—oh well, probably didn't need those files anyway) and then proceeded to the installation.

I've found out that trying to install RedHat 5.2 across the network from a RedHat 6.1 box is a futile exercise. NFS or FTP the network performance was so poor that doing a disk install of Slackware would be faster.

Then it hit me—I was reinstalling my primary nameserver. This is also the nameserver that resolves reverse lookups. Even my roommate's computer would eventually contact my machine for reverse lookups on the IP addresses.


Quickly fix that, but still find that installing RedHat 5.2 from a RedHat 6.1 box is a futile exercise.

I tried three CD-ROM drives in the computer and not once was it recognized. Of course I was putting the CD-ROM in the second IDE controller on the motherboard but I think the second IDE controller doesn't work. Disconnect the 1G drive and put the CD-ROM in there, and it worked (of course at first I thought it didn't since the BIOS wouldn't recognize it. Mark was like “Duh! It's not IDE! It's ATAPI. The linux kernel will find it.”

The install went smoothly. I repartitioned the drives the way I like (4M /boot, twice the RAM for swap, and the rest for /) and installed RedHat 5.2. I was expecting the Metrolink X server to install, but it didn't.

Twice more and it still didn't. Guess Metrolink stopped shipping their server with RedHat. And XFree86 doesn't support my card (or at least it didn't when RedHat 5.2 came out and like I said, I'm not going RedHat 6.x nor spending hours downloading the current XFree86 and configuring it).

I finally got X working though, and restored from the backup IDE drive.

Oh, and there was that extended hacking session last night.

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