May 7th, 2003


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jimbojones
12:25 am - "vacation?"
  
I visited my Mom in Mississippi this weekend. While I was there I fixed a computer, set up a FreeBSD server, fixed the steering on a 12.5 hp riding mower, and rewired a 1972 Ford 4000 diesel tractor. I am Renaissance Redneck!

... fuck, I'm kinda glad to be back to "work" again. =)

But seriously, that's definitely a different culture down there than I'm used to. Mom is faculty at MSU, and she's wound up as sort of an unofficial IT department within her department, not so much because she's an IT goddess, but because, well, she has a clue and the "real" IT department TOTALLY doesn't. So every now and then when she runs up against something particularly challenging, she asks me for some help on it, and apparently she likes to brag about me to the other people in her department, because when I showed up and she introduced me around they all had pretty clearly heard a lot about me. And they all pretty clearly had a good bit more respect for her as far as IT goes than the actual IT department, and were inclined to say things along the lines of wishing when the position of head of that department had come open recently it could have been offered to somebody without a college degree (i.e. "me"), etc etc etc... but here's the funny thing: It was when she would tell them that I was going to fix her tractor the next day that their eyes would, I shit you not, light up with something akin to avarice.

Anyway, I brought everybody back a gen-yoo-wine Miss'sippy souvenir, as pictured on the right: Fat Mama's Knock-You-Naked Margarita mix. Mmmm, mmm good. Anybody wanna drink?

 
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Slick Rick - The Ruler's Back

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:



 
[User Picture] From: anyaatl
Date: May 6th, 2003 - 10:41 pm
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Heck yeah!

Pour me a glass, sugar! I remember reading about this wonderful concoction in the Sweet Potato Queen's books!!! Your Mama know any of them, by any chance*lol*

Gald to see you have posted again..was starting to wonder when you would update. I like your style, which is why I, a total stranger, added you to my friend's list. You crack me up, and certainly have a unique way of examining life:-)

Bottoms Up!
Robin


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 6th, 2003 - 10:58 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

Welcome to the madhouse. Sporadic updates are something you should probably get used to, though. =)


 
[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 06:07 am
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Re: Heck yeah!

So . . . ahh . . . teach me about BSD. I'm looking to expand my skills.

I'll take a margarita, too, as long as you can make it without any Tequila in it.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 01:35 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

Well, it's a *nix. It's open source. It has a committee overseeing the development and growth of the entire operating system (as opposed to Linux, which has one single guy overseeing kernel development and nothing else). It's INSANELY stable and very efficient. It has the niftiest damned mechanism for easily and simply installing and upgrading applications I have EVER seen ANYWHERE (the ports tree). For those times when you absolutely HAVE to run pre-compiled Linux binaries, it has an available Application Binary Interface that runs them so well that even some DEVICE DRIVERS compiled for Linux work fine under it, and in some cases it actually runs linux binaries slightly faster than Linux does.

Also, it just lost a million dollars of DARPA funding because one of the core committers casually made a statement about the war on Iraq not being A Good Thing. So it has the long-haired hippy seal of approval! (Hopefully losing the funding won't be too damaging in the long run.)

Seriously, I freaking love it.


 
[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 02:45 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

Wow, about half of that was stuff I didn't know. We're in business.

Where's a good place to get it for free?
Is installation pretty much a no-brainer (as opposed to some of that Linux "configuring the hell out of it" stuff)?
Does it have anywhere near the driver support Linux does?


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 03:08 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

http://www.freebsd.org - or, probably more to the point, ftp://ftp5.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/ISO-IMAGES/5.0 for an ISO snapshot of the FreeBSD 5.0-RELEASE from MIT's mirror. Which is usually the one I have the best luck with for anon FTP, although your mileage may vary, especially since you're on the other side of the continent - ftp1 through ftp12 at least exist, possibly more.

Installation is very simple, and this will make it even simpler: http://freebsd.tehinterweb.net (written by yours truly, and eventually I'll write more in the damn series. f'real.)

Driver support is NOT as all-encompassing as in the Linux world for play-toys - anything useful on a server will work dandy, though. I haven't had any problems a'tall with video cards, network cards, or even sound cards - nvidia even has FreeBSD-native versions of the drivers for the TNT / GeForce lines, which is very nice indeed.

My experience with FreeBSD is FAR more oriented towards server-side than workstation-side, although I have spent a week or two at a time functioning on FreeBSD alone every now and again.


 
[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 08:56 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

T'anks for the info. If it suffers from less driver-support than Linux, it may not serve my purposes at the moment (even though I'm stalled halfway through building a router out of lack of motivation) simply because of the difficulties I've had with getting driver support even in Linux for the video on my secondary system and have no interest in installing Linux on my primary workstation. I'll probably set out with the intent of building something specifically for BSD now, though. Well, not now, but as soon as it's practical. It's always nice to have a subject-specific guru around for learning new things.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 09:10 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

Well, hang on now - when we talk about "video driver support" what exactly are we looking for? If you're talking plane-jane text, it'll work. Pretty much flat-out, no ifs ands or buts - if the VGA adapter exists that won't work fine for a text-mode-only BSD server, I haven't seen it.

If we're talking about simple unaccelerated VGA or SVGA support for XFree86, well, BSD has just as many drivers as Linux does - all those drivers are part of the XFree86 package, and get compiled for the OS of your choice when you build X.

If we're talking about ACCELERATED drivers - ie for use with 3d games and the like - then yeah, you might have better luck under linux.

So what exactly have you got, and what are you planning to do with it when you set it up?

A note: my personal opinion is that a server should NOT have X on it in the first place. X is for workstations.

-J


 
[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 09:24 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

good point about video vs. text
I guess I just wasn't really thinking about what I'd use BSD for when I typed that. I was just stuck in annoyance-with-video-driver-unavailability mode.

My major problem with the video is that it is 4x AGP integrated with the motherboard in question that isn't identified as far as card-compatibility, so I have no way of KNOWING whether there are any specific drivers that will work with it. If I try installing generic SVGA drivers, it craps out and defaults to four-color with 640x480 resolution, which is pathetic even on a 15-inch monitor (what I currently have connected to the secondary system). I'd definitel prefer to be able to at least get 256-color 800x600 out of the thing. Again, though, when I posted that gripe above I wasn't thinking about the fact that the computer in question would only be used as a workstation rather than a server, and obviously for graphical workstation purposes Linux is the toy for the job. So, yeah, I guess I'll be investigating BSD for server purposes now.

Do you have any specific advice/information/et cetera for using BSD for a small-network router?


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 09:55 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

Well, actually, I *do* like FreeBSD for a workstation, but if you have video difficulties, you have video difficulties.

I'm REALLY surprised you can't get 256-color SVGA out of the default drivers in X, though. I've never had any problem with that, even with motherboard built-ins. And, um, if the chipset manufacturer doesn't make a Linux driver for it, it's going to be equally worthless either way. :)

As for making a small router: sure, BSD will do the trick just fine. There's even spots during the OS setup when you can tell it "I want this computer to be a gateway". You'll want to install iptables from ports once the OS is set up, of course. (BSD doesn't throw the entire kitchen sink at you by default the way Linux does - when you do the OS install, you get *the OS*. Stuff like firewalls gets installed afterwards, the way god intended it.)

If you're looking to make things easy without worrying about expense, grab yourself a server motherboard with dual built-in NICs. If you're looking to throw it together out of parts, grab whatever the hell's handy, but I would recommend trying to find some fairly recent NICs - you really want two NICs that can do 100Mbps full duplex, if you can find them - if you get an old crusty fucker that only hits 100Mbps at half duplex, it won't make a difference as far as throughput from the 'net, but it WILL make a big difference as far as any internal stuff you channel through it at LAN speeds.

You won't need a hell of a lot of RAM if all this thing is doing is running routed and iptables. Or a hell of a lot of anything else, really. Is that going to be its sole purpose, or is it going to be a combination bastion firewall / BIND server / etc?


 
[User Picture] From: apotheon
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 10:17 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

I'll probably also, eventually, want to use it as a firewall, etc. I'll probably do it one step at a time, though.


 
[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 03:14 pm
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Re: Heck yeah!

A further note - installing FreeBSD 5.0 is even simpler than 4.x, which I based that article on, was. You aren't prompted to configure the kernel at all; it just probes for devices and hits the ground running.

Note to self: update article One Of These Days Real Soon Now.


 
From: aduncous
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 08:23 am
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If the mix will "knock [one] naked," I'd love to experince Fat Mama getting her mix on with Mr. Cuervo! Their wedding song? Joe Tex's "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (with no big fat woman)."

GrrrrrrrOOWWWWWWWWWWWrrrrrrr!


 
[User Picture] From: ravenword
Date: May 7th, 2003 - 09:09 am
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Your Renaissance ass owes me a Scrabble rematch. I'll best you yet, Jimbo Jones!


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