May 7th, 2003
|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
- 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.
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?