Hideously out-of-date! A lot of this is from about February of 2002 :-/

OK: so as long as I'm screwing around with this, how 'bout another quick update?

At 11/12/2006: *everything's* changed...

Important stuff, from left to right

  • the HP Deskjet 960c, networked to all five boxes through an Axis 5550 network print server
  • top deck in my wheeled data center cart from Seville Classics, two Epson Stylus Photo R800 printers for photo reprints
  • second deck, assorted UPS's with AVR; at right is an ATEN CS-114A MasterView Plus KVM switch
  • bottom deck, the CPU's: left, an Abit KV7 mobo and AMD Athlon XP 2200 with a gig of RAM running a Fedora Core 3 variant; next, an Intel Rexburg D845GRGL mobo with a 2.4ghz Intel P4 and 512mb RAM running a Fedora Core 3 variant (soon to be converted to Ubuntu); second from right in the black case, an Intel D915PBL mobo with a 3.0ghz Intel P4, 1 gig of DDR2 PC3200 RAM running Window$ XP; right, an Intel D945GTP mobo with a 3.0ghz Intel P4, 1 gig of something :-/ and running Window$ XP
  • three sets of assorted speakers and subwoofers for the three boxes running sound
  • my aging ViewSonic G90f 19" monitor (I'm thinking a ViewSonic VP2330wb 23" widescreen LCD display would be really sweet...)
  • and of course, /dev/mug
  • 'way off camera to the right is my firewall/router/nameserver box, running Linux, of course, a DLink DSS-8+ 10/100 Fast Ethernet switch, and the cable modem...

At 07/03/2004:

  • Down where the first photo (below) is:
    • The two FIC VA503+ mobo/AMD K6-2 500's (left and right) are still there, running KRUD Linux;
    • But the Asus/Pentium 150 firewall (middle) has been replaced with the Abit BM6 mobo/Celeron 366 as a new firewall/router/caching-only nameserver, running KRUD Linux, iptables, and snort 2.x
    • And the Linksys ProConnect KVM switch is still there, but the SMC 10mbs hub has been replaced by a D-Link DSS-8+ 10/100mbs Fast Ethernet switch;
    • And (second photo down) the US Robotics 56k modem is gone, replaced by a D-Link DCM-201 cable modem and High Speed Internet(tm) from Comcast: typically at least 3000kbps down, 250kbps up! w00t!
    • All these go through the LinkSys KVM and into a ViewSonic G773 17" monitor
  • And 'way down at the other end of the living room (in the third photo down):
    • I've now got an Intel Rexburg D845GRGL mobo with a 2.4ghz Intel P4 and 512mb RAM, running KRUD Linux;
    • And an Abit KV7 mobo and AMD Athlon XP 2200 with a gig of RAM, running Win2K Pro that I gotta have for my digital photo processing :-/
    • Both of these feed into an OmniView E-series 4 port KVM switch, and then into a really sweet ViewSonic G90f 19" monitor
    • Seamless network printing for all hosts (which can also include my daughter's WinXP Dell laptop, or her boyfriend's Gentoo Linux Dell laptop) is done through an Axis 5550 network print server into an HP Deskjet 960C
    • And the Abit/Athlon/Window$ box also prints directly via USB to an Epson R800 photo printer, for my digital photography business
  • Finally, 'way back in my bedroom, the Gateway 2000 80386, Redhat 5.2 box is still there, but not up and running real often. If he was up, he'd be talking to a classic Gateway 2000 CrystalScan 1024NI 13" color monitor.

I'm running various versions of KRUD Linux, from tummy.com

Old incident logs reported by the FinchHaven datacenter firewall


A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I started to upgrade to the 2.4.2 Linux kernel

(But I kinda got interrupted...)


Things are always busy at FinchHaven:

...long about mid-fall 2000 I got bored with only two boxes.

(I mean, two computers: how limiting...)

So in March of 2001 I built another computer!

Really (Ancient) History:

Really Big Plans..



Putting Linux on!

The FinchHaven Data Center

Hideously out-of-date! This is from about February of 2002 :-/

[Pentium 150, AMD K6-2 500]

On the far left; the new FIC VA503+, AMD K6-2 500mHz, 256mb ram, 10gb WDD hdd, ATI Xpert 2000 video, no sound :-( and a Sony CDU5211 cd-ROM. RHL 7.1

On its right; the Asus P/I-P55TP4N mobo, running a Pentium 150mhz Classic, with 96mb ram, a 3.16gb WD hdd, ATI Xpert98 video, no sound, and a Toshiba 6402-B CD-ROM. RHL 6.2; No X; 6 consoles running CLI only...

To the right of the monitor: the older FIC VA503+ mobo, running an AMD K6-2 500mhz, 256mb ram, 7.6gb in WD hdd's, Diamond Stealth III S540 video, Sound Blaster Live! X-Gamer sound into a Cambridge SoundWorks 2-speaker subwoofer system, and a Toshiba 6702-B CD-ROM. RHL 6.2 for the moment...

[SMC hub, Linksys KVM]

Lurking in the shadows between the Asus box, on the left, and the monitor is a Linksys ProConnect KVM switch and an SMC hub.

The Asus/Pentium 150 is the firewall running ipchains, snort, and p0f; the older FIC/AMD K62-500 box on the right is where I maintain my web site and do primary web surfing via KDE and Opera; the newer FIC AMD K62-500 box on the left is where I do snort analysis/log storage,, email via fetchmail and sendmail into and out of Mutt; and news reading via Pan.

The AMD box on the left is currently (02/02/02) running RHL 7.1, the Pentium firewall is running a modified RHL 6.2, and the AMD box on the right is running RHL 6.2 but is going to get upgraded to RHL 7.1 Real Soon Now(tm)

[Celeron 366]

'way down at the other end of the house (the living room runs the entire length of the east side..) is the Abit BM6, running a PPGA Socket 370 Celeron at 366mHz, with 192mb ram, a 8.45gb Fujitsu hdd, a Diamond Viper V770 video, a SoundBlaster Live! Value into a Cambridge SoundWorks 4-speaker subwoofer system, and an Asus 40x CD-ROM and a TDK CDR-241040B CD-R drive.

Accessories: a Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro joystick; an HP Scanjet IICX scanner; a sucky old Canon BJC-4000 bubblejet printer.

In the background, the San Francisco Giants playing the Colorado Rockies, on the fourth of July, 2000.

[Gateway 2000 80386]

And back in my bedroom (I bought a 100' Cat-5 patch cable; only had to drill holes in two walls ;-) is the vintage 1990 Gateway 2000 80386 20mhz, fitted with: 8mb ram, 320mb Western Digital hdd, the original OEM ATI video card with 512k ram into an early 1990's vintage GW2K CrystalScan 1024NI monitor, and an oldish Toshiba CD-ROM.

This old guy is running Red Hat Linux 5.2!

What's up at the moment? "tcpdump -v -i eth0"

Just watching what's on the wire..

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("Currently" really being 02/02/02..)

What really happened after I got the first FIC/AMD box built was, that by mid-summer 2000 I'd become so interested in intrusion detection and analysis that too much user space stuff was creeping onto the firewall Pentium 150, and because the FIC box was pretty full with web site maintenance, I decided, "What the heck..." and built another user-space box.

What also happened is that TC Computers kept cutting the price on the FIC VA503+ mobo, and on the AMD K62-500, such that by March 2001 both the mobo *and* the cpu were down to $95.00 for the *pair* -- so I bit and threw in 128mb ram and a 10gb WD hdd *and* the ATI xpert 2000 video card -- and got the whole lot for $340.00.

Add an Enlight case and an SMC 1211TX 10/100 NIC, a CD-rom drive and a floppy drive, and the whole deal came to about $480.00

By fall of 2001 memory prices were down low enough that I pumped the two FIC's up to 256mb; the firewall Pentium 150 up to 96mb (damn 72-pin SIMM's are *not* cheap..) and the Celery 366 box up to 196mb...

OK: at July Fourth, 2000, for a while I'm finally back into user-space enough to actually get some real work done on my website, www.FinchHaven.com.

What does user-space mean? After the last year as a builder and sysadmin, it means I can just sit back and *use* my computers for a while, rather than working on them.

So, for fun I'll work on my website!

Which was *quite* a change, because www.FinchHaven.com kinda went to hell there...

...and there's a helluva lot of work yet to be done on the computers.

Spring 2000...

So, what have I got to show for the last year?

  • An FIC VA503+ motherboard and an AMD K6-2 running at 500mhz, with 128mb ram, about 7.6gb of Western Digital hdd space, a Diamond Steath III S540 video card with 32mb ram, a SoundBlaster Live! X-Gamer driving 2 Cambridge SoundWorks speakers and a subwoofer, and a Toshiba 6702-B CD-ROM drive. I bought FIC's riser card to add two USB ports, so far unused...

The FIC/AMD K6-2 box is a dual-boot between Windows 98 and RedHat Linux 6.2, kernel 2.2.14-5.0 (Zoot), and is in Linux about 99% of the time...

I'm running KDE pretty much exclusively...

  • An Abit BM-6 motherboard and a socket 370 Intel Celeron running at 366mhz (so far, not overclocked ;-), with 64mb ram, 8.45gb in a Fujitsu hdd, a Diamond Viper V770 video card with 32mb ram, a SoundBlaster Live! Value (which came in a plastic baggie, and appears to be *identical* to the SoundBlaster Live! X-Gamer which came in a box, but was about $30.00 cheaper...) driving a Cambridge SoundWorks four-point surround speaker system with subwoofer, and some kinda Acer 50x CD-ROM drive..

The Abit/Celery 366 box is single-boot into Windows 98. I use it for Quicken 2000, and Rosalie uses it for IE 5.0 and the chat rooms she hangs in, and games. The Abit/Celery 366 box uses a ViewSonic G773 17 inch monitor, and is housed in an Enlight 7237 mid-tower case.

  • The old Asus P55TP4N mobo with a Pentium 150mhz Classic, 48mb ram, 3.16gb in a Western Digital hdd, an ATI Xpert 98 video card with 8mb ram, no sound, and a Toshiba 6402-B CD-ROM.

The Asus/Pentium 150 box is running Linux only: RedHat Linux 6.2, kernel 2.2.14-5.0 (Zoot), and has Gnome available, but is running from the command line almost all the time. It's running an ipchains-based firewall, PortSentry and LogCheck from Psionic, a caching-only nameserver, Apache, MySQL, Samba, xntpd for external time synchronization, and timed for internal time synchronization.

The Asus/Pentium 150 box and the FIC/AMD K6-2 box share an Optiquest Q73 17 inch monitor, and both of them are housed in Enlight 6550 mini-tower cases.

To deal with the computers-to-monitors-ratio issue, the Asus/Pentium 150 box and the FIC/AMD K6-2 box are hooked up to a Linksys ProConnect SView02 KVM (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) switch, which is *really* cool! The necessary cables came from Belkin.

So I only need one keyboard, mouse and monitor for the two computers!

  • The *really* old Gateway 2000 80386, with 8mb ram, 340mb of Western Digital hdd space, the original 1990 ATI video card with a throbbing 512k of memory, and an oldish Toshiba CD-ROM really is running full-time now and is set up in my bedroom.

The Gateway 2K has got RedHat Linux 5.2 on, and runs a cool old Gateway 2000 CrystalScan 1024NI 13 inch monitor.

So what the heck do ya do with four computers?

Ya network 'em!

  • So, each box has an SMC EtherEZ 8416T NIC, and they all come in to a cute little SMC EtherEZ 3605T hub. The hub still has one open port, so I can hook up one other box [note to self: build more computers!], or daisy-chain another hub into it, if needed..

  • Connectivity out to the real world (read: the Internet) is through a US Robotics Courier 56k V-everything modem, which sits on top of the Asus/Pentium 150 box, hooked up to COM1.

So, what's the plan, here? Ya have a plan, dontcha?

OK: the plan is that the Asus/Pentium 150 box is a firewall/router, and the other three computers are networked into the Asus through the hub, and the Asus goes outward to the Internet through one dialup via the USR 56k Courier.

The internal boxes benefit from using ipchains and ip masquerading on the firewall, ip masquerading being a Linux-based form of NAT or Network Address Translation, so that internally every box has it's own IP address, but externally we seem to only have/need one dynamically-assigned IP from worldnet.att.net

And let me tell ya, it works, and it works *great*!

I can be surfing on the FIC/AMD K6-2 box, running Linux and Netscape 4.76, while Rosalie is down on the Celery 366 box running Win98 and IE 5.0, chatting, and neither of us really notices the other person in terms of performance or responsivness.

I really didn't know what to expect from the setup.

I mean, I knew the general *concept* would work, but I really expected to hear from Rosalie long-and-loud about how her chat rooms were too slow - and I haven't heard *one word* from her! No kidding!

The real kicker is that, somehow, subjectively, performance seems to be *better* than the old Celery 366/USR Courier 56k combination when we used it alone. I can listen to www.groovetech.com through RealPlayer for Unix, rev., under Linux on the AMD/K6-2 box, and surf at the same time, and RealAudio never misses a beat. It *never* did that good under Windows 98!

My guess: Linux has a 'way better implementation of the TCP stack, and Windows 98 is simply *not* optimized for dialup connectivity, to put it mildly...

And the real punchline is that, with my crappy phone lines, I'm *never* connecting at over 28.8 -- more often at 26.4!!

I'm running IPTraf on the Asus/Pentium 150 firewall, and it rarely shows that ppp0 is taking in over about 24kbits per second! And yet the performance is unmistakably better than the same modem under Windows 98!



(or, as I used to say..


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The Really Big Plan is underway at 03/18/00:

  • the old Pentium 150 cpu stays in the Asus mobo
    • with the 48mb ram it has right now..
    • and it keeps the ATI Xpert 98 video card..
    • and gets the old Sound Blaster 16 audio card 'cause sound is nice..
    • in the Enlight 6550 case..
    • and that box runs Linux only..
    • as the router/firewall/gateway
    • and the Gateway 2000/386 is a Linux-only host..

..and then

  • I don't win the lottery, but an impulse purchase (!) yields the new FIC VA-503+ rev 1.2A mobo with a VIA Apollo chipset ($75.99)
    • and an AMD K6-2 500mhz cpu ($59.99)
    • and 128mb ram in one DIMM ($114.99)
    • and a new Diamond Stealth 3 S540 Savage4 Pro+ 32mb AGP video card ($86.99)
    • and a new 48x Toshiba EIDE/ATAPI CD-ROM ($60.99)
    • into an Enlight 6552 mini-tower AT case ($58.99)
    • and I use a Linksys ProConnect 2-Port KVM switch ($119.99) between the Asus/Pentium 150 and the FIC/AMD K6-2 500 so I don't gotta get another monitor...

So the Big Question is whether the AMD K6-2/FIC box will be the Win98 box, and the ABIT BM6 box will be dual-boot Linux and minimal Win98, or vice versa...

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Further developments at 01/00..

  • The Win98 Celery 366 talks to the outside world through a new USRobotics Courier 56k V-Everything external modem -- the last analog modem I'll ever need to buy...
    • I don't know if I'll ever get anything over 26.4 here, because I'm .8 mile up a deadend road, and only-god-knows how far from what passes as a central office here on the Island, and I can *clearly* hear KOMO 1000 AM radio on any of my phone lines...
    • so the USR is for *quality* not *quantity* -- and I can say I have not had a single drop since I've been running it. It's just Rock-Steady...

  • The old Asus/Pentium 150 became (12/99):
    • a minimal Win95/full-tilt Linux dual-boot (kinda like it was, but heavy on the Linux and lite on the Windows..)
    • with 48mb RAM
    • the 3.1gb Western Digital hdd
    • the ATI Xpert 98 video card
    • the old Pro Audio Spectrum 16 sound card when I get around to it
    • a new Optiquest G73 17" monitor [Highly Recommended]
    • the 32x Toshiba CD-ROM
    • and the old black CompUSA keyboard and the old mouse...

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And, at late 12/99, it's now clear:

  • that the GW2K 80386 just won't understand about having more than two IDE devices (which is probably not too surprising)
  • so it's stuck with the 1.28gb WD hdd and a CD-ROM
  • and will be stuck with being a Linux-only host because I wanna run Samba on the router, and a nameserver, and that means more horsepower...
  • so I'm getting real serious about my Really Big Plans -- if I can just figure out how to pay for it...

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So, at early 12/99, did I mention the Abit BM6 Socket 370 box?

The next phase in my plan for world domination!

Set up a Win95-only box; set up a Linux-only box; and like that..

The Win95 box started (12/99) as:

  • an Abit BM6 Socket 370 ATX mobo
  • a Pentium Celeron 366
  • (currently..) 64mb of PC 100 SDRAM
  • a new 8.3gb Fujitsu hdd
  • a Diamond Viper V770 AGP video card
  • the 17" ViewSonic G773 monitor
  • the Sound Blaster Live! out of the current Asus box
  • a new 50x Acer CD-ROM (DVD later..)
  • a 3.5" floppy drive
  • a really *nice* Acer 6511 keyboard
  • the Microsoft joystick
  • and a new Microsoft Intellimouse (which I've got to say I *really* like...)

Abit Socket 370 mobo

So that was the Plan, but Windows had other ideas...

Abit Socket 370 mobo

Long Story Short: Damned Windows 95 has been so weird on the Celery 366: after a fresh Win95 re-install early 01/00 (done because the initial 12/08/99 Win95 install was starting to act weird!) I lost *all* of the really common keystroke commands: <ctrl>o for open, <ctrl>s for save, none of these would work in *any* program, and finally even the menu-dropdowns wouldn't work in any program until I rebooted! I was rebooting 4-6 times a day!

So I blew away *all* of it, went back to DOS 6.22 (I'm not kidding -- it's the only way to get rid of any previous infections of the Windows virus..) and finally (01/28/00) put Windows 98 on the Celery 366. It's been stable, so far (about 3 weeks!)...

And it's fast! Hoo baby! Sssmokin'

Why don't I just blow away Windows completely and go 100% Linux?
Good question -- it's close -- believe me!

Probably because of Quicken 2000 Basic: that's certainly the only reason I *need* Windows. And OK: my kid likes IE 5.0 for her chat rooms..

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OK: at 11/99, the Then-Really-Big-Plans came together: build an Ethernet-based LAN...

I bought 4 SMC EtherEZ 10base-t ISA NIC's (SMC8416T), and an SMC EtherEZ 10base-t 5 port hub (SMC3605T-EZ) in October, 1999, have been playing around with them since!

The SMC8416T NIC's were chosen because they're on the Linux hardware compatibity list as supported at Level 2 (ie: they're supported, but you may have to dink around with 'em..) and because of price: $39.99 each at warehouse.com; the hub was $39.99 also..

..maybe not as cheap as possible, but I like to go with compatibility lists and name brands and I've never gone wrong..

Now, don't get me wrong: I kinda know a lot about computers, and some people consider me an expert (heh-heh: it's all done with mirrors), but networking is something I haven't done, which is why I wanted to do it!

Hey! This is a hobby!

So, if you want to do Ethernet at home, and you aren't a trained professional, be prepared to do some studying.

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Books I've added (sure: Linux is free, but be prepared to spend a fortune on books!) in support of this project:

To develop a real foundation:

I cannot recommend any two books, more than these..

And then read, as needed:

And of course you already have Running Linux..

Or, you could just post to comp.os.linux.networking everytime you get stuck, but my approach is generally: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him once; teach a man to fish and you feed him forever" -- I'd rather learn how to do something than have somebody just bail me out...

So, what is this all about?

  • The immediate plan is that the 80386 gets set up as a router, and gets hooked up to the new USRobotics Courier 56k V-Everything modem (the last analog modem I'll need to buy..) and it acts a firewall/router for:

  • the Celery 366 box as Win98 only

  • and the Asus/Pentium 150 box as Linux only

  • so, we'll have the two hosts and the router...

  • ...and when it's clear that the 80386 isn't *really* up to snuff as a router, I'll resurrect the old Pentium 150, which should do really fine.

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OK: at 06/99...


...I moved our main system into a new Enlight 6550 mini-tower Baby AT case and upgraded the video and the sound.

The brains are an ASUS P/I-P55TP4N motherboard, that designation identifying it as a dual PCI/ISA bus Pentium motherboard with Intel Triton 430FX chipset, the 4-slot PCI bus as the primary bus, and with the ever-popular NewMediaBus rev. 2.0

  • The cpu is a 150mhz Pentium Classic (the mobo will take up to a 200mhz non-MMX -- but I don't know that we'll ever change what we've got now..)
  • 48mb ram in 16's and 32's
  • 2 Western Digital IDE hdd's: one 3.1gb AC33100-32H and one 1.28gb AC31200
  • an ATI Xpert 98 with the Rage 3D/Mach 64 chipset and 8mb ram that runs XFree86 beautifully in 1024x768x24 colors under RHL 5.2!
  • a new Toshiba 32x 6402 ATAPI CD-ROM
  • USR Sportster 28.8 Internal modem
  • a shiny-new Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Value oem sound card
  • and Cambridge Soundworks PCWorks FourPointSurround (why are all the words run together..?) four-speaker-subwoofer system that rocks the house when playing, for example, EminEm's "My name is.."
  • the 1990 NEC MultiSync 3D 13" Monitor died big-time 11/97, so now we have a ViewSonic G773 17" monitor (Highly Recommended!)
    (..and yes, those are real birds that ViewSonic uses for its logo: Gouldian Finches!)
  • an HP ScanJet IIcx scanner
  • a Canon BJC-4000 color bubble-blower
  • and a Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro joystick!

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[386 GW2K!]

So, let's get real! I mean, an Apple ][+? Really...

OK: so our original PC-era box was a 1990 Gateway 2000: that was an 80386DX 20mhz, 4mb ram, and a 65mb RLL hdd (!) that cost $2,820.00 (!!) delivered off the back of a UPS truck, with an NEC MultiSync 3D 13" monitor, DOS 3.3, and nothing else! Was Gateway 2k a leader in value for price, or what?

Anyway, the 80386 got pumped-up to 8mb dram in about 1992, and I put in a 340mb Western Digital hdd, and then the whole thing was completely dismantled in about 1995 when I put an Asus P/I-P55TP4N motherboard and a Pentium 90 into the GW2K case.

So, in June, 1999...

...the Asus mobo (upgraded to a stormin' Pentium 150 classic!) combo was moved to a new Enlight 6550 case, and the 80386 was reincarnated in the original Gateway 2000 desktop AT case, with:

  • the original keyboard
  • one new 3.5" floppy drive
  • the original Gateway 2000 oem ATI video card with a smashing 512k of video memory
  • a new ISA IDE hdd/fdd/parallel/serial/game port combo card that drives:
    • the old 340mb Western Digital hdd
    • a Toshiba 4x 5302B ATAPI CD-ROM
    • and gives me COM1 with a 16550A UART, and LPT1
  • video goes out of the 1990 GW2k oem video card into a cool 1992 Gateway 2000 Crystal Scan 1024 NI 13" monitor that I just bought at PC Renaissance for $70!

The Crystal Scan 1024 was Gateway's top-of-the-line monitor in the early '90s -- and makes the whole package look "vintage restored" -- except for the minor detail that the original 5.25" floppy drive has been replaced by a CD-ROM drive, and except that the color of the new faceplates doesn't match the beige that Gateway 2000 used back in 1990...

I moved the CD-ROM and the hdd (hidden below the CD-ROM, in the photo below left) over to the bays on the right and closed the box up with the original faceplate. It's a Classic! Probably win a Concours d'Elegance some day!

And this old 80386 8mb ram box is running RedHat linux 5.2!

Just idling along at a throbbing 2.54 bogomips, top shows 40 processes and cpu usage 15% to user, 19.5% to system and 65.5% idle...

[386 GW2K!] [A new kernel!]

Here's the old guy (the 386, not me..) compiling a new kernel in October, 1999 when I added the SMC EtherEz NIC and the SMC hub (the hub didn't have anything to do with compiling the kernel - just the NIC).

Compiling a new kernel seems to take about 7 hours (!) -- at least the make zimage part..

Basically I'd fire it off and go to work, and when I'd come home, Presto! New Kernel!

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Really (Ancient) History:

Where it all started!

My Apple ][+ was purchased at Computerland in May of 1981 for $2102.73: $1440.00 for the cpu with 48k RAM (!); one Disk ][ for $555.00; and an RF modulator thrown in so I could hook it up to a b/w TV I had!

At the time, there was considerable discussion as to exactly why I need that much memory! (The frugal went with the stock 16k of RAM..)

My answer, which satisfied my critics, was that I intended to run VisiCalc.

"Oh.." they said, nodding, "then you probably do need 48k..."

How times change...


Later came a 13" NEC Green-screen monitor ($198.45); a Videx 80 column video card ($279.90); an Epson MX-80 printer, interface and cable ($811.73); and at some time I added a ram-disk board that cost a fortune, and a second floppy drive...

And of course the "Language Card" to pump it up to 64k, and the shift key mod (Remember the shift key mod? How about Little Brick Out?)

So I had over $3392.00 into that puppy!

And what did I do with it? Hack Applesoft Basic, and Manx Aztec C, and 6502 assember..

And play Valdez! Ever hear about Valdez, by Dynacomp? Probably not..

Valdez was:

"..a simulation of supertanker navigation in the Prince William Sound
area of Alaska. It contains a detailed analysis of ship response
characteristics...a model of tidal patterns...a variable-range
radar display...which shows the land masses and other traffic
(ships and icebergs)."

I'm not kidding! That was one totally cool game! All rendered in asterisks and dots and hyphens, and tremendously realistic!

I did a hack that rendered the display in Applesoft color graphics on the Videx, but it's certainly an extinct game now! Somebody ought to re-do a version!

But I digress...

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Operating systems:

OK: see above. The new (12/99) install of Win95 on the new Celery 366 box got *really* weird *really* fast (even for Windows!) so now 01/28/00 the Celery 366 is running Win(* oops.. Win98 only, and it seems fairly stable..

The Celery 366 has IE 5.0 on it, and it seems to be stable, but I don't really know 'cause I use Navigator 4.5 and only my kid uses IE 5.0..

Quicken 2.0 blew-up big time in 12/99 (and couldn't read my backups! HA-HA! 5 years of financial records gone -- I mean I still got all the paper, but..) so now I've got Quicken 2000 Basic on, and I *really* like it! And it settles the Y2K deal...

The dual-boot Pentium 150 has Red Hat 5.2 and Win95 4.00.950a in a really minimal installation; the GW2K 80386 continues to run Red Hat 5.2...

And so it goes..

At 11/99 I've got DOS 6.22 and Win95 4.00.950a on, and Red Hat Linux 5.2 (Apollo), and currently I'm spending about 80% of my time in Linux, and 20% in Win95 when I need to do something very specific, like run Quicken 2.0 - although with Wine running under Linux Quicken 2.0 runs fine...

...but Quicken 2.0 has got to go away, because parts of it do understand 2000, but other parts *don't* if ya get what I mean...

It's that Y2K deal..

My kid still likes Win95 because IE 4.0 works best for the chat rooms she likes to hang in, and it still has a lot of good games.

And the new Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! and the Cambridge/PCWorks 4-speaker-subwoofer is an awesome combination!

Don't get me wrong: Win95 is very pretty and all, and actually is a good user interface, but I'm damned sick of how buggy and flaky it is!

I (05/98) put on yet another completely fresh install of DOS 6.22 and Win95, and within one day of putting Win95 back on I was getting Registry errors, and The Blue Screen of Death and "Windows [or whatever program] has stopped responding..." or "Illegal Operation in..." NUTS!

For those people who never tinker with their machine, or who never install anything old or odd, or who let Windows make all their decisions for them, it may work OK...

...but I like to mess around, and it's just too fragile, and just too odd!

At 06/99 for example, something I'd recently installed (the SoundBlaster software? RealAudio G2? Yahoo Pager?) had made [alt-left arrow] (back one page) stop working in IE 4.0, and in Netscape 3.01!! What is that all about? Well, it's Windows bullsh*t, is what!

And I'm sick of the incessant update treadmill!

Windows 98? No thanks! Not interested!

OK: at 01/00 I will kinda take that back, 'cause I *have* put Win98 on the Celery 366, but I'll take it back only because I didn't have to spend a penny on Win98: when I bailed on my subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network (Yes! Yes! I know...) the last CD release they had sent me had the *first* production release of Win98, so I've had it all along.

I'd be damned if I'd spend $90.00 for Win98, though!

But wait! Hold the phone!

NEWS FLASH, campers: Windows 2000 upgrade SRP: $219.00...

What did P.T Barnum say?

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Putting Linux on!

NEW!(06/99) - How Linux Rev. 2.0 went down:

OK: so I put RedHat 5.0 on in May '98; it had become clear (10/98) that it was time to redo a bunch of things:

  • I had created too many partitions; and there were too many partitions over on the DOS/Win95 side.

    /etc/fstab was giving:

      /dev/hda7       /
      /dev/hda9       /home
      /dev/hdc        /mnt/cdrom
      /dev/fd0        /mnt/floppy
      /dev/hda8       /usr
      /dev/hda1       /mnt/dosc
      /dev/hda5       /mnt/dosd
      /dev/hda6       /mnt/dose
      /dev/hdb5       /mnt/dosf
      /dev/hdb6       /mnt/dosg
      none            /proc
    This kinda stuff is not really important, really, but it became one thing to fix when it also became apparent that I just hadn't given enough disk space to Linux...

  • There was some inexplicable wierdess with the rpm's: I'd do an rpm -Va or a rpm -Vp what.ever.foo.2.1.0.rpm and supposedly everything was cool but if I attempted to upgrade or remove I'd sometimes get an error and sometimes not, and still the app itself wouldn't run or some part was missing; or I'd rebuild the rpm database and everything shoulda been cool but it wasn't when I tried to do something else, etc etc, so that was another reason to start over...

  • ..and to add insult to injury somehow I'd managed to ding gcc so I couldn't compile stuff consistently -- sometimes it would, and sometimes with something else it wouldn't -- sometimes little bits and pieces were missing and sometimes not...

So I had been thinking about starting over... (Hey! Nobody said this was gonna be easy! And in fact, that's part of The Whole Point!)

And besides, RHL 5.2 was out and was getting good reviews and had the Gimp and Apache and what the heck!

So I bought it for myself for Christmas, and in January '99 I deleted a bunch of junk in Win95 and moved some stuff and repartitioned and did a full fresh install of 5.2 (Apollo) and that's what we've got now!

And everything is groovy, baby!

The Gimp is great, and I've got Netscape Communicator, and with the new ATI Xpert 98 video card and the hacks I made to XF86Config, Xfree86 is Glorious! simply Glorious! in 1024x768x24colors!

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(05/98) - How Linux Rev. 1.0 went down:

Went into CompUSA and paid retail for "The Complete" RedHat Linux 5.0 package - two cd's and the RHL User's Guide. Wanted to get one full distro in one lump and have a specific baseline to start with...

Took about one-and-a-half days to really get it put on and get up and running.

  • Cleaned out one partition (the old DOS d:) and deleted it under Partition Magic 2.0 running under DOS 6.22. This was my only real mistake.
  • So I proceeded to install Linux, which seemed to go well. I used Disk Druid to partition the area of the first physical drive (the old d:) I had deleted, rather than fdisk.
  • The install asked me to confirm that I wanted to format the new partitions, and had me select the various packages I wanted installed, and off it went...
  • and proceeded to fail when attempting to "...write beyond end of device..."
  • So I did it all over again, thinking I had certainly goofed-up somewhere, and got the same message, albeit with different details..
  • and did it again and got the same error.

So I sat back and did some serious thinking, and began to wonder about having deleted that partition out under DOS 6.22, using Partition Magic.

And I decided to undo that and start over. HA!

To make a long story short, although the system would re-boot under DOS 6.22, and WFW 3.11 and Win95 would all run, Partition Magic now thought I had no identifiable operating system of any kind (!) on the first physical drive. And fdisk under DOS wouldn't work, and finally I found that even format c: wouldn't work!

I decided that the only way I could get ahold of the first physical drive was to get out the installation disk from Western Digital, and go back to zero!

So I spent an hour moving everything I really wanted off the first drive and onto the second physical drive (I've got almost 4.3gb..)

And... poof! All Gone!

  • I scraped the first drive clean, and put on DOS 6.22, and WFW 3.11, and got 'ol Trumpet Winsock working so I could dial-out and get on to the Internet if I needed more help..
  • And fired-up Partition Magic and re-arranged the partitions to my liking, keeping cluster size down to 16k..
  • And proceeded to re-install (install?) Linux right back from zero.

And it went great!

The only thing I really had to tinker with was the auto-detect auto-detected my mouse on com 1 (which has the modem) not on com 2 where it really is, causing XFree86 to hang big-time when I first tried to run it..

So I had to  rm /dev/mouse  and  ln -s /dev/cua1 /dev/mouse  (God! Look at that:  ln -s /dev/cua1 /dev/mouse!  Don't you just love Unix!) to get the mouse to work right..

  • I set up lilo (LInux LOader) so that I could choose between either Linux or Windows 95 at reboot, and so that it would default to Win95 to make things easier for my kid..
  • And set up an account for her so she could play xgammon and other xgames under XFree86
  • And set up ppp-on and ppp-off so I can dial into halcyon.com and run telnet and ftp and Lynx, and Netscape 3.02 under XFree86..

And it's just too cool!

It is definitely an acquired taste, though. I saw one posting from a guy at news://comp.os.linux.install (I think) who had gotten to where he had a command prompt, and was wondering what to do next..

If you have only run a PC under the Windows/GUI era you may not get what the attraction is. Even XFree86 is pretty terse right out of the box, and outside of XWindows, the command prompt will seem utterly barren for most people.

But, if you've ever stayed up 'way too late at night, tweaking a program you'd written (or bought - there was a time when you actually got the program - back when software came in ziplock baggies..) to get it just right - Linux may be for you.

People have asked me what the big attraction, or what the big deal is with Linux. I've kinda gotten to the point where I describe Linux as being like buying a kit car:

  • You are going to have to learn something about computers and operating systems and Linux itself in order to use it.
  • You are going to have to do some reading.
  • You must get your hands on Linux and mold it to your wants and needs.
  • You may not get all the parts you really wanted, so you're going to have to go out and find 'em yourself, and learn how to modify 'em and install 'em and get them working just the way you want!

Linux will take you back to, or introduce you to, computing for computing's sake!

What's the point of it?

The computer is the point!

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Hideously out-of-date! This is from about February of 2002 :-/

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