Friday, June 01, 2007

Sun Solaris 10, Xubuntu and Free Geek, and Kubuntu

I've been studying for the A+ test this week. I have learning software for it, and practice testing software. So far, I still need more practice. I'm hoping to take the test in the next week or two at the latest. Evidently, no tech job will be open unless I have the A+ certification.

The Compaq Proliant 3000 Server is down, for now. I'm going to store it away until I can actually take more time to figure out what to do with it. I have to admit, for the price, it's a nice machine. Loud, but fairly easy to work with. As servers go. Mine is a way old machine, but some of the Proliant PIII's aren't too expensive. On eBay, I've found a few for as little as $250. With 4 gig of ram, and Ubuntu server, or even CentOS, that would be an excellent server for a small business or organization.

I got the Sun Ultra 60 machine I have up and running. This machine has 2 450 MHz Sun SPARK CPU's, 2 gig memory, and 2 hard drive -not sure what size, 18 Gb each, I think. I think it would make a good server, but I'm not sure. I really need a lot more server practice. I downloaded and installed Solaris 10 on it. Used it for about an hour. Solaris 10 is basically Unix with Gnome on top. Big whoop. Like Apple and Mac OS X, Sun systems tend to work best with Sun software. Even though Solaris 10 is interesting, you still have to go through this process. That's fine, but why bother since they've made it Free and Open Source Software. It came with StarOffice - pretty much the same thing as (or is pretty much the same thing as StarOffice). All the software you could download for it seem to be mostly banking, finance and database software. While that's impressive, nothing I could really use.
Being that it was made for Sun Hardware, it worked pretty well. Pretty fast actually, considering how old this hardware is. But, after playing around on it for awhile, I couldn't resist.

That's right; I install Kubuntu. It wasn't that easy. There's no specific Kubuntu iso file for SPARK CPU's. I downloaded and installed the Ubuntu Server for Sun SPARK, then installed Kubuntu Desktop. I've never really used Kubuntu, or any KDE type distribution, as a major GUI on any of my own equipment, or any equipment I work with. I know Linus Torvalds is partial to KDE, and Mark Shuttleworth is a major contributor to the KDE project, and my Linux Administration class used Novell SuSE, which is KDE based. I figured maybe I could use that for my server installations. Something different, just for the feel. And functionality. Maybe having a different GUI on my servers will give me some playful incentive. I might put Solaris back on, but why bother?

I have two more Free Geek computers going out this next week, and the potential for two more after that. I've decided to stick with Xubuntu for most of the Free Geek installations. That's what Free Geek Chicago did. Most of the machines that come in are older Pentium 3's or Celerons, usually in the 400 MHz to 1 GHz range. Rarely anything over 1 GHz. Xubuntu is a good installation for those machines, and I'm able to get at least 256 Mb ram in them, so they run Xubuntu pretty fast. If I get anything over 800 MHz, and I have enough memory to get at least 512 Mb ram, we can put Ubuntu on. I want these systems to be very usable, and fast enough.

I'm also looking into free dial up service in Central Florida for Internet access. It's not a priority. More than likely, most of the people who get a FreekBox (free geek computer), will not have a landline. Most people don't bother now-a-days, with cellphones and all. Even the prepaid ones can be cheaper than a landline. But I'd like to have it available if necessary. For now, I'll keep working on solutions to borrow wireless signals.

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