FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Tips and Techniques on day to day stuff

Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby KazzaMozz » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:42 am

Hi Boys
Yeah I'm not dead yet either.................what can I say about proprietary software on here is not fit for public consumption. Windows and the XP issues as I had the same but got someone nice on the phone who authorised the whole new hardware and all was okay. Gotta be unlucky sometimes.
I'm glad they have not beaten you yet Brenton.
Still got woes here but popping in to see what's happening
Cheers
Kazza
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:26 pm

Making headway ...

After a day and a half of rebuilding my old WinXP machine, Micro$oft has now "authenticated" my install over the Internet.
So I guess that makes it 100% legit again, and I am no longer a criminal.

A few things I have learned this weekend.

The Intel Z77 chipset has some real issues, especially in regard to the USB3 front-panel connectors.
I think the SATA stuff may has some issues too, but I can't put my finger on exactly what they are.

WesternDigital "Green Drives" suck toxic waste.

Do NOT partition or format a WD or any "advanced format" HDDs with WinXP
If you do, it will mess up the sector alignment and the drive will run like a snail.

Win7 can not handle a HDD that has any sort of Linux partition or format on it.

Win7 can properly partition and format WD or any other "advanced format" HDD.
With the proviso that you delete any Linux or other foreign partitions first.
WinXP will let you do this.

The "trick" here is to drop the drive into a WinXP machine, delete all of the partitions, then create a new primary partition and do a quick NTFS format on the drive. Then remove it from the WinXP machine and put it in the Win7 machine. Then delete the partition created in WinXP, and create a new partition and reformat it in Win7

Samsung 2TB HD204-U HDD's are the fastest drives on the planet.
It's a crying shame that Samsung sold their Hard-Drive business to Seagate, who promptly killed all Samsung Hard-Drives.

Intel really need to do a new release of their ICHR chipset drivers for Windows.
The current stuff (circa 2010) works but is a little dodgy.

Forget all of the benchmark test suites for HDD's and Network throughput - They're all garbage.
If you really want to test the performance of your Hard Drives, and all of the stuff associated with them, start copying > 1TB of data and watch it slow to a crawl.

I should be 100% sorted in the next day or two. Also taking a bit of time to sort-out and clean-up all the stuff I need to drop onto drives that will be sitting on the shelf for another week or two until the real FoxyRoxyLinux NAS is ready for prime-time.... Roll-On Christmas holidays...

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:40 am

Still drawing Breath. ... quick update of the "fun" this week.

Got my old machine 100% sorted (I think). It looks like the issue was actually caused by myself when going nuts and doing a final update of everything after I had it running properly. As I was batting 100 out of 100, I went for broke and also tried to update my Nvidia drivers but I forgot to remove the old ones first, well from here things went from bad to worse as Windoze would only start in 640x480 4-bit mode where you can't even see the "Okay" button. Without another WinXP machine to do a parallel run against (which is what I used to do when I was caught in the past), getting it sorted was a bit of a mess. THen it seemed that no matter what I did, it wouldn't change modes. ... Aarrrggghhh ... After a couple of night, I managed to get it sorted.

It has been running really well for the last 3 days and getting quite a hammering. I think that one is solid.

While this was going on, I started moving stuff around on all of my "parked" hard-drives, and trying to clean/sort them. During this process, I learnt a few things about Win7 (or the Intel Z77 Chipset, or the ASUS Sabretooth Z77 Mainboard, or the combination of all of them), in that they don't really support hot-swap of the SATA hard-drives. The problem is that after one or two "hot-swaps" it just stops hot-swapping and won't mount a new drive. Basically, it's broken somewhere.

I think I've got that sorted enough, but I still don't know where everything is, so for me the FoxyRoxyLinux SuperNAS is becoming even more critical.

The USB3 front-panel issue is definitely a glitch in the ASUS mainboard.

I also scored a couple of neat "junk" machines this week. They are Gigabyte G33M-DS2R mainboards with 4Gb of RAM and an Intel quad-core something that runs a 3Ghz. They have 6 SATA ports on them and a 1Gb Ethernet port and Audio all of which is supported by FoxyRoxyLinux, oh ... They also have an NVIDA video card. It's like a dream ... ALMOST ...

I spent to day cleaning up the cases and putting a heap of drives into one machine then tried to start it and it would not boot from the USB stick. No matter what I did, it just would not boot. After quite a bit of playing, I've worked out that the BIOS in Gigabyte G33 with ICH9R chipsets just won't boot from anything other than a very small set of USB sticks, unless you format the USB stick as a FAT (not FAT32) device and manually tell syslinux to start in "stuipd mode" (their words, not mine). While this works, it takes 10 minutes to boot. The only other option is to use a 32Gb Corsair Voyager GT3 USB stick, which costs nearly $100- so that is a non-starter.

Anyway, I hate to say it, but I'm starting to think that GigaByte may have some issues in their BIOS with USB Booting, or at least they do with the G33/ICH9R chipset, so this is now officially an un-supported combination.

I have tested it on my new/old machine with the Intel P45 and ICH10R chipset and it works, so on Monday or Tuesday, I will contact my new "best'est-mate" and see if he has any more of the "scrap" he sold me to get my old/new machine running again. If he does, I will grab two (if he's got them), as they will be ideal for this and a very low cost way for me to get two high-powered machines for FoxyRoxyLinux. If this comes to fruition, one will immediately be placed in a "live" scenario with all of my various "parked" disk drives in it, so that I can really try to get them all sorted out. The other will become my main development machine which will be quite quicker (I hope) than the smaller Atom D525 it will finally live on.

With 3 weeks of holidays (read:FoxyRoxyLinux time) starting next Friday, if I can get this sorted by the weekend, that will be great. If I can't, I'll just leave the drives on the shelf, and go back to how I was doing stuff before everything in my office broke.

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:23 am

G'day,

While quaffing down lunch today, I had a thought.... The problem with the G33 mainbboards, isn't with the boards themselves, but with the BIOS. So, what if I could hack the BIOS and cut in a later version of whatever is not working. With only a few moments to spare while at the office, a quick bit of research showed that this has been done (but not with these mainboards), so it might be possible. When I got home I quickly dived in and had another look into the topic. As the issue looks to me as though it is with the chipset and initialisation of the USB ports or the hard-disk sub-system, I started to poke in this area a little.

I managed to pull the ICH10R sata stuff out of the P45 chipset BIOS I have in my old/new windoze machine (from what I could see this stuff is somewhat interchangable), and Iwas able to "patch" it into the latest release of the P33 chipset BIOS from Gigabyte. While it passed all of the Gigabyte tests and did program properly, it still didn't look right and it didn't boot ... bummer. I double checked the BIOS I had made and the patches (removal and insertions) and all looked good, but the system still wouldn't boot from the USB stick. double-bummer ...


Then I had a brilliant idea ... I think ... These boards should be able to boot from a TFTP PXE server !!!

Hmmmm ... I wonder ... Okay this requires more research, but perhaps the answer lies in having FoxyRoxyLinux booting from another machine on the Network with NO USB sticks !!!
If I can get this baby to work, not only will it save me a few hundred dollars in new mainboards and everything else, but it may be the ultimate solution ....

This is an avenue I am going to explore .... Stay tuned ...

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:01 am

Okay, I thought about this for a little while today. Sure, it would be neat to have a network bootable version of FRL, but that would mean that every time the system needed to read or access the system drive it would need to pull the data from the network, or alternatively save the image in RAM. Neither are really ideal. Besides, it would just be another distraction. Therefore, I'm going to put that on the back-burner for a little while until I have RC1 ready.

So, while I need to get a "live" system running, I'm going to take the line of least resistance.

I've got access to 2 x brand-new Gigabyte boards with dual-Gb Ethernet, I'm going to snatch up the boards while I can, and try to get some cases so I can put them both into service.

One will serve as a live running machine to start holding my drives in their current configuration, while the other will become my main FRL development machine. I should be able to get all of this bought, built and running before Friday when I start my 3 week holiday. I may need the weekend to get it all properly sorted, but if it all goes to plan, after that, I will have 3 weeks of serious work on FRL which should get everything done. At which point, I will then migrate everything onto the GA-525TUD boards I bought for the project originally and then start using the 3Ghz E8400 machines for some other FRL stuff I've got planned.

Well, that it is the current line of thinking, and as I have arranged to buy the new mobo's, it is pretty much locked in ....
The main-boards (the last 2 brand-new P45/ICH10R known to exist) are mine, and I will pick them up tomorrow.
Finding decent cases nearby is looking like a minor problem, but by this time tomorrow, I hope to have that sorted also.

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby KazzaMozz » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:42 am

Hi Brenton
Glad to see you are still in action. I'm still only on a 3G and going to and fro houses. Moving is a pill.

Keep up the great work.

Cheers
Kazza
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:08 am

Hi Kazza,

Other than the issues I've had with hardware failures over the last few weeks, I've had a bit of an issue pop up at work late this week.

Got a few things to sort out, but I still want to get this done over the next few weeks.

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:52 am

I think the office is sorted.

With a few things that went spastic at work, I didn't get the new mobos organised, so the 3Ghz E8400 machines have been "parked".

I've returned all FoxyRoxyLinux development to the original Atom D525 machine, although I have added a caddy-less hot-swap bay to it as this will make the hot-swap easier to test with, and that will be much easier with what I have planned. The 5-in-3 how-swap bay is still there, but with that I need to affix the drive to a caddy. While this will be fine if not ideal for normal operation, it has been a bit of a pain during development (in some ways). Anyway, I've currently got the side and rear covers on all machines and I've given the main FoxyRoxyLinux machine a quick whirl, and everything looks good.

Here in Australia, tomorrow is Sunday the 23rd of December and while the country basically shut down yesterday (Friday the 21st) from tomorrow until the 7th of January the only things open are Petrol Stations and the odd shop here-and-there who will no doubt be profiteering from people like myself that need to work out and buy whatever the heck it is they are buying people for Christmas (why can't Santa be real?).

Commercially, the place stops until at least the 7th, when a few places re-open, but most of the country isn't fully awake until the 14th. Of course the week commencing the 14th is also quite stupid as it takes most places a week to properly ramp-up again.

Anyway, tomorrow is a bit of running around, and a bit of a where-am-I-up-to day.

I hope that come Monday I am 100% sorted and know where I am at with everything. With all of the issues of the last few weeks (both at work, and with my "stable" <roflmao> windows machines), I do need to just take a while and check out exactly what is on what USB stick, as I am currently juggling about 6 of them.

If I don't get back until after the 25th, I hope that those of you who are still with us, have a wonderful and safe Christmas with your families and loved ones, and I look forward to catching up with you all soon.

Cheers, Brenton
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby SBP » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:38 pm

Hi brenton.
Thanks for the update.
Just back from work, so now the Christmas peace hopefully will come.
Im looking forward to follow your development, and will be happy to test the new versions.
Cheers
Steen
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Re: FoxyRoxy - Current News - DevRel_03 (current)

Postby jbv » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:28 am

Hi Folks,

It is Christmas Eve in Australia.
I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Christmas with their loved ones.

Best Wishes, Brenton
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