Computerus

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beatbandito
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Re: Computerus

Postby beatbandito » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:24 am

My office is replacing the server soon, and basically wants to upgrade on what I think is a pretty archaic system with a big server with far too big a switch, multiple routers, and a PC for control for just 5 offices. And this establishes a process where the offsite IT company that installed it needs to basically schedule anything from updating programs to connecting a new printer. Which is going to cost thousands just for the install.

I feel like for about $500 you could get a tower with about 2TB solid state memory to act as a server and put maybe another $1000 or so into wireless infrastructure to get a gigabite internal network and internet to again about 5 computers. Though I have no actual experience putting anything like this together I would really hate to see money being thrown away into the giant project they're making it into.

If anyone has direct experience with this and can throw and opinion or suggestion out I'd appreciate it.
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Mongrel
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Re: Computerus

Postby Mongrel » Wed May 01, 2019 1:52 pm

Windows 7's Realtek sound management has always been a pain in the ass, but recently I got a new headset and it's been even worse. If I do any sort of switching at all between speakers and headset (say, to watch TV), the whole system throws a fit and I wind up resetting everything in multiple programs. And that's after I spent eons trying to fix it so that at least the garbage Windows sound drivers weren't shitting everything up. Basically it just has horrible conflicts between hardware outputs, which sometimes give you poor sound quality, but more often just result in a given device - even something as simple as a cheap pair of purely analog speakers - simply not working. Or not working when another is plugged in, no matter your settings to allow it. Or... well the list goes on.

I tried the sound management system which comes with the newer headset (Logitech), but it doesn't and can't replace the Windows drivers, so instead it just ends up being another layer which tries to fight with Windows' inherently garbage sound management so I have to leave it off.

I know the ideal solution is to buy a dedicated sound card and tell Realtek to go fuck itself (because sound management would be handled by the card's drivers rather than Windows'), and I'll probably invest in a dedicated sound card for the next rig (everyone I've talked to about this in the past has told me that Win 10's sound management is the same Realtek piece of shit - so the glib answer of "upgrade to Win10, nub!" doesn't really apply here), but is there anything I can do short of basically wasting money on what's a pretty old machine?

Extensive googling is really fruitless, because you get 99% false positives on the very generic search terms for dealing with this shit, and even when you find something it's probably hopelessly out of date and is designed to fix a specific problem, rather than the overarching issue of "Windows 7/10 onboard Realtek sound managers are probably the worst fuck up of something so simple that I've ever seen".

Any ideas?
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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Fri May 31, 2019 2:16 pm

AMD has announced the first of its Navi cards, the midrange RX 5700, for July 7. They'll share more details at E3, on June 10.

As I've mentioned, I'm planning on rebuilding my main machine (and ditching OpenSUSE for...probably Manjaro) once these cards are out. Phoronix suggests Linux support will probably come in around late September (much sooner if I want to fuck around with Git or AUR packages, which I do not; having a graphics card that Just Works out of the box with no additional fuckery required is the entire point of switching to AMD).

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:17 pm

The upgrade from OpenSUSE 15.0 to 15.1 fixed some of my problems but introduced a bunch of little papercuts. System is still usable but various quality-of-life things like sudo and graphical package management are broken for reasons I haven't been able to determine yet.

Can't help wondering whether it's worth it to try and fix this shit or just switch to Manjaro now* and hope switching out an nVidia card for an AMD one in a few months is as easy as it's supposed to be.

* where "now" means "in three weeks at the earliest", because my brother's coming to visit from Maui and so that's my next two weekends spoken for

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:32 pm

Shit has since gotten weird; my user account no longer has permissions to mount USB drives, and audio doesn't work, with the only audio device listed being "Dummy Output" (which I suspect is also the result of some permissions getting hosed).

I don't have time for this aggravation.

For now I'm booted to the Debian installation I set up in case my OpenSUSE installation ever quit functioning. I guess it helps my perspective to see that that hasn't happened in a very long time; not only is it Debian 8 (10 is due out next month), but before I ran updates Firefox and Thunderbird were called Iceweasel and Icedove. So...I haven't booted to this particular installation since 2017 or earlier. That helps me feel a little less salty about the latest OpenSUSE upgrade fucking up; clearly I had a pretty good run without any major breakages.

But I sure don't like it much. Not only are all the packages old (Debian 8, remember), but it's a not-very-pretty version of Xfce, the fonts are ugly, window elements are inconsistently sized, and Qt programs aren't properly styled at all. Plus it's all running on a platter drive and my God you learn to take SSDs for granted.

So just at the moment I'm leaning toward temporarily sticking with Debian, periodically running updates on the OpenSUSE side to see if they magically fix the problems caused by the previous updates (it's happened before), and if it's still broken by next week, ordering a new SSD (does my motherboard have an M.2 slot? I guess I should look that up) and switching to Manjaro.

My brother gets in tomorrow, and I think he leaves on the 22nd, so I guess I can set aside Sunday the 23rd to do all that shit if I have to. And if it doesn't take I guess I've got the weekend after that to try again. (And then the weekend after that I plan on being out of town with some of you fine fellows.)

It's pretty easy to get annoyed by all this, but y'know, I set up that OpenSUSE drive back in 2013. It's been through 6 major OS revisions, and the first 5 were...well, not entirely trouble-free as I recall, but relatively so. When I look at it that way, I think any OS install would be showing its age and giving me random incomprehensible problems by now.

OpenSUSE did all right by me, and there's still a lot to like about it (like YaST and the one-click installs). But I'm definitely feeling more interested in an Arch-based environment these days...and I'm starting to come around to the idea that a rolling release has the advantage that, while you're updating the whole thing constantly, you're never installing a bunch of major updates to every package at the same damn time.

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mharr
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Re: Computerus

Postby mharr » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:36 am

I'm going to need to move to some Linux or other when Win7 support shuts down next year, and your recent escapades as a veteran user are giving me the Fear. Is there a release that's unlikely to do these things to me?

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Grath
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Re: Computerus

Postby Grath » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:17 am

mharr wrote:I'm going to need to move to some Linux or other when Win7 support shuts down next year, and your recent escapades as a veteran user are giving me the Fear. Is there a release that's unlikely to do these things to me?

Because you're (probably) going to be installing Ubuntu, with mainstream support for most hardware and a large enough userbase that when something goes wrong you can just Google it and find reasonable solutions.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:17 pm

Yeah, go with Ubuntu or Mint. My dad's first computer ran Ubuntu, and my grandpa's current computer uses Mint. They're friendly enough that I've set them up for the least computer-literate people I know, and they haven't had any issues; I'm sure you'll do fine. Like Grath says, it's very easy to find support because they have huge userbases. Ubuntu is largely considered the reference distro; if a vendor (say, Valve) only targets one Linux distribution for testing and support, it's very probably Ubuntu.

The reason I quit using Ubuntu (actually, a derivative called Kubuntu) is that Weird Shit started happening after years of use and semiannual OS upgrades (much like what seems to be happening on OpenSUSE now). I find that if I go too long without a clean install, things start to break; that was true on Windows, too (and I don't think I ever did a major-version Windows upgrade that didn't hose my system, all the way back to the time I upgraded from 3.1 to 95). Who knows -- could be a failing hard drive. SMART and fsck aren't showing anything wrong, but I've certainly noticed weird behavior preceding a drive failure before.

As for why I'm picking Manjaro in particular? It's a rolling release, which means that rather than putting out a new major version periodically that updates everything at once, it instead constantly updates to the latest version of software as it's released. That's important if you need bleeding-edge software -- in my case, I want to buy a new graphics card, and it will have driver support in Manjaro much sooner than it will in non-rolling distributions like Ubuntu and Mint. There's a perception that rolling-release distros are unstable; that *was* my experience with Gentoo, but has not been my experience with Antergos. (Antergos is a derivative of Arch that was recently discontinued. Manjaro is a derivative of Arch too, and probably the closest thing to Antergos. The reason I don't just install Arch is that Arch requires a bunch of manual command-line setup, and I'm over that; I've done it, it's a valuable learning experience, but I don't enjoy that kind of time-consuming low-level configuration anymore. Arch is a good distro if you want to learn, because when you set everything up manually you'll have a better idea of how it all works, which will help you fix stuff if it breaks. But starting with Arch is like learning to swim by jumping in the deep end.)

tl;dr start with Ubuntu or Mint, stick with official repositories as much as you can, and you should have a much easier time than I've been having these past few days.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:44 pm

Thad wrote:does my motherboard have an M.2 slot? I guess I should look that up

Evidently not. Well, that's one question answered, anyway.

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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:18 pm

I've got a usable Manjaro/KDE desktop, for the moment.

The problem is, when I run updates and reboot, I get a kernel panic.

I tried reinstalling a few times; every time, same result, first system update hoses the computer.

Now I'm using Snapper to take system snapshots so I can roll back updates. (I'm also kicking myself because I completely forgot about snapshots and didn't even bother checking whether they were working on my OpenSUSE boot. If I'd been able to roll back the upgrade that was causing me all my issues, that could have saved me this entire rebuild for a few more months.)

Annoyingly, something went pear-shaped with my Debian drive during the process. Not sure what, exactly. Was working yesterday when I shut down; after I opened up my computer and swapped out my drives, it wouldn't come back up. (Hadn't touched the Debian drive.) I'd noticed there was a SMART notification on the other platter drive in my tower and so I'd already popped it out with the intention of moving its data onto a new drive, but hadn't seen any such notification on the Debian drive.

Now I can't get it to show up at all. Not "won't mount"; isn't even listed as a connected device. And again, this started before I even touched that drive; since then I've done the usual troubleshooting steps -- swap out power and SATA cables with another drive (cables are fine), try connecting it to my USB/SATA adapter on this and other computers -- nothin'. Tried swabbing the pins with alcohol too, since this seems to be a failure somewhere between the pins and the board, not the disk itself, but no luck there either. Damnedest thing.

Fortunately there wasn't anything essential or irreplaceable on that drive. I was cursing how irritating it was going to be to have to set Thunderbird back up again (I've got multiple e-mail accounts and a bunch of filters that move the various newsletters I'm signed up for into subfolders, and then autodelete old messages in those folders -- plus however many years' worth of training data for my spam filters), but then I found a backup of my Thunderbird settings I made about a month ago, so I should be able to just work from that.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:32 pm

Spent the morning figuring out how to use snapper. The most baffling thing is the "rollback" argument, which does not roll anything back, and is described thus in the manpage:

Creates two new snapshots and sets the default subvolume. Per default the system boots from the default subvolume of the root filesystem. The exact actions depend on whether a number is provided or not:

  • Without a number, a first read-only snapshot of the default subvolume is created. A second read-write snapshot of the current system is created. The system is set to boot from the second snapshot.
  • With a number, a first read-only snapshot of the current system is created. A second read-write snapshot is created of number. The system is set to boot from the second snapshot.


So, it...takes a snapshot of the current system, and then...sets the current system as the default system to boot to.

I am not clear on why this is called "rollback".

The argument that actually rolls back changes is "undochange".

Anyhow, having spent the morning figuring out how to create snapshots and rollback undochange to a previous snapshot, I ran an upgrade and rebooted and...this time everything worked fine, because of course it did.

Still, useful to understand how this all works, and there are some utilities I want to set up that will do this automatically every time I install or update a program.

But at any rate I seem to have a working system at this point, and the ability to undo any changes that make it a no-longer-working system. So that's the main stuff taken care of; the rest is just settling back into my ass-groove.

...guess the next thing I should do is pay my bills now that I've got a functioning computer to pay bills and keep my records on. Oh goody.

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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:58 pm

I've had an ongoing problem with my computer just completely locking up for years. Thought it might have been some weirdness with OpenSUSE, but it persisted after I switched to Manjaro.

Finally realized I needed more RAM. I thought I had 16GB, but I only had 8. (Built this thing in...2013?) Linux is not good at handling low-memory situations; it just locks the fuck up. (I've got 10GB of swap on my new build but that doesn't seem to be helping; I find it hard to believe that the whole 10GB is routinely filling up, but it's kinda hard to check when your system is locked up. Occasionally I can get top to run and it shows that kswapd is eating 100% of my CPU, so clearly something is going wrong with swap, but again, hard to troubleshoot under conditions where I'm lucky if I can even get the system responsive enough to drop to a VT and run a couple commands.)

So I got a good deal on another 16GB from a NewEgg reseller called TopMemory. I'm unfamiliar with TopMemory, but the reviews are mostly good; there are a few in there that are about what you'd expect from a budget reseller -- long ship time from China, received wrong product, poor support -- but no accusations of counterfeiting, so I figured what the hell, might as well give them a shot.

I put the order in Monday night and had my RAM by Friday. No shipping from China on this one.

I haven't taken the time to run a full memtest yet, but no issues so far. I have no reason to believe that this isn't genuine Crucial memory, except that wow $60 for 16GB of Crucial DDR3L is a suspiciously low price.

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Mongrel
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Re: Computerus

Postby Mongrel » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:35 pm

If the original product is made in China, it's quite possible that extra production runs are being hived off for a tidy side profit, which would explain the RAM being legit, but underpriced.
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Thad
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Re: Computerus

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:44 pm

Yeah, that's a possibility.

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