Friday 29 September 2017

Busy busy busy

The Raspberry Pi that I use to host kept crashing, about once per day. So I swapped it out for another Pi, loaded up the new SD card ... and the new one crashed once per day.

So I've replaced it with a proper 1U server, running a Celeron 2.2 and 2gb of memory, using Fedora 26 32 bit version. There was a lot to shift over, and because I was changing from Debian linux to Fedora, all the configuration files were in different places, and were subtly different, but after a few hours work, I think that's done.

Next, I wanted to change the 32 gb HP XW6600, because it's too noisy for an office. So I bought another 8gb HP XW6600 (£55 on Ebay). When I opened it up, I noticed that the 8gb consisted of two 4gb memory strips. So I had a look in my spare memory box, and found four more 4gb strips that looked like they might fit, even though they were server memory and this isn't a server. I tried them, and they worked, so now it has 24gb memory, and a single CPU (with four cores). And it is blessedly silent!

So I installed Fedora 26 workstation 64-bit on it. But I had to install an earlier version because 26 wouldn't install, it's a problem I find happens a lot. And then I upgraded it to 26. Then I installed all the bits and bobs, including the "Basic PAYE Tools" that I use to pay tax (the documentation says this only works on 32 bit systems, and I can tell you it works fine on this 64 bit box) and the ASDM that gives me a lovely user-friendly way to change the configuration of my firewall. Those two were the trickiest to install, because everything else I use is standard Fedora software, so goes on with the magic word "dnf".

And then the computer couldn't talk to the monitor. So I removed Gnome (the user interface) and reinstalled it, and now it works fine.

And then I couldn't work out how to connect up my speakers to the sound socket, but I discovered that the HP6600 has a quite adequate pair of speakers inside the box, which is unusual, I've never seen that before.

And of course I need a printer. The Samsung USB printer went on just fine, and the Dell network printer the same, but then I tried to install my HP Laserjet 6P, a 20 year old behemoth that still works fine. That needed a parallel port, and when I'd installed it on the 32gb box, that had worked. But even with a parallel port added to the 24gb box, I just couldn't persuade it to play. Eventually, I thought "Sod this" and moved the printer to be near the other Unix machine up here (which only has 2gb,  I use it almost entirely to run a bunch of terminals). That machine has a parallel port, and after I'd plugged the printer in, the Unix box recognised it immediately, and I could print. Result!

But I want to print from my new 24gb machine, because that's going to be where I do most stuff. And that means printing across the network. So I installed Samba on the 2gb box, Samba is the smb-based sharing system (it's the one used by Windows), used smbpasswd -a username password to tell it a login, then on the 24gb workstation I used system-config-printer to connect to it. And now I can print!

So, missions accomplished:

Replaced the crashing Raspberry Pi used to host the stuff with a 1U box that hasn't crashed so far.
Replaced the noisy 32gb HP workstation with a nearly-silent 24 gb HP workstation
Got all my software working on that
Got my HP laserjet working with it.

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