Getting Started

It doesn't matter whether you call it living the Open Source lifestyle or creating a Microsoft-free zone, the notion of build a fully functional mobile user environment out of openly available technologies has its appeal.

Before we get started, let's be clear on a number of requirements. This has to be a real functioning system that can do real work while on the road (which also means that some entertainment value must be found). Some of this is going to be easy, some may require a bit of thought.
So what are the minimum requirements ?
  • A fast graphical display (that uses hardware acceleration)
  • Ability to connect an external projector for presentations and workshops
  • Easy to use Personal Information Management (PIM) tools
  • Document interoperability with the rest of the world
  • Easy user configuration of wireless and wired networking
  • A working DVD player for those long trips across the country
  • A software development environment


Some things that would be nice to get working might include
  • Bluetooth
  • Emulation of other popular application environments (wine, QEMU, Xen, etc)
  • Suspend/resume support

Oh - one very important caveat. I'm not afraid to try some strange unsupported things, so consider this a "do not try this at home" warning. That said, you probably will do some of these things, so I might as well share what worked and what didn't.

Let's see how far we can take this experiment without spending any money.

For this particular example, I am starting with a pretty basic Toshiba Tecra-M2 laptop system (for no other reason than it was readily available). This particular system came with Windows XP Home Edition pre-installed. It also has an 80GB internal disk which should allow some creative configurations.

The first step is to carve up the disk for the various operating systems and data partitions  that we will need. Since I don't know where this is going, flexibility will be the primary requirement.

For my operating systems I have decided to leave Windows XP on, at least for a while. Yes, it's a crutch, but until I get everything working I want to be able to fall back and play a little Alpha Centauri while I work through troublesome spots.

I'm also interested in looking at both Solaris and OpenSolaris, so I'll plan for both.

And I might as well put on a Linux distribution or two - and like XP, the space may well be reclaimed later. For the Linxux distributions I have selected Fedora Core 4 (as my Xen dom0) and the Linux version of the Java Desktop System.

I'm suddenly feeling like 80GB of storage might not be enough.

My disk partition plan is beginning to look like

Partition
Size
Type
Mount Point
Notes
1
12GB
NTFS
Window XP C:
/xp
Read-only access under Linux using Linux-ntfs kernel modules
No access from Solaris
2
12GB
Solaris UFS

s0 - Solaris root (10GB)
s1 - swap (2GB) - available to Linux as  /dev/hda10
3
24GB
Solaris UFS

s0 - Solaris root (12GB)
s1 - swap (2GB) - available to Linux as /dev/hda10
s7 - /export (10GB)
4
30GB
Extended
N/A

5
4GB
FAT32
Windows XP E:
/pc on Solaris and Linux

6
10GB
Linux (ext3)
Fedora Core root

7
6GB
Linux (reiserfs)
Java Desktop root

8
10GB
Linux (ext3)
/export


Ahhhh, but what about Linux swap you ask ?

The Solaris slices are available to Linux, so I will take advantage of that and share swap partitions between Solaris and Linux. It also means that I will have to create the same swap slice in both of my Solaris partitions. As a safeguard, Linux requires that the swap partition be properly formatted, so we will do that later when we install our first Linux distribution.

Good grief, this is starting to sound complicated. You might be saying something like "with something like VMware I don't have to thing about any of this, I just create things and they run." And that might be true, but remember the prime directive - this is to explore just how far we can take commodity system that can be built out of free parts. So VMware is out, but perhaps Xen can perform that role - we'll certainly explore that idea with vigor.

So much for the plan. Next time we'll carve up the disk and get started installing some software.

Technocrati Tags:
Comments:

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed
About

Bob Netherton is a Principal Sales Consultant for the North American Commercial Hardware group, specializing in Solaris, Virtualization and Engineered Systems. Bob is also a contributing author of Solaris 10 Virtualization Essentials.

This blog will contain information about all three, but primarily focused on topics for Solaris system administrators.

Please follow me on Twitter Facebook or send me email

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today