Friday Jul 17, 2009

10 Steps to OpenSolaris Laptop Heaven

If you have recently come into possession of a Laptop onto which to load Solaris then here are my top tips:

  1. Install OpenSolaris. At the time of writing the release is 2009.06, install that, parts of this advice may become obsolete with later releases. Do not install Solaris 10 or even worse Nevada. You should download the live CD and burn it onto a disk boot that and let it install but before you start the install read the next tip.

  2. Before you start the install open a terminal so that you can turn on compression on the root pool once it it created. You have to keep running “zpool list” until you see the pool is created and then run (pfexec zfs set compression=on rpool). You may think that disk is big but after a few months you will be needing every block you can get. Also laptop drives are so slow that compression will probably make things faster.

  3. Before you do anything after installation take a snapshot of the system so you can always go back (pfexec beadm create opensolaris@initialinstall). I really mean this.

  4. Add the extras repository. It contains virtualbox, the flash plugin for firefox, true type fonts and more. All you need is a sun online account. See https://pkg.sun.com/register/ and http://blogs.sun.com/chrisg/entry/installing_support_certificates_in_opensolaris

  5. Decide whether you want to use the development or support repository. If in doubt choose the supported one. Sun employees get access to the support repository. Customers need to get a support contract. (http://www.opensolaris.com/learn/subscriptions/). Then update to the latest bigs (pfexec pkg image-update).

  6. Add any extra packages you need. Since I am now writing this retrospectively there may be things missing. My starting list is:

    • OpenOffice (pfexec pkg install openoffice)

    • SunStudio (pfexec pkg install sunstudioexpress)

    • Netbeans (pfexec pkg install netbeans)

    • Flash (pkfexec pkg install flash)

    • Virtualbox (pfexec pkg install virtualbox)

    • TrueType fonts (pfxec pkg install ttf-fonts-core)

  7. If you are a Sun Employee install the punchin packages so you can access SWAN. I actually rarely use this as I have a Solaris 10 virtualbox image that I use for punchin so I can be both on and off SWAN at the same time but it is good to have the option.

  8. Add you keys to firefox so that you can browse the extras and support repositories from firefox. See http://wikis.sun.com/display/OpenSolarisInfo200906/How+to+Browse+the+Support+and+Extra+Repositories.

  9. Go to Fluendo and get and install the free mp3 decoder. They also sell a complete and legal set of decoders for the major video formats, I have them and have been very happy with them. They allow me to view the videos I have cycling events.

  10. Go to Adobe and get acroread. I live in hope that at some point this will be in a repository either at Sun or one Adobe runs so that it can be installed using the standard pkg commands but until then do it by hand.

Enjoy.

Sunday Jun 07, 2009

OpenSolaris 2009.06

After a week of running 2009.06 on my Toshiba Tecra M9 having upgraded from 2008.11 I'm in a position to comment on it. I've been able to remove all the workarounds I had on the system. Nwam appears to work even in the face a suspend and resume. Removalbe media also appears to be robust without the occasional panics that would happen when I removed the SD card with 2008.11.

Feature wise the things I have noticed are the new tracker system for searching files, but it seems to be completely non functional. The big improvements are in the support for the special keys on the Toshiba and the volume control, which unlike the volume on the M2 is a logical control so requires software support. 2009.06 has this support along with support fo the number pad, brightness and mute buttons.

The downside was hitting this bug. This pretty much renders resume useless and I was about to go back to 2008.06 when the bug was updated to say it will be fixed in the first update release and in the mean time there are binary packages. So after creating a new boot enviroment so that I have an unpatched one to switch to when the fix gets into the support repository I have applied the patch. Seems to work which is very pleasing as it has not taken me long to get used to the brightness buttons working.

Saturday Jan 31, 2009

Suspend and resume really does just work

The whole rebooting thing last night and the surprise that my laptop had been "up"for 18 days left me wondering how many times I had suspended the system. I turns out this is easy to check in /var/adm/messages, which thanks to the laptop being hibernated most of the night fails to get cleaned out by cron, using a short script:

cjg@brompton:~$ nawk '/SunOS/ { if (count > max) { max=count} ; count=0 } /resume/ { count++ } END { print "current",count; print "max",max }' /var/adm/messages 
current 3
max 109
cjg@brompton:~$ 

109 sucessful suspend and resume cycles is not bad. I can't find a kernel statistic that counts them directly which I think is a pity. Also I need to keep an eye on the messages files however with ZFS root and snapshots going on the whole log file rotation and clean up could do with rethinking even in the non laptop case.

Friday Jan 30, 2009

OpenSolaris updates virtualbox

After a short delay VirtualBox for OpenSolaris has been upgraded. Update manager popped up to tell me and ask if I wanted the upgrade and created a new boot environment with the package installed. Very cool. Alas now I have to reboot to install it so my laptop won't reach three weeks uptime:

cjg@brompton:~$ uptime
 10:12pm  up 18 days  0:05,  2 users,  load average: 0.16, 0.27, 0.84
cjg@brompton:~$ beadm list
BE            Active Mountpoint Space  Policy Created          
--            ------ ---------- -----  ------ -------          
opensolaris   -      -          89.37M static 2008-11-27 12:14 
opensolaris-1 -      -          8.39M  static 2008-11-30 13:14 
opensolaris-2 -      -          13.36M static 2008-12-02 11:27 
opensolaris-3 N      /          12.70M static 2008-12-06 20:02 
opensolaris-4 R      -          9.44G  static 2009-01-30 21:42 
cjg@brompton:~$ 

Sunday Dec 07, 2008

Goodbye portable computer. Hello Laptop

It has taken me a while to realise that my old Toshiba Tecra M2 was not a laptop but was instead a portable computer. The realisation started to happen when I first closed the lid on my new Toshiba Tecra M9 and it hybernated and each time I opened it and all was still well the change began to dawn on me.

I'd been happy enough using OpenSolaris on the M2 (and Solaris before that) having tuned it to boot as fast as it could and in most scenarios it was fine. I contented myself that the bugs I filed improved the product and I got used to the portable computer. Great in a hotel room, ok for a presentation, less useful in an airport or on a train.

The M9 on the other hand, with OpenSolaris 2008.11 is a real laptop and it is suspend and resume that makes it so.

Also the list of things that don't work is much smaller than the list of things that do. Now some of them (like the SD slot) may well now work on the M2 as well I've not tried recently since it never used to so I just used the USB card reader out of habit. So far the list of things I would like to work but don't are:

  1. The volume control knob. I actually liked the M2's use of a real volume control knob so when I turned it down it was really down.

  2. Plugging a headphones into the socket does not disconnect the speakers. This makes using VOIP hard to use which is a shame as the VOIP client seems to work quite well.

  3. I would also like better video support, mpeg4 & DVD but mostly that is not for work but entertainment.

Thats it. Well that is it for now.

Friday Nov 28, 2008

New Laptop == Fresh install of OpenSolaris

I have a new laptop. A Toshiba Tecra M9. Since it, like my brompton is owned by Sun, it is called "brompton".

The new OpenSolaris 2008.11 bits on this hardware support suspend to RAM so closing the lid with the power disconnected results in the system sleeping almost instantly and equally importantly when I press the power button it restarts from where it left off. Really something that any laptop needs to have so this is real progress.

While Tim is suggesting that Sun should give up on the desktop, something I don't completely agree with as the savings would not be that great unless you give up on the X server as well which would leave Sun Ray high and dry something that we should not do. The desktop experience on a modern 3D accelerated frame buffer is something that is getting quite appealing. While most of the features are really just icing (rotating the workspaces when you hit <control><Alt><Left> & <control><Alt><Right>) at least one I've found useful already. When I press <control> & the key there is a ripple effect as if the desktop were water and a water drop has landed where the mouse is.


It allowed me to track the mouse after VirtualBox had hidden it although in the snapshot you can see the mouse. This has probably been on my old laptop but I either had not noticed it or it was not turned on as I had selected the custom options to compiz a while back. It makes me wonder what other new features are hidden in the window system that I may be missing. A VT220 emulator maybe?

One mis-feature though is that by default savecore does not get run at boot time. I recall the head in the sand arguments that were made for turning off savecore after beta in the dark (although at the time less dark than now) days of SunOS 4.0. This seems like a similar exercise in denying reality. On the upside this is not quite so bad as it was as at least there is a dedicated dump device so the dump will not get overwritten as part of swap and can be extracted later by running savecore. Indeed the first thing I would do and did do was this:

cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ pfexec savecore
cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ pfexec dumpadm -y
      Dump content: kernel pages
       Dump device: /dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/dump (dedicated)
Savecore directory: /var/crash/brompton
  Savecore enabled: yes
cjg@brompton:/boot/grub$ 



        
    

Friday Apr 25, 2008

Why I run the latest Solaris build on my laptop

While on my holidays I was blissfully disconnected from the internet but still had to have my laptop on hand to empty my camera. This allowed me to trip over this bug that I filed on my return 6691387 which is already destined to be fixed in build 89. Result.

Friday Dec 21, 2007

Recovering a zpool from it's iscsi mirror

While I have stopped using iscsi to back up my laptops as zfs send and receive have proved to be more reliable and convenient my Dell laptop broke when I was still using this. So the only back up of the bits on the disk I have was living on my server in a zdev. Also since the data is now so old I don't really need to restore it at all. However it would be rude not to try. So first following the instructions from my original post I have the iscsi target available:

: sigma TS 2 $; pfexec zpool import
  pool: home
    id: 9959281504147327308
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices contains corrupted data.
action: The pool can be imported despite missing or damaged devices.  The
        fault tolerance of the pool may be compromised if imported.
   see: http://www.sun.com/msg/ZFS-8000-4J
config:

        home                                       DEGRADED
          mirror                                   DEGRADED
            c0d0s7                                 FAULTED  corrupted data
            c4t0100001731F649B400002A0046264D39d0  ONLINE
: sigma TS 3 $; pfexec zpool import home  
cannot mount '/export/home': directory is not empty
: sigma TS 4 $;  bin/sh/zfs_send-r home/users export/users  
zfs send home/users@day_13 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_13 home/users@day_16 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_16 home/users@day_21 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_21 home/users@day_28 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_28 home/users@day_03 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_03 home/users@day_10 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_10 home/users@hour_07 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_07 home/users@hour_01 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_01 home/users@day_25 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@day_25 home/users@hour_02 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_02 home/users@hour_03 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_03 home/users@hour_04 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_04 home/users@hour_05 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_05 home/users@hour_06 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_06 home/users@hour_10 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_10 home/users@hour_23 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_23 home/users@hour_08 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_08 home/users@hour_16 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_16 home/users@hour_09 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_09 home/users@hour_22 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_22 home/users@hour_17 |zfs receive export/users
zfs send -i home/users@hour_17 home/users@hour_15 |zfs receive export/users

Nice to know it worked and I still have all the snapshots going back until the dawn of time, well 2005 anyway.

Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

Laptop Mass

Here is a question that comes up again and again and I was asked it yesterday:

As I add more data to my laptop will it get heavier?

You would expect the answer to be yes, but it is not that simple. Since most data is made up of ones and zeros the ones, which weigh more are balanced out by the zeros so in general you don't notice.

The exception to this is when you store a lot of dark photographs. Since these contain more ones these photographs increase the weight of the disk. This is a particular problem for astronomers since most of the pictures they take through their telescopes are taken at night their disks tend to be heavier. They refer to this as “dark matter” and is one of the explanations for the apparent mass of the Universe.

While many think that digital photographs will not fade, this is not true if they are stored on rotating disks. The centrifugal force tends to throw the ones to the outer parts of the disk so photographs in the centre of the disk will fade while those at the edges get darker.

Measuring the effect is hard. With some really sensitive scales you may be able to notice this on your laptop, but remember to remove the battery otherwise the effect is overwhelmed by the difference in weight depending on whether the battery is charged or uncharged.

So that has cleared that one up.

For more information see here.

Monday May 21, 2007

Network Auto-Magic

Build 64 has allowed me to enable Network Auto-magic (NWAM) on my laptops. On my DELL Latitude D600 which has a Broadcom (bge) gigabit interface with a driver that supports Link and Interface Events it works well with the wired interface however with the wireless I have had to increase the “nwamd/dhcp_wait_time” smf property from 60 seconds to 120 so that it will work reliably. I can plug in the wired interface in and the wireless interface it taken down and the wired interface comes up. As it should be.

On the Toshiba which has an Intel network interface whose driver does not (yet) support Link and Interface Events the laptop always comes up with the wireless connection, which is less than ideal and would have been a pain when in Chicago but it is still better than not having it.

Wednesday Apr 18, 2007

Backing up laptop using ZFS over iscsi to more ZFS

After the debacle of the reinstall of my laptop zpool having to be rebuild and “restored” using zfs send and zfs receive I thought I would look for a better back up method. One that did not involve being clever with partitions on an external USB disk that are “ready” for when the whole disk is using ZFS.

The obvious solution is a play on one I had played with before. Store one half of the pool on another system. So welcome to ISCI.

ZFS volumes can now be shared using iscsi. So on the server create a volume with the “shareisci” property set to “on” and enable the iscsi target:

# zfs get  shareiscsi tank/iscsi/pearson   
NAME                PROPERTY    VALUE               SOURCE
tank/iscsi/pearson  shareiscsi  on                  inherited from tank/iscsi
  
# svcadm enable  svc:/system/iscsitgt       
# 

Now on the client tell the iscsi initiator where the server is:


5223 # iscsiadm add discovery-address 192.168.1.20
5224 # iscsiadm list discovery-address            
Discovery Address: 192.168.1.20:3260
5225 # iscsiadm modify discovery --sendtargets enable
5226 # format < /dev/null
Searching for disks...done


AVAILABLE DISK SELECTIONS:
       0. c0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 3791 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>
          /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@0/cmdk@0,0
       1. c10t0100001731F649B400002A004625F5BEd0 <SUN-SOLARIS-1-11.00GB>
          /scsi_vhci/disk@g0100001731f649b400002a004625f5be
Specify disk (enter its number): 
5227 # 

Now attach the new device to the pool. I can see some security would be a good thing here to protect my iscsi pool. More on that later.


5229 # zpool status newpool                                       
  pool: newpool
 state: ONLINE
status: The pool is formatted using an older on-disk format.  The pool can
        still be used, but some features are unavailable.
action: Upgrade the pool using 'zpool upgrade'.  Once this is done, the
        pool will no longer be accessible on older software versions.
 scrub: scrub completed with 0 errors on Wed Apr 18 12:30:43 2007
config:

        NAME        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        newpool     ONLINE       0     0     0
          c0d0s7    ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors
5230 # zpool attach newpool c0d0s7 c10t0100001731F649B400002A004625F5BEd0
5231 # zpool status newpool                                              
  pool: newpool
 state: ONLINE
status: One or more devices is currently being resilvered.  The pool will
        continue to function, possibly in a degraded state.
action: Wait for the resilver to complete.
 scrub: resilver in progress, 0.02% done, 8h13m to go
config:

        NAME                                        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        newpool                                     ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror                                    ONLINE       0     0     0
            c0d0s7                                  ONLINE       0     0     0
            c10t0100001731F649B400002A004625F5BEd0  ONLINE       0     0     0

errors: No known data errors
5232 # 

The 8 hours to complete the resilver turns out to be hopelessly pessimistic and is quickly reduced to a more realistic, but still overly pessimistic 37 minutes. All of this over what is only a 100Mbit ethernet connection from this host. I'm going to try this on the Dell that has a 1Gbit network to see if that improves this even further. (Since the laptop has just been upgraded to build 62 the pool “needs” to be upgraded. However since upgrading the pool would then not be able to be imported on earlier builds I won't upgrade the pool version until both boot environments are running build 62 or above.)

I am left wondering how useful this could be in the real world. As a “nasty hack” you could have your ZFS based NAS box serving out volumes to your NFS which then have Zpools in them. Then on the NAS box you can snapshot and backup the the volumes which would actually give you a back up of the whole of the client pool, something many people want for disaster recovery reasons. Which is in effect what I have here.


Tags:


Saturday Apr 07, 2007

recovering my laptop using zfs send and receive

First I owe Windows and apology. It was not making itself the active partition, grub was due to me copying the wrong entry in there after Solaris deleted it.

However before I went on holiday grub decided it would cease working. It could not find the menu.lst at all on this laptop. After a bit of investigation and failing to recover it (due I think to the laptop having two Solaris fdisk partitions, one had the zpool in it and the other the boot partitions, Installgrub and grub itself did not like this, though what pushed it over the edge I'm not sure. Perhaps some change in build 60.)

Anyway I decided to reinstall solaris without the extra fdsik partition which was a hangover from when the system had Linux on it as well. It should be simple. ufsdump the current boot environment (BE) and then install the system and let the zpool resilver from the external USB disk and ufsrestore the BE. The install would only need to be an end user install as I was going to restore from backup anyway. Strictly I did not need to do the install at all. All would have been fine had I not decided to detach the internal disk from the zpool (after scrubing the pool) prior to the install but the install would sort out grub for me without me having to do to much fiddling.

Once I had reinstalled the system I could not attach the new partition to the pool as it was to small. This was all thanks to my “thinking ahead” when I created the USB partition. Since eventually the partition will grow to be 30Gb that was how big the external disk partition was. As soon as I detached the smaller partition it “grew” to fill the partition it had. Doh.

So now I had to fit a 30Gb pool into a 10Gb partition. Next time I won't detach the mirror first! Being in a hurry, to go on holiday, I just knocked together a short script that would take a source file system and using zfs send and zfs receive copy all of it's snapshots to the target file system. So first doing a recursive snapshot of the pool I then ran the script which and copied the file systems into the new pool I created on the laptop. I then had to fix up a few of the attributes of the file systems that were copied. I'm not immediately sure how to handle this in a script since some attributes are obvious (compression, sharenfs etc) but others are less so (mountpoint). Even with attributes like compression you have a problem in that the zfs receive creates the file system with inherited attributes so there is no way to set them before the file system is populated unless the inherited file system attribute is correct. When I say no way, I mean, no simple way. There clearly are ways by using temporary container filesystems which you create with the right options for the file system to inherit and then use zfs rename to move the file system to the correct location. However that was not required by me and would cease to be a simple short script.

Tags:

Monday Mar 19, 2007

Disk errors, fdisk and format

I had some problems upgrading this laptop to nv60 this weekend. First I managed to try it with the power lead not fully connected so instead of coming back to an upgraded system I came back to a flat battery.

Then the second attempt hung and the only clues were in the messages file:


Mar 18 09:39:09 principia gda: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@0/cmdk@0,0 (Disk0):
Mar 18 09:39:09 principia       Error for command 'read sector' Error Level: Fat
al
Mar 18 09:39:09 principia gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice]  Requested Block 62711776
, Error Block: 62711832
Mar 18 09:39:09 principia gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice]  Sense Key: uncorrectable
 data error
Mar 18 09:39:09 principia gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice]  Vendor 'Gen-ATA ' error
 code: 0x7

So I ran up format to see if I could use the analyse option to find the broken block and either repair it or add it to the defect list. So I get the current disk:


format> current
Current Disk = c0d0
<DEFAULT cyl 20031 alt 2 hd 32 sec 63>
/pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@0/cmdk@0,0

format> 

That the geometry is probably made up is not important. With those numbers there are 2016 sectors per cylinder which puts block 62711832 in cylinder 31107 on the disk. Moving so lets plug that into analyse ask it to do 2016 blocks so I test the whole “cylinder” and with luck I can move on. So go into the analyse menu:


analyze> setup
Analyze entire disk[yes]? no
Enter starting block number[0, 0/0/0]: 31107/0/0
`31107' is out of range.
Enter starting block number[0, 0/0/0]: 62711832
`31107/1/57' is out of range.
Enter starting block number[0, 0/0/0]: 

Well that is odd. Now I remember that this system will dual boot, could it be that format is using the Solaris partition and not the whole disk? Looking at the fdsik this would explain it:


             Total disk size is 38760 cylinders
             Cylinder size is 2016 (512 byte) blocks

                                               Cylinders
      Partition   Status    Type          Start   End   Length    %
      =========   ======    ============  =====   ===   ======   ===
          1                 IFS: NTFS         0  8319    8320     21
          2       Active    Solaris        18727  38759    20033     52
          3                 Solaris        8319  18395    10077     26

So the block must be in fdisk partition 2. Subtracting 18727 from 31107 gets me the relative offset in the Solaris partition of 13280 which in turn ends up being in the swap partition, which is the least inconvenient place as I can delete the swap run the analysis, which found nothing, and add the swap back.


I can't help thinking format should not behave like this, or at least have an option to use absolute addresses, perhaps it has and I don't know about it. Anyway roll on EFI.


Tags:

Tuesday May 09, 2006

Well kept secret.

For laptop users one of the best kept secrets based on my converstations with people must be the filesync(1) command. I use it to keep the data on my laptop in sync with the data on the server and now as a way of backing up my home directory on the laptop to the external USB disk drive when it is attached.

The initial set up was just this:

$ filesync -s /home/${LOGNAME} -d /removable/users/${LOGNAME}/$(uname -n) '\*'

Now I just have to run filesync with no arguments to sync everything when the external disk is attached.

There is a Blue print on filesync here: http://www.sun.com/blueprints/0703/817-3168.pdf.

Tags:

Friday Apr 21, 2006

External usb disk drive

If I had not got caught out again by the M2 hanging during boot this would have been a breeze. Instead I was to struggle off and on for hours before finding the answer on my own blog. Doh.

Anyway I have bought a 160G USB 2.0 disk drive so that I can backup my laptops and have some extra space for things that it would be nice to keep but not on the cramped internal drives. Looks like a nice bit of kit in it's fanless enclosure.

Plugged the drive in and pointed zpool at the device as seen by volume manager and I now have a pool that lives on this disk with lots of file systems on it. I can see a need for a script to run zfs backup on each local file system redirected to a file system on the external box.

1846 # zfs list -r removable
NAME                   USED  AVAIL  REFER  MOUNTPOINT
removable             20.7G   131G  12.5K  /removable
removable/bike        4.88G   131G  4.88G  /removable/bike
removable/nv           137M   131G   137M  /removable/nv
removable/principia   9.50K   131G  9.50K  /removable/principia
removable/scratch        9K   131G     9K  /removable/scratch
removable/sigma       5.14G   131G  9.50K  /removable/sigma
removable/sigma/home  5.14G   131G  9.50K  /removable/sigma/home
removable/sigma/home/cjg  5.14G   131G   597M  /removable/sigma/home/cjg
removable/sigma/home/cjg/pics  4.55G   131G  4.55G  /removable/sigma/home/cjg/pics
removable/sigma_backup   556M   141G   556M  -
removable/users        586M   131G  9.50K  /removable/users
removable/users/cjg    586M   131G   586M  /removable/users/cjg
1847 #

Exporting the pool and then reimporting it on the other laptop all works as expected which is good and I hope is going to allow me to do the live upgrade from the OS image on that drive so it does not have to get slurped over the internet twice.

I did over achieve and manage to crash one system as plan A was to have a zvol for each laptop on the disk and use that as a backup mirror for the internal drive which could be offlined when not in use. Alas this just hung and appears to be known issue with putting zpools inside zpools. However the talk that USB storage and zfs don't work together does not appear to be close to the truth.

Tags:

Friday Nov 25, 2005

More on the zfs laptop journey

Life on the laptop contiues with zfs. I'm more than happy.

I have one thing that i did change, that is I have switched the disk driver to use a fifo sort rather then a block address sort. This gives a slightly more predictable performance for each IO with the down side that it increases the overall throughput particularly of sequential writes.

This is done by adding queue="qfifo" to the lines in /kernel/drv/cmdk.conf

name="cmdk" class="dada" target=0 lun=0 class_prop="dada" queue="qfifo";

The potential issue here is that ZFS can dump lots of sequential writes onto the device and since the drivers queue depth is just 2 the rest end up on the wait queue ordered in increasing LBA. So if while this is going on the system needs to do an IO to the root or swap partitions that IO has to wait for all the ZFS writes to complete before it will get to the front of the queue. On a laptop that may not be the ideal situation as, particularly if you are short on memory you may want to page a binary in to continue working.

My next task it to prove this since the laptop feels faster when there is background IO with the qfifo setting in place but that is just a gut feeling.

Tags:

Friday Jun 17, 2005

No projectors on Toshiba laptops.

Having just spent a few minutes trying to get an external monitor working on the nvidia driver, I reverted to reading the README where is states:


There are a few known issues associated with laptops.


LCD/CRT hotkey switching is not currently functioning on any Toshiba

laptop, with the exception of the Toshiba Satellite 3000 series.


TwinView on Satellite 2800 series Toshbia laptops is not currently

functioning.


So no point in continuing that.

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Tuesday Apr 19, 2005

Real Player on my laptop

I now have the UNIXware realplayer 8 running on Solaris 10 using the instructions from here. So I can now listen to Scott as well as read the slides. Getting it to compile using the version of gcc that in bundled with 10 was trivial just have to get the declarations in the file to match those in the headers. However the plugin for mozilla will not link as the original one from real was built with gcc 2.x. So it was off to blastwave to get the 2.95.3 gcc compiler via the very excellent pkg-get command then following the instructions again and all works. Next I think I will pull the helix community sources and see if I can get that built for Solaris 10 x86.


One strange thing I now need to investigate is why on the the Toshiba M2 the speakers are actually controlled by the line out setting.


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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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