May 21, 2004
Debian Vs Fedora
Sometime ago I recieved a rather old 200Mhz Pentium that I've been intending to set up as a server / lightweight desktop. It's been sitting around for a while as the preperation needed to get it going was a little significant (given that I had to get the installation media set up).
Last week I tried to get it going with DemoLinux and Knoppix. I didn't have much luck with either, mainly because they had quite a bit of trouble with my spare monitor (an ancient device literally held together with duct tape).
Yesterday I went into Reading over my lunch break for a number of little tasks, one of which was the purchase of a new monitor. I was lucky enough to find an Evesham Micros store, which had a rather nice 17" ex-demo monitor for sale. Given that it was less then the price I was expecting to pay for a new 15" monitor, I snapped it up. Then I had the wonderfully fun task of lugging the beast across town (the laws of the universe dictate that when one unexpectedly acquires something large and heavy, it is done so as far away from the car park as possible).
So I get home and find out that the 17" monitor actually fits quite nicely into the space where my current 15" secondary screen fits. This, quite naturally, demands that I use the smaller screen on the aging box and go for an even more obscenely sized desktop (now 3000px wide)
So we come to get the installation of the test machine. Drum roll please! First we download the shiny new Fedora Core 2 and burn it to four CD-R discs. Then we try to install it. 3 hours later, the machine reboots and complains about a missing OS. Next, we try again, this time we try to 'upgrade' the partially installed system. Ditto. Next attempt, install a minimal system (for some reason, this includes an active NFS server by default, the mind boggles). It works! Then discover that the CDs don't contain the information that Yum needs to resolve dependencies, and that the first package I want to install has dependencies split across multiple discs. Oddly enough, I didn't feel like extracting all the RPMs from the iso images, creating a Yum repository on my workstation, setting up an NFS server, and then installing over the network.
Plan B - old reliable. I did out the Debian DVD I received on the cover of a magazine. This is where I hit a slight snag, I don't have a working floppy disk drive, and the P200 doesn't have a DVD ROM drive. It doesn't take long to download a shiny ISO image that lets me test out the new Debian Installer (its good).
The CD-R containing the ISO image foes to boot the P200, while the DVD gets mounted on the workstation with a symlink from //var/www/localhost/htdocs/debian to it. The installer boots up quickly, I fly through the options (very quickly without the overhead of Red Hat's pretty graphical installer). At the appropriate moment I point the installer at my workstations IP address and tell it to look in /debian. It sucks the required packages down, installs them, then asks me if I want to reboot. A minute later and I have a prompt to install more packages.
At this point there is a slight snag, it can't see the
network. This is Debian though, it doesn't reboot, it doesn't freeze,
it lets me switch to a different virtual terminal, modprobe the
/etc/init.d/networking restart, then switch back
and try to see the repository again. A little more downloading, a
friendly package management screen, and its installing everything I
need to get a useful system.
I love Debian.
Posted at May 21, 2004 11:42 PM (TrackBack)