Month: May 2010

Kernel 2.6.32 and nVidia issues.

I run Fedora on my workstation at work. The machine has an nVidia Quadro 570 in it.
I have a cron job setup to use yum to check for updates and install them automatically every night. This means i can keep my system up to date, and not have to really think about it. This works mostly well.

Well, I was running FC 12, which was on a 2.6.31 kernel. Once night the updates ran, and i was moved to a 2.6.32 kernel. After a kernel upgrade, I need to rebuild my nVidia graphics driver against the new kernel. So i went through the routine of doing just that.

The problem is that, this time, X wouldnt load after the rebuild. It would throw both of my displays into power save, and then completely hang my console input. I didn’t have much time to put into it when it first happened. I worked on it for an hour or so, couldnt find the problem, and found that booting the old kernel (the 2.6.31.x kernel) i could get X to work as expected. So i told yum to stop bothering to upgrade the kernel, and kept my working kernel, all was well.

Yesterday however, I decided to upgrade to FC13. After the upgrade process was complete, i found myself in the same boat, broken X, and this time, no option to drop back to an older kernel! So for the time being i threw in the stock nouveau driver, and got X up and running, so i could at least get back to work. Today I dug a little deeper, and ran across a thread on Fedora Forum which seemed very similar to my issue. It recomends adding the following to your kernel line in grub.conf:


So i did just that, i ended up with:

title Fedora (
	root (hd0,0)
	kernel /vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/mapper/vg_lagermeister-lv_root rhgb SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 LANG=en_US.UTF-8 KEYTABLE=us nouveau.modeset=0 vga=0x318 iommu=soft
	initrd /initramfs-

I’m venturing a guess here, but I think this means that my CPU supports IOMMU. Possibly that the 2.6.31 and previous kernels did not have IOMMU enabled, and that in 2.6.32 it was enabled by default. Thus, i had to deal with it at boot. Why this had any affect on my video card… I have no idea.

This worked splendidly! I’m up and running on the proprietary nVidia driver (which supports 3D, where nouveau dies not, yet), and all is well. I seem to have a little bug where my displays flicker every so often, but otherwise, all is well.

Jaton GeForce 9500GT cooling problems, with a slightly creative fix.

A few months ago, around February, I built myself a new PC. I decided to finally move into the multi-core and 64-bit arena. I built a nice dual-core AMD 64-bit machine, with just shy of 2tb of storage, spread over 3 SATA drives. I had them raid 5’d, to get 1.2tb, but, well, we’ll just say that didnt end well. I now have three individual drives, but thats a whole other blog entry.

How apple is stifling innovation.

Has anyone else noticed this? I have, for a very long time, been opposed to the popular game in town, and instead rooted for the little guy. In high school I never strove to be popular, I ran cross country instead of trying to get on the football team. A junior in high school, i started trying to move to linux, getting away from Microsoft. I’ve always done things based on my own research, what works for me, and not based on current trends. So read this article, knowing that I personally feel that Apple is becoming “Trendy”, and I am somewhat bias against “Trendy”.

Next time you’re at a high school, shopping mall, college campus, grocery store, or anywhere that a lot of people with cel phones. Look around. Look at people using their phones, and see if you can identify some of what you see kids fiddling with while theyre waiting in line to check out, what devices people are hugging to their cheek. You may notice an abundance of iPhones. Ok, so I see a lot of reasons for that. First, Apple is very good at marketing. Apple is also very good at writing decent software. And on top of all of that, well, the iPhone is indeed a slick device. So what the hell am i complaining about?

There are a ton of touch screen phones out there. A ton of popular smart phones in general. Ever hear of a little manufacturer called BlackBerry? Theyve been producing phones for much longer than Apple. It’s easy to see however why the iPhone is more popular, its more fun, its got a slicker interface, and apple’s marketing machine is no less than stellar.

So you’re still wondering what I’m getting at.

Ok, here we go. How many people out there have left Microsoft to go to Apple? I’m going to say… a lot. Now, how many have left Microsoft to go to Linux? Not nearly as many. How many people do you see going out and spending less on a PC, and then installing linux on it. Versus how many people you see spending a fortune on similar hardware, for the privilege of using an Apple? Linux could kill Microsoft. Linux, a project which is free for anyone to install/use. A system which is more secure than windows. A system which is infinitely customizable. A system… which is only used by geeks and open source activists.

This is my point. If apple weren’t so popular, if they weren’t convincing people that the privilege of using an apple was worth the extra price tag… Then other projects might get more attention. There are projects that have been terminated because of apple’s success. An example is HP’s slate. It was dropped shortly after the release of the iPad.

Look at MP3 players. The mp3 music sales industry caters to the iPod, and all other mp3 players need to live up to the standard that the iPod has set. Even if these other players may feature more options, other features, more storage space, if theyre not a clone of an iPod, theyre not accepted. Everyone wants the iPod.

Am i saying everyone should boycott apple, and start looking for other products? No, i’m just ranting. Take it for what its worth. :D…

Linux and the IBM XIV. Performance tweaking, and install automation.

Over the course of almost a year, I’ve been involved in the long process of picking out a new SAN for the College. The decision process is better suited for its own blog entry. I’ll just say that we came to the decision that the IBM XIV was the right choice for us. These things are great. A storage grid, which is resilliant to just about any failure (within reason) you can throw at it! I’m just worried that it may gain sentience and steal our data… 😛

So now that we’ve finalized the decision, gotten funding, purchased, and now delivered our pair of XIV’s, it’s time to start connecting hosts. We run a primarily Linux shop, so we’re focusing on making the install on linux as painless as possible.

IBM provides a host attachment kit, which is actually rather slick. They provide it in the form of a tar.gz, which contains two rpm’s, and a few shell scripts. To install, you unpack it, and run the script.

We have a Kickstart server, which we use to automate installs. So to follow suite, we’d like to automate as much of the XIV HAK install as possible. Untarring an archive, and running an install script is rather easy, but we had other thoughts. These are RPM’s, right? So why do we need this install script? All it seems to do is install the rpm’s! So i took a closer look at what does. It calls a few other scirpts, checks on a few things, including dependancies, and then installs the RPMs. Well, RPM has a dependancy check built in, so why do we need a script to do that? The rest of the script seems to check if the HAK is already installed, and then makes the environment sane for an upgrade if it’s already there. Well, that’s easy enough to do on our own. Besides, these are new install’s we’re doing. There will be no HAK already present.

So, i took the RPM’s from each arch’s package, and placed them in a YUM repository. This works beautifully! Not only does the install run by simply entering “yum install host_attach”, but it also depsolves, and grabs any dependancies which are required at install!

Once the install is finished, I reboot, because it adds items to udev, which seems like a good reason to reboot. Then i run xiv_attach, which builds a multipath config and whatnot.