Because of an unexpected schedule change, I found myself with a whole day open one recent Tuesday. While there were plenty of other things I could have done to fill the day, I decided that I had delayed upgrading my personal machine long enough. More than long enough. The 5.0.6 package had been sitting here unopened for months. A new 10 GB Ultra hard drive had also been gathering dust, and so had a new Adaptec 29160 controller. It seemed like Tuesday was going to be relatively quiet, so I dove in.
First order of business was to install the 29160 controller. Ooops, no 64 bit PCI slots in this machine. Hmm, what was I thinking? Oh, yeah, I was planning to use another, newer machine that does have those slots. But since then, that machine has become the machine my wife uses. See what happens when you delay these things? I guess I could switch things around, but that would mean reinstalling Windows on a weaker machine, reinstalling all her applications.. nope, don't want to do that.
But the 29160 will work in a 32 bit PCI slot as long as it's PCI 2.1 compliant. Was this machine so blessed? Darned if I knew, but I tried putting the board in.. no go. Just wouldn't fit, because it's NOT PCI 2.1 compliant. Well.. I suppose I could run out and buy a new machine, but really I don't need the performance, and I don't need to waste the money, so why not just use the 2940UW already in there? Sounds like a good idea to me!
All right, but I did want to use the new hard drive. I'd already done an Edge backup of the old drives (two 4 GB older Quantums). Those used the regular SCSI-2 50 pin cables, and the new hard drive is 68 pin D type, but the 2940UW has the 68 pin connector also, and in fact I was already using that with a Tandberg tape drive. I had a LVD terminator on the end of that cable, so all I had to do was pull out the old drives, put in the new, and reroute some cables. The only thing left on the narrow chain now was the CDROM; the drive and tape were on the 68 pin.
I toyed with the idea of restoring my Edge backup using the Emergency Boot disks and then doing an IPU ( In Place Upgrade) from the 5.0.5 it was currently running, but several things convinced me not to. First, I just don't like IPU's (see Upgrades). Secondly, because I had been lazy and not properly and completely removed a Jaz drive that I no longer use, my drive nodes were a little whacky and the Edge boot creation program was very unhappy. I could have fixed that, but the final reason was the most compelling: my current setup was a mess.
A mess because it had grown like Topsy. I don't remember what it started out on since the last full wipeout and start fresh, but it was probably a two gig drive. I think I originally had one of the 4 GB drives in here, but SCO only got 2 GB of it, and the rest was Linux or NT or whatever I needed to play with before I bought more machines. Eventually that partition got converted to SCO, and later on still another 4 GB was added, but because this was done over time, there had been a lot of shifting around, a lot of symbolic links- as I said, a mess. And there was also just the accumulated debris of years of use- stuff I had installed but no longer used, long unneeeded projects, all kinds of junk just lying around. Definitely time for a fresh start.
I can do that, of course, because this is mostly "my" machine. It's also a server for the other machines here, but that's a minor role, and I know what I need to put back in place for that function. So, I can pretty easily just start fresh by installing 5.0.6, restoring my tape to an "oldstuff" directory, pick and choose what I really want from there, and then dump everything I don't need. Sounds like a plan, right?
The 5.0.6 install went smoothly. I had long ago lost my paper licenses, but I extracted the activation key from /var/adm/ISL/iqm_file and of course the license code is available from uname -X. I just let the install run without any special instructions from me; that caused it to use the entire 10 GB drive as one partition, and to allocate 184 MB for swap. Fine by me: I don't need 184 MB of swap (see Swap) but with 10 GB of available space, who cares? Nor am I particularly concerned on this machine with having separate filesystems: I don't think that's the necessity it used to be ( see Filesystems).
Before starting this, I had printed out "hwconfig", "ifconfig -a", and "hw -r pci", so I was ready to reconfigure my network cards (this machine is also the internet gateway) when the machine came up. I did notice that the algorithm for calculating disk buffers has changed; 5.0.5 would only allocate 6652k no matter how much memory you had, but this allocated twice as much from the total 128 MB available. I left that alone; I don't need any more than that for my use.
The first thing to do was to configure a tape drive and install Edge so that I could restore everything from the old drives to /oldstuff. While I was at it, I added the parallel port and did a "mkdev pm".
Unfortunately, I had some problems with the restore: after it finished, the SCSI bus locked up. I'm not quite sure what's going on here yet. The problem manifests itself every time I use the tape: after running a while, everything locks up solid. The backup continues to run, but no logins are possible and if I'm already logged in, any command just hangs and that's the end of that.I have good quality cables, LVD termination, and this did not happen when I had the old drives installed. I'm going to have to play around with this to see exactly why this is breaking down. If I do not use the tape, everything is fine, so I can live with it for the moment.
In general, the performance of this new drive is much better than the older drives. The "sar -d" figures show a fourfold improvement in "avserv" times. However, it is still not fast enough to make the Tandberg tape drive stream, probably because I'm still using the 2940 adapter.
I called the nice folks at Granite Digital for advice. They suggested that perhaps I needed to provide more termination power to the SCSI bus. Well, when I opened up to check, I found that I was not providing termination power from either of the devices.
They also suggested throttling back the speed, but when I went into the Adaptec BIOS to do that, I found that I had actually inadvertently already done that: I had neglected to increase the speed when I changed to these devices, so the tape drive was throttled to 10Mbs and the hard drive was set at 20MBs. I bumped both of those up to 40Mbs, and set the TermPwr jumper on the tape drive. I'm writing this while doing a backup; so far, no lockups. And the performance is now, of course, even better than it was- though I still can't stream.
Well, that ran a little longer, but it still locked..
Before trying new cables and termination, I decided to put a jumper on the TermPwr of the hard drive. This actually seems to have solved the problem- I'm not sure if the tape drive wasn't enough or perhaps just wasn't working (to provide Term Power), but this seems to have solved it. I did come across something else in the course of doing all this- the fan wasn't working.
And that led me into another adventure. I had yet another test-bed machine here with more slots, more bays, more memory and a slightly faster cpu. I decided to transfer the hardware to that, and fix the fan later, letting the weaker box become a test machine then. Two things broke in that transfer: one of the nics wasn't seen at boot (understandable because it was now in a different PCI slot- a simple remove and add in netconfig fixed that), and my system licensing went away. That was not expected, but again going into license manager and removing and re-licensing fixed it.
Then, just when I thought everything was back to normal, the video card died. Just like that: bright screen one second and then - poof! - gone. Fortunately I keep a stock of cards, and actually dug up a better card than what it originally had; a moment in "mkdev graphics" put that all right again. I guess I had never run that test machine long enough to kill the card.
Then, after configuring the two NIC's to match my old configuration, I needed to add my default gateway and set up Ipfilters. With 5.0.6, adding a default gateway is simple: just modify the GATEWAY= line in /etc/default/tcp (that won't work with older releases: see Routing). I knew that ipfilters is included with 5.0.6, but I didn't see where it would be set up, and I couldn't find anything in the Installation Handbook or the Release notes. So, trusting person that I am, I just copied over my old firewall script from the /oldstuff directory, ran it, and son of a gun it worked- the other machines on the inside network again had access to the outside world. I had only to add Visionfs 3.10 to complete everything I needed for those machines.
I did notice that the "mkfilters" script is now included- this generates a set of rules suitable for a typical configuration. I should look at that and see how its rules differ from my own configuration; theirs might very well be better.
I did, of course, make other adjustments for security- commenting everything out of /etc/inetd.conf, stopping unneeded services in /etc/rc2.d and /etc/tcp (see DSL Security). I also copied back my root ,profile and .kshrc (see KSH).
Ok, time to start with users. My brother-in-law uses this machine now, and there's a "shutdown" login that uses "asroot" so that he and my wife can shut this down without being root. Transferring users using "ap" is covered in the Upgrades article; the only necessary work is to fix the symbolic links to prefix "/oldstuff"; after that "ap" restores the user accounts, and a simple "mv" puts their directories back in place. My brother-in-law uses Netscape for mail and browsing; as the old installation was already using 4.7, I figured that copying his directory, which would include .netscape, would restore his preferences. That seemed to work, but later on I had some troubles with Netscape on my own account, so I'm not sure this is necessarily reliable. In my case, some of the preferences didn't seem to be working, and when I went in to change them, Netscape crashed and wiped them all out. I had to recreate them by hand, which wasn't a great chore since I knew exactly what I needed, but still it would have been better not to have had to do that. Strangely, though, it retained some of my preferences- for example, when I looked into the application settings, "xpdf" was still associated for PDF files. But I had lost my Newsgroup settings, my mail preferences, my default fonts and more.
One of the things that messed up was that Netscape lost track of the significance of my "Sent" folder. That is, the preferences were marked to save a copy of outgoing mail in Sent, but it just stopped doing that, and further "Sent" moved in the display so that it was now alphabetical- normally "Sent" shows up right after Outbox, Drafts and Templates, right before Trash, and then everything else follow alphabetically. But now it was down in the S's like any other folder. The solution was simply to rename the Sent file (at the command prompt, not in Netscape). Upon reentering Netscape, Sent was recreated, it showed up in the normal place, and sent messages were copied there again.
Another difference I noticed is that in the 4.7 I was using previously, I had the "wrap outgoing plain text messages" turned on, and that would actually wrap as I typed. On this version, the messages really do wrap, but you don't know that as you compose- I guess that's OK, but I would rather know exactly what I'm sending.
One nice thing about this version: it doesn't crash on "Flash" pages anymore- the 4.7 I had would blow up if I stumbled across a page with Flash in it. Also, the mail client formerly was unable to forward mail- it would forward junk. This version works fine- the default fonts are too small at 1024 x 768, and there's no keyboard shortcut to increase their size, so you still have to go into preferences for that.. maybe someday.
I didn't want to transfer anything from my /usr/local/bin. This was an area that had definitely gotten out of hand over the years, filled with a lot of junk and riddled with symbolic links as I had moved things around to gain space.
So, I went to Skunkware and began downloading and installing things I needed. Most of this went fine, but the Skunkware site is very poorly done: it's very difficult to find what you want. For example, Ghostview is found under "Graphics/Viewers", but Ghostscript is under "Text Processing"! Other things, like Hylafax, don't appear under any category- you have to hunt them down by using the Search tool.
Once you find what you want, you may be presented with several versions, and no explanatory text to help you figure out why you may want one or the other. If there are dependencies (other packages you will need to make this work), you may or may not be told about it, and once again you may have to go searching to find them. My experience with Ghostscript had all of these problems and more: although versions 5.10, 5.50 and 6.0 were all offered, the only one I could make work was the 5.10. I tried every combination of the Glib libraries (a dependency, again offered in different versions and again not immediately obvious where to find), but only 5.10 Ghostscript finally worked. However, that was only true for the stuff at SCO: when I used the new Skunkware CD that came with 5.0.6, the latest version installed perfectly.
The gcc development system was even more annoying- one of the offered versions won't even install, never mind work- custom just blows up, offering a string of garbage in the "Details" box. Again, though: if you use the CD, it works fine. I guess the moral is to use the CD whenever possible.
In spite of this, I finally got everything I needed reinstalled and it was time to start looking over the system to see what else was new.
There's not much in 5.0.6 that wasn't in 5.0.5 and what
differences there are tend to be subtle. Obviously there have been
improvements (Netscape, for example) and additions (ipfilters). The
system clock has a higher resolution; you'll notice the difference
in the display "ping" gives, for example. But pretty much, this
looks like 5.0.5 with all the patches rolled in. See
5.0.6 Fact Sheet
(link dead, sorry)
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-05-09 Tony Lawrence
We are questioning more than the philosophy behind our dependence upon limited and limiting systems. We question the power structures that have grown up around such systems (Frank Herbert).