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Posts Tagged ‘linux’

Hackintosh Atom server

July 27, 2009 3 comments

In a previous post I told the sorry tale of my Synology DS106e network attached storage box. It served me well for 18 months until the fan stopped working and a scheduled backup led to the hard drive overheating. It was time to upgrade my server, and there were several options available.

  1. Buy a replacement NAS box, either a newer Synology model or something similar from Qnap, Thecus, Netgear etc. This would cost anywhere from £70 for a used item on eBay to £300 for a top of the range home/soho device. The current Synology one drive budget NAS is around £180 online.
  2. Buy a used Mac Mini from eBay. The newer Core 2 Duo/solo models fetch a high price but the original G4 versions at 1.25 or 1.4Ghz are selling for around £120. Ready made server in a small and silent box, easy to setup and expand through software.
  3. Build a mini hackintosh based on an Intel Atom processor. This is perhaps the most flexible approach, is should be able to run Leopard and hopefully Snow Leopard. Linux and windows shouldn’t be a problem either, so it has plenty of options for software.

I decided to go for the third option, not really surprising since I have already built a Quad Core hackintosh and a Home Theatre hackintosh. Building something is usually more fun than buying a ready made device, although this depends on how well the end result works. With the decision made I started looking at the Insanelymac forums for details from people who had already used Atom processors. Read more…

Linux to the rescue

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

I suffered a bit of a disaster over the weekend when the fan in my Synology DS106e network attached server stopped working. For 18 months it had worked well (I had bought it used from eBay), then at some point last week the fan died. This wasn’t immediately apparent, and only became an issue when the server started a scheduled backup to an external USB drive. Lots of drive activity and reduced cooling quickly resulted in an overheated hard drive and email warnings of read errors. Not the sort of message you want to receive when you are 20 miles away at work. Read more…

Don’t believe the ‘Experts’

December 31, 2008 2 comments

I’ve enjoyed some of the in depth guides on Techradar.com recently, so it was a surprise to read a couple of articles there today that are, while clearly opinions, rather short sighted. The first, Why Mac clones defeat the whole point of a Mac, misses the whole point of building a hackintosh. Here’s the section that gets it all wrong:

There are three major desktop operating systems available at the moment:

  • Linux – an open OS running on open hardware
  • Windows – a closed OS running on open hardware
  • OS X – a closed OS running on closed hardware

Minor feature quibbles aside, all three operating systems do much the same thing. The decision of which one to run is an idealogical one that balances your love of freedom against your love of stability.

I could almost believe this is designed to start a flame war and boost site hits. Since Linux offers the most freedom it’s the least stable? And OS X is the most stable because it offers the least freedom? Idealogical decisions play very little part in the choosing of an operating system. A lot of people use Windows because they don’t know there’s an alternative, or they are happy with it. Many of us use Mac’s because we prefer the way Mac OS works, not because of some idealogical statement. Read more…

iPhone Linux

November 29, 2008 3 comments

News broke yesterday that iPhone Dev Team member planetbeing has succeeded in booting a Linux 2.6 kernel on the iPhone. A lot of the required drivers are still not available so this is not a replacement for the iPhone OS, but it is the first step on the path to a working Linux on iPhone or iPod Touch hardware.

Categories: iPhone, iPod, linux Tags: , , ,

OpenOffice.org release 3 available now

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

The big push doesn’t start until Monday, but the third release of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available from mirror servers. I grabbed the Mac version (with native Aqua interface) from the UK mirror server a short time ago but there is a long list of worldwide mirror servers at the distribution.openoffice.org site.

I had a quick play with the suite this morning and so far I’m impressed. The Writer component managed to import my CV (resume) with no problems. It’s a Word document with lots of fancy tables so the software coped well to keep all the elements where they should be. The interface looks a little dated with white toolbars, but for a free office suite the Mac version of OOo 3.0 looks like a highly usable bargain. Also available for Linux, Solaris and Windows, read on for a screenshot gallery. Read more…

Alternative operating systems

September 28, 2008 Leave a comment

While Windows is the dominant operating system in use today and Mac OS X is constantly gaining market share, there are many other options when it comes to picking an OS. Linux is the obvious choice with very good hardware support and masses of easily installed software packages. The initial obstacle for me is always which distribution to choose. Techradar have a good basic guide to what they consider the best 14 distributions for a range of user levels.

My biggest problem with linux is that while there have been massive improvements in ease of installation and setup there are some basic things that don’t just work. I have searched for a long time for an easy way of setting up a Microsoft multi-button mouse. It can be done by editing an xorg.conf file, but this is 2008 so why do we have to resort to this to get a popular piece of hardware working? I have yet to find a package that configures the mouse for you.

Another problem I had was getting games to work under Linux, specifically the audio part. The OS was Fedora which had switched to the newer Pulse Audio system and the games didn’t want to work with this. I know there are workarounds to fix these problems, but again it’s editing config files. Getting audio working on my hackintosh was easier than this, I just dropped a couple of modified kernel extensions onto KextHelper and rebooted. Here’s an article detailing the various sound API’s available.

Moving away from LInux there are lots of smaller operating systems that while not quite ready for widespread use are looking very interesting. Royal Pingdom has the details on ten of the most promising. Amiga OS 4.1 is one of the options I wish had more widespread use, but unfortunately the hardware to run it is neither cheap nor widely available. React OS is aimed at providing a Windows compatible operating system for free, and the others all have a unique focus. Well worth a read.

firefox 3 now available

June 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Firefox 3 was due to hit the download sites at 6pm UK time but it’s just appeared at mozilla.com. Download the version for your OS here or choose an OS and language here. Spreadfirefox.com appears to be down at the moment, so hopefully this won’t interfere with the world record attempt.

VMware Fusion 2.0 Beta 1

A while back I compared the three biggest Virtualisation products for the Mac. Parallels, VMware Fusion and VirtualBox are all impressive products that performed equally, and I used the free Virtualbox for my occasional Windows needs. Parallels was part of the recent MacUpdate bundle which I bought, so I’ve been using that most recently. It’s been running well and seems more responsive than the previous versions I tried.

The reason for this recap is that VMware Fusion 2 beta 1 has been released, and adds some interesting new features. Multi display support will please some users, even if support for eight monitors is very niche. Importing Parallels and Virtual PC machines is a useful if late addition. DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2 is perhaps the most interesting, and I’m wondering how well this will work on my hackintosh. Perhaps the biggest improvement is that version 2 allows any printer attached to your Mac to be used direct from Windows without installing drivers.

Also new is an updated version 1.6 of Virtualbox. It’s now out of beta, although there are a few things still not supported:

Currently, we are aware of the following restrictions:
•    No support for Host Interface Networking
•    No support for Internal Networking
•    No support for audio input
•    No support for VT-x/AMD-V (rarely required)
•    No support for raw disk access
•    The numlock emulation isn’t implemented yet
•    The VirtualBox kernel extension is currently accessible from all user accounts
Note that we are planning to address all known issues.

Things are certainly moving on in the Mac virtualisation market, so I’ll be trying all three products again this week with some updated results to follow.

Multi OS comparison by opinions

April 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Not quite as objective as my recent comparison of Linux/Mac OS/XP/Vista, Computerworld has a piece titled ‘OS Smackdown: Linux vs. Mac OS X vs. Windows Vista vs. Windows XP’. There’s no numbers involved, just the opinions of four computer journalists. It’s an interesting read if only for the way some of the writers manipulate or ignore the facts about the other operating systems.

Leopard vs XP vs Vista vs Linux part 1

Leopard vs XP vs Vista vs Linux part 2

Leopard vs XP vs Vista vs Linux part 2

March 25, 2008 Leave a comment

operating systems challengeIn part 1 I looked at results from Geekbench, Photoshop and VLC to see how much of an impact the operating system has on application speed. For part 2 I used two more cross platform test, the first person shooter Doom 3 and 3D modeller and renderer Blender. Read more…

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