LJ Archive

On the Web

Make the Most of Your Summer

Heather Mead

Issue #112, August 2003

There won't be a decent thing on TV until the fall season starts, and probably not even then. So take on a project.

The sun is out, the temperature is steadily rising, pale legs find themselves thrust into the glare of day and multiplexes are showing 12 screens' worth of sequels—must be summer. Remember being a kid, when summer meant doing things you never had the time to do when school was in session? These days, few of us have the luxury of summers off, but that doesn't mean we can't do something adventurous this August. So stop mourning Buffy, quit complaining about Reloaded and do something you've wanted to do but didn't have the time for: build your own workstation, put a Linux installation on your laptop that actually works, transform a spare computer into a server. And to help you with these projects, the Linux Journal web site offers the following articles and tutorials.

First off, if you've been following Jay Docherty's Linux on the laptop series, he wrapped it up with “Polishing Your Linux Laptop Setup” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6891). This article discusses how to go wireless, how to install ALSA sound support and how to set up the ACPI power management component. Jay admits “ACPI can be a beast to set up”, but it can reduce the clock speed when the laptop is idle to increase battery life and control the system's fans for thermal protection. All in all, if you're wanting to put Linux on your laptop, Jay's complete series is worth a read.

In “High Availability Linux with Software RAID” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6412), Micah Silverman describes how he recycled a system to create an HA server. He explains how to use “software RAID Level 5 under a fresh installation of Red Hat 8.0” and how to test the fault tolerance of the RAID. Before going live with this setup, Micah built a testbed by using VMware “to set up a Linux virtual machine with six 9GB SCSI drives...on a machine with only one real physical IDE drive”.

If you've been wanting to build your dream Linux machine, you might want to check out Glenn Stone's weekly articles about the components he's thinking of including in this year's Ultimate Linux Box. “Getting Serial: the Ultimate Linux Box S-ATA Disk Subsystem” (www.linuxjournal.com/article/6902) weighs the benefits of using serial ATA drivers against their higher cost compared to traditional ATA controllers. Specifically, Glenn discusses the performance of 3ware's 8500-4 serial ATA card. When used in our testbed machine, Glenn found that serial ATA offers “some fairly serious bang” for not too many more bucks. Glenn has also been thinking about what sort of video card the “Ultimate” machine should have (“Some Graphic Remarks: VGA for the Ultimate Linux Box”, www.linuxjournal.com/article/6922). To that end, ATI's new Fire GL X1 workstation card may be just the card to get us closer to the dream. This card has dual DVI-I digital/analog outputs that each have a DVI-to-VGA adapter, so you can use a standard monitor instead of a digital one.

These are only a few of the projects you can take on with the help of the Linux Journal web site. Search the site for other ideas; new projects are posted every week. If you'd like to share your own project, send the proposal to info@linuxjournal.com.

Heather Mead is senior editor of Linux Journal.

LJ Archive