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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 02-19-2016, 02:06 PM   #1
Mark_S
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Old mac or old PC, which is better as a linux server?


I've started taking a networking class at the local community college, (second week) it's cisco based with packet tracer simulations but there will be labs coming up where they let us play with hardware. I'd like to do a home project to parallel the course using linux and some old equipment. Its something I've been thinking of doing for a long time anyway and I think it would give me some extra experience.
I have a ton of old record albums that I've been putting into the computer using a usb turntable and running the files through Audacity, everything from Ed Sullivan presents Roberta to Eartha Kitt's album Bad But Beautiful, and I've also got a lot of family videos going back to the early 1990s. I'd like to put them on a lan so that they can be accessed with any of the pc or macs in the house or even our smartphones. For equipment I have a linksys wireless router (wrt54G), a Dell precision 670 and an g3 iMac. My question is which would do a better job handling the linux server, the dell or the mac?
 
Old 02-19-2016, 02:24 PM   #2
Timothy Miller
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Either would be fine, but the Dell will give you FAR more options since only some distro's support PPC architecture, while just about all of them support x86.
 
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:24 PM   #3
thesnow
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Given the age of the iMac, the PPC platform, and that it only supports max of 512MB RAM, I'd go with the Dell.

I tried running Linux on a (much newer) PPC Mac and it was pretty buggy.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 05:32 PM   #4
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I'd agree with the above two posts. We may need to know a bit more about this dell just to be sure it meets minimum specs.
 
Old 02-19-2016, 06:12 PM   #5
Mark_S
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I had a feeling the dell would be the better choice, but someday I hope to find a use for that old iMac besides having it be a dust collector. I ran linux mint on the dell using a cd, tommorrow if I have time I'll install it fully onto the hard drive and move on from there.
 
Old 02-20-2016, 11:53 AM   #6
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I think you made the right choice with the PC, especially if you're using it in conjunction with a course. But you can certainly have fun with the iMac: play safe with Linux (Lubuntu or even Gentoo, if you're feeling adventurous) or be really adventurous with a BSD version.
 
Old 02-23-2016, 08:10 AM   #7
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I may be incorrectly reading between the lines, but I know GNS3 will run on x86, and it's not a problem at all to "back up" the Cisco operating system to a TFTP server, if you get my droid.

So much the better if you can get both. You can never have too many electronic playthings (experimental hardware)
 
Old 02-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #8
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I've run into a slight hiccup on this, once I dusted the machine off (inside and out) and started it the windows wouldn't boot up. I was going to keep it in a small partition (I hate to throw anything away) and put mint on a larger one but should I make sure the windows boots up ok first or does it matter at all? I had planned to use external drives for the files.
 
Old 02-23-2016, 11:37 AM   #9
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If the Windows has had some sort of mishap, that's not so bad, but if the HD is dead you've obviously got problems! Have you run the Mint live disk? You could use that to check and repair the Windows filing system with fsck or to check the disk with smartctl.
 
Old 02-23-2016, 11:44 AM   #10
Timothy Miller
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I'd assume the Windows is XP? Don't worry with it, at this point it's just a security issue waiting to happen.
 
Old 02-23-2016, 05:13 PM   #11
Mark_S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
If the Windows has had some sort of mishap, that's not so bad, but if the HD is dead you've obviously got problems! Have you run the Mint live disk? You could use that to check and repair the Windows filing system with fsck or to check the disk with smartctl.
I figure to do that this weekend. Last time I started the computer there was no problem so I think it's a windows problem. If it turns out to be a real hd problem I'll put in a new hard drive and save the other one for when I get to the computer forensics class next year. It'll be good practice.
 
Old 02-23-2016, 05:57 PM   #12
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If the machine will boot to a usb flash then you might put linux on it.

If it has xp then you might be looking at one of the minimal resource distro's.
 
Old 02-26-2016, 03:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_S View Post
Last time I started the computer there was no problem so I think it's a windows problem.
I don't know if I'd jump to that conclusion, especially if it's been a while since you've used it and had to "dust it off." Have you tried starting Windows in safe mode?
As Timothy Miller pointed out, I don't think I'd want to run an old install of Win XP if that's what you have. Maybe I would run it without net access if I absolutely needed it. More likely, I would run it in a VM with limited net access if I didn't need a lot of GPU performance in Windows.

Regardless of the state of your Windows install, I'd suggest booting a live Linux USB/CD and looking at the SMART info of the hard disk, if it supports SMART. You may have to install smartmontools package or something like that and then use smartctl utility (read the man page for more advanced options ):
Code:
(sudo) smartctl -a /dev/sdb  # or whatever /dev/sd path your hard disk is
Quote:
If it turns out to be a real hd problem I'll put in a new hard drive and save the other one for when I get to the computer forensics class next year. It'll be good practice.
Spare hard disks are awesome!
 
  


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