It’s October…

October…
When the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
Do I care?
October…
When kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
–U2

I didn’t do a whole lot this weekend. I laid around a lot, I did some dishes, and Saturday night I went out with some friends. More on that later. I can’t tell the story properly right now.

Linux as a diagnostic. I remain convinced that compiling Linux is the best system-wide diagnostic in existance. Case point: I lost a drive in a Windows 2000 box a while back. I gave up on trying to get the data back; all I cared about was my Baseball Mogul stats, but I started another game, built up another dynasty, so I don’t care about it anymore. I reformatted the drive and put Sorcerer Linux on it. First things first, an all-SCSI Linux box with a fast CPU really rocks. The most time-consuming part of the boot time is bringing up the SCSI interface. That takes about 15 seconds. The rest of the process is literally instantaneous.

Well, there’s no point in having a great system without recompiling everything specifically for it to take maximum advantage of it, right? So I started recompiling. The controversial 2.4.10 kernel came down and compiled without a hitch, and yes, the system does run very nicely with it. The simpler packages that provide most of the standard Unix utilities came down and compiled quickly and easily. Then when it came time to recompile the monstrosity that is glibc (the key library of any Unix system, and it’s a 16-meg bzipped tarball–this thing’s huge), the system’s weaknesses showed up. The drive failed again. I got sector errors and the system crashed hard. I reset and tried again. It came back up, Reiserfs quickly fixed everything, and it looked good, so I recompiled. This time, I reached the end of the compile process, but when it came time to copy the files into place, files that are there stopped being there. The drive failed again.

So, I’ve either got a heat problem or a power problem. The drive’s kinda crammed in a spot where it doesn’t get much airflow, and I’ve got a PCP&C power supply, so I suspect it’s a heat problem.

Nothing stress-tests PC components like compiling an entire operating system. Besides, even under regular use Linux tends to push hardware harder than Windows, even Windows 2000, but I see that as a good thing. I paid for the hardware, so I want my OS to squeeze it for every ounce it’s worth.

5 thoughts on “It’s October…

  • October 1, 2001 at 7:41 am
    Permalink

    Heat or power – probably; but let us not forget the controller as a possible source of error, and even the cable between the two, or connections – including the slot in which the controller sits. Remember Jerry Pournelle’s rule that 90% of SCSI problems are cables. You’re probably right – things with moving parts DO tend to either break down, or generate frictional heat. However, contacts can subtly corrode over time, and that increases resistance, and that increases heat, and that can make them more susceptible to other heat. I’ve also heard of high-speed PC internal cables generating their own interference with their own signals if they’re doubled back on themselves.

  • October 1, 2001 at 2:39 pm
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    You don’t mention what type of SCSI drive you got. Is it one of those fast spinning screamers? If so then heat is bound to be a problem especially if the drive is of an older version (later versions of the screamers are better at keeping heat in check).

  • October 1, 2001 at 6:14 pm
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    It’s a Seagate Medalist Pro, 7200 rpm, a couple of years old–the model that was notorious for heat. It’s not a screamer at all by today’s standards but it has all the heat associated with the modern screamers.

    I’ve never had a problem with the cable or card I used before (the cable’s pretty new–only used once before I believe–and the card, a venerable Adaptec 2940, has always been rock-solid for me).

    I do find it interesting that it causes a lot less damage when the drive fails in Linux than in Windows…

  • October 2, 2001 at 2:02 am
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    Tried spinrite on it yet?

    ………Curtis

  • October 3, 2001 at 8:08 pm
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    I’m no computer expert, but, logically speaking, if something is squeezed too hard, it eventually busts.

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