Linux Hardware Compatibility

I have yet to find a reliable source for learning whether a motherboard or other piece of hardware is going to work in Linux. There are some sites and forums out there that have bits and pieces, but I have not found a reliable, up-to-date, and complete source for the latest hardware. Especially since there are so many viable distros – each with their own level of compatibility.

If anyone knows of a site that I haven’t found yet, please shoot me an e-mail to my first name at


From the article:

Ext3 tops out at 32 tebibyte (TiB) file systems and 2 TiB files, but practical limits may be lower than this depending on your architecture and system settings—perhaps as low as 2 TiB file systems and 16 gibibyte (GiB) files. Ext4, by contrast, permits file systems of up to 1024 pebibyte (PiB), or 1 exbibyte (EiB), and files of up to 16 TiB. This may not be important (yet!) for the average desktop computer or server, but it is important to users with large disk arrays.


The single most dramatic improvement in ext4 is in file and file system size. Thus, the users who are most likely to need ext4 are those who have more than a few terabytes of disk space. The list of features in Table 1, though, may present some other tempting improvements. For instance, you might want to try ext4 if you have directories with huge numbers of subdirectories or if you need timestamps accurate to less than a second.

Very nice. I’m sure we’ll be concerned about 2 TiB files soon enough…

Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)

I know I’m a little late to the party in terms of installing Kubuntu 7.10. However, I finally installed it on my Dell 600m this weekend. It worked out of the box with absolutely no tinkering which was a pleasant surprise. Kubuntu is surprisingly polished and I’m pretty impressed so far.

After updating all of the packages and rebooting, I found myself with a non-functional wireless card. Having had this happen in the past, I knew where to look. The firmware was deleted from the system when the new kernel was installed and the firmware needed to be downloaded.

To get the wireless card working again, I did the following (procedure modified for use with Kubuntu from How to enable Wireless Lan on [wifi] FC-6):

1. Download ipw2200-fw-3.0.tgz from Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200BG Driver Firmware.

2. Unarchive ipw2200-fw-3.0.tgz.

3. Move all .fw files to /lib/firmware/2.6.22-14-386 (the exact directory may vary depending on your kernel version).

3. /sbin/modprobe -r ipw2200

4. /sbin/modprobe ipw2200

Your wireless card should be working again. Enjoy.

CentOS 5 and RHEL 5

CentOS 5 was finally released this week after RHEL 5 was released earlier this month. I did an install on a spare server to play around with it, and so far so good. I may post a more in depth review after I’ve logged some more time playing around.

I just read an article in eWeek titled Red Hat should lighten up.

I think Red Hat’s current policy of requiring subscriptions for access to RHEL is flawed. CentOS has a huge userbase which could contribute more directly to the development and community around RHEL if Red Hat opened up RHEL to users who don’t need support.

I understand that there are definite costs to having mirrors for all of the users. Many companies have stepped up and offered mirrors, and I think they would have no problem continuing to do so if Red Hat opened RHEL.

Since CentOS currently has a 2-3 day lead time to download the new source RPMS and compile them for the OS’s after they are released, why not do the same for the free version of RHEL? Add that as another advantage to buying a subscription — priority updates.

If there were a free version of RHEL, it could also change Oracle’s plans on Unbreakable Linux, which like CentOS, is just another rebadged RHEL.

I think that what bugs me the most is that there’s so much wasted productivity in the rebadging/recompiling/etc that could be better utilized in the further development of the OS.

I do understand Red Hat’s position on RHEL. I do see potential downsides to opening it up — the main one being that some users that now pay for subscriptions might switch to the free version. However, I think the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

RHEL 5 out today

Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5, at long last, was released today. This release is based roughly on Fedora Core 6, which is a huge update from RHEL v4 (which was based off of FC3). I look forward to installing CentOS 5 when it is released in about two weeks.

One other thing worth noting — The Fedora Project recently started Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) which looks to add a new repository for RHEL/CentOS/etc users who are looking for packages that are not included with RHEL but are available in Fedora. This will bridge a gap between Fedora and RHEL.

Good job, Red Hat!

Problem with CentOS 4.3 Fresh Install

I was working on a fresh install of CentOS 4.3 and the box was being incredibly sluggish. For a machine with 1 GB of RAM, I realized that the system was using 200 MB of RAM, and 100 MB of swap space for no apparent reason immediately after boot. I couldn’t understand why this was happening until I figured out that there are some problems with kernel that is included with the default CentOS 4.3 install. So, I downloaded kernel-smp-2.6.9-39.0.2.EL.i686.rpm from the CentOS testing archives, ran rpm -Uvh, and rebooted. This solved the problem. It took many hours of frustration to figure that out, so I hope this post saves someone the trouble.

LinuxCOE / Instalinux

LinuxCOE is a “Common Operating Environment” developed as an open source project by Hewlett Packard over on SourceForge. The great thing about it is what I saw over at PCLinuxOnlinea new way to install Linux without having to click through the install screens. The article links over to Instalinux which gives you the option of creating an ISO for Fedora, Debian, SuSE, or Ubuntu with your customized options that can be in the 30 MB range. This could be very useful if you work in an environment where you duplicate machines all the time. Also, if you have a non-technical person on the other end of the phone, putting a CD into the computer and rebooting is a lot easier than trying to walk them through how to partition their hard drive and which packages to select.

Instalinux is a great step forward. Kudos to HP for supporting this project, and to the Instalinux folks for putting up the site.


Thought I’d update everyone on Ubuntu. I found the Preview Release to be lacking (probably mostly because of my hardware), so it made it less than 24 hours on my system. It had its bright spots, and was way better than anything Debian-based I’ve ever seen before. I’ll have to give the full release a try once I get a free minute.

I’m running SUSE 9.2 again, although I think 9.3 may be available shortly, and I’m definitely going to install 9.3 as soon as I get ahold of a copy of it.

Sorry for not posting lately. I’ve been really lazy. I’m thinking of moving the site over to WordPress, because I’ve been playing with it and it looks good so far.

Have a great day everyone, and hopefully I’ll post again sooner than a month from now.

Ubuntu Linux

Well, after a recommendation from Chris, I downloaded the Live CD version of Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog) Preview. I booted into Gnome, and everything worked. Very impressive.

I’m downloading the full install now. Thanks for the recommendation Chris, and I’ll let everyone know how the installation goes. Goodbye to CentOS!