Update 20100501 – SL54 on AA1, Etc.

I’m going to try to post something this weekend I’ve been working on for a couple weeks now. It’s somewhat related to some of the stuff I posted earlier this week about a certain site’s review of a certain distro, but different. It’s ironic in a way because I’ve been re-evaluating my hardware and operating systems again (I’ve actually had time for that the past couple weeks) and have been investigating a few things. That included my own posts last weekend about Scientific Linux on my Aspire One see if there was a chance that a more stable approach to things (specifically ath5k timeouts) might mean I can again run Linux on my netbook.

I installed SL54 live (Gnome) last night on my Aspire One. It went on a smaller partition I’d set aside for {Tiny,Micro}Core, which I’d pretty much stopped booting into on the Aspire One since I was plagued by ath5k timeouts. I had no issues last weekend during my various tests, which included leaving the thing running for lengthy periods of time (previous experience indicated timeouts would occur within six hours), bombarding it with traffic including HD streams (which it handled well even running off USB), and testing how proximity to various routers would affect wifi performance. The only thing holding me back was awaiting a road map for release of SL 5.5; I decided to not wait. The pending release of RHEL (and CentOS and SL and so on) 6 plays no role in my decision — I’ve downloaded the public beta and may install it on something, but probably not the netbook (I have an uneasy feeling about the changes to the networking stack between 5 and 6 given all the trouble I’ve had with more recent kernel versions). The fact that SL 5 will benefit from updates until at least 2012 means I don’t have to worry about updating to a major release just for the hell of it.

The installation went smoothly. I already had appropriate partitions set up (the live CD installs on one partition, so others can be added manually later) so it was a matter of letting the installer do its work. It correctly installed GRUB (I was going to not install it since it was already installed but I had no intention of using TinyCore on the AA1 so it seemed more logical to let SL control GRUB and menu.lst since it would change with updated kernels, etc.); I was impressed that the installer running off USB allowed me to choose which drive GRUB would be installed (unlike other installers which only installed to sda even if that was the USB stick due to boot order). Then I set up my user account (and deleted the default sluser account and group), added myself to wheel and added that group to sudoers via visudo, and updated the system. I recall over fifty updates. Then I adjusted services and applications to suit my needs.

I still have some work to do with it yet, and I still have to decide if I’m adding a separate /home partition. It’s there if I want or need it, but it’s currently being used as an encrypted partition under Windows. For the time being I won’t need to worry about storage because I’ll be using it to shell in to other computers hosting my files (that also mitigates any need to edit a 21.x-compatible .emacs or compile the latest stable release since I can shell in and use what I have on another machine). And browsing, etc.

More soon. Maybe. I have some work plus some other things to take care of this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get to finish that post I mentioned above.

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