Laysan

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Laysan is my current desktop computer.

I originally intended to build a server, then it got turned into my desktop instead. The server ended up being built later. See Dart.

Virtual machines are now how I do things. It's EASIER, whether it's Vagrant for testing and development (here on Laysan and on Plover) or just day-to-day work on VirtualBox on Linux or Parallels.

On Laysan, I run Ubuntu on an SSD. Then in virtual machines I install whatever I need to get the job done - Debian or Windows or whatever. The "hypervisor" stays relatively untouched, just the basics of a desktop are installed in the host operating system. All the real work on Laysan now takes place in VMs.

With Linux I set up machines as needed with Vagrant and then throw them away when I am done with them. With Windows I keep the configuration in VirtualBox because it stays around permanently.

For a couple years I had Windows 8.1 installed on a separate hard drive; at one point I intended to have ArcGIS installed there and during the big move back to California ended up using my Mac Plover as my ArcGIS workstation. That worked so well that it continues to stick that way. The Windows 8.1 drive is useless to me. I wonder if I can suck it into a virtual machine. No motivation to do that right now.

Hardware

Motherboard: ASUS P8B-M LGA 1155 Intel C204 Micro ATX Server Motherboard

CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 Sandy Bridge 3.2GHz LGA 1155 80W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80623E31230

RAM: 8GB x 2 Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model KVR1333D3E9SK2/8G

Drives:

  • /dev/sda Samsung 840 Evo 750GB ended up here when Stellar died on me. Life is too short to keep VMs on spinning media.
  • /dev/sdb Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
  • /dev/sdb Data storage on a 2 TB WDC Caviar Black (SATA 2) WD2001FASS-0 SerialNo=WD-WMAY00310595

DVD burner: TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-222BB

Video: PNY VCQ2000D-PB Quadro 2000D 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 Workstation Video Card I wanted a workstation video card, as I want to do some OpenGL programming, and I work with ArcGIS software. This is the only component in this build that I would change; I would get a high end gaming board instead of a low end workstation board.

Monitor: Acer 23" and Starlogic 15"

Keyboard: IBM PS/2 Model M SpaceSaver (built in 1987) and Apple Bluetooth Keyboard Yes, 2 keyboards... one keyboard for BIOS and one for every day.

Audio: This motherboard has no integrated audio so I use a NuForce UDAC 2 and a pair of Yamaha powered speakers.

Other: bT878 video capture card, an Osprey 210, see Digital Video.

Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Black Micro ATX Silent PC Computer Case w/ USB 3.0 support and 2 x 120mm Fractal Design Silent Fans

Power supply: SeaSonic S12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Software

Operating system

2016-Nov-09 About a month ago I installed Debian on a 120GB SSD and moved the 750 into an enclosure; for some reason the UDAC2 stopped working. So I installed Ubuntu, and ta-da! UDAC2 works. I could not figure out which version of VirtualBox to use with Linux Mint 18, so I picked Ubuntu as it is well supported.

2016-Jan-19 Installed Debian 8.2 on the 750GB SSD. I also had to repartition the SSD to remove the Macintosh GPT partitioning. I booted in rescue mode then used "mktable" command in parted. I wrote an msdos mode table to the drive, rebooted and reinstalled. (grrr!) GPT has been a pain. Might be "better" on a Mac but does not work for me as a Linux boot drive. I think it's because I have not changed to using UEFI yet on Laysan.

2015-Mar-14 Upgraded from Ubuntu 13.04 to Xubuntu 14.10, then added Cinnamon. I keep trying it but I still hate Unity.

2014-Apr-26 Installed Windows 8.1 on Samsung drive. Hmmm, if I run Linux I can use a linux fs on the Black drive but if I boot into Windows, I can't.

2013-Sep-10 Installed Ubuntu Raring 13.04 MY OH MY UNITY IS STILL AWFUL

up to Sept 9, it was Linux Mint 15, an excellent choice

Operating system is split between a 256GB SSD and a 2TB HD. I had a RAID 0 setup with 2 SSD's but the (considerable) speed bump was not worth the pain to configure and maintain it.

Changes for SSD

The SSDs I have been buying lately seem to be pretty solid. I trust them more and am no longer afraid they will wear out before I upgrade them as prices continue to plummet.

I still do a few tweaks that are not automatically done at install time to optimize the fact that I have the operating system installed on an SSD and that I have a lot of RAM.

On RAM fs are /tmp, /var/tmp, /var/run, /var/lock

Since the system has 16GB of RAM I am not worried about swap space. I left it on the SSD in a 32 GB swap partition. I don't anticipate it will get used much (thus wearing out the SSD) but when/if it does kick in I want it to be as FAST possible. (I used to put a swapfile on the spinning hard drive. That was a bad idea.)

echo vm.swappiness = 0 > /etc/sysctl.d/swappiness.conf

At the end of /etc/fstab

# Move things to RAM DISK for speed
tmpfs /tmp     tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0 
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0

NVIDIA driver

Unfortunately it does not work in Makerbot Desktop. I have to run Makerbot software in a VM now.

The Nvidia driver has always a problem for me. Choices are: repositories or Nvidia web site. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INSTALL DRIVER FROM Nvidia site. Instead follow instructions found here to get a version that is newer. A couple years ago I tried the NVIDIA version (from nvidia.com). Cinnamon crashed. The monitor resolution for the 15" LCD was forced to 640x480. I could not force in the correct resolution.

For Debian Jessie -- https://wiki.debian.org/Multiarch/HOWTO

For Ubuntu -- http://ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/2014/12/install-nvidia-340-65-ubuntu-1504/

add-apt-repository -y ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
apt-get update
apt-cache search nvidia-
apt-get install nvidia-367

and then reboot.

I did 'apt-cache search nvidia-' to find the versions available to install and just picked the highest number.

Printer driver

The Brother is set up on Bellman with a raw queue, so I need to install the Brother PPD file on Laysan. Download the Cupswrapper DEB file from Brother. http://support.brother.com/g/b/downloadhowto.aspx?c=us&lang=en&prod=hll2320d_us_as&os=128&dlid=dlf101909_000&flang=4&type3=561

Install it.

cd Downloads
sudo dpkg --install hll2320dcupswrapper-3.2.0-1.i386.deb

In printer control panel delete the local printer you just created, it's useless. Then add a network printer. It should be visible in Network Printers as "bellman RAW queue" or some such. Use the driver you just installed. It will appear in Brother list now.

Packages

wget -q https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian yakkety contrib" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/virtualbox.list
apt-get update
apt-get install -y emacs git subversion \
 qgis gpsbabel-gui \
 vagrant virtualbox-5.1 dkms \
 openscad \
 openjdk-9-jdk \
 owncloud-client \
 vlc openssh-server

Cinnamon

I had to adjust the Cinnamon theme settings to get it to look right, and I type in the command cinnamon-settings to get at System Settings for Cinnamon. I added a theme by unzipping it in ~/.themes. I am using Elune. I selected the Humanity (Ubuntu) icons.

Extras

These can't be installed from the Debian packages.