Friday, December 26, 2008

Intrepid Ibex and virtualization

I always wanted to do virtualization on my development workstation. There are some software that doesn't get along with one another, PHP5 and 4, apache 1 and 2. The list goes on. I also wanted the fact that I can upgrade my desktop w/o fearing to break things like Oracle libraries suddenly breaks because my distro decided to change libc.

It was a bit hard last year to make it work and let alone all the hardware of 6910p to work. I tried to use vserver and kvm, it was too hard to make a custom kernel to make everything work. I didn't try Xen as its an overkill for my needs, vserver is just fine for my needs. Also I think due to Xen design and objective it simply will not support suspend and resume on a laptop. vserver isn't even really a virtualization more like jail or chroot. This time I am trying again as Intrepid server comes with kvm as its virtualization choice. When I tried kvm last year it was the best candidate for me, however whenever I forget to stop a guest machine then I suspend the laptop I will get a hard lock. This time I am trying kvm which part of Ubuntu Interpid server edition, I am running Intrepid desktop and all I had to was to install the following packages.

apt-get install ubuntu-virt-server
apt-get install kvm libvirt-bin

I was too lazy to do things by hand, I gave the gui a shot. It was pleasantly surprising easy to install and run.

apt-get install virt-manager virt-viewer

It works! its not VMware easy but it close enough. Good enough for me that it does not get in the way and I can start putting my different projects in their own virtual space. I can even suspend and resume the laptop even if I forget the virtual guest machines are still running. Now I am shifting my projects that has similar virtual machines, like java-devel, rails-devel, etc. I am using Ubuntu JeOS as my guest OS, which is pretty good.

Acer Aspire 4315 on Ubuntu 8.10 / Intrepid Ibex

I did an upgrade for the Acer 4315 from Hardy to Intrepid. There where a couple of issues, its similar to Hardy that I had to install the madwifi-ng driver for the Atheros wireless card to run. Its a bit easier now as they are now included on the backports.

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

Add ath5k on /etc/modules, reboot.

Then you need to switch the drivers on System->Administration->Hardware Drivers. Deactive the current default driver (Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards) and activate the 5xxx series of Atheros 802.11 wireless LAN cards.

I also encountered a new problem in Skype. It seems my Logitech S 5500 mic is very choppy, the mic is connected via USB. I didn't have time to fix it, so I just activated the mic of the laptop which works with Intrepid. This is likely a software problem, as the S 5500 works fine with the HP 6910p on Intrepid.

HP 6910p on Ubuntu 8.10 / Intrepid Ibex

My HP 6910p is still running after 1 year. Hardware is still fine, I did a clean install of Intrepid a few days ago. So far its alright, the only problem I encountered was with wireless. Kinda weird that Hardy worked just fine, however it is a known issue and is clearly stated on Intrepid release notes. I had to add backports and then install the backported modules.

sudo apt-get install linux-backports-modules-intrepid

Since I also liked the radeonhd, works great with the HP docking station. I also installed it.

apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-radeonhd

Aside from that everything is still alright. I also noticed that suspend and resume works faster. The harddisk aggressive power management seems to have been taken cared of with Intrepid. I will be observing the load cycle times for the next few days.