Tue, 19 Oct 2004

Serial Consoles (and other stuff)

Well, I'm sure we've all done this before, but I'll blog about it anyway, because I'm different, dammit. I did go one step further though.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been productive at home, for the first time in a long while... I'm not sure what prompted it, but I think it has something to do with the fact I had to move my office and radio shack downstairs, to the cold room, next to the garage (where the rack of servers happens to be). This was prompted because the S.O. required the room I was using, since she wanted to create a spare bedroom/Her Space area. This is all fine, except that I had a lot of really heavy stuff in there, including two big desks, a filing cabinet, and an HF radio station.

Anyway, moved all this stuff, and started setting up the new room the way I wanted it, which meant running a new CAT5 cable, and getting antenna feed lines sorted out... (unfortunately, I'm going to be without a decent HF antenna until I can work out the best way to put one up in the new location...)

Through all this, I scavenged the 33.6k modem out of my old desktop, and lugged the machine half built as a firewall replacement down to the new office - these things prompted me to put them to use... Now the 33.6k is in my 'network' server (dns, dhcp, etc), being used as a modem with sendpage, so I can feed myself pager messages through the telco's TAP number. Pretty neat. I rummaged around and found the 40G drive that I couldn't decide what to do with, and stuck that in the mail/web server to use as a file store - it's now also a file server. Finished building the replacement firewall, and put it in production. (much better as a full woody, with a faster CPU, rather than that old 486dx40 with too little ram, and a really old insecure kernel).

The room was previously being used as storage of my collected hardware, so that stuff is now out in the garage... must get some shelving for them... Anyway, the cupboard in the room was also being used for storage, so I decided to pull out the two PowerMac 7200's, and putting the contents together as one system with a larger amount of RAM, and two HDD's. Installed this, and discovered that quik is pretty cool... no MacOS needed there. Inside these things is like a damned faraday cage, so the new machine got christened as faraday. (This now makes my home network have 5 out of the supported 11 architectures of woody.. i386, hppa, alpha, sparc, powerpc. - just need to get that mipsel box going now..)

Anyway, after doing all this, I decided I should get all these systems some upgraded, and packaged kernels... so after installing grub, and installing the respective kernels, they're all up to date. (and the root fs on the firewall is too small, so I had to purge the running kernel to get the new one on - I hate rebooting systems like this...)

Now, because I have a Stallion EasyServer II in the rack, with serial cables to everything in there, I decided to get all of these servers going with serial consoles.... a fiddle here, a tweak there, and a few reboots later, I can see each machine boot in a telnet window from my laptop upstairs...

Oh, and to top it all off, I decided to run a longer CAT5 serial cable up to the lounge, and have a DEC VT520 terminal there - great for nload on the firewall!

[22:42] [/Hacking] [permanent link]