Why I adpoted Debian.

Here you can discuss every aspect of Debian. Note: not for support requests!

Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-06-20 05:01

Tekmon_Xonic wrote:It would be nice to have my home folder on a separate partition, in the even of total destruction. That way, everything will be right where I left it. :)

The single most important thing for any GNU/Linux user to have is a working backup strategy: then you won't have to keep re-installing ;)
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby Tekmon_Xonic » 2018-06-20 08:08

@ Head_on_a_Stick

Agreed! Having a backup plan will mean I'll be prepared for any situation gone south. I think On my next installation, I'll learn how to setup different partitions. 8)
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby CwF » 2018-06-20 17:09

For my newguy #2 post, this is where. I adopted Debian for the same reason, an XP replacement, but it didn't end up that way. I started on 8.1 and I did break it within a week. I started over and went through Xubuntu for months as I learned KVM. On that install I had learned enough to fix that broken 8.1. That eventually kicked out Xubuntu and is now ~9.3. I built a very capable 5600 Xeon, now a faster E5 and Debian is now a host for many Debian VM's and 2 XP VM's. With passed hardware it really is beyond bare metal capabilities in many ways. The mothership machine has two heads for the host and VM's and two heads passed to XP Pro. All unified nicely.

I ultimately went Debian since it did seem to be a foundational distro. I don't like chasing things more than I have to. After exploring many distros and too many programs I've stopped trying to replace anything XP does well with a Linux equivalent. So my XP's do nearly everything that can be done offline. For the most part VM's do everything online, namely stripped Debians with Firefox. I've stopped looking for the perfect browser too. I do have a few experimental Debian VM to look at new software and one that runs liferea and handbrake. Overall, in this role debian has been exceptionally stable, and is better the simpler I keep it.

I maintain my own local pool and let nothing update. I see no advantage to rolling breakage. I'm lucky to have many computers, so I only update the mothership every 6 months or so. With a bare metal current state and also vm's in various stages it's easier to track issues. I found qemu-img to be a perfect way to back up. I keep OS images small and tidy, use full disk encrypted LVM for hypervisor images and single partition OS images for VM. I use a few qcow layers and refresh the top layer as needed, and redo the backing files when worth it.

For a user like me Debian is perfect. Well vetted packages in the repositories that are a few updates behind is fine, just get it right. I'm tired of reinventing the wheel. I do think XP was the best wheel ever and if you look hard you can use it up to X99 chipsets in my experience. Finding the proper inf files isn't obvious and most vendors don't show support for things that actually does exist, likely a contract thing. Awhile back I found some info and built a xp install for a 5520 chipset machine and XP came up with no exclamations, dual sockets, 8 cores, sata and usb3 all working fine, but the vm on the same machine is almost as good. I do have one stump, I have failed to run SimCity4 in a KVM based vm = no mouse?
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby Tekmon_Xonic » 2018-06-21 13:53

@ CwF

It would seem you and I have shared a similar journey in our search for the perfect Linux Distro, and have shared similar experiences. I will admit, my first experience with Linux wasn't a pleasant one. I picked Ubuntu as my first distribution, only to find that it's designed for running on modern hardware, so performance was less than desired. As for the rest of the Distros. I would typically have complications with installations, not liking how the Distro operates, and, at worst, not even being able to log in or use the Distro.

See, that's why Debian is so awesome. It just works, often right out of the box. The only minor bump in the road I had to get over was either installing non-free firmware through a flash drive, or downloading non-free firmware from the package manger. I even installed Debian on one of my Windows XP based netbooks, and I find that it performs surprisingly well with 1GB of RAM and a 1.6 GHZ single core processor. I was even able to get some of my old games running on it through wine. Including Jedi Academy / Outcast. Of which ran at very playable frame rates. 20 FPS on average, with very responsive controls.

As for Windows XP, yeah, it's my favorite Windows Version as well. I grew up using Windows XP, and I've found it to probably be Microsoft's best operating system. It was so simplistic, and just worked. Personally, I think the only operating system that comes close to XP was Windows 7. Which usually just works too. *Researches the X99 Chipset* Wow! I didn't know that XP was capable of supporting such a mother board, with Core i7 compatability! That's amazing!

Well I wish you luck in your future endeavors with Debian. Hopefully your good experiences will continue, and that you'll enjoy it as much as I do. :)
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby CwF » 2018-06-21 23:21

@ Tekmon_Xonic

Thank you, and fortunes in your journey as well.
On the XP, currently not used but sitting in reserve I have a Q67 chipset modded to a E3 xeon that runs great but the clock is locked for some reason and I need to manually step it where I want, I gave up, but it would run an i7-2xxx and HD3000 video perfectly. On a X8D-TH supermicro I tested a few years back and took notes. I ran across something in random that had some hardware id's that rang a bell and I took notes. Months later the notes crossed, I got a damaged MB and "fixed" it to be a single socket, bypassing damage, made an XP Pro install image with the new info, the QP Link or something, one exclamation instance per core was correctly id'ed and the install came up clean, clocks correctly, and is the smoothest XP I've ever used. 99% of XP time I'm in the vm, and for passing video quadros work fantastic. I think a hardware assisted VM on a X10 or X11 level supermicro will eclipse what is possible on bare metal. I intend to be on my X9 for years or until I win the lottery. The Q67 will run SC4 marathons a few times a year, until the aliens blow up the city.
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby Tekmon_Xonic » 2018-06-22 10:00

@ CwF

You're very welcome.

From what you've been describing about Windows XP. I'm amazed at how far we can still push the ol' faithful operating system. If only we could get the source code to Windows XP, that would make a lot of people happy, and open up a metric frick ton of possibility. Heck, I would still be using Windows XP as my standard OS if I could get away with it. *Looks up the Xenon E3* That's a pretty powerful family of processors as well, it still amazes me to see the hardware that XP currently supports. I'm glad that you got that mother board working. Even if you had to jury rig it to do what you want. But that's what we do after all right? :wink:

I'm also glad to see that augmenting WIndows XP through virtual machines is really working out for you. It reminds me of my experience with video game console emulators. I found a really cool save editor for Breath of Fire II, and used it along with a correctly translated copy of the game to get a hidden character much earlier on in the game. It was really cool. Additionally, I find virtual machines to be quite useful. I'm currently using OM Virtual Box to run Windows XP for certain things, and boy let me tell you, it's faster than anything that I've ever seen. Installing Windows XP on it is done in like a few minutes, and the OS loads lightning fast too. Pretty amazing stuff.

In Sim City 4, better watch out for them giant alien servo robots! Their dinner plates are a force to be reckoned with. :shock:
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby CwF » 2018-06-22 15:18

@ Tekmon_Xonic
...and anyone else interested...

To keep it on track here, DEBIAN is the foundation!
...but more XP notes:

I went around in circles multiple times on multiple machines with many configurations. I was open to qemu kvm, VB, and Wine. The end game was to be able to use my tools for OBDII, mainly tuning Duramax ECM's and Allison TCM's. This is a USB device that prefers XP and is very important! Short story is the communication with the device is only reliable with a vfio passed usb. That boiled down to KVM. The program benefits from dual monitors, that boils down to KVM. The program runs on all methods, but the usb pass only on KVM. This is the firmware for expensive stuff bouncing over usb, it needs to be perfect and not good enough.
I did build up one experiment with VB. A nested hypervisor running a live dvd of debian 8.5. This live dvd VM had 24GB of memory, I loaded VB 5.1 something, then allocated 6GB of memory for a ramdisk, another 1.0GB for memory and installed XP, then installed SC4 (just copy over files and run a registry file), and it worked. Turn off the machine and it disappears. A fantastic waste of resources in every sense, but it worked well. Months ago I dl'ed the stretch VB stuff but have not pursued it yet but that would get SC4 onto my X9 and I would officially be at 100% function, I've been lazy.
A long long story simplified, KVM and vfio hardware makes all the difference. Passing a vfio usb is simple, adding a card and passing that can be done if the motherboard doesn't have a good choice. Passing video is typically the talk of vm gaming machines, as mentioned after trying many I settled on a Quadro K600. The memory limit still exist for XP, so cards with 1GB or less work best. Quadro drivers also pass 3D acceleration to a QXL driven window on the host if your so inclined. Running 2 heads on the vm also benefits from a vfio passed network card. This allows much better networking among the host and vm's and also allows x2vnc so the mouse simply tracks over to either xp vm screen perfectly, and allows efficient cut-n-paste. I have no window open on the host for the XP Pro VM except an XTerm to turn on/off x2vnc. Note I gave up on virtio drivers, QXL video does work well for my XP Home, but virtio network and storage caused issues. The Home has a balloon driver and is on an i440FX while Pro has no balloon driver and is a Q35 machine type. Then we add a vfio passed pcie HDTV tuner, add a usb version also... Right now I'm typing here in a debian VM on screen 2 and I can mouse over to screen 3 or 4 which is XP and change the TV channel! but I'm listening to HD AM radio from a visteon module (not done yet). So imagine recording HD TV while watching a movie or another channel, while a 4 core handbrake VM is crunching away, a facebook vm is collecting fake news (isolate this crap), a trader VM is watching the market, and I'm typing here in a vm oblivious to all the activity in the background! The host has been up for weeks, yes DEBIAN rocks.

Also note that the XP's on read-only backing files cannot be corrupted or infected and can be moved to another machine. That's 1.1GB for Home and 1.7GB for Pro, nice and tidy. I've successfully rotated these vm's between the X8 and the X9, I'll post back when I migrate them to something new. Of concern is some change on the host, with VB or otherwise, that causes a vm failure that needs reinstalled. I don't really trust VB as much as KVM in this regard. Overall VB is heavier than KVM. Without vfio passed assistance VB is more powerful and you probably can pass hardware to VB as easily as KVM but with native video in the vm I feel VB no longer has any advantage. I agree that VB has vastly superior virtual video over QXL but I expect that will change as KVM's QXL video gains 3D capabilities, we'll see.

All in all, XP is still very much my daily OS for off line computing and will be for another decade or more.
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Re: Why I adpoted Debian.

Postby Tekmon_Xonic » 2018-06-22 16:40

@ CwF

Fake news on facebook (yeah, tell me about it man.) Keeping an eye on the market. Watching HDTV, and listening to an HD Radio Station. Sounds like you've got quite a setup going there CwF. :)

Also, its nice to know that you've found the best virtual machine to work with on Debian. That's what I've found that I often have to do, is experiment until I have found the best configuration possible. Sometimes I even find that I have to use multiple configurations to get things right.

This is especially true for running Virtual machines for me personally. I've found that Microsoft's Virtual PC runs Windows 98 exceptionally well, unlike OM Virtual Box, which has a lot of trouble running it, at least from my experience. I use Windows 98 to run one of my favorite legacy games of all time. Lego Creator. A really powerful sandbox game that never got a true sequel. But when it comes to Windows XP, I've found that OM Virtual Box runs it very efficiently. Though I might have to peak around for other VM Software. Because I often find the sound with Windows XP through OM Virtual Box to be crackly, which gets on my nerves.

Still, good luck with Windows XP, CwF. I really hope it works out for you! 8)
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