Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Install KaOSx Linux in VirtualBox.

Here is what I did to install KaOSx Linux in VirtualBox. KaOS is a an rolling distribution, fully focused on KDE/Qt. It uses pacman as package-manager and is based on Arch Linux. KaOS uses pacman as package-manager for this rolling distribution, It was decided it waas the best fit for package management. Does using pacman mean a distribution is based on Arch? What about the other tools and packages used from a variety of distributions? First thing you see when booting a KaOS ISO is gfxboot, a tool from OpenSuse. Other important packages used from OpenSuse are hwinfo and imagewriter, does this make KaOS based on OpenSuse? Or the hardware database, a package from the Gentoo developers, systemd came originally from Fedora. As KaOS sees it, try to find the best available tools for this distribution and keep evaluating what comes available, and the best for this distribution will come forward.

When stating a distribution is based on another, that means in 99% of the cases, that distribution uses the repositories of the distribution it is based on (mostly 90% plus is from upstream then, added with some repositories for specific settings). KaOS does not use any upstream repositories, every package in every repository is build from scratch by and for KaOS.

To quote the website: "The idea behind KaOS is to create a tightly integrated rolling and transparent distribution for the modern desktop, build from scratch with a very specific focus. Focus on one DE (KDE), one toolkit (Qt), one architecture (x86_64) plus a focus on evaluating and selecting the most suitable tools and applications. Moving away from proprietary Operating Systems to open source options (Linux-based, BSD based, Solaris based) is about wanting freedom and choice in almost all cases. KaOS has made the choice to use the Linux kernel as a base (though the Illumos kernel is under constant evaluation, and a future switch is a wish). After that choice, the best available package manager, most flexible way of package building, repository maintenance is pacman/makepkg for a rolling distro like KaOS. As for the Desktop Environment, there will never be a change, whether it is Linux or Illumos based, KDE will be the choice, Qt the Toolkit. With those choices in place, April 2013 package building for this independent distribution was started. KaOS is a build from scratch distribution, every package in every repository is build by and for KaOS. By July 2013 the initial goal of about 1500 packages was reached."

Hardware requirements?
KDE is a modern Desktop Environment which can make use of most of any graphics or sound card capabilities. This does not mean KDE can’t be made to run on very low-end hardware, but in general there are better options available for such systems (OpenBox for example). The very minimal needed for hard-drive space is 8 Gb, but 25 Gb is recommended as minimal. KaOS will install with 1 Gb of RAM available, though a much better experience will start with 2 Gb of RAM. Since only x86_64 packages are available, a 64 bit capable cpu is needed.

I added 2 Gigs to the VM, and enabled 3D acceleration and PAE/NX.

 Boot up menu.Start KaOS Live with or without nVidia Drivers, Boot from first hard disk, preform and hardware detection or memory test. F1 is Help, F2 sets the default laungage, F3 sets the video mode, and F4 allows you to adjust the kernel paramiters at boot. 

Booting the kernel, no errors.

First Installation screen. Welcome!

Select your time zone.
Configure your keyboard.

Default desktop with a few widgets added, clock, battery status, a K-menu, USB mounter, Media player, and a desktop lock.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ClearOS install on VirtualBox.

When you need to manage the day-to-day operations of servers and systems, and monitor system performance, configuration, maintenance and repair to ensure that system downtime is minimized and equipment is properly maintained.
ClearOS is a Linux Operating System that is modular and allows for both consolidation and synergy of services.  The base ClearOS system is built from source code from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. (ClearOS is not affiliated with Red Hat in any way). 

For hardware, virtual and cloud environments, the base requirements are as follows:

Base System
Processor/CPU 32-bit or 64-bit
Memory/RAM At least 1 GB is recommended (see guidelines below)
Hard Disk At least 10 GB is recommended (see guidelines below)
Network Ethernet, cable, DSL
For hardware installs, the requirements are as follows:

Network Cards A network card is required, two for gateway mode
CD-ROM Drive Required for CD installation only
USB Required for USB key installation only
Mouse Not required
Monitor and Keyboard Required for installation only

The following are guidelines for estimating the right hardware for your system. Keep in mind, the hardware required depends on how you use the software.

RAM and CPU 5 users 5-25 users 25-50 users 50-250 users 250+ users
Processor/CPU Low-Power Basic Dual-Core Quad-Core Multi-Core + Multi-Processor
Memory/RAM 1-2 GB 2-4 GB 4-8 GB 8-16 GB 16-32 GB
Hard Disk
Hard Disk Installation and logs require 1 GB - optional storage is up to you
RAID Recommended for mission critical systems

For the most part, hardware that is compatible with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux product will be compatible with ClearOS. For checking compatibility, use the online Red Hat Compatibility Guide. Keep in mind, there are many other hardware products that are compatible – the list is not exhaustive.
All modestly modern hardware includes a compatible CPU. For those installing ClearOS on very old hardware, the CPU requirement is as follows:

Intel architectures from Pentium 6 and onward
AMD architectures from Athlon and onward

Generally, ClearOS does a good job at auto-detecting hardware and most mass-market network cards are supported. ClearBOX also includes wireless support and you can read more about this hardware solution here. Though wireless card drivers are included in ClearOS, wireless is not officially supported in the software version.

ClearOS supports most DSL (including PPPoE), cable modem broadband Internet connections and standard Ethernet connections. ISDN and satellite broadband are not supported unless terminated with a standard Ethernet connection.

RAID Support Overview

Both software and hardware RAID support are available in ClearOS. If you plan on implementing hardware RAID, please read the section below regarding supported hardware. Before you decide to purchase an expensive hardware RAID controller card, consider the following passage from the experts at O'Reilly:

“Software RAID has unfortunately fallen victim to a FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) campaign in the system administrator community. I can’t count the number of system administrators whom I’ve heard completely disparage all forms of software RAID, irrespective of platform. Many of these same people have admittedly not used software RAID in several years, if at all.

“Why the stigma? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, when software RAID first saw the light of day, computers were still slow and expensive (at least by today’s standards). Offloading a high-performance task like RAID I/O onto a CPU that was likely already heavily overused meant that performing fundamental tasks such as file operations required a tremendous amount of CPU overhead. (…) But today, even multiprocessor systems are both inexpensive and common.” - Derek Vadala - Managing RAID on Linux - O'Reilly

You can implement software RAID in ClearOS by selecting the Create Custom Layout option in the installation wizard. You can find tips and tricks about partitioning in the section Configuring Partitions and RAID.

Some hardware RAID controller cards are not true hardware controller cards. They are simple hard disk controllers with BIOS and drivers to do software RAID Support. If redundancy is your primary concern, then software RAID will serve you better than a quasi-hardware RAID support card. To quote (again) from the Managing RAID on Linux book from O'Reilly:

“The low-end (RAID) controllers are, in essence, software RAID support controllers because they rely on the operating system to handle RAID support operations and because they store array configuration information on individual component disk. The real value of the controller is in the extra ATA channels.”

Supported hardware RAID cards:

Adaptec SCSI - 200x, 21xx, 22xx, 27xx, 28xx, 29xx, 32xx, 34xx, 39xx, 54xx
Adaptec IDE - 2400A
3ware IDE - Escalade 3W 5xxx/6xxx/7xxx
MegaRAID SAS 9240-4i
MegaRAID SAS 9240-8i
MegaRAID SAS 9260-4i
MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i
MegaRAID SAS 9260DE-8i
MegaRAID SAS 9261-8i
MegaRAID SAS 9280-8e
MegaRAID SAS 9280DE-8e
MegaRAID SAS 9280DE-8e
MegaRAID SAS 9280-24i4e
MegaRAID SAS 9280-16i4e
MegaRAID SAS 9280-16i
MegaRAID SAS 8704EM2
MegaRAID SAS 8708EM2
MegaRAID SAS 8880EM2

Unsupported and not recommended:
Most Promise hardware, notably FastTrak100 TX and FastTrak TX2000
HighPoint RocketRAID cards

As a rule of thumb, if a hardware card is under USD $150, then it is probably not true hardware RAID and either not recommended or not supported.

ClearOS run ons dedicated hardware or in your virtual environment in your home, office, or datacenter. Here are some tips when selecting hardware:

Avoid the latest technologies and chipsets. This will reduce the likelihood of compatibility issues and the possible reliability issues that might come with unproven hardware. Avoid desktop systems. You may save a couple of hundred dollars on a desktop system, but they are more likely to fail when used as a server.

Check the vendors web site for Linux compatibility. If you can purchase ServerXYZ with a version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux pre-installed, then the system is very likely compatible with ClearOS.

When it comes to Linux support, some hardware vendors are better than others.

The following vendors ship servers with Linux pre-installed and have a good record when it comes to driver support. You should check the Red Hat Compatibility Guide, especially on any new models.

Dell servers (not desktops)
HP servers
IBM servers

The following vendors have a poor or mixed track record for Linux support.

Dell Optiplex desktops
Microsoft Hyper-V