29 December, 2014

Open networking; leaf-spine...

I recently came across a norwegian tech-article regarding open networking vs proprietary networking.

More specifically, it talks about the Open Compute Project - for those of you who don't know, read this. More information can be found here.

The project discusses the use of open standards when building huge, energy-demanding and efficient data-centers. Basically, OCP talks about replacing the common standard networking architecture with something (kind of) new, to meet the ever evolving (and consequently; demanding) bandwidth and streaming of tomorrows data-centers. Mainly, replacing the tree-span network-design with the leaf-spine network-design.

A leaf-spine network design consists of the following:

  • Top-of-rack (leaf) switches (leading to spine-switches).
  • Spine-switches (between leaf- and core-layers in a leaf-spine network).
  • ... and other hardware and software solutions for rack-use.
In a so-called "leaf-spine" layer-2 network; the spanning-tree protocol is often replaced with either a version of Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links ("TILL") or Shortest Path Bridging ("SPB").

In a leaf-spine layer-3 network; each link is a routed link. Open Shortest Path First ("OSPF") is often used as the routing-protocol to compute paths between leaf and spine switches.

The norwegian in me thinks the reporter has (way too) big expectations, especially if he's counting on norwegian authorities and heavy industry for this (quite HUGE) change to take place.

But on the other hand, my inner sysadmin really likes the possibility of administrating a data-center with fully open networking-protocols / -equipment and/or -hardware :)

My own little µ-datacenter is based on open protocols, open systems, and somewhat open hardware.

Norwegian article:

01 November, 2014

What is (was) UNIX?

Well, here is a simple explanation from the creators themselves ;)

Here is another blogg-post about UNIX:

Nekro >:D

I don't usually tend to fork out wet stinky for Early Access-games on Steam, but, on this occasion I made an exception. After watching LinuxGameCast's episode about it, I just couldn't help myself :P

( Forward to 9:02 for review of Nekro's Early Access )

Excerpt from the Nekro Steam-page:
Raise demons and spawn unholy weapons of war as a powerful Necromancer with an insatiable blood lust. Customize your minions to your liking and perfect your ideal "monster loadout." Tear your enemies limb from limb and harvest their corpses to strengthen your dark magics.

For an Early Access beta, this game is surprisingly well made (and even debugged(!)) to be at version Not even at pre-release stage and it behaves like a release already.

It ran exceptionally well on Linux (32-bit "Unity"-game on 64-bit Linux).


All the following screenshots are from the

24 October, 2014

Civilization V @Linux

I'm really not a big fan of strategy-builder games (at least not since C&C), but Sid Meier's Civilization-series are more interesting than other similar games, at least in my opinion.

The game did have some peculiar bugs (ex: not running on selected screen in multi-monitor setups), but nothing major. The screenshots below were taken on an Intel Core 2 Duo Linux-laptop.

17 October, 2014

AMD FGLRX + Steam for Linux

During these past 2 years of testing Steam-for-Linux betas and various Linux-based/-ported games I have been using a mid-range nvidia graphics-accelerator. Which has been fine. But I wanted a little more kick from the GPU.
DOOM 3: BFG Edition (non-steam version) - running natively on Linux.
After visiting a gamer-friend with years of bleeding-edge hardware experience, especially related to full HD 3D-rendering, I decided to go over to AMD-based stream-processor gfx-cards. My friend really recommended AMD due to their aqcuirement of the graphics-company ATi in 2006. Having both CPU-production and GPU-production under the same company really put them ahead of other CPU-vendors in terms of graphics-performance, both in integrated and discrete graphics-solutions.

I have to note that laptops sporting AMD GPU's (integrated graphics-cards) don't work so well with the proprietary Catalyst-driver, I have tried to make it work on several occasions, but the driver (Catalyst) always seems to crap out. Unless you REALLY know what you are doing (manually tuning the Catalyst-driver), I would not recommend using Catalyst on laptops or notebooks.

ONLY use the Catalyst-driver if you are using a gaming-rig (desktop PC) with a discrete (separate component) graphics-card installed.
Space Hulk - running natively on Linux.
AMDs Catalyst graphics-driver had quite a few improvements the last few years as well, so I was eager to test it out on Linux and see for myself.
Left 4 Dead 2 - running natively on Linux.
The proprietary driver worked rather well (for the most part), but it still suffers from a set of annoying bugs (window-manager artifacts, exiting fullscreen HD video won't reset to default resolution, etc.), but not as annoying as they used to be in the start... believe me (video-tearing, 3D-tearing, kernel panics, etc.).
Trine 2 - running natively on Linux.
For 3D-accelerated games, it works really good. Impressively good. The lower high-end card I decided to opt for raised my rigs eyecandy-potential at least tenfold(!). After realizing this, I would really recommend AMD's graphics to any serious gaming-enthusiast looking for OP graphics that does not compromise the gaming-experience.
Darwinia - running natively on Linux.
To put it rather simply: it just works, better than I expected, but not without the odd bug or two...
DOTA 2 - running natively on Linux.
My final verdict: I would recommend AMD graphics-cards to hardcore gaming-enthusiasts who doesn't get shocked by an odd bug or two (at least, not serious bugs anyway), however, I would NOT recommend it to average-joe.
FEZ - running natively on Linux.

To enable video-accelerator (VA-)chips on discrete AMD-based (Radeon/HD) graphics-cards (on Linux), run the following command in a terminal on Ubuntu Desktop or Linux Mint:
sudo apt-get install xvba-va-driver libva-glx1 libva-egl1 vainfo
These libraries and drivers prevents video-artifacts/-tearing, stabilizes video-movement, de-processes video-interlacing and similar video-issues.

I will be testing and experimenting with the open-source 3D/video driver for AMD-based cards at a later date, namely the Gallium3D-driver. And I'll be posting about it too, so stay tuned...

16 October, 2014

2 years Linux-gaming

SteamOS and Steam for Linux have really progressed the last two years. And with this year showing AAA-titles also wanting "teh' working Linux", things are really looking good for VALVe ;) :)

Personally, the bugs I've encountered playing beta- and alpha-games on Linux since December 2012 really weren't all that bad.

I really only had one major issue; the Steam-for-Linux client itself had some CPU-bugs.

In VALVe's defense, that was due to the fact I was launching it on a low-powered Asus Eee 900 netbook that sported an Intel Celeron 900MHz uni-processor (single-core). One lousy, 32-bit, barely-functioning little crappy "mini-computer".

This low-end CPU did not sport certain CPU-flags that Steam-for-Linux expected it to have, so they had to make workarounds for low-powered devices with integrated graphics (in part because of yours truly).

Apart from that VALVe-specific debugging, I've also sent a few bug reports to various game-studios about specific library-support issues, audio-bugs, and similar low-priority bugs. Nothing big.

07 October, 2014

PC-gaming is dead... (RLY?)

OK.., how and where did the proclamation of "PC-gaming is dead" come round?

People, please... what kind of platform do you think games are created on?

Seriously... that's just, a completely new level of ignorance.

Consoles? Eeeeeh, they will co-exist, and probably evolve, but they will NEVER crush, or even replace PC-gaming.


I would rather believe this article when it comes to the current gaming-climate: http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/console-gaming-is-dead-everything-good-is-happening-on-pc-right-now-1260162

06 October, 2014

µ-cloud, so far...

Sporting as a: VM-lab / Workstation / A/V-rig / Gaming-rig / VM-production :P

3 years - 24/7 operation (2011-2014), and still running like a well-greased steam-engine :P everything runs some form of Linux ;) open standards - open systems :D all the way.

I've never had OP processing-capabilities before, especially at my own complete personal disposal (20+ years of computing-experience), until now :P 3,5 years later (that's including half a year of planning before starting the build).

Never going out of CPU-time, practically never overflowing (swapping) the system memory. And rarely even getting into CPU-loops (unless I'm doing some risky low-level programming for lulz).

I am proud to say that my domain is fully OSS-operated ;) :D

Network-wise, I have separated internal traffic into separate VLANs, mainly for layer-2 separation of different protocols and various traffic-types, like: Internet-traffic, incoming web-server traffic, VPS' Internet-traffic, management sub-net and iSCSI sub-net.

iSCSI even runs on separate NICs (on both storage-box and server), through it's own switch-block and separated sub-net, to prevent interference with other packets running on high-traffic sub-nets (like Internet-access).

Outgoing traffic (and incoming of course :P) is pumped through a VPN / Firewall network-box that has a firewall-throughput equal the total speed of the FTTH Internet-uplink connection ;D

h3x4c0m-build: http://blog.pizslacker.org/2011/12/h3x4c0m.html

08 August, 2014

A little side-note

To whom it may concern (you know who you are):

I started this blog for myself, as a kind of rolling-release diary / project-roadmap for my digital escapades.

I did NOT start the blog to attract shallow attention from hipster blog-readers, to push up statistics and visitor numbers, that was simply an entertaining and completely unseen side-effect.

When posts seem to be aimed at specific people, it is usually friends and / or family. Certain (other) people read the blog from time to time (and enjoy my rants to a certain degree), but it's not for everyone...

Any suggestions sent to me either by commentary or e-mail, on how to:

  • broaden my audience
  • get my visitor-statistics up
  • change my blog to satisfy reader-interests

I do, however appreciate constructive criticizm and corrections ;)

I don't embed ads, track visitor interests, publish general-interest posts or earn money on this blog.

It's main purpose is not to contend in the attention-seeking, popularity-contests of the pinkies.

If anything, one of it's purposes would be to inform people of tech-matters. And generally just to show that technology can be fun (sort of :P).

22 May, 2014

NVIDIA stable/current

Woke up this morning, logged onto my workstation, realized nothing was behaving like it should.

Windows were tearing, whole screens were acting weird and I could not for the life of me surf the web with ANY browser I had installed. Which wouldn't be as irritating right then and there, if it wasn't for the fact that I needed to log into my online bank-account!

After an hour of aggravation, and another hour of testing with different graphics-drivers (NVIDIA stable/current), I found out my GPU (GeForce GT520) did not play well with the new experimental driver from NVIDIA.

sudo apt-get purge nvidia-current && \
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

The above command resolved my issue by removing the bleeding-edge nvidia-driver and replacing it with a version-rollback (v319 instead of v331).

After a warm reboot everything worked perfectly! Spotify, Steam, Chromium and Thunderbird all started, worked and rendered like they should.

Dunno if I'll be re-installing the experimental driver any time soon. Time will show.

For now, the stable current-version does it's job.

Who knows, maybe the time is right to replace my NVIDIA GeForce card with a more recent AMD Radeon HD card? I'm quite sure I read somewhere that the Catalyst Linux driver had ironed out most of the major bugs (fullscreen HD crashes / screen tearing / etc.).

07 May, 2014

My new hobby-project? :P

After seeing the price-tag, I'm thinking I'd better look at the Korg MS-20 mini instead.

The kit is WAY too f******g expensive for me (currently studying for a Bachelor's degree).

02 February, 2014

Steam for Linux...

Ok, time for a little summary of my "Steam for Linux"- / "SteamOS"-testing:

All of my current Linux-based Steam-games (50 out of 67) run flawlessly on both Linux Mint v13 (with backports) and Ubuntu Desktop v12.04 (vanilla).

  • They do not require a top-of-the-line gaming graphics-card.
  • They (also) do not require vast amounts of memory (8GB will do fine).
List of mentioned games is available on my Steam-profile.

Will be adding a new picture-album entitled "Linux-gaming" on my G+ profile soon. Stay tuned!

"Linux-gaming" Google+ photos:

SteamOS is still in it's early testing-stage(s). You basically have to posess a fair amount of advanced Linux-tinkering skills to be able to utilize it properly, but things are progressing. There are some automated versions being made (custom ISO-images) to let anyone install, test and even debug it on hardware (without the earlier requirement of a EFI-capable motherboard, you can manage with a BIOS-version now).

New (old) mobile carrier...

Just recently switched my mobile phone carrier b/c my (entire) family got connected to the same carrier-network. Better coverage, higher bandwidth and last but not least, family-network offers and included minutes/texts.

My previous carrier (NetCom AS) was better at customer relations and support, but they've gone downhill after they were bought up by another major scandinavian service provider (Telia AB, Sweden).

NetCom touted for a long time about their 4G-network coverage, and for some time (while they had few customers connected to their 3G- / 4G-nets) they delivered quite good HSDPA-connectivity. But after a lot of people migrated from various carriers over to NetCom the last few years, their remote end-networks (small towns) suffered as the base-stations at selected areas couldn't handle the traffic-surge very well (few, if any, of the base-stations had optical WAN-uplinks).

This had a negative effect on my SSH-connections from my smart-phone / tablet, and used to cause a lot of spontaneous traffic-drops and disconnects.

To my surprise (as Telenor is the biggest ISP in Norway, with a grand total of approx. 140 million mobile customers worldwide through various daughter-companies in Russia, parts of Europe and India), I got a minimum of 12-14Mbps via HSDPA (3G), whereas NetCom could only offer (at max) 2-3Mbps.

To my delight, I haven't experienced a single SSH-related disconnect on any of my 3G-devices :)

Telenor FTW!