in Linux

fedora 9 upgrade

In previous entries here I have described my unhappiness with the Highpoint series of RAID controllers. In particular I owned the 1740 4-port SATA RAID controller, but dis-satisfaction with the frequency of driver updates finally caused me to dump the 1740 for another controller. (Note that even though Fedora 9 is the current release, Highpoint has still not updated their drivers beyond Fedora 7, which is almost EOL.)

The controller I chose to replace the Highpoint 1740 is the 3ware 9650-2LP. It’s a 2-port PCI Express RAID controller with RAID-0 or RAID-1 capabilities – basically the cheapest you can buy from 3ware, at a cost of around $220. But what a difference from the Highpoint! 3ware is far more open with their driver source code, to the point where the card works right out of the box with Fedora 9. The driver is right in the Linux kernel, as compared to Highpoint, where you must obtain sources from them, and create your own driver disk for installing operating systems. It also means that I no longer need to recompile the kernel module for the RAID controller (and remember to add it to the initrd) every time Fedora releases a new kernel.

Now that I have Fedora 9 on my system, I’ve run headlong into some bugs with it. For one, Rhythmbox didn’t work — I got no sound even though Rhythmbox showed that a file was playing. I suspected the entire gstreamer library was at fault, because trying to play an Ogg Vorbis file (I used the Ogg version of Hail to the Chief as a test) which launches Totem, also resulted in no sound. VLC and Flash Player 10 beta both worked fine.

It seems like others are having a lot of trouble with sound on Fedora 9 as well. Fedora 9 seems to have chosen a new sound framework called PulseAudio to replace OSS/Alsa, which is admirable, but there are of course some bugs. Eventually I was actually able to solve the problem by launching gnome-sound-properties and selecting PulseAudio as the sound output mechanism, rather than "Default" (whatever that was set to).

I also tried to get ies4linux working under the version of Wine that ships with Fedora. No dice — the installer (ies4linux-gtk.py) blew up with some error, which I have yet to send to the developer.

Finally, I’ve tried to get qemu running with a NetBSD 4.0 guest image. It works, but in order for NetBSD to see all the devices (including, crucially, the virtual network adapter) I had to start qemu with -no-acpi. Even so, the NetBSD 4.0 guest’s networking is flaky, spewing re0: watchdog timeout all the time. I’ll have to debug further.

Such are the joys of technology, I guess. Things were a lot simpler in the days when all we had was one large VAX. Speaking of VAXen, I now have an emulated one running under SIMH on my desktop at work. But that’s for another post…