[TUHS] UNIX of choice these days?

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Thu Sep 21 01:42:23 AEST 2017

Arthur Krewat writes:
> What's your UNIX of choice to do normal "real" things these days?

Well, it's mostly Linux because that's where the work seems to be.

For non-mobile machines I use Intel hardware and build my own because my
partner worked for Intel.  The general deal at the employee store, access
to which is a retirement benefit, is the latest CPU plus a motherboard
for $300.  Hard to beat.  I have had the same cases and power supplies
and such forever and just swap out the guts every so often.  Whenever I
upgrade the old parts roll down to my second office machine, then my
partner's machine, then the ski cabin machine.

Main machine here is an i7-4790 4GHx 8 core cpu with 32G of ram and 20TiB of
disk.  Two more machines like it around the house but older CPUs and less
disk.  I run my own email server so that it theoretically takes a warrant to
spy on my email so I have the second office machine configured as a standby
so that if the main machine dies I can switch to the spare while doing repairs.
The fourth machine lives up at my ski cabin and has 20TiB of disk;  I have a
remote control system make from a Raspberry PI that I can use to control the
power on that machine so that I can rsync to it.  It's my main offsite backup
machine.  All of these machines run Fedora Linux, currently FC26.

I have a Soekris firewall box here that I believe runs FreeBSD.

I have a Lenovo P70 laptop.  Not really fair to call it a laptop since it's
the 17" screen version.  It's really a portable workstation since my clients
never seem to have decent machines when I'm on site.  It runs Ubuntu 16.04.
Would rather run Fedora and have all of the machines be the same but sadly
the Fedora folks don't seem to care about laptops and it doesn't have working
device drivers.

My daughter has a Lenova Yoga 720 that also runs Ubuntu.

Oh, both laptops dual-boot Windows since they came with Windows.  Turns out that
having a laptop running Linux is a lot like running UNIX on a VAX in the 80s
when DEC refused to service machines that weren't running their software.
Earlier this year I returned a Dell laptop with assistance from the Oregon
Department of Justice because they refused to provide warranty service without
Windows installed which it wasn't.  The problem was that the display hardware
failed so I couldn't reinstall Windows and they wanted to charge me to do it
before considering the warranty.  Won't buy another Dell product.

While it's more for amusement than anything else I picked up an Ethernet to
GPIB dongle some years ago which allows me to control my rack of test and
measurement equipment.

Someone is obviously going to ask what I do with all of that disk space.  Only
4 TiB of it is for work.  The rest is media, primarily my live music collection.


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