All posts by Matthias Scheler

The Ten Hill Place Hotel

After an uneventful journey with easyJet from London Stansted my wife and I arrived in Edinburgh early in the afternoon. We took the Airlink 100 bus service from the aiport into the city centre. During the bus ride we enjoyed the view on the interesting mix of old and new architecture in the outskirts of Edingburgh. We finally left the bus at the stop next to the main train station.

After walking through the hilly city centre for about twenty minutes we arrived at the Ten Hill Place Hotel. It’s a modern building which blends in nicely with the surrounding old architecture. The interior decoration matches the elegant exterior.

Ten Hill Place Hotel

Besides that the hotel room provides services I fancy: a very comfortable bed, a nice bathroom, a flatscreen TV and last but not least free high-speed Internet access via ethernet.

After a relaxing break (we had after all to get up at 7:00 am on a bank holiday) we will now take off and have a closer look at the city.

Enjoy the Slowness

While exploring new features in NetBSD 4.0_BETA2 I found out that the Enhanced SpeedStep support now works with my server’s Pentium M 760 CPU. The kernel is able to clock the CPU from 2GHz down to 800MHz.

After a few succesful manual experiments I installed the estd package. It provides the Enhanced SpeedStep & PowerNow daemon which monitors the system load and adjusts the CPU frequency accordingly. Because I was curious about the effect I wrote a little shell script which recorded the current CPU frequency every minute. The collected data revealed that the CPU was running at only 800MHz for more than 99% of the time in the last 24 hours.

I’m not sure how much power Enhanced SpeedStep is going to save. But as every little helps I’m enjoying the new slowness of my server.

Welcome to NetBSD 4.0_BETA2!

Today I finally found the time to update my home server from NetBSD 3.1_STABLE to 4.0_BETA2. As usual the update went off without major hitches. I booted the 4.0_BETA2 kernel into single user mode and was pleasantly surpised that it automatically found the root filesystem on the hardware RAID. NetBSD 3.x kernels required a hardwired root filesystem to boot on my server.

Updating the userland was the next task: I extracted the base distribution binary sets, used postinstall(8) to handle most of the necessary changes and fixed the rest (missing users and groups) manually. In addition I replaced all installed packages with 4.0_BETA2 binary packages built on another machine a few days ago. After updating the boot blocks I rebooted the machine again and allowed it proceed to multiuser mode uninterrupted.

Most services worked without problems. Sendmail didn’t start because I hadn’t updated its startup scripts, Postfix tried to start because I hadn’t disabled it. I corrected both issues and my server has been working fine ever since (which is admittedly only a few hours at the moment). So far I had not much time to play with the new features. But I managed at least to switch the /tmp filesystem from MFS to tmpfs.

My next home server improvement project is to replace Sendmail with Postfix. But that will require more time and studying of the Postfix book to complete the configuration files.