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I love the European Union

Gentoo/FreeBSD logo by Marius Morawski

Sometimes something good happens even here on the other side of the pond… but let’s go with order.

First of all, I want to thank Christian Iuga, who sent me 1GB of RAM for Klothos (received them yesterday), that now compiles quite faster (which is very good for my debugging sessions, or every time I had to wait eternity :)), so last night I returned working on ~sparc-fbsd (also because there’s a new FreeBSD release ready, but I’ll talk about that later), but now the bottleneck, instead of the RAM, seemed to be the network… okay, hme0 is known to be the worst network driver for FreeBSD, and it ended up giving me NFS performance comparable to a 10Mbit network.. not that good when you have the portage tree over network :/

Unfortunately, the only PCI network cards I have at home are Realtek-based, 8139 chipset, that Ciaran told me likely not supported by SPARC, and indeed I simply get a “Data Access Error” on the serial line trying to boot with one plugged in. So I had to find some better supported card… e100 was the suggestion, but a quick skim over my usual retailers, both in shops (through the sites) and via Internet, told me that none carried E100 cards; the only Intel cards I could find were the Gigabit ones, that cost about €50, which is not exactly cheap.. but okay, maybe I can slowly start updating the local network to Gigabit, now that both Enterprise and Intrepid have Gigabit-capable cards, so I can try one of those… but even that card is difficult to find on my retailers…. okay, so hold on for now.

But also, two nights ago I had some trouble with one of the fans of Enterprise, that started doing a really bad noise, and my mother forced me to turn it off during the night (sigh a batch-compile cancelled), and last afternoon I spent trying to find which fans was.. after an half-working suggestion from Jakub and Javier (to try stopping the power supply fan to see if that was it, but I did it wrong and stopped the CPU fan.. that refused to restart till I powercycled the system), I found the dying fan, the rear-case one.. unfortunately trying to stop it, I also broken it definitely, so I simply removed it, luckily there seems to be no risk for my CPU for now, the temperature goes between 34°C while playing music to 47°C while compiling, although KingTaco suggested me to find a new CPU cooler.

And again, finding a decent one from my usual retailers was difficult… the best I could find, the Thermaltake Silent 939, would cost me €29 plus VAT (20%) and €11 for shipping; which is not really acceptable to me…

Introducing the European Union and the single market. Some time ago, someone (luckyduck maybe, it was just when I did join Gentoo), gave me the site of a German shop that ships to the rest of Europe too. I decide to give it a shot, although I used it before to compare prices, I never tried to order from it before.

The network card is at €34.49, the CPU cooler is at €24.19, both are quite a bit cheaper than in Italy. The shipping cost is €20 though, which removes most of the saving, and I have to count it will probably take a week or two to get the stuff here, I suppose.

But then I get the great idea.. I have a laser printer at home, a Kyocera-Mita FS-1020D, pretty cool of a printer, the toner kits are quite cheap too, €100 in shop, €90+€6 of shipping from an online shop.. how much would they cost on the German shop? €67.38 .. which, even if it was the only thing I ordered, added the shipping costs, is lower than both. I ordered one of that, even if I still have probably half the toner in the current cartridge, because it’s something that won’t go wasted anyway, and that alone makes the deal affordable and a good saving for me.

So at the end, thanks also to zzam who translated a few phrases for me, and pointed me at where to look for the info, I was able to order both the network card and the CPU cooler at a good price, and I’m pretty much happy about it, as I won’t burn down the CPU of Enterprise, and I’ll be finally able not to have to wait for eons to download portage on Klothos 😉

For once, I want to thank the European Union and the existence of Euro 🙂

Now, on a more technical level, FreeBSD 6.2_rc2 was released yesterday, thanks again to AMD64 team, I downloaded and repacked the sources from pitr, and they are already on the mirrors; even the ebuilds should have hit the RSync mirrors by now. This time, dev-libs/libedit is being used, which means that while upgrading you need to symlink to or it will fail to run /bin/sh (I know it’s annoying, I’m working on new stage for this reason).. for who’s following emerge upgrade order, which will miss before is merged, you can take my and use that in the mean time.

Now, while working on Klothos last night, I also found how to tell FreeBSD kernel to boot from a different partition than the default one (ad0a in the case of SPARC64 hardware). You need to edit loader.conf and set this:


The result is that I can now boot Klothos unattended, and not have to retype the string every damn time I reboot (which happens pretty much every time if I’m debugging the Kernel).

Comments 3
  1. Too bad you didn’t post a request for the cards (or maybe you did?). I could have sent you a few intel PCI NICs, pulled from old machines. Shipping from the US might be less fun, but let me know if you want a couple more. I’m not sure if they’re e100s but I think they might be.

  2. Thanks opello, but I try not to ask about anything unless it’s not something I need for myself, or if I’m without budget at a given time 🙂

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