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Author Topic: What Linux dist to use?  (Read 8132 times)

notalent

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What Linux dist to use?
« on: 07 Jul 2009, 12:31:53 pm »
Just wondering if it matters at all which distro to use?

I used the latest ubuntu but am wondering if using a "server" distribution woudl be better since I don't need any of the graphics.

Does anyone have a favorite?

Offline sunu

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #1 on: 07 Jul 2009, 12:41:53 pm »
I used the latest ubuntu but am wondering if using a "server" distribution would be better since I don't need any of the graphics.

If I'm not mistaken you need a hack to run cuda without x server.

notalent

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #2 on: 07 Jul 2009, 02:19:27 pm »
I think I posted in the correct forum, forgive me if I didn't.

I won't be using CUDA--just some extra AMD processors.  Can this still work without X?

Offline Purple Rabbit

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #3 on: 07 Jul 2009, 02:38:18 pm »
I've been using the various versions of SUSE on a number of remote computers. While I have the X server running for remote administration you can certainly run optimized CPU apps without an X server. Telnet and BOINCcmd should do it for you. I run the X server because I'm too lazy to dink around with telnet  :) If your computer isn't headless (remote), then you don't need telnet.

A Linux server isn't needed. Just configure what you have to boot to level 3 (command line, no graphics) instead of level 5. Of course this requires you to know what to do from there  ;D

Can you give a little more information as to why you want to do this?

Rick
« Last Edit: 07 Jul 2009, 03:07:43 pm by Purple Rabbit »

notalent

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #4 on: 07 Jul 2009, 03:21:10 pm »
I just didnt' know if it would be better for performance to have nothing esle running while boinc + optimized seti was running.  Just wanted to use every last ounce of processing power.

Offline Purple Rabbit

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #5 on: 07 Jul 2009, 04:08:32 pm »
If your computer is reasonably new (last few years) with sufficient memory then X won't have much of an impact on processing assuming that you've disabled screen savers and other background programs that use graphics. It takes up memory and uses CPU cycles when you are looking. It'll use a few cycles when you're not looking, but if your CPU is reasonably fast I doubt that you'll notice.

I had the same thoughts about a year ago so I tried the experiment on an AMD64 X2 3800+ using the optimized apps running level 3. I didn't see much difference one way or the other.

If your computer is starved for memory to the point that it's swapping files to the hard drive then removing X might do some good, but buying more memory would probably help more. Hopefully you have at least 1GB RAM.

I tried Ubuntu about a year and a half ago. It installs a lot of "crap" with the default install. Pruning the start up list may help. Getting the "last ounce" out of the computer would imply deleting X, but like I said, if you optimize everything else you probably wouldn't notice.

Rick

As an aside: When asking for help the more information you can give about your situation the easier it'll be for the helpers. I'm kind of guessing here  ;)
« Last Edit: 07 Jul 2009, 04:26:36 pm by Purple Rabbit »

Offline sunu

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #6 on: 07 Jul 2009, 05:15:33 pm »
As Purple Rabbit says, if you need the absolute best in speed then you can think about running with no X server. Then again if you need a light installation you won't go to ubuntu. Check Damn Small, Puppy, Tiny Core. Or you can go to super customisable, super optimisable (potential for more speed) Arch Linux or Gentoo. All these and much more you can see in www.distrowatch.com (well probably you already knew that address  :)).

On the ubuntu front, you should know that jaunty's (9.04) kernel has some problems with the optimised apps. So you'll have to make your own, or use intrepid's (8.10) kernel.

notalent

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #7 on: 07 Jul 2009, 06:25:32 pm »
Thanks for everyone's help.

To give more info, I have two 'extra' six core processors that won't be used for a bit.  So I wanted to do some crunching on them. The system has 4GB of memory.

The system will just be running headlessly once I get it up and going.  I'll just log in via vnc or putty however I have it set.

sunu thanks for the tip on Ubuntu, I'll stay away from it for that reason.  I would put my "linux skills" at a 4/10.  I can hunt around and usually find out what I need from searching but if there is an issue and no one has dealt with it before I won't figure it out.

I think I'll try out puppy or similar and see how that goes.


notalent

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #8 on: 07 Jul 2009, 06:34:07 pm »
looks like puppy doesn't have 64bit, so I'll find another

Offline sunu

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #9 on: 07 Jul 2009, 06:50:01 pm »
For a full desktop you can also try sidux (with xfce, more light than kde). It's based on debian sid, that means always the latest and most modern packages. The sidux team takes care of some problems here and there that come up in debian sid every now and then. Link http://sidux.com .

Offline Purple Rabbit

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #10 on: 07 Jul 2009, 06:57:08 pm »
To give more info, I have two 'extra' six core processors that won't be used for a bit.  So I wanted to do some crunching on them. The system has 4GB of memory.

The system will just be running headlessly once I get it up and going.  I'll just log in via vnc or putty however I have it set.

With the system you describe you don't need any "light" Linux distributions, but you don't need Ubuntu either  :) The light distributions sometimes come with problems of their own (old kernels, memory optimized for small memory spaces, missing libraries, no multi-core processing, etc.).  You just described what I'm doing with SUSE. I have 6 headless computers (4 Linux, 2 Windows) running on my wireless LAN. I use VNC to access them. That needs the X server tho.

With your Linux skill level I'd recommend staying with the no command line option (i.e graphics). I would consider myself about a 7. I've been using Linux for 5 years, but I only learn stuff when I have a problem  ::) The graphics interface helps a lot.

Ubuntu was optimized for the masses and not really for what you want to do. I tried Fedora, Mandrake (or whatever), and Ubuntu. I kept coming back to SUSE for my needs. It seems to be about the best for me. It's easy to install and customize, but there are a few problems with the latest KDE version.  Personal choices of Linux distributions border upon religion so I won't go any further  ;D

I wish you luck in your endeavor. I'm willing to help where I can.

Rick
« Last Edit: 07 Jul 2009, 07:58:11 pm by Purple Rabbit »

notalent

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #11 on: 11 Jul 2009, 05:42:26 pm »
well I took your advice and installed sidux.  Lost a few days because I was having an issue with using a ps/2 mouse + keyboard...

Not sure what happened, the live cd allowed me to use them both.  But when I had installed it on a hard drive I could only use the keyboard.  THen I plugged in a usb mouse, and I could only use that, no keyboard...

So I hunted down a usb keyboard to use (with the usb mouse) and it works fine.  Got everything installed (except the optimized seti, I'll tackle that on Monday) and it's running well.

I like the xfce environment, very nice.  Hopefully this will start churning out some good numbers.

Offline sunu

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Re: What Linux dist to use?
« Reply #12 on: 11 Jul 2009, 06:59:50 pm »
notalent, that must have been some faulty config of the xserver. Did that happen right after installation or after some upgrade?

It seems you solved it, just two links that might be useful in the future:
http://sidux.com/index.php?module=pnWikka&tag=xserverxorg
http://wiki.debian.org/XStrikeForce/InputHotplugGuide
« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2009, 07:17:29 pm by sunu »

 

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