Fedora/RISC-V: the final bootstrap

There are bootable (but very minimal) disk images built cleanly from RPMs: https://fedorapeople.org/groups/risc-v/disk-images/

More soon …

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NUC cluster bring-up

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Pics from the FOSDEM SiFive talk

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SiFive unleashed board

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nbdkit filters

nbdkit is our toolkit for creating Network Block Device (NBD) servers from “unusual” data sources. nbdkit was already configurable by writing simple plugins in several programming languages. Last week Eric Blake and I added a nice new feature: You can now modify existing plugins by placing “filters” in front of them.

A plugin might do something simple like serve a local file from disk or complicated like bridging to VMware servers. A filter can modify this by:

(You can also layer filters to arbitrary depth)

nbdkit 1.1.27 has three simple filters, and 1.1.28 will include two more, and you can write your own although (unlike plugins) filters do not yet have a stable ABI and we haven’t decided if we will offer a stable ABI in future.

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Intel NUC

I’ve been looking for replacements for my HP Microservers which according to this blog are now nearly 7 years old!. Although still going (sort of) strong: one of them failed completely, and another has developed a faulty cache manifested by random 32 byte wide web server corruption (yes, it’s also my main web server …)

My virtualization cluster is also coming up to 4 years old, and while it works fine it turns out that running servers without cases isn’t such a good idea because they generate large amounts of RF interference.

So you can tell that my current computing setup is held together with string and sticky tape. Can I make a nicer system based on a pile of NUCs? I bought 1 NUC for testing:

20180117_125413

The total cost (including tax and delivery) was £583.96 from scan.co.uk. I also specced up a similar system with an M.2 SSD which would have been about £670. (An ideal system would have both M.2 SSD and a hard disk but that gets even more expensive.) The NUC model is NUC7i5BNH and the Wikipedia page is absolutely essential for understanding the different models.

Enough talk, how well does it work? To start off with, really badly with the NUC regularly hanging hard. This was because of a faulty RAM module, a problem I’ve had with the Gigabyte Brix before. Because of that, I’m only running with one 8 GB module:

Screenshot_2018-01-17_15-31-50

It has two real cores with hyperthreading. The cores are Kaby-Lake Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7260U CPU @ 2.20GHz.

The compile performance is reasonable, not great, as you’d expect from an Intel i5 processor.

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RISC-V Tokyo

Today (was) RISC-V Day 2017 Tokyo at the University of Tokyo (programme in English, more information in English). My colleague Wei Fu gave a talk on the status of Fedora on RISC-V. I hope it was recorded somewhere. If it appears online I’ll update this post.

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