Original version: 2006 Sep 07
Update: 2007 May 10
Author: Johannes Ranke
I have been looking for a way to replace my old Windows NT machine that I mainly use to run MS Word, Reference Manager and to connect to my Linux desktop via XWin32. I figured if I get one of the new AM2 dual core CPUs from AMD with low energy consumption (35 Watt TDP specified) I could also save a lot of electrical energy, when replacing an old (Pentium 266 MHz) Windows NT machine and a Linux server (Duron 950 MHz) just by this one box!
So this is what I have now:
Could be more RAM and a second disk for RAID 1, but I can do this at a later stage.
Installing a recent Linux distribution is no problem on this motherboard. I tried
I installed Xen 3.0.2 on kubuntu from binaries according to this howto. I even installed two VMs with sarge and sid, and everything went well (using noapic and acpi=off both on the hypervisor and the kernel command line) until I wanted to install Windows XP - the hvmloader was missing in the installation!
In order to avoid installing Xen from sources, and being a Debian addict, I thought I'd just install etch, upgrade to sid and use the packages from the main repository. I was able to get this to work. Only with all the boot parameters from above, and using the 2.6.17-2-xen kernel and the unstable xen-tools etc. Only to find that the network bridge would not come up, because the shell script network-bridge obviously was not executed...
I then tried to use the debian xen-ioemu-3.0 package (installing with --force-depends) on the kubuntu setup, for getting the hvmloader. Trying to create the winxp domU broke my kubuntu installation by crashing the root file system. I don't know what happened, maybe it was an incompatibility of the sdl library needed by hvmloader.
Finally I bootstrapped sarge into a fresh partition and installed the Xen packages from backports according to this howto. I only had one problem, concerning udev. I had to create the directory /dev/pts with mkdir, so the udev package from backports would install. Everything else went beautifully, including the bridge and the presence of hvmloader. So I installed Windows XP home using SDL:
Then I discovered that the remote desktop functionality is not part of Windows XP Home, so now I am waiting for XP Professional, in order I have a more responsive desktop than with SDL.
Update May 2007: I am now using XP Professional on this system since more than half a year, and I am very happy with the setup. I am using rdesktop 1.4, since version 1.5 does not copy from the X clipboard to Windows. rdesktop 1.4. sometimes uses a lot of resources, but as long as this is not fixed, I can't really upgrade to 1.5.
On another note, I also consolidated the two Linux servers chem.uft.uni-bremen.de and kriemhild.uft.uni-bremen.de, which now run on one hardware as domU and dom0. This also works nicely, I described the (cheap) hardware of the chem server before. The only problem there is the clock, which is ridiculously slow. I had this problem from the beginning, and the drift seems to be too high for ntpd to compensate.