screenshot from my linux box at work
at work where i repair and upgrade desktop and laptop computers and the occasional server, i have two computers. one is my primary workstaion (the heavy weight) and one box (the light weight) that i use to test memory and hard drives and stuff. this machine is intended for me to do evil things to (flash the bios, overclock it -not a good idea-, and of course run lots of different operating systems). normally i run NT4 on it and linux (the heavyweight runs win2k and linux) the mandrake screenshot was taken on the heavywieght, with a vnc session remoting the lightweight's NT session. this was all cool and everything, and then i decided to tinker with the light weight (tinker == destroy). in my screwing around with lilo i rendered the hard disk unbootable to either NT or linux (i had the boot disk created during the linux setup, and an NT boot loader disk - click here for details - so all was not lost). in trying to fix my problem i wasn't paying attention and deleted my NT system partition (like an idiot). so i had to redo NT. i had decided to start from scratch so i deleted all the linux and NTFS partitions from the primary hard disk. first i loaded NT from a ghost disk image. then i setabout configuring NT and discovered that it locked up at random. no blue screen, it just locked up tight. so i set about reapplying service packs, running diags on the hardware and unplugging disks that i thought migh be contributing. NT hadn't done this before, so i even reimaged a couple of times (this eliminated the possibility of a SW problem). i decided that the problem was hardware related. i have seen in the past, old machines with minor flaws in the CPU or memory will cause NT to die a horrible ugly death. what sucks about hardware problems on old PC's is that with no warranty support you are out of luck, as was my case. so i went ahead and loaded linux, and left linux up for a couple of days with no worries, so i deleted the NT partiton and transferred my data to the heavyweight. so my ultimate decision was to fix my NT lockup problem by loading linux :-) larry augustin would be proud.
the screenshot above is redhat running on the light weight. this screenshot is the heavywieight running mandrake, and the vnc session is the last photograph of NT running on the light weight :-)
the moral of this story: linux may not yet be ready for big iron cuz it supposedly doesn't scale up, but it is the best bet for adding system life to aging PC's cuz it scales down rather nicely. in IT terms it means that you can hang on to hardware longer if you run linux, and you can move services like DNS, printing, file serving, monitoring, caching, NAT, and even mail or low end web serving to lighter weight boxes (say a former heavywieght who is being retired), and take some of the load off your heavyweight application, database and high end web servers.
a good example of this is using heavyweight boxes to serve dynamic content (say ASP, mod_perl, PHP, etc.) and using lightweight boxes to cache the output or to serve static objects (images, wavs, some applets, flat HTML). this can make your heavyweights more prodeuctive and squeeze a little more life out of your lightweights.