Ethernet bonding with Linux and 802.3ad

2 NIC + SwitchNowadays, most desktop mainboards provide more than one gigabit ethernet port. Connecting them both to the same switch causes most Linux distros by default to get a individual IP on each device and route traffic only on the primary device (based on device metric) or round-robin. A single connection always starts at one IP and so all traffic goes through one device, limiting maximum bandwidth to 1 GBit.

Here comes bonding (sometimes called (port) trunking or link aggregation) to play. It connects two ore more ethernet ports to one virtual port with only one MAC and so mostly one IP address. Wheres earlier only two hosts (with the same OS running) or two switches (from the same vendor) could be connected, nowadays there's a standard protocol which makes it easy: LACP which is part of IEEE 802.3ad. Continue reading

Changing scheduling parameters in Linux

Process scheduling within Linux is done by the kernel, following different aspects. Usually it's goal is to share all resources fairly among all running processes.

Sometimes, there's a need to tell the kernel explicitly to prior some process, bind some process to a special CPU and so on.

Changing process priorities is commonly known:

nice -n 10 make

runs the program make with a priority of 10 (-20 meaning most favorable and 19 least favorable scheduling). If you want to change a priority of a running program, renice is your choice. Continue reading

Framebuffer on ALIX.3D3

ALIX.3D3 booting

ALIX.3D3 booting

In contrary to most ALIX devices, the ALIX.3D3 has an integrated VGA controller and an Award BIOS (tinyBIOS doesn't support VGA), so why not attach a monitor.

Standard text mode is supported by default (and faster than graphical mode), but if you wish to change resolution, add a boot logo or even want to use a graphical boot screen like splashutils a framebuffer device is needed.

lspci lists the integrated VGA controller of the AMD Geode LX800 CPU as the video device:

00:01.1 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Geode LX Video

Luckily the linux kernel supports this device directly and so no VESA framebuffer is needed. Continue reading

Installing Gentoo on ALIX.3D3

When I ordered the ALIX.3D3 board I thought installing Gentoo on this should be a piece of cake, but finally there were some stumbling blocks and that's why I want to summarize how I got gentoo running.

First of all, I recommend installing Gentoo on a normal desktop to get to know the installing process, which is a bit different from graphical installers of mainstream distros. The Gentoo Handbook is a great documentation how this done.

To install gentoo, you have to boot a minimal or "rescue" linux usually from cd/dvd. I tried to convice the bios to boot from a usb cd-rom drive, but I hadn't any success. Continue reading