Archive for June, 2004

Installing Debian on a Soltek Qbic EQ 3401M

Monday, June 14th, 2004

I bought a Soltek Qbic EQ 3401M computer to use as a cheap home server.

A low noise level was one of my main priorities, since the computer must on at all times, while being located in my home office where I work every day, and the Soltek delivers what they promise. The machine is very silent. One has to sit down besides it with the ear close to it to really hear the fan. The only time I really notice it is when the disk is hard at work.

Second, I wanted a reasonably powerful computer, capable of running dynamic web sites while taking care of mail for several domains, acting as internal NFS and SMB file server, print server, CVS server and whatever else I might want to throw at it.

There’s a community network called Bryggenet where I live, and I have a shared 62Mbps line directly into my home, for the exorbitant price of $25/month flat fee. I feel obliged to use that bandwidth to something useful, after all, all the others just do file sharing and p2p. So I wanted to have a web server 🙂

The hardware specifcation is as seen on Soltek’s site. Mine has a 2.8GHz Pentium 3 cpu, 512Mb of memory, a 120Gb SATA diskdrive and a CD/DVD-RW combo drive. The various other units can be seen from the following output from lspci:

0000:00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82865G/PE/P DRAM Controller/Host-Hub Interface (rev 02)
0000:00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corp. 82865G Integrated Graphics Device (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI #1 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI #2 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI #3 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB UHCI #4 (rev 02)
0000:00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corp. 82801 PCI Bridge (rev c2)
0000:00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) LPC Bridge (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) Ultra ATA 100 Storage Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801EB (ICH5) Serial ATA 150 Storage Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) SMBus Controller (rev 02)
0000:00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)
0000:01:09.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
0000:01:0b.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Lucent Microelectronics FW323 (rev 61)

The entire Linux bootup output can be found here.

I used a Debian Sarge netinst CD-image, downloaded from some mirror linked from debian.org. The installation went almost too smoothly. The only problem was that the installer didn’t find any networks cards, and after trying out almost all the drivers by hand, I entered the bios and found the nic disabled. Once enabled, I had a fight with the boot sequence setup in the bios, since it almost insisted on booting from the network, which is probably why they shop had disabled it during QA. With this in order the rest of the installation went without a hitch.

The kernel installed is version 2.4.25. I tried to use the 2.6 kernel on the install disk, but it had some display problems (in text mode!), so I settled for 2.4.

I had some problems with the soundcard, where the default driver didn’t give any meaningful output, so I installed the alsa-drivers (debian packages alsa-base, alsa-modules-2.4.25, alsa-utils), which solved the problems.

I haven’t tried XFree86 on the system, so I don’t know how well that works. I use it as a server, so there is little need for a GUI.