I used to assemble my own x86 systems back when that could actually save you a couple thousand on a new system. I don't do that anymore. I will upgrade components like memory or a wireless card, but aside from that, I don't want to get inside the computer. And yesterday reminded me why.
I bought a new SSD for my Dell Mini 9. Specifically, the RunCore Pro 64GB 50mm PATA Mini PCIe SSD. That's a lot of technobabble to say I am quadrupling the hard disk space in my netbook.
The Mini 9 is a now discontinued netbook that exposes the wireless card, SSD, WWAN, and memory cards to the user. Remove them and install new ones if you want. The first thing I did when I got it last year was install more memory. The second thing I did was replace the wireless card with an Intel one so I could use it more easily under Linux. Replacing the SSD seemed equally trivial.
I stripped both screws in the process and only got one out. Ugh. So I've got some more tools en route to me as well as a Mini 9 screw kit. Have I mentioned I hate hardware?
Once I get the 64GB SSD in place, I'll do a reinstall of OpenBSD. Oh, right, I didn't tell everyone. I'm not using Fedora Linux on my netbook anymore. I'm tired of the constant changing of core system components. I can't effectively use Fedora for my non-work work and things change so fast that I have to constantly relearn how to do simple things. Or at least learn the new approved way of the week. Some people enjoy this, I just don't want that on my personal system. Call me a greybeard unwilling to change, I don't really care. I want a simple Unix system that runs modern software, but doesn't adopt every new half-baked idea that comes along. I thought of FreeBSD for a few minutes (I used that for about 5 or so years, I forget), but went with OpenBSD because it seemed more like what I wanted now.
Top 5 things I like about OpenBSD:
- They discourage users from building a custom kernel. They tell users that config(8) on a compiled kernel will most likely do what people are looking for when they try to come up with their own kernel configuration.
- They discourage users from rebuilding the entire operating system. I think this is what I hated most about FreeBSD. Yes, cool, I get it, I can compile the whole OS. So what?
- Configuration of wireless devices is provided by ifconfig(8). No need for iwconfig, NetworkManager, or wpa_supplicant. It's nice.
- Detailed man pages for everything! OpenBSD has great documentation, and a vast majority of it is available in man pages. I really wish Linux did a better job of this.
- I install 36 packages from ports after installing OpenBSD and that doesn't expand to 2636 like it would on Fedora.
- I can understand pf syntax unlike iptables.
- Firmware for Intel wifi adapters is not included with the base system. I understand the reasoning, but even Fedora is shipping those. I think no BSD or Linux distribution has a correct grasp on what can and can't be included from a legal standpoint. I wish we would all normalize what we can include from wifi firmware, MP3 support, and the other taboo technologies that everyone uses but can't ship.
- I wish there was a ports tree that was in sync with the -stable branch rather than exclusively following -current. If you want to contribute to ports, even just a patch, you more or less have to be running -current.
- They still use cvs, which is excruciatingly slow. While I advocate git, just any of the other distributed version control systems would be an improvement.
- fdisk(8) and disklabel(8) suck from a user interface standpoint. The installation goes from yes/no questions to this overly technical clown barf on the screen. This might be because I work on installation daily and partitioning and such is always on my mind.
On the new SSD, here's the mountpoints I came up with:
- / (100M)
- swap (2048M)
- /tmp (50M)
- /var (100M)
- /usr (600M)
- /usr/X11R6 (300M)
- /usr/src (1024M)
- /usr/xenocara (1024M)
- /usr/ports (512M)
- /usr/obj (1500M)
- /usr/xobj (1024M)
- /usr/local (4096M)
- /home (32768M)