I took some time this week to migrate my DNs and DCHP server from an Ubuntu virtual machine to my Raspberry Pi. I wanted to do this because these two servers are so essential to regular network functioning. Before this change whenever my server was down (for whatever reason) any machine connected to the LAN would stop having a working internet connection. Moreover, since I never got the VM to boot correctly on autostart I had to manually start it every time the server came back up again.
Conclusion: not ideal and pissed of family members ;-).
Since I had my Raspberry Pi lying around and, apart from a few toy projects, hadn’t used it for anything, I decided to use it for this task: low power requirements and hardware that was more than up to the task.
The question was which distribution to use. I could have gone for Raspbian (Debian for the Raspberry Pi), which would have blended well with my otherwise Ubuntu-minded network. However, partly for nostalgic reasons, partly make sure I don’t get too tied to one distribution, I decided to try and install Slackware, the distribution I used for my first steps in Linux Land.
I followed most of the steps from the fatdog.eu tutorial (see link below) to get everything running. It’s a very well written, extensive tutorial. Things where I followed my own judgement/experience were the fact that I didn’t use a USB stick to download the Slackware packages on (I used an NFS share on my server) and the package selection. With a relatively simple selection I now have about 2GB of disk usage.
Only one thing left to migrate to the Pi now: my LDAP server. Unfortunately it’s been several years since I configured OpenLDAP (on Ubuntu) and Slackware doesn’t include the OpenLDAP server by default. So this will be something for a rainy day…
One of the first things I tried on my Raspberry Pi was to compile ProbABEL and see if it runs. Since the Raspberry Pi has an ARM processor I wasn’t sure whether our code was portable to it. Apparently it is! Compiling ProbABEL (r.1027 from SVN) took 30 minutes (single threaded of course) compared to 34 seconds on my Desktop (4 threads on an Intel Core i3 processor), but hey, it worked :-). Surprisingly it also passed all the checks in make check.
Once I hook up some more storage to device I will try to run ProbABEL on some real data. It will be interesting to see how much time it takes to run a linear regression on e.g. chromosome 22 of HapMap3 imputated data for a few hundred samples…
Will the Raspberry Pi be the next platform for GWAS ;-)?
Two weeks ago I received a Raspberry Pi! The Raspberry Pi is a small computer based not on a “regular” Intel or AMD x86 processor, but on an ARM processor (similar to the ones used in smartphones etc.). The one I ordered is a model B (with ethernet) and 512MB RAM.
The idea behind this nifty little computer is to provide kids with a low-cost but fully functional computer with which they could start learning more about programming. I’m not sure if this goal will be widely met, but for me it worked ;-). Having this little machine (with its case it measures roughly 10 x 6 x 2.5 cm) in my hands and installing Raspbian Linux on an SD card and looking at the terminal as it booted reminded me of the times when I first played with Slackware Linux on a 486. Of course Raspbian (well, Linux in general) is much more advanced than Slackware 7.0 back in 1999/2000 but the not too stellar performance of the graphical desktop is somewhat comparable.
Apart from playing around with it I’m not sure yet what I’m going to use it for. A domotica hub? A small web sserver? Use DosBox to play old games (from even before the 486 era)? We’ll see!
By the way, I order mine on Thursday Novermber 8th and on the Tuesday after that the package landed on my doorstep. Amazing after hearing about people waiting for months for their orders to be shipped. I order mine from New IT. It probably cost a little bit more, but who cares :-).