Archive for September, 2009


Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

As my computer has a 64 bit processor and 8 gigs of memory, I opted to install the x86_64 version of Fedora.  Some will recommend the 32 bit version and the PAE kernel, but this is the choice I made.

The big decision that needs to be made during installation is how to set up the hard drives.  As I mentioned in my last post, the computer has two 640 gig hard drives.  With two hard drives, it is recommended to install the OS on one, and use the other for Ardour sessions and so on.

One thing that always bothers me about Fedora is the very rapid release cycle.  Since they release every 6 months, and discontinue security update support a year and a month after a release, you are basically forced to upgrade very often.  It may be possible to upgrade an installed system, but Fedora’s recommendation is to do a clean installation.  But if anything goes wrong, you have a problem.  Or if nothing else, you have no usable system while reconfiguring the new installation to your liking.  So what I have decided to do is to to leave space unallocated on the OS drive, and when it is time to upgrade, do a new installation to a partition in that currently unallocated space.  That way I will be able revert to my existing installation if I need to, and take time setting up the new installation.  Once I have it as I want it, I can make the switch permanently.  Obviously, I have not tried this plan yet, but I am hopeful it will work.

Here is how I created my partitions:

/dev/sda1 is 200MB and is an ext3 partition mounted on /boot
/dev/sda2 is 595.97GB (the rest of the available space) and is an LVM physical volume, which I have allocated as follows:

lv_home is 297.99GB and is an ext4 partition mounted on /home
lv_root is 30GB and is an ext4 partition mounted on /
lv_swap is 16 GB and is a swap partition
The rest of the space I left unallocated

/dev/sdb1 is an LVM physical volume which occupies all available space on the second hard drive, and is allocated as follows:

lv_data is 596.17GB (half of the total space) and is an ext4 partition mounted on /data
The rest of the space I left unallocated

I actually could have made the root partition even smaller.  It only has about 7 or 8 GB on it after installation.  I will be using /data to hold my Ardour sessions.

After laying out the partitions, I had to select what packages I to install.  I didn’t make detailed notes of this, but if you leave anything out, you should be able to install it with yum later.

Up next, I will talk about adding repositories, especially Planet CCRMA.


Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I have built a new system that I intend to use to to make and record music.  I will be using Linux, and various free software applications.  I have a Presonus Firebox which I will be using as my audio interface.  I have installed Fedora 11 on it, and intend to document here what I do to set it up and use it.  I am assuming that you have done (or will do) some research on how to use Linux for audio work  I previously, with some success, used the interface on my previous computer.  It functioned, and I got audio in and out of it, but jack wasn’t entirely stable, and I got a lot of error messages in the system logs whenever I tried to use it.  So I know it works, and can be used with Linux.

I am using Fedora, since it is the distribution I am most familiar with.  When I first started using Linux in 1997, I started with Slackware.  Soon after, in 1998, I switched to Red Hat Linux 5.1.  I continued to use Red Hat until they discontinued it and created the Fedora Core distribution, which I then switched to using.  I have used that on my main computers since then.  I have also used CentOS, which of course is essentially identical to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

My new system will feature an Intel Core 2 Quad processor with 8 GB of ram on a Gigabyte EP45T-UD3LR motherboard.   In future posts I may come back and detail some of my experiences building the system.  But one thing I will mention is that if you are using all 4 memory slots, you may need to run your memory at lower than stock speeds to eliminate errors.  From what I have read, it may be possible to use the advertised speed by increasing the voltages to the memory controller hub (MCH), but I have not tried this yet.

I have two 640 GB SATA hard drives, and I will detail how I have set them up when I discuss the installation.  The other important piece of hardware that I have is a SIIG firewire card.  This card features the Texas Instruments chipset which is recommended by Presonus as the best one to use.  In order to get the card to have its own IRQ, I had to install it in the upper PCI slot, not the lower one.  The lower PCI slot shares its IRQ with a couple of other devices (I think it was a USB controller and a hard drive controller).  Also, even though the BIOS allows you to specify what IRQ each of the PCI slots uses, this seting didn’t always work.  I tried setting it to IRQ 12 (other things were assigned IRQs 9, 10, and 11), but it assigned it IRQ 5, which is much lower priority.  When I set it to IRQ 14, however, the setting took effect.

In my next post, I will discuss my installation of Fedora, and some of the configuration things I have one so far.


Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I have set up this blog with the intent of keeping a record of my experiences setting up and using Fedora Linux to make and record music.  In the future, I may add stuff on other topics.