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A Faithful Companion

Finally, after nearly 4 years of heavy use, my HP Pavilion ze4420US laptop is beginning to bite the dust. It is showing it's age, wear and tear, but yet, still will not let me down until it does at last give up the ghost.

For the last 4 years, he (no, the only female in my life is my wife (I call it Hercules)) has seen more than what most desktops see in their entire life. It was my main computer for programming, web surfing, hacking, CD burning, movie watching, and much much more. The hard drive has been wiped clean more times than I would like to admit. It has had Windows XP Home and Pro, Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, Slackware and Ubuntu installed several times. Software was constantly installed and uninstalled giving my hard drive a serious workout. It has been used as a web, database, mp3 and ftp server. It has been dragged literally all over the country. It has had the PCMCIA and hard drive replaced. He's even been dropped a couple of times. All in all, he's been extremely faithful.

And now, amidst all this abuse, the thermal monitor on the motherboard is going out, so the CPU fan is on constantly, and loud at that too. He never really gets hot, however, because of the insane fan usage, but he does lose his fully charged battery life in about 5-10 minutes flat. It is because of this, I decided to give him a break, and permanantly place him on my desk, preparing to be part of a Linux cluster.

All the data was backed up (which surprisingly, was only about 300MB), the hard drived wiped clean yet again, and Ubuntu Breezy 5.10 installed. He will be part of a two-node cluster with this server that currently is hosting the many sites it is. He will also be a network RAID backup, providing for the first time, a sensible backup solution to this server.

For clustering, I am looking at OpenMosix rather than Beowulf. Although my knowledge of clustering right now, is extremely limited, from what I understand, OpenMosix runs at the kernel level sending out processes to nodes as needed, while Beowulf runs at the application level. I would like to give a much-needed break to my Linux server, so Hercules will be there to help process the web trafiic, and other stuff.

Now, I am looking forward. Time to find a replacement. A desktop replacement. A powerhouse. Hercules was good, but I need something better. Something that will out perform the cluster currently being built. Requirements? I needs to have a 10-key on the keyboard, giant widescreen (something greater than just 1280x1024), 250GB HDD, 1GB DDRRAM, builtin wireless (that has released their specs to the Linux community), 3Ghz minimum processing power, IEEE1394b, USB 2.0, serial drives, etc. You get the idea. Something big, strong and powerful. I'm willing to shell out a little for it, but not too much. No, I don't play games.

Any ideas?

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