I burned some FC4 x86_64 CDs earlier this week. Then I went to install them on my new computer, but did a media check first. Three of them failed. I re-burned them; the new copies failed, too.

Next: read an installation guide; it suggested that installation over a network or from a USB hard drive is possible. I don’t yet have the network working, but I’d bought some USB hard drives; no problem. Plug one of them into my laptop – it worked the first time! (Formatted as vfat; I guess I can deal with that.) Copy the ISOs over to the drive, run sha1sum to verify the copies; takes a while, but works.

Stick the CD into the new computer, and do ‘linux askmethod’. There was a hard drive option; select that. Hmm – no USB hard drive? Maybe I should have plugged in the USB hard drive before booting? Reboot, try again – there’s sdb, and looking into it, there are my images! Everything’s going great!

Then select one of the images. At this point, it complains about something driver-related. I try again; the machine crashes.

Try a few more times; half the time, I can’t see the USB drive, and in the times I can see it the computer crashes in short order. Sigh. I hope the x86_64 support in FC5 is better…

Well, I have two copies of the CD’s; hopefully they won’t be silently bad, and if they are bad in non-silent ways (which has been the case with me before), hopefully they’ll be bad in different places. So let’s give it a try.

It takes two tries, actually: once I screwed up the hard drive formatting. But then it works – victory! Though I’m a little curious as to whether or not I’ll be able to get as wide a range of 64-bit packages as I’d like – for example, it’s not clear that I have gphoto. (Poking around later, I would seem to.) No apparent problems with the CD’s – I hope there aren’t quiet problems…

More work to be done there (e.g. ‘yum update’), but things seem to be going okay.

Next: networking.  Which means configuring the wireless bridge.  It comes with a Windows setup CD (grr); I bring the laptop upstairs, plug it into the bridge, and boot it up in Windows mode. (Lazy me: web access to would have worked, it turns out.) The network can’t come up. That’s okay – surely the setup CD will find the bridge anyways? Nope.

Hmm: maybe the laptop isn’t happy because the bridge (being just a bridge, after all) doesn’t know how to give the laptop an IP address, and the setup CD is too stupid to deal with that? The router has four ethernet ports; bring the bridge and laptop downstairs, plug them both into the router. Now the setup CD works.

So I configure everything, bring the bridge upstairs, plug it into the new computer. Doesn’t work.

Bring the bridge back downstairs, plug it back into the computer. Play around with settings; the setup guide’s instructions are notably shaky in places. In particular, it doesn’t explain the distinction between “Infrastructure” and “Ad-hoc” mode at all clearly, and the default gateway of seems pretty iffy to me. Play around with changing everything I can; each time, though, when I unplug the ethernet cable between the bridge and router and plug the laptop into the bridge, I can’t get networking to work.

Give up on this; leave the bridge’s ethernet cable plugged into the router, and boot up in Linux. Do some digging around on the net, with no useful results (other than to remind me that the bridge has gotten many bad reviews on Amazon), then go to the web interfaces for both the bridge and router. Play around with settings a bit more; no obvious problems. After reading the manual for the bridge, I’m pretty sure I know what the settings should be. The bridge’s web page has a way to search for wireless networks; it can find five of them around me, and if I turn on SSID broadcasting for mine, it can find mine. So both my bridge and router seem to have functioning antennas, at least. Make sure all settings match (looking at the WEP key several times); reshuffle ethernet cables so the laptop goes through the bridge, but still no luck.

Look more closely at router settings – hey, WEP is turned off! I think I accidentally did that 10 minutes ago. Let’s try turning that on again. Then I ping my bridge’s IP address (which is still connected to the router through an ethernet cable) – I’m getting duplicate responses! Maybe things are working now, and the duplicates are because the packet is going both through the ethernet and the air? (Ethernet and ether, so to speak.) Reshuffle cables – everything works!

Bring the bridge upstairs; it works there, too! (But my computer got turned off at some point – I didn’t do that intentionally…)

Go downstairs, add entry in /etc/hosts on the laptop for the new computer. (Christened ‘panini.bactrian.org’, since I’ve run out of tropical fruit ideas.) ssh in; it works! Whoops, it doesn’t work, I’m logged into papaya (the laptop). Right, .10, not .100; remove offending line from .ssh/known_hosts, try again; it works!

Set up port forwarding in my router, try to log in from offsite. Doesn’t work. Whoops, I got the IP address wrong again (.200 this time, which is the bridge); once I get it right, everything works.

Go to my registrar, add an entry ‘home.bactrian.org’ that points to the IP address my cable modem currently has. Yay.

Log back into the new machine, do ‘yum update xemacs{,-sumo}{,-info}’; it installs quite quickly, so I guess the wireless network is working at good strength. (And the new package install doesn’t pull in 900 updates, too, which is nice; I’ll do ‘yum update’ at some point tomorrow, probably, but I’d rather not deal with that right now.)

So: I’m happy with the current state. Still some mysteries – did I get anything wrong the first time I configured the bridge, or is the bridge flaky? Why was the new machine turned off when I went upstairs? But I’m not too worried, all things considered.

Enough computer fiddling for the weekend; like I said, I’m planning to do ‘yum update’, but I want to devote my brain cells to programming. (If I have free time at all for computer usage tomorrow, which I hope I will.)

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