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FREESCO Support • View topic - Having trouble with 0.4.4

Having trouble with 0.4.4

Support section for FREESCO v0.4.x

Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:18 am

Hi,

After a couple of times where I upgraded only weeks before a new Freesco version was released, this time I decided to hold off to the release of 0.4.4.

I've run into a couple of issues, some of them are just noteworthy, but one is sort of preventing me from using 0.4.4. I run a simple box, AMD XP-M 2400+ with 512MB Ram and 2 HDD's, of which on is connected and the other contains the previous working Freesco, one FDD and one CD/DVD player.

At first I tried using the CD, Freesco works fine that way, but when it came to copying the installation to the HDD (using the ext 2 package, installed using the setup), I saw copy errors. When you reboot, Freesco starts, but during the start-up, just after mounting the disk, starts showing messages about archive corruption (one zcat, one tar operation delayed, this is from memory). That didn't seem right, so I resorted to the tried and tested FDD install, even if I had to look hard to find a floppy. :)

One of the other changes I made to the box is changing the NIC's, I had two cheapo Realtek's, I swapped these to a GA311 for my LAN and a SMC 9432 for the WAN. For the GA311 I used the driver that was announced as much improved on support forum, and the SMC gets the epic100 driver. Setup proceeds without much trouble and within a short time I had Freesco up and running, copied in some of the customisations I made to the previous setup (I was running 0.4.2), mostly my static leases, dns entries and some addtitional fw rules in rc_user. Reboot and it worked fine. Got really nice performance under load, so I was pretty chuffed.

Then, a couple of hours later, poof.... Freesco went haywire, showing some stuff on screen about interrupts, loads of hex, but nothing seemed really helpful. I rebooted and within a hour the box went out again, this time without any screen. I rebooted again, went to bed, woke up and the box was out again. So I embarked on a quest, tried other drivers, tried swapping out the GA311 (my ISP does funky stuff with its DHCP server and my MAC address, so swapping the SMC would have incurred a 2 hour wait, and I wasn't really in the mood to spoof, or go back to the Realtek). Nothing helped. So, I swapped the HD's back, booted 0.4.2, installed the same drivers I was using for 0.4.4 and the box is rock solid every since (2 days now). So I know it's not the drivers, or the hardware, which seems to leave...... 0.4.4 as the cause for the instability.

Not having internet is somewhat inconvenient, and my ISP has a habit of cutting the bandwidth if I reboot too much, dropping from 50Mbps down to a whopping 300Kbps after some experimentation. However I would like to find out what is causing the problem.

I have DNS/DHCP/CRON/SSH/Control page/Dyndns/port forwarding/FTP and server monitor enabled. No RAM disk, no SWAP. SSH doesn't accept passwords, is set to secure mode, but does listen on the WAN 443 side as well. I have midnight commander installed, with all the dependents, as per package script suggestion. There's GB's of space on hard disk and plenty of memory. 1789 bogomips, both NIC's are detected properly, the GA311 is running at full speed. It's essentially the same setup as the 0.4.2. Could the change in the code with regard to the NAT stuff have anything to do with it? Or perhaps I should have done what I usually do, install the next higher version instead, 0.4.3. Suggestions appreciated.

Chris
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby Lightning » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:26 pm

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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:06 am

Thanks for the advice, however you mention putting the 0.4.2 kernel onto the 0.4.4 system, but removing the GA311 external driver. But you mention that the better driver is built into the kernel since 0.4.3, so shouldn't I either put a 0.4.3 kernel on, or use the external driver? Is there any advantage to a 0.4.3 kernel over a 0.4.2 version?
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby Lightning » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:56 pm

The driver is not part of the kernel and as stated the built in driver is better than the down loadable version. The drivers are built into the ramdisk of the system. As for 0.4.3 kernels, I would not recommend in your situation using one of the 0.4.3 kernels as they are all built for software raid and since your system had issues with a 0.4.4 kernel with raid enabled using the CD, it would not be advisable. The 0.4.2 kernels will and should do everything that you are wanting the system to do. The 0.4.4 kernel is basically the same kernel except it has loose UDP enabled. Which changes the firewall into a full cone NAT instead of a port restricted NAT router and in most cases you will never notice the difference unless you have some software running behind FREESCO that will not work using a port restricted NAT. In addition the 0.4.2 kernels are known and very stable kernels.
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:47 am

I got the system running, interested to see if this remains stable. I'm running the stock 0.4.2 kernel, couldn't see a 686 0.4.2 kernel. Perhaps one of these days I'll get into compiling one myself, perhaps. I tried a 686 < 0.4.2, and that wasn't a great success, perhaps it was the CD, coz I saw all sorts of weirdness reported on hdc. I would need a 686 vipc triton with floppy.

Right now, 0.4.4 with a default 0.4.2 kernel. System performance is sort of the same as with 0.4.2. There is one interesting 'bug', on the control panel is says:

<myname>.dnsalias.net resolves to a.b.c.d
dyndns not current, Should be a.b.c.d.

Normally I see this when the ip's differ, but now they are shown as EXACTLY the same number, weird.

Will report on stability later......
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:13 pm

Unfortunately, my experience with 0.4.4 remains somewhat disappointing, after the configuration, and after 4 hours of running, the box lost all speed. I have a 50Mbps fibre connection, and speed dropped to less than 500Kbps. I've reconnected the 0.4.2 installation (which ran rock solid for 3+ days) and have reset the modem, rebooted and I'm back at 50Mbps. Right now, configuration wise, both systems are equal, the only difference between the 0.4.2 and the 0.4.4 system is the harddisk (0.4.4 landed on my old 5Gb Quantum drive, the 0.4.2 is on a 40Gb something WD drive) and GA311 driver (0.4.2. is running the external one). Kernels are equal,the rest is sort of stock Freesco (I do install midnight commander on my Freesco systems, that's about it).

One other thing that might be noteworthy, when I was running on the 0.4.4 kernel the box seemed more stable when I was connecting into my network at home, instead connecting out. Crashes would mostly happen (although not so certain I'm sure this fact or merely coincidence) when I fired up my main laptop, which does establish lots of connections at once.
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby Lightning » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:05 pm

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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:07 pm

Right now I'm running 0.4.2 and because of that the control panel shows all is well, so to speak. Ever since going back the system shows no sign of stress at all. I'm going to leave it like this for a couple of days. Then I'll switch to 0.4.4 and see what happens. I can then also check the response of the script, will keep you posted.
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Thu May 03, 2012 3:03 pm

Tonight I tried again, suspecting my AMD Mobile mobo might be the cause, I swapped it for a Celeron 420 on a cheapo G31 mobo (a Foxconn). Upgraded the power supply to a 80plus gold unit as well.

To say the least, interesting..... The 0.4.4 setup doesn't crash now, even when I load up a newer kernel (044 default). But the network performance is not good. After trying all sorts of settings (it's supposed to be identical to my 0.4.2. setup in all the major areas), it simply doesn't work well. The box itself has a tendency to slow (so slow to make the console unusable), and the firewall isn't connecting me to the internet. Which is really irritating me, because 0.4.4 seems a very good update, functionally.

So, I reconnected the 0.4.2 and instant success. I am baffled to say the least, but for some weird reason my 0.4.4 won't come up properly. Having used Freesco since 0.2.7, I think I should be able to configure it. One other thing, the kernel download through the setup gives errors when it goes looking for the .map file. End result, no new kernel.

I think I might need to try a clean install (again).

On an unrelated note, I find it increasingly hard to find new hardware to run Freesco, IDE, NIc's, the GA311 works well, but of the others I only managed to bag a couple of SMC's. How do others deal with this? I am close to thinking about running freesco as virtual server on a modern, energy efficient host.
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby Lightning » Thu May 03, 2012 9:03 pm

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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby ChrisW » Fri May 04, 2012 4:15 am

Ebay is where I found the GA311 and a couple of SMC's. We don't have much in the way of recyling centre's for computer stuff here. I was looking for an Atom based setup, considering the Freesco machine is running 24/7, so lower power consumption does make sense. Older boards tend to use more power, in particular with older CPU's in. I've got the hardware pretty much sorted out right now, it's an Intel CPU / Intel chipset, which replaces the previous AMD board. It did solve the crashes I saw with the previous setup, but somehow Freesco 0.4.4 won't take off. But I think a reinstall might be worth a try, if the old hardware made things go wrong, it might have mucked up the installation in subtle ways. I am just amazed in the ease with with 0.4.2 works and apparent fickleness of 0.4.4.

I did notice that both kernels report I have too much memory (1GB), would things be helped by pulling that in favour of 512Mb?

Will report any new stuff as and when it happens.....
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Re: Having trouble with 0.4.4

Postby Lightning » Sat May 05, 2012 1:49 pm

An Atom processor and board is a pretty good choice. You can get them with two or more on board rtl8111 or rtl8110 Gigabit chips, which are supported. The only issue is with the hard drive controller and it just requires finding a board with standard PATA IDE and not SATA IDE. Although there may be some SATA chips sets that are supported with a Triton kernel.

As for kernel stability, there are issues with the 043 and 044 kernels and some hardware. Which when I release 0.4.5 it will most likely have the 0.4.2 based kernel even on the CD and a separate raid kernel will be provided that has to be manually installed.

With regards to the 1Gb of memory, it can be used. But it requires a kernel compiled with the 1Gb of memory and over option enabled.
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