2006-03-05 1038 Linux: In the words of [http://www.genesimmons.com/ Gene Simmons]: == Damn, I'm good == – cut – . . .

In the words of Gene Simmons:

Damn, I’m good

– cut –

The connection today is flaky at best. Around 70% of the ‘net has just vanished offline as far as we can see. I hope y’all are doing just fine out there right now while we exist in a sea of net nothingness. I suspect a few poorly DNS servers somewhere down the line. It’ll fix itself soon enough, but in the meantime I’ve been setting up a very clever little piece of kit.

My Real Linux Box still has the 180 decibel fan, so it’s out of action until I get a replacement. In the meantime I’ve created a virtual Linux setup using VMWare on my XP box.

The spec for it is:

  • Slackware 10.2
  • 64Mb RAM
  • 2Gb hard drive
  • Bridged Ethernet

And that’s it. To install Slackware I had the CD-rom configured too, but as it’s now setup for the ‘net I’ve freed that up too. Don’t need no steenking CD. Ha!

This little Virtual Linux will be used for lots of little-but-damned-handy tricks that will make our overall Internet use a whole lot easier.

For a start, I’ve configured it as a caching DNS server. That means if our ISP’s name servers go down (which they have a habit of doing about once a month), it doesn’t affect us in the least. We’ve got our own DNS. Next up it’s running squid, a caching proxy. Point our browsers at that and pages load a heck of a lot faster. Squid works by storing a local copy of every page, image or whatever, and sends that instead of hitting the ‘net if nothing has changed. In effect, all those graphics that make up 90% of your bandwidth usage come straight from squid’s cache which is a heck of a lot faster than good old ADSL, and cleverer than your browser’s own cache. Wonderful stuff.

Next up this virtual Linux is running a web server, mysql and all the usual paraphernalia of a decent web server. We’ve got a local web which can be used to prepare content, serve local pages, test new applications, etc. All the stuff my Real Linux box usually does, but in a window straight from within XP. Life is good, ain’t it?

To all intents, it’s a real Linux setup. I’ve set the memory to just 64Mb to it doesn’t eat many resources from XP, so it’s not great for graphical Linux stuff, but it flies in text mode. I can hack perl, compile using gcc, surf using elinks and do all that funky Linux stuff I know and love. Geek heaven in a window. Bliss.

Oh, and I’ve cleaned my car.

Damn, I’m good.

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