Compiz Fusion, Mandriva 2008.1 on AMD Phenom Quad-core PC with Demo

We have a client that needs a new server for their primary Point of Sale site (SCO OpenServer 5.0.5 + Advantage accounting. I know “SCO! hiss! boo!” but this is what they have used “forever”, meaning about 20 years. We tried to move them to LedgerSMB on Mandriva Linux but it does not fill their needs at this time. While migration from older Unix Point of Sale might be problematic we still recommend Linux + LedgerSMB for sites needing a startup Point of Sale solution.). The old server hardware is getting flaky after running every day since the year 2000. I think the new server is rather “sexy” (I would like one myself):

  • THERMALTAKE Wing RS 100 VG1000BNS Mid Tower Case (x1)
  • Enermax EG565P-VE FMA 535W Power Supply (x1)
  • MSI K9A2 Platinum AMD 790FX Phenom Socket AM2+ ATX Motherboard (x1)
  • AMD Phenom X4 9750 Quad Core Socket AM2 2.4GHZ 4MB Cache 125W Processor (x1)
  • KINGSTON KVR800D2N5K2/4G 4GB PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) SDRAM Memory (x1)
  • ADAPTEC RAID 3405 SGL/128 w/o Cables 2251900-R SAS/RAID Controller Card (x1)
  • WD1500ADFD 150GB Serial ATA 10,000RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer (x3)
  • SAMSUNG SH-S203B/BEBN 20X DVD?RW Black (x1)
  • 1.44MB 3.5in Floppy Disk Drive (x1)
  • ACER AL1716FB 17in 800:1 5ms LCD Monitor Black (x1)
  • Keyboard and Mouse Combo (x1)
  • ATI Radeon X1650 Pro 512MB PCI Express x16 Video Card (x1)

This is going to be running as a three drive SATA RAID system using the Adaptec controller. There will be an 8-port multi-port serial board moved from the old system to this one to run the WYSE 60 Point of Sale terminals and one serial printer. We are waiting for the “special” cable to come in for the RAID controller (I forgot to order the darn thing) and for the new SCO OpenServer 6 license and media to arrive.

While waiting I decided to install Mandriva 2008.1 Linux on the system this weekend as my “test suite” software to test the hardware. I hooked the WD Raptor drives up to the on-board SATA connectors for this. The Mandriva install was uneventful except for a problem with the graphics display not installing properly for the ATI based card. I eventually got it working with a VESA mode and then installed the dkms-fglrx module from Mandriva after the first reboot (this module gives 3D video capability using the ATI based video controllers). After doing this I decided I would install and play with Compiz Fusion (a 3D desktop enhancement for Linux) to give the video hardware a workout. The Compiz Fusion install went well but when I logged out to reset the GUI subsystem I lost all video output on all console screens (F1 through F7)! This was disconcerting but I was able to reboot the system with the three fingered salute (Ctrl + Alt + Del). When the system came back up Compiz Fusion was running and I logged into a KDE desktop session to play with it. Logging out still loses the video output if running in runlevel 5 so at this point I boot to runlevel 3, login to my user account from a console prompt and run startx. This seems to work better than using the ‘*dm’ program in runlevel 5. Regardless of these minor annoyances (which may just be related to the specific graphics adapter used here) Compiz Fusion is quite fun, I recommend trying it.

I have seen several demo videos of Linux 3D desktops and have always considered doing one myself. After playing with Compiz Fusion for a while I decided to do one myself. I tried several different packages and none of them gave me a smooth video. I ended up using Istanbul to create the video in OGG Theora format then used ffmpeg to convert it to MPEG4. I wanted to show people the 3D desktop but I also wanted folks to see how easy one can do things from the GUI on a Mandriva 2008.1 system now. Mainly installing software and updates is as simple as it gets. See the demo to see what I mean: Mandriva 2008.1 Session Demo (MPEG4) 34,656,275 bytes

Here is the same demo compressed into a .zip file for those of you who would prefer to download it and view it offline: Mandriva 2008.1 Session Demo (zipped MPEG4) 25,080,970 bytes

This demo runs at 1024×768 and is a bit “jerky” even though I was recording on a Quad-core system with 4GB of RAM and a decent graphics adapter. If anyone has a clue for me on getting a smooth X desktop video demo I would love to see it. Please post a comment or contact me using our contact form.

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Gene A.

Gene is a "Unix Guy", network technologist, system trouble-shooter and IT generalist with over 20 years experience in the SOHO and SMB markets. He is familiar with and conversant in eComStation (a.k.a. OS/2), DOS (PC, MS and Free), Unix, Linux and those GUI based systems from Microsoft. Gene is also a follower of Jesus (forgiven, not perfect), and this does inform his world view.

3 thoughts on “Compiz Fusion, Mandriva 2008.1 on AMD Phenom Quad-core PC with Demo”

  1. Someone asked me in a private e-mail about runlevels. Here is the runlevel information from Mandriva’s /etc/inittab file:

    # Default runlevel. The runlevels used by Mandriva Linux are:
    # 0 – halt (Do NOT set initdefault to this)
    # 1 – Single user mode
    # 2 – Multiuser, without NFS (The same as 3, if you do not have networking)
    # 3 – Full multiuser mode
    # 4 – unused
    # 5 – X11
    # 6 – reboot (Do NOT set initdefault to this)

    The 5 level is the same as the 3 level as far as “Full multiuser mode” but adds the X11 graphical interface as well.

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