I crossed a line today. :-)

I’ve opted to brush the dust off of my old PC (you know, that one I was using freshman/sophomore year of college, before upgrading to this shiny new Core-2 64-bit 8-Gig-o-RAM system I built for myself) and turn it into a Linux server.

Why? Because it’s something completely new and foreign to me, and I had some time and ambition to do so. My ultimate goal is to create a (slow but working) Red5 server. Red5 (FREE!) is the open-source alternative to the Adobe Media Server ($$$$$.$$!) – both of which allow users of my various flash programs to communicate with other users. In other words, I will be able to host my own multi-user apps, instead of relying on newmedia.rit.edu for this technology.

In the past few hours, I have learned more than I’ll be able to convey in this entry and the subsequent entries to follow on the same topic. I will summarize to give those who know Linux a chance to laugh at my newbieness, and those who know as much as I did yesterday a chance to gape at my newfound uber-geekdom:

- I first found and cleaned a 160GB hard drive to function as my system drive. Stripped down the old PC to the bare essentials, and set it to boot from CD first.
- I then downloaded the Gentoo LiveCD .iso from a mirror server, and (using my other PC) burnt a CD to serve as my bootdisc.
- After booting for the first time into a Linux GUI,  fumbled around noticing how completely different it is from anything else I’ve ever used before (ok, it’s got similar features to Windows/MAC GUIs, but is has different organization).
- Attempted to install Gentoo using the Front-End installers (Command Line and GUI) on the LiveCD’s desktop. Felt like I was not in control and out of the loop and lazy. Decided to try and find a real Command Line and follow the Handbook line by line.
- Spent 3 restarts trying to find a command line I could access root from. Then  caved and  Googled and found that where the Gentoo Handbook says Alt+F1 it should (in my case anyway) be Ctrl+Alt+F1 to toggle from the GUI to the Command Line Console interface. Apparently I was root already, and just didn’t know it.
- Promptly laughed at my ineptitude. Then laughed at most or all of the nerdy t-shirts that have jokes referencing root that I know vaguely understand from first-hand experience.
- Continued to laugh at my ineptitude at commanding the command line. Picked my brain for old memories of Unix commands filed away in freshman year introductory web courses.
- Realized Command-Lining is pretty fun, and read through the Handbook on one PC, while executing code on the other. I highly recommend operating in this fashion if you’ve never done this before. Information is a Google away, without interrupting or restarting the configuration of the new machine.
- Had my first experience surfing the web in text-only console-style links. Downloaded a tarball (which I thought I had on my LiveCD, but couldn’t figure out how to copy over by Command Line, and wanted the text-only browser experience anyway).
- Ran an md5sum check on the downloaded tarball to verify its transfer. Was duly impressed with my internet connection’s reliability, and the magic of matching a string of characters and concluding that 107MB of information was correctly transfered.
- Followed the documentation. Tweaked some of the default portage profiles to USE desktop and server apps. Not sure if this was the correct thing to do, but I’m playing – the worst thing I can do is get it right the first time and learn nothing.
- Opted to try for a hardened-sources kernel instead of the generic-sources. Might as well pretend I’m being strict on security (or even know how to be strict on security!).
- Chickened out on a manual compile and opted for genkernel.
- Decided to write a post about my ordeal while the kernel compiles.
- Post writing successfully passed time while kernel successfully compiled. It’s waiting for me now.
- Stopped writing here, and went  back to installing Linux. l8trs!

- Joe

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