Thu 04 April 2013

Of laptops and workstations

Posted by ankur in Tech (416 words, approximately a 2 minute read)

I absolutely love my laptop. I spend pretty much my entire day at my laptop, whether I'm working on Fedora related tasks, or on my research tasks. Now, spending this much time with my laptop has generated a special affection in me for this object. Generally, the laptop does reciprocate to the best of its ability. The one limitation here is that only so much hardware can be cramped into a laptop. I can get a maximum of 8gigs of RAM for one. The system overheats when I run large builds (ROS for example). The laptop isn't really built for regular strenuous use. I realized this when my laptop started to randomly switch off recently. The Dell folks diagnosed it as a simple overheating issue, which I knew it wasn't (since I monitored my cpu temperature and it never went over 55*C). They sent someone over to change the cooling fan apparatus. 30 minutes after this change, my laptop, well, crashed. It won't even come on now. They're sending someone over tomorrow to look into it. At the moment, it's a rather expensive brick. Warranty is always a good investment! I have all my data backed up too!

On to workstations. I've always wanted one. You can jam pack it with hardware. If you have enough slots, you can get up to 16Gs of RAM I've read. It doesn't overheat as much as the laptop. You can get various cooling systems to cope with overheating anyway. I'd love to have myself a server where I can set up wikindx and stuff to access from the web. Being a student means I travel around quite a bit. I'm in Sydney for 2 years, and will probably move on to somewhere else for my Ph.D. course. I can't really get myself a workstation and keep shipping it around. It's one item that will have to wait, quite a few years.

Luckily for me, the IT desk here at UTS doesn't mind you installing all sorts of Linux on your lab workstation. They won't support you, but they don't mind. Good enough! I've set up a Fedora 18 system on my lab workstation now. It's where I'm typing from. In the next few days, as soon as I can access my laptop's disk again, I'll set this machine up with the necessary keys to be able to carry out my Fedora package maintenance duties.

Here's to a new Fedora system and to a new life for my laptop! Cheers!.