Day: February 1, 2013

Crossfire 1989

It's not the epic, classic performance of his 1986 "Fascist Theocracy" interview, but it's a pretty damn great conversation nonetheless: the government shouldn't get to decide what is and isn't art and determine funding based on politicians' personal tastes, and at any rate it's a pretty ridiculous sideshow given what an insignificant portion of the budget funding for the arts actually is.

RAID Project

My grandmother makes home movies on her MacBook Pro.

About three years back she was low on space and got a stack of 500GB LaCie drives. I wanted to arrange them as a software RAID 10 array for a bit of redundancy, but I realized that 4 500GB drives arranged in RAID 10 comes out to only 1TB -- not that much in the scheme of things.

So we ordered 4 2TB drives to swap out.

About this time, I read about software in development by an organization called Ten's Complement. See, Apple had been planning to switch to ZFS as its primary filesystem a few OS releases ago, but the project fell through; its former FS head left and started his own company and was still working on bringing ZFS to Mac. So I figured I'd wait for the imminent release of the product so I could use RAIDZ instead of RAID 10, and not have to give up so much space.

There was delay after delay. Finally the software was released as ZEVO Silver Edition; Gold and Platinum releases were slated for the future. (I guess calling your software Silver, Gold, Platinum is kinda like those pizza places that have Medium, Large, and Extra Large pies.)

But the forecast release dates came and went, with no Gold or Platinum and no word from Ten's Complement.

Months later, there was finally an explanation -- ZEVO had been bought out by Greenbytes -- but still no Gold or Platinum (or even Silver anymore). There was a free-as-in-beer command-line-only Community Edition, and...that was it.

Now, I don't want my grandmother stuck using the command line, but I figured I could use the Community Edition to set up the array on my computer and after that it should run fine on hers.

The problem? The documentation says ZEVO only runs on Macs with 64-bit kernels.

Now, I've got a Mac Pro 1,1. It has 32-bit EFI. To run a 64-bit kernel requires a third-party bootloader.

And I've chronicled my experience with 64-bit OSX already, in October and again a couple weeks ago. tl;dr it boots but it's so unstable as to be useless.

Only this week did it occur to me to check whether my grandmother's computer can run a 64-bit kernel.

It doesn't. So ZEVO looks like a moot point anyway, because God knows I'm not going to subject her to the kind of hoops I've had to jump through to try to get 64-bit Darwin working.

I figure I'll still try it, just in case it works despite being unsupported -- but I'm not holding my breath. Guess it's back to RAID 10 after all. I guess on the plus side, 2TB hard drives haven't gotten any cheaper in the 2 or 3 years these have been sitting unopened waiting for use.

So I went to take a crack at setting up RAID 10 today, and it looks like one of the LaCie power supplies has gone and died on me -- this is not the first time this has happened. So, one more setback while I order a replacement and wait for it to come in.

Too bad the RAIDZ thing hasn't panned out so well. And of course it's a double-edged sword that Apple's as aggressive as it is in discontinuing support for old hardware.

But hopefully I'll finally be able to wrap this thing up sometime next week.