Choosing to install turns off laptop. HD is untouched.

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sat Feb 19 09:03:50 GMT 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Anthony
> Atkielski
> Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 8:23 AM
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: Choosing to install turns off laptop. HD is untouched.

> > While this has (mostly) gone away for desktop systems, it is
> still going
> > on fiercely with laptops.
> One reason why I've always hated laptops.


> > First of all HP purchased Compaq a while ago, and when the sale was
> > completed they dumped the Netserver line, servers from them are
> > now HP Proliants. (Proliant was the Compaq line)
> Are they as good as their HP and Compaq predecessors?

Very much so.  One of the things that HP did that was smart after the
Compaq merger is they didn't screw with the server design and
group.  (However the sales/customer service/ordering side of the company
a mess, that's why Carly got nailed)

You have to take a lot of the trade rag articles with a grain of salt.
currently fashionable for the trade press to write articles calling for
HP to
spin off it's PC computer group as if that's going to save them money
followed by bemoaning the poor quality of the HP desktops.  The articles
that HP must have lost focus since they can't made a decent PC.

What this misses is that HP is like all other major PC manufacturers, all
of their desktop line that's aimed at the home user/small business
market is just badged Chinese/Korean schlock.  They have the cases,
boards, chips, etc. all made in Korea then import the finished assemblies
the country of sale, and assemble them there at high speed.  (Dell's
in Texas can pump them out at a rate of 1 every 1.5 seconds)  The
are all using the same parts and the systems are pretty much equally
The companies that make profits in this market are the companies that can
slap them together the fastest.  HP's stuff is no worse or better than
anyone else's in this market.

The server design and manufacturing is a totally different animal.  The
companies like HP and Dell that make them custom design a large amount of
stuff and the assembly isn't the million-miles-a-second frantic pace of
the desktop junk.

> > The Netservers and Proliants in general never had touble
> with FreeBSD.
> > Considering they certified them with Solaris/Netware/etc. they had to
> > be pretty standard.
> Compaq Proliants had a lot of weird stuff running on the server, as I
> recall.  As long as you stuck to the OEM versions it ran fine, but if
> you tried to wipe the machine and install a vanilla OS, things went
> wrong.

Not if you know what your doing.  The sister company of the ISP I work at
a Compaq VAR, (is now an HP VAR) and all our servers are Proliants of
various models.

Yes, there is a lot of specialty hardware in these boxes.  And yes
to access all of that requires a handful of custom drivers.  But, OEM
versions of the operating systems aren't a requirement.  You can install
retail versions just fine - AS LONG AS you follow Compaq's instructions
on how to install the retail OS's exactly.

There is for example several hardware items in some of these servers
where they are modded versions of off-the-shelf chips, and Compaq
supplies modded windows drivers.  If you don't use the Compaq driver then
the retail OS will install it's included driver for the off-the-shelf
version of the chip.  And you only get 1 chance during the install of
the retail OS that you can insert the Compaq-written driver properly.
If you miss it, you have to wipe the disk and start over because the
retail driver cannot be removed.

There's unfortunately too many people in the business used to
shooting from the hip on windows installs.  Someone who didn't read the
directions for the Proliant on how to install a retail version
of Windows, for example, assuming "I've installed windows a hundred
times I know what I'm doing and don't need no manual for dummies"
is of course going to have things going wrong.

> > Fine advice for low-end servers and desktops.  Terrible for high-end
> > servers unless you really, really know what your doing, and you
> > understand that your total cost will be more than if you just buy
> > a turnkey server from someone.  And rather impossible for laptops.
> Impossible for laptops, yes.  I assume anyone who needs a really
> high-end server is going to know a lot about what he is doing, anyway

Not at all realistic.  The VAST and I mean VAST majority of people that
need a high-end server are not technologists and don't know what the
heck they are doing.  They know whatever their business is like the
back of their hand but they don't know PC's, and they are smart enough
to know this and to hire it out.

The problem is that still too many computer consultants out there are
incompetent.  It was far, far worse 4-5 years ago and things have
1000%, but the situation is still very much like the stereotype of the
woman who doesen't know anything about cars, looking for a mechanic
to fix hers.  The people needing servers aren't competent to choose or
rate the quality of people they hire to install servers for them, and
so how are they going to know if they select an installer that is piecing
together a server for them from off the shelf parts, if that guy is
using good parts or parts designed for garbage grade desktops?

It's still much better for the person that needs a server and doesen't
know anything about them, to find a installer or consultant that
will only sell them a name-brand server, ie: Dell/HP/whatever, because
if it turns out the installer is an idiot, then they haven't wasted
their money on junk hardware in addition to the worthless consultant.

> Of course, if you can find a high-end server that meets your
> requirements, there's no need to build one yourself.  I'd still prefer
> that it be delivered without any OS, though, just to avoid the OEM
> tweaking.
> It's one thing to optimize server hardware and software for server use;
> I'm all in favor of that.  But I think it should always be done with
> off-the-shelf products that you can buy anywhere, otherwise you risk
> being the captive of a specific vendor or vendors.  For every advantage
> you might get from OEM tweaks, there is likely to be a corresponding
> disadvantage.

Not that realistic for many environments.  Some of the speciality gear
put in servers is stuff like allowing a remote admin who is 500 miles
away, to do things like take the server down, change BIOS settings or
flash the BIOS, then bring it back up.

The other problem is that "optimized server hardware for server use" and
"off-the-shelf products" are mutually exclusive.


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