This repository is intended to be a list of my machines, their components, roles, and what runs on them.
The aims of this project are to:
- Run all major OS kernel families (BSD, Linux, Unix, Windows)
- Backup all my machines
- Provide secure, up-to-date, performant, reasonably private networking and computing functionality in my house
Release Versioning System
A = New hardware added or previously installed hardware removed, e.g. new laptop acquired or desktop sold
B = Layout change of currently installed hardware, e.g. HDD moved from Computer1 to Computer2
C = New software added or previously installed software removed, e.g. New backup software not previously run on any other machine added, or previously present software removed so that it no longer runs on any of my machines
D = Layout change of currently installed software, e.g. Pi-hole moved from Computer1 to Computer2
Temporary, stopgap measures, such as substituting a surge protector for a failed UPS, are not considered (for) hardware release versions unless they become permanent.
My release tags are messed up because I mistakenly tried to rename previous tags in reverse chronological order around the v10.8.9.0 release. Proper listing of releases and dates here.
- OSes, firmwares/BIOSes, and apps are on the latest stable release at the very least and patched very aggressively
- Drivers are on the latest stable release. Beta drivers are not used unless they provide a critical feature or security patch unavailable in the latest stable release
- Maintenance of existing hardware is prioritized over deployment of new hardware, e.g. An existing machine will be migrated from one OS to another before a new machine is set up from scratch (assuming both are on the to-do list)
Explicit camelcase hostnames are used unless they are too long (e.g. they exceed Windows' 15 character NETBIOS limit.) Shortened hostnames are generated via the following rules:
- Each substring without a space character in the machine's name is replaced by the letter or number it begins with
- For camelcase substrings, the uppercase letters are concatenated
- Each remaining space characters is replaced by a dash
- A dash and an ascending index are added additional identical machines
e.g. Razer Blade Pro 17's = R-B-P-17, 2020 MacBook Pro 16-inch = 2020-MB-P-16, an additional Razer Blade Pro 17 = R-B-P-17-1
- I've made my best attempt to link to OEM product info or support pages or spec sheets for each part. Where I've been unable to find these, I've substituted a reliable 3rd party source
- Where not indexed (e.g. "Unit n," no quotes, where n is a positive integer) or hyperlinked, separate identical product mentions can be assumed to be the same physical item
Project vs. Issue
NOTE: to reduce workload, projects and issues are generally not created for things that have already been implemented or issues that have already been solved, respectively.
A Project is anything that requires multiple dissimilar steps to fix or implement, even if said steps occur on the same machine or installation. The machines and installations to be addressed are tracked via labels, and the individual steps are tracked via issues (see below).
An Issue is anything that requires multiple similar steps to fix or implement, even if said steps occur on the different machines. The machines and installations to be addressed are tracked via labels.
Why are there no Macs?
UPDATE: My current plan is to add an M1 Mac Mini sometime in CY 2021.
The M1's efficiency and performance finally makes (Apple Silicon) Macs worth their price premium.
Did you buy everything new?
No. I bought all the non-Windows x86 machines used IRL. Generally speaking, buying brand new PCs for open source OSes is a waste: older hardware is better supported and runs the OS just as well. That said, everything else was bought new. And no, I don't shop on Ebay.
insert OS here
You should run
Maybe. Currently I run OSes and hardware only IFF they fit into my workflow (read: if I'm sure I'd use them for something practical). My next non-Windows OS is likely to be one of (in no order):
- TrueNAS Core
What do you use for VMs?
I don't have a use case for VMs. Translation: none of my current workflows would be improved via running a VM.
Is managing all of this difficult?
Setup is difficult, yes. This is a very involved hobby. That said, setting OSes to automatically update themselves where that feature is available as well as sticking to repository/ports tree apps significantly reduces post-setup workload. From then on you're basically only addressing stuff that breaks, which is rare.
What's the point?
- I love computers. Perhaps because I'm (a pretty bad) one
- I want to be able to speak about different OSes, applications, and systems from firsthand experience
Why didn't you build any of your machines?
Getting there eventually. I'll probably build my next new desktop myself.
How do you shop for new PCs and parts?
- Go to the OEM website
- Get OEM part number. Avoid products you can't find an OEM product page for; it's usually indicative of poor support
- Search Google Shopping for part number
- Select the in-stock store that has a rating of at least 4 stars with the lowest total price (including shipping)
- Always select the lowest cost shipping method. 99.9% of the time you don't absolutely need the part right now and most sites ship fairly rapidly due to competition from Amazon Prime
The above method can get you brand new stuff for as much as half off MSRP.
What's your main OS?
insert reasons here
You should switch from Windows because
No(t for now.) At the very least, because:
- Windows GUI-first approach makes everything cognitively easy and is generally tolerant of mistakes. Point, click, done
- Unix, Linux, and BSD are relatively unforgiving
- Windows services management is the best of all modern OSes
- NTFS supports seamless on-disk snapshots, which ext4 doesn't (ZFS does, but BSD doesn't have the app libary or dev support to be my main OS)
- Windows is a 1st class citizen when it comes to dev support
- Veeam, the best backup system currently available to me, supports Windows best
- I have the most experience (25+ years?) and am therefore most familiar with Windows
Why did you choose the NETGEAR BR500? Isn't it a terrible product?
If you're trying to use it as advertised, it is. However, its performance, ease of use, and stability as a non-Insight OpenVPN gateway is excellent. Emphasis on the "ease of use" part of that; the BR500 has the easiest OpenVPN deployment I'm aware of.
Why don't you use pfSense?
That's what the Dell OptiPlex 3010 is for (eventually).
Why don't you have a rack and actual server hardware?
Castoff client PCs are less expensive than the above and run the same applications appromixately as well. An exception to the latter part of that statement is ECC RAM, but that isn't an issue for my use case (yet?)
How can I contact you?/You're wrong about something here/Corrections/Errata/etc.