[plug] Request for Comment - need suggestions and clue-bats

steve boak sboak at westnet.com.au
Mon Feb 27 13:54:33 AWST 2017

Hi Onno

I think Linux has changed a bit since your early experiences :-)

I've been running Debian on everything from a Raspberry Pi to several 
different desktop systems for years and can't remember the last time I 
had stability issues. There were some early glitches with skylake on my 
current Asrock B150M Pro4 motherboard, but that was only to do with slow 
booting and after a firmware update they have 'gone away' now.

I'd recommend you give Linux a go on new hardware, especially if you can 
get your hands on a system to do a test run for a while.

I'm sure others will have recommendations of laptop / desktop hardware 
that is proven to work.


On 27/02/17 13:31, Onno Benschop wrote:
> As a Linux user for many years - debian potato anyone? I've had my 
> fair share of "fun" in relation to making a stable environment. In 
> 2009 after too many crashes I bit the bullet and virtualised my Linux 
> experience. I bought a 17" MacBook Pro, installed VMware Fusion on it 
> and ran my Linux desktop inside VMware. I still do. Best business 
> decision I ever made.
> Based on that track record, I'm reluctant to depreciate my use of 
> VMware on a Mac, but my last 8 months have been less than optimal. I 
> purchased a late 2015 27" Retina iMac and loaded it up with 64Gb of 
> RAM. It's currently running El Capitain.
> It crashes an awful lot. OWC have swapped out the RAM and tell me that 
> there is nothing wrong. Apple told me that they don't support 64Gb of 
> RAM, OWC says othewise. VMware tells me that the microcode on the 
> SkyLake processor is out of date, Intel agrees and Apple waves its 
> hands in the air in the hope I won't notice that they're not actually 
> doing anything.
> I'm loathe to run Windows as my Host OS, and it's unclear if the boot 
> process would load a microcode update for the processor, so I could 
> actually see if that made a difference. Similarly, I'm not keen to go 
> to a Linux Host, since prior to 2009, that resulted in countless days 
> and weeks of downtime when <insert random hardware> stopped being 
> supported or wasn't quite compatible with my hardware and again I'm 
> not sure I'll get a boot-level microcode update via that mechanism.
> I'm at a loss what to do next and I'm looking for suggestions.
> Functionality I use daily:
>   * Linux as my Desktop
>   * VMware snapshots to test new software / test updates
>   * VMware machines for different clients
> I'm seriously contemplating selling my near new iMac and starting 
> again, but I'm not at all sure what that might look like. I have work 
> to do and my current set-up just isn't helping.
> Is there something I should investigate, some aspect of what I'm doing 
> that is in need of review?
> From a troubleshooting perspective, I've swapped out RAM until I was 
> blue in the face. So far I can make Memtest86 pass if I turn off all 
> but one CPU core. I can reliably make my machine crash by running OSX 
> Photos and exporting a 1080p slideshow and VMware randomly crashes 
> with spurious errors - sometimes killing VMware, sometimes the login 
> session, sometimes the kernel.
> -- 
> Onno Benschop
> ()/)/)()        ..ASCII for Onno..
> |>>?            ..EBCDIC for Onno..
> --- -. -. ---   ..Morse for Onno..
> If you need to know: "What computer should I buy?" http://goo.gl/spsb66
> ITmaze   -   ABN: 56 178 057 063   -  ph: 04 1219 8888 - 
> onno at itmaze.com.au <mailto:onno at itmaze.com.au>
> _______________________________________________
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Steve Boak, VK6HSB, 0411 255 789, P.O. Box 240, Nannup, WA 6275

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