My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

New build server was ordered

OK, so I got frustrated too many times when waiting for packages that were compiling. My current build machine with its AMD ‘Athlon II X4 640’ CPU and 8 GB of RAM, is now 5 years old and obviously no longer quite fit for the tasks I need it to perform. Compiling Chromium for 64bit Slackware in a virtual machine took more than 24 hours last week (yes, for a single package). Basically, that convinced me to empty my stash of donated funds (thanks to all of you Slackware supporters) and order the most powerful midi tower I could buy for that money. What else is that money for, after all. Well, beer perhaps šŸ™‚
Because the computer’s location will be the attic of my own house, its components (Seasonic PSU, Scythe CPU cooler, and the ‘be quiet Silent Base’ case itself) are chosen to minimize noise – it’s actually going to be sitting next to a bedroom wall.
The CPU I chose with the help of a friend, and after some consultation of my hardware store, is anĀ AMD Ryzen 1700 at 3,0 GHz, along with 64GB of Corsair RAM (DDR4 at 3,0 GHz) but I am going to slightly overclock both. I added a 500GB Samsung 960 EVO SSD (NVMe) as well as a 4 TB Western Digital Red SATA disk.

With that machine I will be able to parallellize my build efforts and that means, I canĀ give you more updates and still spend more time with my family. The whole hardware orderĀ costs slightly more thanĀ 1700 Euros which sounds like a lot (Robby pointed me to Ebay discard servers for a couple of 100 dollar) … while rackmount servers are cheap, you can not put them in your home because of the noise.
But it’s going to be worth it. And I will still have money left in my donations account to keep paying the rent for the ‘bear‘ server for at least another year. And then it’s rock bottom.

I will give more information when I actually get the hardware, install Slackware on it and create a virtual machine environment. I am not yet sure if I will keep using my own custom scripts to create ‘on-demand’ virtual machines or that I will switch to using virt-manager.
And I can finally also consider another “TODO” project that has been on the horizon for a long time: using Jenkins CI for ‘continuous build’ of my own (and Slackware’s) packages.
I will try to document as much of it as I can. I am sure that more people consider using virtualization to fence off processes, or create predictable (Slackware) OS environments using VM snapshots, or produce predictable builds. It’ll probably take months to get that point though… I am not in a hurry.

Again, thanks for all the donations during the past years that enabled me to do this purchase. You will hopefully benefit from it. Return on investment so-to-speak.



  1. Alexander

    >AMD Ryzen 1700 at 3,0 GHz, along with 64GB of Corsair RAM (DDR4 at 3,0 GHz) but I am going to slightly overclock both.

    The maximal memory speed supported by Ryzen 1700 is 2667MHz, so you could choose slower memory.

  2. alienbob

    Alexander, that is not what reviews tell me. For instance,,11.html


    Man , very very NICE machine update.

    I hope see you play as a child with new toys , enjoy !

  4. Master-Passeli

    Ryzen have got some reposrt about segfaults under heavy GCC compile load. Let’s hope AMD finds some good fix for this issue if your CPU is affected at all.

  5. Blaze

    Hi Eric. Probably, you can save a lot of money in the store (Germany store). BTW, when will you buy in this store you can aplly my cupon FW6US9Y – it can give you 5ā‚¬ discount.

  6. rvdboom

    I have the same CPU and it works very very well. I don’t know what is considered heavy GCC compiling but I regularly compile full kernels, mesa-git, ffmpeg and vlc and had no segfault problem. I also regularly transcode videos in DnxHD and x264 codecs. And with 16 threads, it really quite fast. I had some unstabilities at first (I was an early buyer) but with the last BIOS for my mainboard, I didn’t have anymore issues like this.

  7. alienbob

    Blaze as a rule I do not buy expensive stuff outside the Netherlands, in case something is wrong and I have to apply for RMA or get replacements/assistence. The cost saving is usually not worth the added value of a local hardware shop where I can just walk in and talk to their engineers.

  8. alienbob

    Blaze, my curiosity was piqued. I actually checked that site and located the exact same components that I ordered at . My price here in Eindhoven is 1702 euros, no shipping costs. Computer Universe has these components for 1607 euros total. Shipping would cost me 15 euros.
    So, nearly 5% cheaper. Not enough to warrant an international order I think. Plus, I will get the PC assembled, it will have had a burn-in test and I get a printed hardware test report.

  9. Drakeo

    I am so glad you did not drink it all up. Your pretty much beating me to my next build. You will love the amount of threads you will have. my Old amdfx-8350 has been a wonder for multi thread video rendering.
    That said. I am “SO JEALOUS” I have heard all the stories about the compiling bugs etc etc. But most of that comes from -march=native. Many programs such as Mozilla are unable to handle this do to unit test. bla bla bla just do a make -j9 and be happy. when I build my new Ryzen going to tweak my rendering software to use 16 threads for rendering. I want the Thread ripper :), Ryzen and yes I am a fan boy for AMD because I like to save money for beer.

  10. svily0

    A great hardware update and with all the good stuff coming from AMD this year – probably at the right time.
    …on the other hand, you could’ve invested the money in a brewing installation of some sort… šŸ˜‰

    Thanks for all your work!

  11. fabio

    congratulations. nice machine.

  12. Henry

    Which kind of VM technology du you actually use? Have you considered containers instead? I used KVM VMs for different Slackware variants and package building but then switched to lxc containers. The package build process is significantly faster since then.

  13. Andy

    I have donated bitcoin! Don’t worry about bear, I really like that service, and will continue to donate.

  14. alienbob

    Henry, I have been using QEMU since before the time that the kernel officially supports it (and used Fabrice Bellard’s ‘kqemu’ kernel module for faster emulation, that was in 2006).

    I still only use QEMU for compiling packages. I use VMWare and sometimes VirtualBox to test software (my liveslak for instance) in alternative virtualized environments.

    As stated before, LXC containers are faster and easy to setup and maintain, but they are still running on top of the host kernel. The software I compile should be as compatible as possible, therefore I can not compile a package for Slackware 13.37 in a container on a Slackware 14.2 host.

    Containers are really only useful if you compile your software for the host’s OS only. Or if you want to run network services containerized so that a compromized (hacked) service can not affect the host.

  15. Pete

    If you are really unlucky you might hit this:

    Looks like AMD are working with people to fix. Still considering Ryzen myself when this system goes.

  16. alienbob

    Yeah, I will see what the actual status is for Slackware on a Ryzen CPU when I get the computer I ordered (will be somewhere next week due to holiday delays). Either AMD, or gcc, or both, will certainly release fixes for this issue. I am confident it will all work out.

  17. Pete

    I think you are right. From the article it looks like AMD are tackling it head on. Did not want to cause concern, just ensure you had the info if you were unlucky.

    Re-reading rvdboom notes the segfault issue and was not hit by it. Drako also mentions it. Also from the link it might be the earlier Ryzen processors and there are hints that it might be bad luck.

    Curious, are you going for a B350 or X370 motherboard? I”m not a gamer and although I’d not need the facilities now I’d thinking the extra disk IO on X370s may be useful a few years down the line.


  18. alienbob

    I am getting a B350 motherboard. I originally had a X350 on my parts list but the shop where I eventually placed the order said if I was not going to use the computer for gaming, the X350 was overkill and the cheaper B350 would be better if this was going to be a server.

  19. Anonymous

    It’s a pity that Open Build Service doesn’t support Slackware. If that happened – a lot of Slackware users could benefit from building their third party packages there.

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