[Linux-aus] Bootable CD-based Linux Hardware Tester

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Fri Nov 11 10:10:03 UTC 2005

On Fri, 11 Nov 2005, Avi Miller wrote:

>> is there a program you have in mind?
> No, I'm ignorant about Linux-based hardware testing tools, with the
> exception of memtest86, where my entire knowledge consists of knowing it
> exists. :) I'm essentially looking for a testing suite that will hammer the
> hardware over and over again looking for problems. Ideally, something that
> will testing CPU, Memory and Hard Drive, at least.
> Thanks,
> Avi

I was thinking that you wanted a disk for testing system's 
compatibility, rather than testing for endurance and reliability.

A disk (I would think that a Gnoppix or a Ubuntu, live disk, would be 
better, using GNOME instead of KDE, as it would (I believe) be faster 
and less resource demanding), for testing a system's compatibility, so 
that a person goes to a computer, boots it with the live disk, and the 
package displays a screen listing the hardware components of the system 
that it has found, and the (relative) compatibility of the components, 
would be good, also. I think that would assist prospective computer 
buyers, to assess the compatibility of a new computer. Whilst 
apparently, some places (like South Africa, from a message on the Ubuntu 
list) do not allow people to reboot new computer in computer shops, 
with a live CD, I think that such a CD would be of great benefit to 
Linux users and to the Linux cause. Instead of someone trying to 
install (for example) Ubuntu, on a system, getting part way through the 
installation, and finding that the sound card or network card or 
graphics card, is not compatible, or causes conflict errors, and then 
has to either abandon the installation or get assistance to perform the 
installation, such problems could be advised quickly, before an 
installation attempt, using a system assessment package on a live CD.

We had tried an installation on a new laptop, with the Debian installer 
(can't remember whether it was the Sarge installer, with which we 
had had problems, or trying to use the Woody installer, then to do an 
upgrade to Sarge, which we have had to do, previously), found a problem 
with the network card (the error message was not helpful), then tried 
again using a Ubuntu 5.04 CD, found that it was (from memory) an 
interrupt conflict between the network card and the WhyFi card, then 
redid the installation with the Debian installer, resolving the 
problem, by turning off the WhyFi card (from memory).

I am not sure why we did not complete the installation with Ubuntu - 
from memory, it was something to do with a problem to do with installing 
PINE (the libraries in the version of Ubuntu, being incompatible with 
PINE, or something - something that could have been resolved by 
installing earlier versions of the libraries, I think, from memory, but 
that had not occurred to me until quite sometime after the installation 
was completed).

A live CD, with a hardware assessment package, as I have described, 
could have both simplified and expedited the Linux installation.

And, it could reduce message being posted on LUG mailing lists, like 
"Does anyone know whether the new Sooper Dooper Amiga laptop with the 
new Z80 MIPS processor and 20GB of Richard Alston RAM, is compatible 
with Linux", as a person would simply be able to slot in a live CD with 
a hardware assessment package, and reboot the computer, and quickly 
display on the screen, a results table describing the hardware found, 
and its compatibility and any other probable harware issues for a Linux 
installation, like how much of Richard Alston's memory is compatible 
with Linux.

If something like this (the live CD with the hardware assessment 
package, not Richard Alston's memory), exists, it would be good, if that 
could be advised.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


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