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Messages - pocock

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1
General OpenPOWER Discussion / Re: News?
« on: August 07, 2020, 09:46:00 am »
Raptor may not want to have all these extra chores though.  A lot of organizations recently started hiring people in eastern European countries to help with things like this.

For example,

  • phpList has set up a small office in Albania
  • Debian had an Outreachy intern from Albania to handle contact DebConf sponsors
  • Prishtina Hackerspace, in Kosovo, has received funding from other groups to hire a publicity officer on a permanent basis

The wage expectations vary, starting from about $300/month for a student in a non-technical field.  There are a small number of really good developers there but they insist on globally competitive rates of pay.  In between those two extremes there are many possibilities or opportunities to piggy back on other groups there.

2
Operating Systems and Porting / Re: [NEWS] Debian
« on: August 02, 2020, 04:16:40 am »
The announcement page doesn't really tell us much about the impact for ppc64* users.  This is where it would be really useful to have tags for ppc64* issues, we could then run a report in the BTS and see exactly which issues were fixed by each new release and which issues are fixed in unstable and ready for backporting.

3
Condor / Re: Condor cancelled
« on: August 01, 2020, 01:52:34 am »

As suggested in another thread, the most useful thing to do right now may be making the best use of the Talos II Lite

Even if the existing Condor design is being mothballed, maybe the name Condor can be reserved for some future product.  POWER10 will reach us in 2021 or 2022, look out for return of the Condor (and keep your children and pets out of the way)

4
2.) We can do custom (paid) support contracts for things like overnight replacement parts.   We just don't get that many organizations that feel they require it, so it's normally negotiated on a one-off basis.  Our suspicion is that many organizations try to keep spare parts on hand so as to avoid ending up in an emergency call out / parts acquisition scenario, but we don't have hard data to validate that.

That is why I suggested including some community servers in a local rack here.  They could be cannibalized at short notice to provide spare parts for more critical systems.  A spare server running Jenkins (a.k.a travis-ci on ppc64le) may be better than a spare server in a box.

The next-day swap out is OK in the US but in most other regions, it is hard to get delivery under 2 working days and even then it can be incredibly expensive.

5
General CPU Discussion / max memory speeds
« on: July 31, 2020, 03:46:40 pm »

AbstractConcept made this edit in the wiki

I read somewhere that RAM operates at different speeds:

1 channel filled: 2666MHz

2 channels filled: 2400MHz

4 channels filled: 2133MHz

but the edit by AbstractConcept implies that RAM is always clocked at 2666MHz

Can anybody clarify?

6
There are a number of Swiss data centers within walking distance from my home.  If I don't feel like walking, I can reach any of them in less than 5 minutes on my motorbike.  If anybody wanted to collaborate on setting up a rack of Talos II servers in one of these, I'd be happy to collaborate on that and try to come up with a support agreement that is proportional to the experimental nature of the platform.  For example, call-out fees for reboots and such things could be minimized or waived if these fit within my visits to the sites.

7
General CPU Discussion / Re: v2 CPU availability?
« on: July 31, 2020, 11:06:08 am »
What is the idle power consumption of the 22 core chips?  Do they generate heat constantly or only when you throw work at them?

For a multi-seat configuration, one Talos II system running a little hot is probably putting out less heat than three separate Intel Xeon workstations.

8
General CPU Discussion / Re: v2 CPU availability?
« on: July 31, 2020, 10:15:10 am »
I had the impression your comment may be a bit sarcastic but there are cases where 22 core CPUs are useful in a workstation

For example, a multi-seat configuration where 2 or 3 users have keyboards and monitors connected to the same workstation, somebody who is compiling a lot of C++ or Java, somebody who does a lot of data analysis.  For some people, it may be all of the above.  The Talos II dual CPU is really good value for money in such cases.

9
General OpenPOWER Discussion / Re: News?
« on: July 31, 2020, 08:07:30 am »
Personally, I can empathize with all those small businesses operating in the free and open source technology space who may also be impacted by things out of their control, whether it is a loss of sales, loss of colleagues, loss of family or all of the above.  On the other hand, I don't want to speculate about Raptor or any other specific business.

If any small business is looking for community support at this time, I hope they will be able to reach out to the right supporters in the community and find a constructive way forward.

Looking at Raptor in particular: I had deferred buying new workstations for a number of years.  But with the increase in working from home, it became important for me to get a new workstation in 2020 and Raptor was high on my list.  Not everybody is fortunate enough to be purchasing a workstation this year but if you know people who need to maximize their productivity while working from home, suggesting they consider Raptor's products may be helpful.  That is why I tried to capture some of my own purchasing experience here.

10

Continent is not always helpful for tax/customs purposes and also due to language differences.

For example,

- Switzerland is not in the EU VAT and customs system

- consumers from Italy and France (where taxes are over 20%) drive into Switzerland to buy things like memory sticks, SSDs, CPUs, laptops, digital cameras and SD cards at 8% tax.  They are supposed to declare these products at the border and pay the extra 12% when returning to their own country but I suspect they sometimes forget.

- businesses in Italy, France or any other EU country don't need to pay the VAT taxes, so they buy from their local suppliers to get faster delivery and local support

- the UK doesn't use the Euro, they use Sterling and as they are a very big economy, their local suppliers are very efficient for people who live in the UK.  After Brexit, they may have customs barriers, nobody knows right now. I used to live in the UK and if I lived there now, I would probably want to order from a local UK supplier, pay in GBP and receive the product next day

So it is probably useful to have some groupings, e.g. a single page for all EU countries as well as some local pages for big countries like UK and France.  Please also remember language is a factor in EU countries, if people in Italy and France can buy the same product at the same price from a supplier using their own language, they will usually prefer that.

The Swiss page can be seen as a proof-of-concept, any ideas or initiatives to extrapolate from that are welcome.

11
My next step in this area is creating localized ordering pages

I created one here for Switzerland because I know a few people nearby who are curious about ordering

https://wiki.raptorcs.com/wiki/LocalSuppliers/Switzerland

The concept is simple: people can click through to some local supplier to build up a shopping cart of local parts.  Most people in Switzerland live near a Digitec store, so I created Digitec links as an example.

This concept could be adapted for other countries.  For example, people could maintain pages like this in the wiki and share them with local colleagues and friends.

To automate, it could be driven from a Git repository, for example, using Jekyll or Jinja2 templates.  The inputs would be
a) table of suggested parts (e.g. the Define 7 XL case, long name, EAN, anything to help search for it)
b) table of local suppliers, by state/country, including company name and a URL template string for putting the part into a search

With an automated solution, somebody could change a part name (e.g. adding the Define 8 XL case whenever it exists) and it would propagate to every country page.

This is not an attempt to create a new shopping cart, it is simply a complement for existing shopping carts, to help people save time and increase the chances that people end up with similar supported components.

12
Thanks for this feedback

obs-studio is one of the things I want to run myself, so I would probably look at that first

Debian buildd says it already compiles on ppc64el on both sid and buster:

https://buildd.debian.org/status/package.php?p=obs-studio&suite=unstable
https://buildd.debian.org/status/package.php?p=obs-studio&suite=buster

Does it run or are there bugs on ppc64el?  Are those bugs in the Debian BTS?  If so, it would be really helpful to tag them as described in the opening post on this topic.

I'm planning to get one of the next generation of AMD Radeon cards, described in this other thread, one of the reasons for that is I would like to try their VCN hardware encoding for video streaming.  Unfortunately, according to that article, the AV1 support may not appear in these cards and may only arrive in 2021.  Various news articles have appeared suggesting AMD will release the Navi 2 cards between September and December.


13
General CPU Discussion / v2 CPU availability?
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:25:49 am »

I notice that Raptor is only offering the 4 core and 8 core version of the v2 (stepping DD2.3) chips.  The 22 core chip is only available in v1.

Is there any reason for this?

I decided to order the 8 core v2 CPUs with the intention that I will use them on a dual-CPU board until the 22 core v2.3 CPU is available.  Then I could move the 8 core CPUs onto Talos II Lite boards and upgrade to 22 core v2.3 chips on my primary workstation.

14

Are you able to access the Debian VM through a text console, for example, by starting at a different run level or using the CTRL-ALT-F3 keystroke in the VM?

If that doesn't work, I would suggest asking for help through the Debian IRC channels, somebody can help you with that step-by-step

https://wiki.debian.org/IRC

15
I've had some discussions with other developers about the POWER9 platform and one observation I've made is that people are looking at a choice between Talos II Lite or Blackbird.  Many don't need a dual CPU system and can't afford the full Talos II.

To iron out bugs in software, it is really vital to have a critical mass of developers using the platform and I suspect most of them are going to use either Talos II Lite or Blackbird.  When they narrow their choice down to those products, the next thing that comes to mind is: what should they put in the PCIe slots to get best use out of their workstation?

The wiki contains a large list of compatible products but what I'm really thinking about here is making a shortlist of five to ten really interesting products and putting them on the comparison page

Here is a summary of the problem:
 
  • most people will want to put a GPU in the x16 slot - some GPUs, like the Radeon Pro W5700 throw in a USB-C socket or some other bonus which is really useful on a system like this with limited expansion slots
  • with the x8 slot, most people will probably want a card that can give them some combination of SSDs (U.2 NVMe), legacy SATA disks and hopefully some other ports like OCuLink or ethernet on the same board as a bonus.  Can anybody comment on which boards are optimal in this scenario?

Some other permutations come to mind: for example, people who don't do a lot of graphics may be happy with a GPU in the x8 slot and use the x16 slot for OCuLink.  Hopefully we will also see some external OCuLink GPUs in the future but none seem to be available right now.

Feel free to add comments here or at the bottom of this wiki page

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