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Move Over Mini-ITX, Here Comes The gigaQube

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the product-before-its-time dept.

Upgrades 209

Jim Ethanol writes "Since there's been a lot of interest lately in Mini ITX based servers I thought the Slashdot crowd might enjoy checking out Project gigaQube. The gigaQube is a modified Cobalt Qube 2 server appliance with 240 Gigabytes of storage running NetBSD's Mips R5000 based Cobalt port. Cobalt Qube's are quiet, cool looking little (7.25 x 7.25 x 7.75 inch) servers that when modified, make a powerful home server solution. They also seem to have achieved 'fetish' status in Japan. See some gigaQube action shots here, or check its vitals here."

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but (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480317)

do they run solaris?

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480398)

No Linux Kernel 2.x or NetBSD
Read the damm article.

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480536)

How is this "insightful"?

Solaris doesn't have a MIPS port, even.

Re:but (1)

unixbob (523657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480558)

eh? Sun may have sold the Cobalt Qube, but it was a Linux based system. Why on earth would you want to put solaris on it?

my uncle IS A MORON (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480628)

This is a small complaint about damned uninformed relatives that I HAVE to share with the world cos I want to scream

An unnamed relative of mine... no fuck that it's my uncle kevin... had been sending me the same email over and over since july, when he got his first computer, and my cousin set it up for him. Turns out he thinks he was sending new emails to his family & friends. Nope, still the same junk forward, a powerpoint file called "Road rules for drunks" with some inane shit about road rules for driving if you're drunk, the kind of shit that the world forwards on the the rest of the world all the goddamned time. One after another, every week or so they'd appear.

Now I'm a helpful type, so I volunteered to fix this. More to the point I was sick of getting huge .ppt documents in my inbox. I rock up to his place and find out he's NOT actually forwarding on the same ppt file. He was:

1. opening an existing ppt file, the original "road rules for drunks" powerpoint document
2. creating a new page and typing his email in that, and inserting pictures if he wanted to send pictures
3. saving it
4. sending THAT newly edited file to about ten of us.

His inbox had loads of replies with "stop sending me this shit you've already sent it before!". admittedly most were mine.


So, 2 hours of explaining later, I show him how to start off a brand new email. How to reply to emails. How to select relevant parts for quoting, how to email sensibly, lightly and properly in plain text. He gets it right, he sends emails, he attaches images, and seems to have picked it up quickly. I feel happy. I've solved a problem and grabbed a few free beers while at it

I go back home, and the very next day he sends me an email - a thank you note mentioning how grateful he was I helped him, and is embarassed he was doing it so stupidly before.

The kicker? He wrote it, again, in the powerpoint document. Road rules for drunks. at the end. and sent it to me as an attachment, a 7MB attachment.

I want to cry

"Action shots" eh? (-1, Troll)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480325)

But does it do kareoke?

Re:"Action shots" eh? (0, Offtopic)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480717)

yes [] .

great action shots (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480329)

wow those are some great action shots

Now whats cooler then being cool?! (-1, Troll)

ShallowThroat (667311) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480337)

ICE CUBE!! not it at all.

Re:Now whats cooler then being cool?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480487)

alrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrighta lrightalright etc

Re:Now whats cooler then being cool?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480713)

Shake it like a polaroid picture!

Does that guy realize... (0, Offtopic)

xenolaeus (584541) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480340)

Slashdot now knows that his library contains "The Joy of Cybersex" -- check the action shots. *shakes head*

Re:Does that guy realize... (0, Offtopic)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480358)

Yep, in the third shot... Is it this book [] ???

However I just wonder : if it's supposed to be in Japan, why isn't there any Japanese book ?

Mods on Crack (1)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480651)

Offtopic? It's clearly in this picture... [] right next to the "Anarchist's Cookbook"

Ack! A terrorist! ;)

Re:Mods on Crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480741)

yes, and right next to it is a book titled: the joy of cybersex.

Re:Does that guy realize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480665)

I'd be more worried about the star trek technical manual myself.

interesting bet..... (0)

s33l3t (722580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480341)

"Also, I had just won a 120 Gig drive from my buddy on a bet about eating hot sauce." theres even a link it seems to a .mpg (have not been able to look at it im on dialup) i wish i had the money to waste on bets like that.

Re:interesting bet..... (1)

Benley (102665) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480526)

Hah. I watched that video - the bet was apparrently that he could not hold a tablespoon of some Extremely Hot Sauce in his mouth for two minutes without swallowing or barfing. Needless to say, he managed to do it. In style, I might add. Even went for Bonus Seconds. It looked like he got $100 cash out of the bet, too. That may have been how much the drive cost, though - I duno.

Re:interesting bet..... (1)

Glyndwr (217857) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480601)

I watched it too, and I have a bottle of Dave's Loony Juice in my fridge downstairs. My eyes bugged out of my head when he poured an entire capful of it into his mouth. I bet he was paying for that for hours afterward.

tiny storage is becoming more and more vital (2, Interesting)

womby (30405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480344)

as more and more data is being stored (TV shows, Movies, Music and yes Pr0n too) the drives are being filled at an alarming rate

saving HDTV is killing my disks I don't know what it is like in the US but here in Japan its a 19 meg stream for each channel

Re:tiny storage is becoming more and more vital (2, Interesting)

AIX-Hood (682681) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480355)

Yep, about 8 gigabytes/hour here in the US with ATSC. I keep throwing hard drives in the general direction of my firewire raid, but it keeps saying "Feed me C-Moore!"

Re:tiny storage is becoming more and more vital (1)

womby (30405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480418)

its better than when I was using a dv converter that did almost 15 gigs per hour

hopefully soon I will get a machine fast enough to demux / re-encode this stuff on the fly

Re:tiny storage is becoming more and more vital (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480661)

what the hell are you saving? DV streams are 13 GB/hour, but Jeebers H Kripes you don't have to save EVERYTHING at full res HD effin' widescreen. Be sleective. You are not the planet's librarian. /rant

Re:tiny storage is becoming more and more vital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480745)

You are not the planet's librarian. /rant

And you're not the mother hen of the Slashdot flock.

Ahem... (-1, Flamebait)

JohnsonWax (195390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480347)

Upgraded Apple G4 Cube []

Qube is nice, but OS X is nicer. Plus, at 1.2GHz, this will kick the crap out of the Qube.

Re:Ahem...Sure (1)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480396)

Sure, if you want to spend at least an extra $1000.

More like Mini-ITX is a replacement for these... (4, Interesting)

jthorpe (545911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480356)

The /. article mentions that this could be a replacement for Mini-ITX, but in reality, I suspect that you could use (with quite a bit of modding) a Mini-ITX in one of these boxes intead of the existing board.

A Mini-ITX would offer a nice replacement for the Mips-based CPU and dependence on old SIMM modules for memory.

Re:More like Mini-ITX is a replacement for these.. (1)

mackstann (586043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480590)

Yep, these things are definitely not the future by any means. These qubes with mips chips were actually the earlier ones, the later ones had k6's of some sort (and that was an improvement over the mips, AFAIK).

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those... (1)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480362)

Seriously though, I'll have to replace my server, a pretty cool home-built computer inside the fantastic, cool-looking Antec 1080 (I think it has eight fans all over) case, and I'd been thinking about putting it in one of them sexy, tiny black nForce Shuttle computers, would have been fantastic, but maybe this is a nice alternative.

Re:Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those... (1)

Hoser McMoose (202552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480679)

Let me get this straight. The system you're considering now is an Athlon processor, running at somewhere on the order of 2.0GHz, with 128K of L1 cache and 256K or 512K of L2 cache and 2.7GB/s or 3.2GB/s of bandwidth, with the capability of using up to about 2GB of memory and the latest and greatest IDE hard drives.

But you're thinking that you can switch it for a 250MHz MIPS32-based CPU with 64K of L1 cache, zero L2 cache, something like 200MB/s of bandwidth, a maximum of maybe 256MB of memory (though apparently these boxes are unstable when using both SIMMs) and if you're lucky you MIGHT be able to use DMA on the hard drives, though that's iffy.

SUre it's a nice alternative if you've got a Cobalt Qube lying around the house and your "server" does mostly pretty trivial stuff, but if you're actually going to have to buy parts for it, there are MUCH faster, better supporter and cheaper alternatives out there!

Why is this news? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480363)

Can anyone tell me why this is news? It's not like anything super-duper was done, he just added some storage and RAM.

I think this line from the page:

Shortly after receiving and playing with the Qubes, I named them Pamela.Anderson & Keanu.Reeves because they looked pretty

Is more interesting then the project itself.

Fortress of Insanity []
Blogzine []

old news (2, Informative)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480365)

Man, Cobalt Qubes have been out forever. I remember evaluating one at my old ISP job in 1998 (THAT takes me back). They're decent boxes, I suppose, though a bit overpriced for what you get. It was mainly notable for being the first popular "it runs linux but you'd never know it" machine.

Re:old news (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480600)

I remember evaluating one at my old ISP job in 1998 (THAT takes me back).

Aaaah, nostalgia's not what it used to be.

Pffft. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480372)

Can't even /. a lowly cube on a Friday night?! Where am I?!

server? (3, Funny)

simp (25997) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480374)

Strapping a drive to the back of a CPU board with ty-wraps is not my idea of building a small server. But whatever floats your boat...

Re:server? (2, Interesting)

mackstann (586043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480616)

Cardboard [] beats tie-straps anyday! Yes, I built a computer in a cardboard box, in fact, it's serving you that image. Small [] , cool, quiet, cheap, and fun to build (for the type of person who was a lego nerd when they were a kid, I guess).

Re:server? (1)

jitterbug (38915) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480624)

quite right, how can he have any self respect. He should have used duct tape.

*BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480376)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:*BSD is dying (-1, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480726)

Yes indeed [] .

Not enough RAM (0, Interesting)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480385)

128 MB is not enough to do anything useful. Why is it limited to such a small amount?

Re:Not enough RAM (5, Insightful)

wyndigo (534813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480416)

Obviously you don't use NetBSD. I have my primary mail/file/firewall/web/zope server at home running on a celeron 300a with 128M of ram, and it is zippy as can be.

I know this is the age of ever growing ram usage, but for a lot of things it isn't really needed. You can go a remarkably long way on 128M of ram. In fact, my machine never even swaps.


Re:Not enough RAM (5, Funny)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480443)

Give us a link, we'll see how zippy it is.

Re:Not enough RAM (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480493)

*looks over at iMac*

No. As much as I hate earthlink, ... just no.

Re:Not enough RAM (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480445)

Yeah, I use OS X on my closet server. I guess I've gotten accustomed to needing a lot of RAM. I'm running my mp3s off of it, as well as usb printers and of course apache. However, 128 still seems like a small amount, especially for a server.

Re:Not enough RAM (1)

larien (5608) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480496)

Depends what you're serving; a small web site can be 5 MB, NFS/SMB sharing only benefits from memory if you get a lot of reads on the same files so filesystem cache comes in.

Yes, more RAM is nice, but provided your OS doesn't take up most of it, you can do a fair bit in 128MB.

Re:Not enough RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480509)

It somehow seems appropriate to have OS X in the closet.

Re:Not enough RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480547)

I'm running FreeBSD here with 128meg.

Box handles NAT/firewall, caching DNS, mail, apache (with php) and quite a chunk of stuff written in php, samba, ftp, mysql and a whole bunch of apps.

It just had 64meg of /swap. It gets used a fair bit, and the current uptime is 58 days.

128Meg is a fair bit bit unless you're either dealing with graphics or a lot of back-end stuff and hundreds (or more) of simultaneous connections.

And for those jobs, you don't want a box like this anyway :)

Re:Take it a step further (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480725)

"Obviously you use Windows XP. Or maybe Mandrake."

Re:Not enough RAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480541)

Judging by your high user ID I'd guess you've never had to program a 64KB machine in the snow without shoes, uphill both ways.

Re:Not enough RAM (1)

rot26 (240034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480693)

Seriously. Hell, when I started out we didn't even have 1's and 0's... we just had 0's, and we liked it that way.

Re:Not enough RAM (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480749)

> 128 MB is not enough to do anything useful.

One guess what operating system he uses.

Mail server? Web Server? (-1, Flamebait)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480386)

Pardon my ignorance, but is there SMTP server software you can run on top of the NetBSD Mips R5000 server software? How about a web server? That would truly make a nifty little home server appliance.

Re:Mail server? Web Server? (2, Insightful)

freyr (174574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480498)

Uhh. Is this a trick question? Of course you can run an SMTP server or web server on NetBSD.

Re:Mail server? Web Server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480654)

If you RTFA you would have noticed he is running a web server on the box here [] .

I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (3, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480391)

I built a Mini-ITX file server. It has three 120 GB hard drives; they are running Linux software RAID, so I have the same amount of storage as the gigaQube... but I can have any one hard drive die and I'm okay.

The gigaQube is smaller, but my Mini-ITX file server is small enough for me. It's also extremely quiet.


It's a VIA EPIA-M motherboard, with a 1 GHz "Nehemiah" core. It has two IDE controllers onboard, and I used an IDE controller PCI card to get another available controller for the third drive. The case is a common Mini-ITX case, almost a cube shape, which I got at the Fry's Electronics in my area. One drive is mounted in the (only) hard drive holder in the case; one drive is mounted in the 3.5" external bay; and one drive is mounted in an adapter bracket which is mounted in one of the two 5.25" bays. I actually have one 5.25" bay free, but I don't need it for anything. I use the 100 Mbit Ethernet jack on the motherboard for hooking the server up to my net, and I have Debian GNU/Linux (stable branch) installed. It's a sweet little server.


Re:I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480395)

By the way, I left the RF shield plates in place on the external bays. The hard drives are all inside and not visible. I plan to swap round IDE cables in (replacing the current flat ones) and measure the system temperature to see if the round cables make any difference.


Re:I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480492)

Friends don't let friends buy shit from Fry's

Re:I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480517)

You don't talk to women very often, do you?

Re:I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480533)

Half our colocated rack is filled with Mini-ITX servers now. We didn't need a boatload of CPU power, they're mostly static webservers. Give it plenty of memory and it's fine.

The wonderful thing is that they go two in a 1U and, in our configuration, together use less power and generate much less heat than the 1Us we were using before, even with two 160GB harddisks in RAID-1. Each.

A 5U power box has its place, but where it doesn't, Mini-ITX is useful.

Mini-ITX IDE and PCI (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480606)

I used an IDE controller PCI card to get another available controller for the third drive.

Hmm... nice setup. I'd like to use my PCI slot for something else so I'm curious - why you didn't use 2 drives on one IDE channels? Was the performance sub-par? Also, I understand your data is striped across 3 drives, and you can afford to lose one - what RAID "version" is that? RAID 2?

Has anyone got an idea how to use 2 PCI cards with the Mini-ITX boards? The manual for the 533 Mhz Mini-ITX boards say it supports 2 PCI cards, even though it only has one PCI slot. The second card support is done using special pins on the motherboard, that the Via manual says require "proprietary" info from it to implement.

Re:Mini-ITX IDE and PCI (1)

haakon (10961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480626)

Doing similtainous reads or writes to drives on the same channel really drops the performance levels.

RAID 5 is the setup he is most likely to be using.

PCI riser card maybe?

Re:Mini-ITX IDE and PCI (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480736)

Thanks for the info Haakon.

About the PCI riser - thanks - I'd found nothing earlier, but I just googled again and found one [] - a special PCI riser that fits into one PCI slot, but runs two PCI cards simultaneously.

Re:I'd rather have a Mini-ITX -- and I do! (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480611)

I have an 2.4Ghz eCube with a couple of 250Gb drives. One in the drive bay and one in the foppy bay. It has a DVD/CD RW so I do not need a floppy. It has a Gb of RAM and the thing is running 24/7 quite happily. It has SuSE 9 on it now but that is obviously new :) It has been sitting there for about 6 months without a hiccup.

This man is heat-resistant hot sauce eating GOD (-1, Offtopic)

pete_contact11 (626708) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480400)

It doesn't get any hotter than Dave's Insanity (except for Dave's *Ultimate* Insanity). I wrecked myself for an entire day because I accepted a bet to eat a large quantity of Dave's Insanity. I give this guy mad respect.

Re:This man is heat-resistant hot sauce eating GOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480543)

Two words. The Source. Something like ten times hotter than Dave's.

And if you want to go straight into the gates of Hell, I believe that the current record holder is one called Caldera.

(Insert SCO joke here.)

I know someone who has a bottle - well, it's sort of three bottles really, and you can see tiny little crystals of (presumably) pure capsaicin suspended in the top one - and well, I wouldn't try it in a million years. It'd probably take the skin right off my tongue with one drop. I'd want a whole 8-way Opteron machine, or something in that spec, for eating that stuff.

Re:This man is heat-resistant hot sauce eating GOD (0, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480694)

Man, my girlfriend eats "prik kee nu," the hottest Thai chilis available as a condiment with her dinner. Even other Thais look at her with awe. Hot sauce my ass!

quiet alimentation (0)

Gago (720274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480419)

It seems that alimis what generates the most noise, which explains why a laptop alim quiets the system a lot...

but with "standard" hardware, you can use a silentmax alim, and if you don't use horrible little fans on the motherboard and graphic card, the system makes virtually no noise at startup -- I mean no noise; not little noise, no noise at all (you can hear the hard drive and the CPU fan but only after several minutes, when the CPU is hot and you're manipulating big files).
Reading or burning CDs or DVDs is always more noisy, but with this, you get a full-tower with virtually as many drives as you want inside. It is more bulky, but it combines both server (for local network only of course) and workstation.

Go With Shuttle (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480420)

I recently bought a Shuttle SK41G box as a replacement server. I stuck in an xp1900+ processor, 80gig WD drive, a dvd/cd reader, and 512Meg memory. It has room for one more drive since I didn't bother to get a floppy for it (who uses floppies these days?). This baby is way overkill for my server needs. Running apache, exim, spamassassin, clamav, samba 3, and mysql (plus the usual array of programs), it hardly makes a mark in the CPU usage.

It's small, relatively quiet (though not as quiet as the k6-2 400Mhz system it replaced) and has been rock solid.

Re:Go With Shuttle (1)

chrome (3506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480484)

I have the Athlon64 based Sn85G4 with nearly half a terabyte of storage. :D

The machines do rock severely, though I am having a real hard time with the Silicon Image raid chipset on them - it had trouble with my two 250GB SATA drives...

Re:Go With Shuttle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480614)

I built a box similar to that, only I heard bad things about WD drives and Shuttle mobos, so I went with an MSI board and a Seagate drive. The board will support AGP 1.0 cards, so I don't have to worry about not being able to use some old cards I have floating around here. It is nice.

Apple should make a cube. (5, Funny)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480438)

I bet people would love it.

Nah, man, think different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480470)

A triangle.

Neat (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480446)

This is neat. The MIPS is a nice processor with a much nicer programming model than x86 if you're working with assembly.

If I were Sun, I'd churn out MIPS boxes like this by the hundreds. I have a need for two machines (that I don't have money for right now). One is to be a file server, and the other is to be a firewall/router for my crappy dialup (which will one day be broadband of some sort). A machine like the Qube could fit the bill for both of these machines, with one being configured for RAID and having lots of storage, and the other being beefy enough to handle a home internet connection (better have a serial port so I can hook my USR ext modem to it!) I'd seriously consider a Qube that didn't need to be fan cooled and didn't consume a lot of power. Apple only makes one type of computer, and it's _way_ too expensive for home needs. I can build a Mini-ITX system with an x86 processor in it for not a lot of money, so there's Sun's starting point.

  1. Design a system that'll run Linux and the BSDs easily, and release the full specifications for it. As long as it's low power and can use passive cooling, it's in there. Just a few options are really needed: hardware RAID for a fileserver, lots of RAM slots for a webserver, an option for a nice tuner card to turn it into a PVR, etc.
  2. Buy parts in bulk to drive costs down.
  3. Profit!

Supporting this thing would be a piece of cake. Compile a NetBSD distro or Linux distro for the machine, and include it with the machine. Guarantee good hardware, and this could be an easy cash cow. The OSS community would handle most of the rest.

Re:Neat (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480461)

I suspect part of the kick of using the Cube is that the original machine is no longer for sale, so there is an element of exclusivity. If all you want is a tiny server, take a mini-ITX case and you can do much the same. Sun would possibly spawn a new market (tiny file servers) but they'd not profit from it. No marketing capability.

Now, Apple, on the other hand...

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480631)

Now, Apple, on the other hand...

Apple would sell it for 3X what I could build an equivalent x86 box for, the only difference being the cooling and power; pack OSX in with it, which I wouldn't use for the sort of application the box would go in; and probably only package it as a Complete Super Desktop Server Solution with a huge LCD monitor and clear keyboard. I doubt they'd even be capable of selling a bare box without all the fluff.

Apple is known for providing desktop systems to people and flashy marketing. If they sold systems that were twice as crappy at the same cost, their bottom line probably wouldn't be affected at all. Sun, on the other hand, has no market for home users. If they sold a product such as this, it would expand what they do best into a new market with almost no real research needed to provide a good product.

It's almost silly how easy it would be to get right. Make a machine that isn't lobotomized in any way and can be expanded/customized easily. Little to no software tweaking would be needed on Sun's part. All they'd be doing is selling a machine that I could buy instead of building an equivalent machine from parts, which, because of buying in bulk, would be a cheaper solution for me. Think about a Beowulf cluster of these things. Price them right and it'd be possible. Even with Wal-Mart machines selling for around $200, a better quality Sun machine for about the same price is a better option.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480454)

Jim Ethanol writes "Since there's been a lot of interest... running NetBSD's Mips R5000... check its vitals here."

If it's running NetBSD, I suppose checking its vitals would be an appropriate thing to do.

Jon Ethanol? (4, Funny)

crapulent (598941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480459)

Wow! Do you know Vin Diesel? You just need to find a third guy named "Alexander Isopropyl" or something and you'd have your own little gang!

Thanks A Lot (5, Funny)

Pansy (10091) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480463)

Thanks for driving up the price of the Qube I was bidding on on Ebay. I guess I'll have to go put together a mini-ITX box just to spite the article. There should be an Ebay listing that comes with a slashdot article, kinda like the premium listings where you end up at the top of the page, but a lot more expensive...

Err no. (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480468)

So, you can get a 300 MB drive, put it on a 17cm (7.5" :-) board and get something about half the volume of the "cube" for almost certainly less cost. And it still runs Linux, and it has all those 386 RPM's that you can install.

If you really must have a cube form-factor, there are cuboid cases around the same size at


I have one of those Qube 1 machines... (1)

B747SP (179471) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480474)

... Haven't read the whole article yet, I have some pork in the frypan, and I need to keep an eye on it!

I've shelved the Qube 1, and now a PII-500 running FreeBSD takes care of *my* home storage (caching, web serving, mysql, php, wireless access point, you-name-it) needs...

Should I be exhuming my Qube 1 and making something of it, or stick it on eBay, or stick it back in the cupboard? Anyone interested in it?

Oh great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480482)

They also seem to have achieved 'fetish' status in Japan.
Next thing you know, we'll be seeing links to all over Slashdot...

Dan Ingals has built A Squeak PC (1)

BigTom (38321) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480495)

Dan Ingals has built a neat linux/squeak [] based system on ITX.

"We have now assembled a software kernel that includes a lean Linux base (modified by Ian Piumarta to provide direct frame buffer display), and a full Squeak 3.6 image and VM, all fitting on a 32M CF card with about 10MB left over. For my needs this is an ideal solution: buy a Silent Station, stick in a CF card, and resell it as a graphical weather station. It's especially nice that the Silent Station uses a 12v supply, which means you can hack together a 5-hour UPS from a lead-acid battery and a trickle charge circuit."

I love the bong... (3, Funny)

hal9k (7650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480525)

Keep an eye out for a bong in the action shots. Just what were these people smoking when they made this?!

Quiet PCs (1, Interesting)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480534)

Well, the passive cooled Via mini-ITX and nano-ITX mother boards are there but the power supplies for them aren't there yet. They have these whiney little 4cm or 6cm fans. No you need a nice slow rpm 12cm fan. Pulls lots of air and is quiet. Though I see Nexus and Papst have some really slow 8cm fans that might work. Silicon Acoustics [] carries a lot of this kind of stuff including 12cm fan PSUs, though I haven't dealt with them yet. Unfortunately it's mostly for full sized P4 based systems which by definition have a whiney cpu fan.

Re:Quiet PCs (1)

pesc (147035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480652)

Well, the passive cooled Via mini-ITX and nano-ITX mother boards are there but the power supplies for them aren't there yet.

Yes it is! []

If you buy a Mini-ITX case, most have a silent power supply included.

Re:Quiet PCs (2, Informative)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480677)

Well, the passive cooled Via mini-ITX and nano-ITX mother boards are there but the power supplies for them aren't there yet. They make nice powersupplies. No fan, just 12v -> atx adapters. They require a 12 volt AC/DC adapter. No Fans, no noise.

The mini-itx boards can be passively cooled. The 533 mhz version is. Some special cases use heatpipes. Then the only noise is the harddisk (if you need one, booting via the ethernet adapter is also an option!)

Re:Quiet PCs (1)

hardcode (105714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480731)

I'm running a 553 mhz one here, the external PS is a great idea, but doesn't provide much juice.

I find that with a Seagate Barracuda IV and an additional ethernet card on the PCI riser it makes an ideal firewall/webserver. I've even disconnected the case fans it runs so cool.

The only time I hear it is if I do a massive find(1), and then thats just a ticking...

Qube3 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480537)

Qube3 use a linux x86 2.2 but i does not have the sources available anymore when you do the automatic upgrade ( quite a nice feature anyway, as you do not have to care "much" about patching your linux ).

But unfortunatly, it does not have all the latest stuffs like ipv6 ...

I was planing to upgrade it to some more up to date OS (linux 2.4 ? *bsd ? ) to get at least ipv6 ...

My only constraint is that all my configuration use Java (a very little one ey !). As i run a, Tomcat & JBoss + a bunch of webapp that enable everything i need from file sharing, wiki, chat, email, etc.

could gigaQube be applied to Qube3 ? or is there a tested way to run an updated OS on this machine ?

Nano-ITX (4, Informative)

Bushcat (615449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480545)

If Qube hacking is simply a quest to get a small but useful computer into a pretty case, then Via announced its Eden-N [] processor last month, dissipating 7W at 1GHz and 4W at 533MHz. Samples shipping now, so I assume a Nano-ATX board will be available soon.

The 866BASE [] gets a P3, 2 ethernet ports, and the usual interfaces on a 91mm x 96mm board.

Plenty of opportunities for packing a nice computer into a small case.

Re:Nano-ITX (1)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480683)

I've been looking at that trying to figure out why it has 2 PATA connectors and only one SATA connector. Because as a hobbyist you'd want a bunch of SATA connectors and it's not like you have legacy hw issues here.

It appears from Via's nano-ITX web page that they are aiming at the imbedded systems OEM market, not hobbyists. With that market cost is everything and parallel drives are cheaper. It will be nice when Via starts taking the hobbyist market more seriously and they come out with small form factor MBs that don't look like super deformed anime characters with those huge clunky legacy connectors.

big deal (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480550)

The guy added a hard drive to his Qube, and
you call that a story? I guess it's newsworthy
because he's not running Linux on it.

Sifting through the ashes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480576)

What We Can Learn From BSD
By Chinese Karma Whore [] , Version 1.0

Everyone knows about BSD's failure and imminent demise. As we pore over the history of BSD, we'll uncover a story of fatal mistakes, poor priorities, and personal rivalry, and we'll learn what mistakes to avoid so as to save Linux from a similarly grisly fate.

Let's not be overly morbid and give BSD credit for its early successes. In the 1970s, Ken Thompson and Bill Joy both made significant contributions to the computing world on the BSD platform. In the 80s, DARPA saw BSD as the premiere open platform, and, after initial successes with the 4.1BSD product, gave the BSD company a 2 year contract.

These early triumphs would soon be forgotten in a series of internal conflicts that would mar BSD's progress. In 1992, AT&T filed suit against Berkeley Software, claiming that proprietary code agreements had been haphazardly violated. In the same year, BSD filed countersuit, reciprocating bad intentions and fueling internal rivalry. While AT&T and Berkeley Software lawyers battled in court, lead developers of various BSD distributions quarreled on Usenet. In 1995, Theo de Raadt, one of the founders of the NetBSD project, formed his own rival distribution, OpenBSD, as the result of a quarrel that he documents [] on his website. Mr. de Raadt's stubborn arrogance was later seen in his clash with Darren Reed, which resulted in the expulsion of IPF from the OpenBSD distribution.

As personal rivalries took precedence over a quality product, BSD's codebase became worse and worse. As we all know, incompatibilities between each BSD distribution make code sharing an arduous task. Research conducted at MIT [] found BSD's filesystem implementation to be "very poorly performing." Even BSD's acclaimed TCP/IP stack has lagged behind, according to this study. []

Problems with BSD's codebase were compounded by fundamental flaws in the BSD design approach. As argued by Eric Raymond in his watershed essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar [] , rapid, decentralized development models are inherently superior to slow, centralized ones in software development. BSD developers never heeded Mr. Raymond's lesson and insisted that centralized models lead to 'cleaner code.' Don't believe their hype - BSD's development model has significantly impaired its progress. Any achievements that BSD managed to make were nullified by the BSD license, which allows corporations and coders alike to reap profits without reciprocating the goodwill of open-source. Fortunately, Linux is not prone to this exploitation, as it is licensed under the GPL.

The failure of BSD culminated in the resignation of Jordan Hubbard and Michael Smith from the FreeBSD core team. They both believed that FreeBSD had long lost its earlier vitality. Like an empire in decline, BSD had become bureaucratic and stagnant. As Linux gains market share and as BSD sinks deeper into the mire of decay, their parting addresses will resound as fitting eulogies to BSD's demise.

The Joy of CyberSex.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480608)

I love his choice of books, not to mention the bong.

Yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480610)

gigaQube... when megaQube isn't enough.

That server is cool and everything.... (2, Funny)

glowfish (310099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480647)

But man check out that bong on the bottom shelf! When can we see that in action?

it's not that hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480657)

They also seem to have achieved 'fetish' status in Japan

it's not that hard to get them hooked into funky stuff...have you seen those crazy TV shows and porn? :)

spoiled brat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480691)

check out "the day i bought my roadster" photo album.. Spoiled litle brat is posing with his mother while she signs the cheque. Its nice having that cube today, but tomorrow when he's gotta make it on his own, I'll be the highest bidder for it on ebay when he's gotta pay the rent.

BTW kid, you look silly with those sunglasses, I know you're trying really hard to look cool but it just aint working.

Here comes the niggaQube, dawg! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7480692)

Where is the GNAA when you really need them? I mean they should be all over this. It's a cube, which is like Apple's cube, and everyone is always saying Apple is gay despite the fact I can't get head to save my life in the local Apple store. It's also a giga, which can be pronounced jigga, which is a hook from a popular rap song where it was rhymed with nigga.

I'm sure this cube would be very bling blingin' with some neons, 22" chrome rims, and some fine ass boi beyotches standing next to it. Like a gay back that ass up, yo.

So move over breeders, oh wait, who am I kidding, this is slashdot - none of you hetero fuckers are going to breed anyway. Where as I? Oh yea, we're running the show now. So from now on, there are going to be some changes:

1. Linux is not the "gay" operating system. We homosexuals use Windows just like you straight people. Linux isn't gay, it's pedophilia and you straight fuckheads need to stop confusing the two.

2. We're not all limp wristed sissy queens. Better watch out the next time you call someone a fag, you just might end up with special sauce on your lunch. Or a torque wrench shoved up your ass... We're just diverse like that.

3. You watch Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight guy? Better start watching the Sopranos, cause we're going gangsta on your ass.

and most importantly...

4. The shortest trip between hetero and homo is landing in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. You keep sharing those MP3s and Movies. We'll wait.

Yes, those are the only action shots (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480711)

There are no action once a woman gets a look at the contents of the bookshelves, hence "The Joy of Cybersex" seen on one of the shelves. Hell, even Vegas bachelor party shots didn't have any real action in them.

Doesn't gcc suck on the mips? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7480730)

Gcc seems to suck and produce un-optimized binaries for every platform except x86 and now powerpc.

I remember complains about people running Linux on the alpha. They recompile the kernel and everything turns dog slow. The reason being was that the compiled default redhat kernel was compilied using a special proprietary compiler.

NetBSD might not perform well if its compilied with gcc.

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