Wednesday, September 6, 2017

OpenSUSE Tumbleweed on AMD APU Kabini

In order to have Tumbleweed GUI working on Kabini, one needs to install the kernel-firmware package.

Recently moved my Linux workstation to an old AMD APU platform with Kabini (Athlon 5350). The installation completed successfully, but the console goes blank and X cannot use the radeon driver and fallback to VESA.

After some digging​, found that although the radeon and amdgpu modules are loaded, there are error messages in dmesg saying that some firmwares cant be loaded.

The problem can be easily fixed by installing the kernel firmware:

sudo zypper install kernel-firmware

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Shrinking the Linux guest storage file of VirtualBox

Shrinking the dynamic storage file of VirtualBox used to be tedious.  First need to zero out the free space in the guest and then compacting the file from host.

With Linux supporting TRIM and VirtualBox supporting DISCARD, it can be done much easier within the guest.

First, on the host, prepare the storage file with DISCARD support:

VBoxManage storageattach "Ubuntu server" --storagectl "SATA" --port 0 --discard on --nonrotational on

- "Ubuntu server" is the VM name
- use "--storagectrl" and "--port" to specify the storage controller

Then whenever the storage file needs to be compacted, execute fstrim in the guest. e.g.

sudo fstrim -v /

where "/" is the mount point.