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Thread: Open Source Software

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
Open the pod bay doors, please HAL

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In

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Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2008 15:47:02 +1100

Today there were supposed to be nation-wide street protests about the federal government's proposed "Internet Filtering". In Melbourne this would have been at the State Library. I might have gone along later in the afternoon just to check it out, had it not been for the rain. In Melbourne it seems our prayers have been answered. We have had the wettest day in the past two years, and if it keeps up at this rate it could be the wettest weekend of the century. And as welcome as it was, I wasn't inclined to go riding my bike in it.

The No Censorship website has a list of resources, which is worth a look. There might be other events coming up.

Since today seemed a good day to stay indoors, I tried to verify that my Kubuntu workstation had a memory fault. I know that it has had an intermittant fault for several months. And in the the last few weeks the problem has occured more frequently. I was almost certain that it is a memory fault. But I do want to verify it, by running a test on the hardware. I recall that there is a reliable open source memory testing application available for Intel processors, that I have used in the past, but I couldn't remember what it was called.

I tried googling with the search phrase "memory test GNU" and immediately found the application that I was looking for. It is called Memtest86, and if I can quote from the home page:

Memtest86 is a thorough, stand alone memory test for x86 architecture computers. BIOS based memory tests are a quick, cursory check and often miss many of the failures that are detected by Memtest86.

Memtest86 was developed by Chris Brady with a first release in 1994. However, the testing algorithms used have been under development since 1981 and have been previously implemented on Dec PDP-11, VAX-11/780 and Cray XMP architectures. Development and distribution of Memtest86 is now funded and supported by BradyTech Inc.

Memtest86 is released under the terms of the Gnu Public License (GPL).

You can download an gzipped ISO of Memtest86 version 3.4a here. This latest release of Memtest86, has several miscelleous bug fixes, features a new summary page and will also support multiple CPUs.

And now I recall where I saw Memtest85 last. It is actually built into the Ubuntu kernel. If you have an Ubuntu or Kubuntu boot disk, there should be a memtest86 module on it (just choose the memory test option on the startup menu). Most standard Ubuntu distributions also have a shell script called make-memtest86+-boot-floppy, which will copy /boot/memtest86+.bin to a copy device (default is /dev/fd0).

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