Does anyone know anything about the HP eVectra, espacially how easy/possible it is to install Linux? I like the size (my office is way too full of hardware already), the price, and their reliability claims, but I would want to install Linux and use it as a local server. HPs web site makes all sorts of claims about how hard it is for users to acces the hardware to break/reconfigure/steal bits, but how does that translate if I'm the owner/system admin? Can I attach a CD temporarily to a non-CD model to load up Linux? Can I remove the HD and load Linux in another machine? Can I upgrade the supplied (puny) 8.4G HD to something bigger? Does it have any weird driver requirements (I don't care about X11) All help appreciated.
What I've done in the past is to partition some of the disk supplied with a machine (as a DOS partition), but only a small part of the total disk. On that, I'd put the linux install files. Then, I'd boot from the boot/root disks, partition the disk with linux partitions, execute setup, specify the dos partition as the install partition and then set the ball rolling. That was with Slackware, which worked fine, but wasn't the easiest to configure at the time. I suspect it has improved since then (that was a few years back). Once it's installed you can always change the dos partition to a linux one and tie that into your configuration. I imagine your concerns about the eVectra are because it uses a custom motherboard, I'm not sure how linux would react to that, and I've not read anything in the newsgroups about linux on the eVectra. I guess it's one of those things where you may need to try it to find out... keep us posted if you do decide to try it!
My concern is that the cheapest model has no external drives at all. No CD, no Floppy. That's why installing Linux is a bit different from most machines. Normally on a machine like that I'd just attach a floppy or a CD temporarily while I install the OS, and do everything else over the network, but HP make great claims about the "tamper-proof" nature of the eVectra. So far I have been unable to find out if it's even possible to attach extra drives at all. nether have I been able to find out if I can get the case open enough to replace the existing HD or add more RAM! It's a shame, because they are really tidy boxes at a good price, and once Linux is installed should work realy well as a local mini-server for email, web, caching, routing, file storage etc. I am half-convinced that I should just buy one and see, but I don't really want to waste my money on just another non-expandable Windows box.
Frank, I noticed in the Performance forum you mentioned that you were currently configuring a P3 733 as an optimised linux server. Did you buy the eVectra and if so, have you discovered any issues with it?
I still haven't taken the plunge with the eVectra. I'm working on a pair of 1U servers for colocation in the USA at the moment, and the eVectra would be for "home". I have a feeling that these systems may actually be more similar than different, though - there's a good chance they use the same chipset etc.