64 bits of success

After several months of procrastination and a few weeks of concerted but often frustrating effort, I finally managed to boot a custom-built 64-bit Linux system.

For over a decade I’ve been running my own version of the Linux operating system, which I cleverly call Jinux, and it’s served me well across over a hundred servers and a long series of desktops. It’s probably a sign that I’m either unbelievably stubborn or a true Linux geek that I insist on compiling all of my software from scratch, rather than using any of dozens of freely-available versions available. But hey, whatever the reason, it’s what I do.

For a while I’ve intended to convert from traditional 32-bit systems to a more modern 64-bit system. However, that’s much easier said than done– the architectures are substantially different under the hood, even though the stuff you see looks exactly the same. It turns out that many of the scripts and processes I’d used successfully for a decade no longer applied, and had to be re-thought and re-written.

In the past week I’ve been getting really close… little things kept popping up, and I’d solve the problems one at a time as I continued to advance. Finally I had a system that made an effort to boot but died in a kernel panic and a splash of debug code. More backtracking and debugging finally led me to the solution. I applied it, hit the button, and bam! the system booted and I was faced with the prompt that signaled my triumph:

jinux64 login:

There’s still some work to be done before the system can be deployed to my production servers, but it’s a pretty big step. Cue the success baby…