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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
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Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

John Hearns

Paper (HTML) and Paper (StarOffice)

Mini-ITX

VIA technologies have recently introduced a new form factor for small PCs. These boards measure 17cm x 17cm, yet pack the punch of full size computers. This talk will introduce the features on the various mini-ITX boards, their compatibility with Linux and go on to discuss the fun projects developers can use them for. The processors used are Intel x86 compatible, so any 'common or garden' Linux distribution can be installed without trouble.

Their size, low power and low noise levels make them a basis for many exciting and imaginative projects, both commercial and hobbyist. This talks aims to fire the imagination of developers, and will discuss how mini-ITXes have applications in areas such as firewalls, wireless gateways, domestic servers, home automation, in-car PCs and audio-visual applicances which can look good enough to sit in the lounge alongside the stereo and TV. The systems are compact, silent and can boot from a variety of sources, including Compact Flash cards and the network, so make excellent thin clients: using for example the Linux Terminal Server Project.

Mini-ITX boards can also make excellent building blocks for clusters. Applications could include university/college teaching labs, parallel and grid software development. Their size and low power also means they won't need the space and air conditioning of a rack of full size machines. The author has installed a Linux cluster at home, which means he can learn and experiment with clustering software without the lights flickering and turning a small London flat into a sauna.

Murphys Law permitting, the talk will feature a demonstration system or two.


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