Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Unix Operating Systems Software

Ghost for Unix 285

junyoung writes "Hubert Feyrer released the latest version of g4u ("ghost for unix"), a NetBSD-based bootfloppy/CD-ROM image that allows one to easily clone PC harddisks by using FTP. Since it reads the disk bit by bit, it can create an image of any operating system and any file system. Besides, it's free (under BSD style license)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ghost for Unix

Comments Filter:
  • Alternatives (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Huff ( 314296 ) <nick@@@huff...org...uk> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:49PM (#4584614) Homepage
    When i was reading the article i was thinking 'why do we need another bl**dy disk copier/ghoster/whateverer' But the link states that it can be used with all file systems, which is something i have yet to see in other utilities.

    Good on the chap who wrote it.
    I definantly will be using this in future.

    • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:58PM (#4584659)
      Ghost handles all file systems as well. They call it a sector by sector disk copy. In this case Ghost does not care what is on the disk, it copies the DISK rather than the filesystem or partition as it does by default. But as with g4u you can't resize and so forth with a sector by sector copy.

      The only problem with Ghost is the licensing cost.
    • Re:Alternatives (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alsta ( 9424 )
      As previously mentioned, copying bit-by-bit is something Ghost already does. The problem, and ultimately unfeasibility with this utility is that it DOESN'T recognize filesystems and structures.

      That means that you can only restore an image to a disk in equal or larger size than that of the dump. It also means that if you have a larger disk you'll find that you'll end up with unused space or perhaps worse, a boot sector in the wrong place so that you can't even boot your system.

      I do believe that this project has the ability to go further at some point, but right now, I see it as a NetBSD boot floppy with network drivers and a ramdisk which has dd(1).

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:3, Informative)

      But the link states that it can be used with all file systems, which is something i have yet to see in other utilities.

      Udpcast [linux.lu] handles any filesystem just fine. Indeed, it reads directly from the device, and is thus able to handle even filesystems that are not supported by Linux. And in order to handle the case of "almost empty" partition, it supports compressed transfers: the empty, zero-filled sectors compress to almost nothing, and thus don't consume any bandwidth.

  • I'd really like to know what the performance is like. Ghost can be very fast sometimes.

    It's too bad that it won't allow you to resize partitions, as you can with Ghost but, it looks like a great start, so long as it isn't too slow.
  • by vidnet ( 580068 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:49PM (#4584618) Homepage
    cat /dev/hda | nc -l -p 5030

    nc server 5030 > /dev/hda
    • I sure hope you don't have /dev/hda mounted when you do that. Do you have a spare Linux boot drive on every computer you want to ghost? It can't be just a separate partition, since you're copying the entire physical drive.
      • one of those bootable unixes or rescue cdroms would be fine. they run the os out of the ramdisk they copy during bootup.
        That leaves the hda free to be repartitioned, etc.
        I'm pretty sure that's how the orginal author intended
    • tar with the appropriate flags works much better. Also, if you run it on a system that doesn't write to the disk much (ie webservers) you can generally take a somewhat reliable backup without taking the system down to init 1.
    • Kernel panics with "failed to read sector ######" when mirroring a broken hard disk. Any workarounds?
    • by BlueUnderwear ( 73957 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @06:23PM (#4585403)
      cat /dev/hda | nc -l -p 5030

      nc server 5030 > /dev/hda

      This works fine, as long as you have only one receiver (client). No imagine a school who wants to image a whole classroom of 25 machines at once. Your solution will consume 25 times the bandwidth, because it will open 25 point-to-point links!

      A better solution would be to use udpcast [linux.lu] which uses Ethernet's multicast abilities to allow all PC's to be loaded from the same stream of data.

    • I agree that g4u doesn't sound like the best solution, at least for Linux installations. But even for occasional disk mirroring from a rescue floppy, one can do better than "nc" with little or no effort.

      A technically better solution is probably to use multicast rsync, either on the raw partition, or on the mounted file system. Using it on a mounted file system has the advantage that it works on live file systems, can deal with different drive geometries, and doesn't waste any time copying free blocks that still contain data.

      If you do use "nc", there are two things you should do first: (1) clear out any free data on the source partitions by "cat /dev/zero > junk; rm junk" (this will improve compression), and (2) use gzip, as in "gzip /dev/hda".

  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:52PM (#4584628) Homepage Journal

    From the article:

    3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:
    This product includes software developed by Hubert Feyrer .

    This form of the BSD license has a minor problem [gnu.org].

    • Yes, that is a major problem.

      GPL gets around this by asking that you give them the copyright and give them all the credit leaving you with none.

      I **HATE** when someone wants credit for the stuff they've created. The nerve of them. Especially after telling you that you can do anything you want with the software only you better give credit where credit is due.

      I'm glad you cleared this up for us so none of use that restrictive BSD licensed crapware.

      PS. This ain't a troll or funny. Its fucking sarcasm.

      • To clear up any misconceptions that the sarcastic parent comment might have created:

        GPL gets around this by asking that you give them the copyright and give them all the credit leaving you with none.

        Actually, every author of a GPL program gets credit. The GNU GPL [gnu.org], section 2, requires that "You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change." Thus, the credit stays where it belongs, in the source code, documentation, and (for interactive programs) the about box, rather than in possibly unrelated advertising.

        • That YOU changed. It doesn't stop you from ripping out the copyright notices and claiming that it was written then by you.

          The GPL makes its notice to make YOU sign your name to it if you change anything to ensure that if you screw something up that the original author doesn't get his reputation tarnished because of your modifications.

          So, I decide I want to change a variable name, I'm now considered to be the only one that needs to have my name on the license.

          The GPL is a religion, its not a license. BSD is common sense and is as close to coming to public domain as possible but still ensuring the author gets credit for his work. I wish folks would stop bowing down to the GPL as if it were given to you by God and thus infallible...
      • This ain't a troll or funny. Its fucking sarcasm.

        If the FreeBSD team didn't decide to change licencing, every single advertisement (including banners, for example) of FreeBSD would have to exhaustively elencate all of the contributors, thus making any sort of advertisement pratically impossibile.

        Mr. Huber Freyer can get away advertising his work without much hassle exactly because he doesn't have also to list all FreeBSD contributors (since they changed their mind).

        Requiring due credit is fine. Pretending to have your name to be written even on your distributor's underwear is definitively too much, and this is what the old advertising clause basically asks for.

        • Addenda: to furtherly demonstrate how silly that clause is, I'd also want to point out that while Mr. Huber Freyer requires his acknowledgement to be displayed in all advertising material, he is not displaying anywhere in his page the required acknowledgement (as the NetBSD license still requires) regarding the University of California, but simply tells his software is based on NetBSD.

          Now: is he giving due credit? Yes. Is he doing it in the form required by the NetBSD license? No. Is that clause silly? Yes.

      • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @06:43PM (#4585467)
        "GPL gets around this by asking that you give them the copyright and give them all the credit leaving you with none."

        The GPL does nothing of the sort. Nowhere in the GPL is the request made for contributors to sign over their copyrights. Just the opposite is true. Contributors retain copyrights over contributed code that is their own creation. The GPL states that contributors of derivitive code must grant others the full right to copy, modify, and distribute those derivitive contributions. That's it.

        You are probably confusing the GPL with the FSF's advice to assign it the copyright to your GPL'd code that you wish to have legally defended by the FSF (under the assumption that you are not financially able to enforce your copyrights yourself). Nowhere is this a requirement.

        Likewise, there is no provision in the GPL to strip you of credit for contributions you have made. Once again, quite the opposite is true. The GPL goes to great length to make sure you are properly attributed and that recognition for your contributions is not usurped.

        The GPL has been carefully crafted to protect the rights of authors without imposing unnecessary burdens on contributors of derivitive works. The only inconvenience I have ever noticed with the GPL was experienced from a proprietary software perspective. And that was a primary purpose of the GPL: to make life difficult for those who want to steal the works of others, while making life easier for those who want to build upon the works of others and contribute those improvements back to the world.

        The GPL works wonderfully and is a thing of beauty.

      • wrong.

        on the off chance you stuck a reading lamp up your ass before planting your head in it...

        first, the gpl does not require you to assign copyright to "them." what you probably mean is that the fsf *REQUESTS* that you grant them copyright to gpl'd software (you still retain your own). this way if someone violates your copyright, you can tell the fsf and they'll go sic their lawyers on the violator. the courts won't listen to the fsf if they don't haven't been assigned status by the authors. likewise, lawyers are expensive so the fsf is doing you a *FAVOUR* by offering to do that for authors of gpl'd software.

        secondly the gpl requires authors to maintain credit within source files. not advertising, but credits in the source files have to stay.
  • Exellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by muixA ( 179615 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:53PM (#4584631) Journal
    The thing I dislike the most about Norton Ghost, is hat it's DOS based. Getting networking working, for SMB image transfer is not always easy...

    Cloning PC-Unix boxes (Linux, etc), doesn't really require any special software though... When I need a new node for our EDA cluster, I boot tomsrbt, and run fdisk, and then kick off a script that pulls down an .tar.gz, and takes edits various /etc files to change hostname, IP, etc. Chroot, run lilo, and your done.

    • Re:Exellent! (Score:3, Informative)

      by slaker ( 53818 )
      It's less of a big deal than it was, with the new version. Ghost 2003 makes several different bootdisks, including a LanMan client (which can be a PITA for modern NIC drivers) and, IIRC, FTP.

      Ghost 2003 also handles local CD-R, USB, USB2 and Firewire disks, and can write an image file to a local NTFS disk, which is a neat trick for a DOS program.

      The bigger challenge with the latest version of ghost is remembering where the hell you put the bootdisk you need, since you can't get all the features on the same disk (e.g. no LanMan client + USB2 support).

      Ghost is what lets me do other things while I'm at work besides fix PCs.

      I license ghost @ something like $11 a copy for all the PCs I'm in charge of, and given the time-savings, it paid for itself in about two weeks.

      Still, this looks really good. I like free. I'll probably give it a try next week.
  • This is very nice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by K8Fan ( 37875 )

    Ever since Symantec bought Ghost, they've been changing it from a simple, easy to use, small, beautiful and most of all SMALL utility to a typical bloated pile of junk. It's so nice to see someone develop an open and free version that recaptures the original idea - just copy the fricken hard disk already!

    • Re:This is very nice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tcc ( 140386 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @04:05PM (#4584891) Homepage Journal
      > Ever since Symantec bought Ghost, they've been changing it from a simple, easy to use, small, beautiful and most of all SMALL utility to a typical bloated pile of junk

      Actually, you could say that about just EVERY product they've bought, EXEPT ghost.

      The executable still fits on a 1.44MB diskette with MSDOS bootable files, and has a LOAD of features for the size.

      I don't care about the TAR or tape driver portion of it, but I sure do care about the splitting, compression, encryption, being able to read the god damn compressed/encrypted/segmented file WITHOUT having to reghost it back to a hard drive in case I need a single file, I love being able to ghost directly to CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, to another machine or straight to a win2k server with ghost enterprise) exept that this portion is more or less good because of the fact that you need a dos packet driver and it causes a PITA with modern networking cards. I love the fact that it even worked with my 1.2TB raid (yeah, just for testing :)), it proves that the code base is solid and WORKS, all the features WORKS, they don't have crap like product activation, they aren't being lame about expiry or whatever other PITA software come with. This tool is one of the few that I'd put on EVERY sysadmin desk.

      Okay it's not free, but it sure isn't overpriced compared to office suites or some other software out there that are doing far less and are in no way near as reliable as Ghost is. It pays for itself. Now if you want to compare this with a unix variant, be my guest, I have nothing against competition, but I sure do have something against +4 insightful comments based on something thrown in the air without substancial evidence. This isn't Norton Internet Security or Personnal Firewall that we are talking about (yes they really killed Atguard with this pile of ... ).

      The only thing I'd complain about ghost is that it's still dos based. I'd like to be able to have a hotswap IDE bay and keep my Win2k machine up and plug the drive, ghost it, move the file to my datacenter, and unplug without having to reboot or anything, that would be great, right now I use a testbench for this and it's still good enough for my needs, and saving me a LOT of time.

    • Ever since Symantec bought Ghost, they've been changing it from a simple, easy to use, small, beautiful and most of all SMALL utility to a typical bloated pile of junk. It's so nice to see someone develop an open and free version that recaptures the original idea - just copy the fricken hard disk already!
      That's all well and good, until you need to take an image from a 6GB test machine and put it on one lab of 10GB machines and another of 4GB, with a couple 3.3 and 8.4's thrown in for good measure (you don't always get the same size drive back for an RMA, for one thing). Sending an image to a batch of brand-new workstations involves the following steps;
      1. Image one workstation. Ghost automatically resizes all partitions to fill the HDD. (Potentially as large as, say, 80 or 120GB)
      2. Update all installed drivers.
      3. Create new image on server.
      4. Batch-load image to all new workstations.

      The prospect of either manually resizing, or dumping and re-creating several partitions is a headache I'd much sooner live without.

      Creating and maintaining eight identical workstation images with the only difference being the size of the HDD costs a lot of time (money) and server storage, not to mention far too much administrative overhead. If I want to image 100 workstations, I'd prefer to associate them in LCCM and instruct them to 'go', or tell the Ghost MultiCast server which workstations to image and have it fire away. Running 6+ multicast sessions either takes six times as long, else runs at 1/6th the speed.

      It's lunch-hour, you have to have 75 machines re-imaged and useable by the end of lunch. Choose your application wisely.

      Ghost's ability to back up a workstation onto CDR discs (@ 650, 700, or 800MB) which can be booted and restoring your disk in one easy shot is also a fantastic feature. Backing up a laptop to a connected USB HDD is another example of phenominal functionality.

      G4U seems like a nice novelty, and perhaps a good way to back up your home workstation, but I don't forsee it ever replacing even a small portion of Ghost's utility.

  • Paramount (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trusty Penfold ( 615679 ) <jon_edwards@spanners4us.com> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:55PM (#4584641) Journal
    Ghost is a trademark of Paramount Pictures [imdb.com]

    You should do a trademark search at the patent and trademark office [uspto.gov] before releasing infringing software.
  • by j3110 ( 193209 ) <samterrell@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:56PM (#4584646) Homepage
    If the target is 1 sector less, you aren't going to be able to use this tool. I still think tar and netpipes is the only way. (unless you use XFS, in such case the best way would be xfsdump, tar, and xfsrestore) I'm trying to write a multicast fileserver for just this purpose. I have a lab of hetrogeneous machines(I take what I can get from the university) that need to be clones(btw, don't forget to run lilo if you use tar/xfs, and don't forget to change the site-key for ssh). I'm ending up using a homebrew solution. There are other good ghost utilities out there that boot from a cdrom(BART perhaps isn't bad), but I still need my own custom solution because I'm not gonna be here forever to make this lab work, and it needs to be "put this in the floppy drive and select options from the menu" easy.
    • Hey dont knock Barts [nu2.nu] boot disk. Its rather nice to have a boot floppy(or cdrom) that will boot almost any nic card. Top it off with Ghost i can backup/restore my laptop and workstations over IP. And dealing with partitions not whole HD's make it easier to move OS's around.

      Hey, and SSH with barts disk works great, thou you miss multiple ttys.

      • oh, I wasn't knocking bart :) It's great for what it does. It just wasn't made for what I need to do :) I considered patching bart to do it, but decided to just use nfsroot so I wouldn't have to make an endless supply of CD's :)

        If you are looking for a single machine or small numbers of machines to do backup and restore, bart and g4u are great! I used g4u when my lab was homogenous, and it was perfect. I still need multicasting and tar or xfsdump support that is user friendly. It's best I write my own :) Then I can use it as example real world multicasting code for classes as well.
    • If the target is 1 sector less, you aren't going to be able to use this tool.

      This is true, but if the target is larger you're still OK. I've never used the Unix version, but the DOS version would restore to a larger target with no problem, except that the extra sectors on the target would remain unused. In other words, it's not necessary to have identical drives in both systems. Just make sure that your source image is < or = to the target drive.
      • This is true, but if the target is larger you're still OK.

        Not necessarily: if the drive geometries differ, you may well be in trouble.

        • Not necessarily: if the drive geometries differ, you may well be in trouble.

          Speaking from experience, this never caused us a problem. Granted, all the machines we cloned used FAT partitions (they were all NT and OS/2 machines--we're talking about 4 years back.) No, we didn't use NTFS or HPFS on workstations because we needed to be able to access the files from DOS in the event that the OS got fubared. I can't say for certain how drive geometry would affect other types of OS's/filesystems.
    • Netpipes with tar is OK in a pinch, but for ghosting rsync is probably the better solution all around. With rsync, you can already get a multicast server and don't have to "write your own".
  • by kenthorvath ( 225950 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:57PM (#4584651)
    ...RMS is set to release gnu4u, "GNU's Norton Utilities 4 Unix". Wow...
  • I've never used g4u personally, but I did some research on disk cloning back awhile ago and a common complaint about the software was that even though it was rock-solid for all kinds of different operating systems, it was really slow. Anyone have any idea how reasonable the speeds are now?
  • by DrZaius ( 6588 ) <gary.richardson+slashdot@gmail.com> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @02:59PM (#4584661) Homepage
    I think it's worth it to pay for enterprise ghost and the win2k box it needs to run on if you really need ghost.

    The multicast console kicks ass -- I can ghost a tonne of workstations at one time and not kill the network.

    Symantecs' support infrastructure is wicked too. We haven't hit a problem that wasn't documented on their website yet.

    Also, ghost understands filesystems and not raw blocks. I don't understand why reading the raw data is an advantage -- you get images the size of your hard disk or partition instead of the size of the data. Ghost 7.5 can understand fat/ntfs/ext2 and ext3. It can also do raw reads of the hard disk.

    btw, I don't work for symantec.

    • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @03:21PM (#4584750) Homepage Journal

      I don't understand why reading the raw data is an advantage -- you get images the size of your hard disk or partition instead of the size of the data.

      Shouldn't matter. If you have wiped your drive's free space (trivial; use a program that creates thousands of 1 MB files filled with a repeating pattern) first, an "image the size of the hard disk or partition" will compress much smaller.

      Ghost 7.5 can understand fat/ntfs/ext2 and ext3.

      But does it grok ReiserFS or any of the other more obscure filesystems in use on servers?

      • use a program that creates thousands of 1 MB files filled with a repeating pattern

        "cat /dev/zero > junk; rm junk" will do the trick (if you don't believe me, try it).

    • by Ektanoor ( 9949 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @03:55PM (#4584869) Journal
      Well I once tried ghost and sincerly it was a great product. But since Symantec bought it, I forgot about that thing. Because Symantec wacked it to the impossible. After a few tries I dropped any idea to use the product altogether. And one of the problems was with multicast. It would die after some minutes and leave all stations in a dead end. Besides, on multicast, I couldn't ghost a tonne of workstations. Yes, could ghost a lot more than unicast but not a tonne.Well if Symantec solved these problems, then, I'm happy for them. But it is not good to make much hype of it. Ghost was a great product, probably still is a great product. But it is a product that it is oriented in one of the most critical segments of the market. Hypes here are too bad.

      Yes, it is good that ghost understands filesystems. But it is also good that ghost would work nicely on raw data. Why? For forensics, to copy unmovable data (in relation to the disk itself), to mirror disks where data is partially damaged. At the time I tried, Ghost was "acceptable" on this level but it had some problems.

      Anyway, for those who would like to work nicely without caring for many hassles about how these things work, ghost is probably the best choice.
    • Also, ghost understands filesystems and not raw blocks.

      Without question, this is one of the coolest features of Ghost. Without it, g4u isn't even an option for me. I work in an educational environment where we're using the same images on four different hardware configurations with a bunch of wildly different HD sizes. We're already stretching the capacity of our Ghost Servers (yep, plural. Three sites.). Needing a different image for each type of HD would require Terabytes of additional storage, not to mention increase our administrative overhead by an order of magnitude.

      I've never seen a production environment where all the HDs were identical. Because it understands files, Ghost can deal with the real world in a clean and elegant manner.

      Until g4u understands filesystems and supports multicast, it's not even worth considering for most scenarios.

    • The multicast console kicks ass -- I can ghost a tonne of workstations at one time and not kill the network.

      Yeah, but Linux tools such as udpcast [linux.lu] can do this too, and much faster as well (70 Mbps on a 100 Mbps network!)

      Also, ghost understands filesystems and not raw blocks. I don't understand why reading the raw data is an advantage -- you get images the size of your hard disk or partition instead of the size of the data.

      Point granted. However, udpcast is able to compress the data from the disk before it sends it out to the network, thus mitigating the effect of "almost empty" partitions. Those unused sectors will most probably be full of binary zeroes, which compress to almost nothing.

      • Those unused sectors will most probably be full of binary zeroes, which compress to almost nothing.

        And if not, just run over it with SecureDelete's [freshmeat.net] wipe-the-empty-space utility. If you don't have that to hand, this command will do near enough:

        dd if=/dev/zero of=zeroes; rm -f zeroes

        You'll need to run those once on every real partition.

    • Also, ghost understands filesystems and not raw blocks. I don't understand why reading the raw data is an advantage -- you get images the size of your hard disk or partition instead of the size of the data. Ghost 7.5 can understand fat/ntfs/ext2 and ext3. It can also do raw reads of the hard disk.

      If your machine has been broken into, you want to save the entire hard drive image, including "blank" space verbatum for forensic purposes before you wipe the disk and reinstall everything.

      Also, what if you're runnig *BSD, Solais x86, or you're using xfs, reiserfs, cramfs (on a flash drive or microdrive)? Spritefs and lfs give you better write performance. I hate to break it to you, but 4 filesystems may not cover everyone's needs. Alse, there's the issue of encrypted partitions. (Not the file-level encryption that ships with windows now, but real partition-lelvel encryption.)

      If you put raw disk images back on the disk you have the advantage of overwriting the old file data instead of just marking the blocks as unused.

      I'm sure that for most windows shops, Ghosts does everything they want and is fact more useful than opaque data transfer. However, don't be so quick to dismiss the advantages of raw partition transfer and storage.

  • fli4l and ncftp (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WolfgangR ( 622323 )
    I should have learned about ghost 1 week earlier! In between I found another solution: fli4l to generate a linux boot floppy containing ncftp.

    Note: ncftp can directly read and write /dev/hda, hda1 etc. Maybe other FTP clients can too, but ncftp was the first one I found. (Hint: When writing, use option A=append)

    The rest should be easy to set up. You could automate it by writing scripts with ncftpbatch.

  • Thank you thank you thank you!!! I am just about to install a cluster, so instead of installing RedHat for the nth time, I can make all the nodes' disks off-site -- and probably while unattended somewhat -- and then bring them in, pop in the drives, and go.
    • Yeah, have fun with that, no prob!
      I did a 45-machine cluster with g4u, see
      www.feyrer.de/marathon-cluster/ :-)

      (Of course the machines were running NetBSD too, doing a video rendering job)

      - Hubert
  • Partition Image (Score:5, Informative)

    by tseng_mike ( 207554 ) <tseng_mike@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Saturday November 02, 2002 @03:27PM (#4584770) Homepage
    There is also partition image [partimage.org] which is more advanced imo.
    • I second this.

      Partition image is also nice as a rescue disk.
    • Advanced in that you can clone a parition instead of the whole disk? Yeah, that's useful. But as the docs point out, partition image requires an already existing partition to write to. g4u doesn't seem to care about what is on the target drive; it will just overwrite sectors.
  • Just a few days ago,after hours and hours of frustration and failure with Ghost and DeployCenter and other commercial products, I decided to use g4u on my college's CS lab for dual boot (RH80 and W2K). I just popped the floppy in and the image copy was underway. Too bad it corrupted both OS's filesystems. It was so simple and straight-forward I was sure it would work. Is this realease any different from the one available a few days ago? Out of all the other solutions I tried this was the closest to helpful. (Most other FOSS failed to even get DHCP up)

    • That's interesting... we use g4u to deploy images with Solaris/x86 and Win2k, no problem there.
      Did you use different disk sizes in the process?

      Reply by mail preferred (hubert@feyrer.de).

      - Hubert
      • No, actually the machines in question were of identical hardware. When mounting the linux side under rescue mode, I found the majority of directories were butchered and turned into gigantic files. And Windows just wouldn't boot. I really have no clue what happened. Maybe it's worth another shot, but dang it takes a while to copy those images...
  • There has been this post [advogato.com] at advogato couple of weeks ago which is about distributing huge amounts of data to many machines within a hilarious time... Though the solution implied by the author has not been revealed on there, it's quite an interesting read. The challenger excludes multicasting in order to make his question harder, but some posters there refer to multicast anyway...

    Personally, I agree with UDP multicasting being the way for multiple network-based clones... For only a handful of clones Mondo+Mindi [microwerks.net] might be an alternative, too... No network, but CD-ROMs over sneakernet though... :)

  • Partition Image (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZaPhOd42 ( 60796 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @04:16PM (#4584933)
    Partimage [partimage.org] is a similar utility based on Linux.

    We've been using it to clone our NT based workstations at work for some time now and it kicks ass! It copes quite happily with NTFS(!), FAT16/32, Ext2/3, ReiserFS etc etc...

    It's a client/server program and they provide a bootable ISO image on their site (saves you having to create one if you're lazy like me) ;). You can also compress the image taken using either gzip or bzip compression.

  • Working with HP-UX at work, i got the chance to work with the Ignite backup tool HP provides to backup their machines.
    In a big cluster there is always the need that computers be as identical as possible so troubleshooting problems is easier when they take place on some computers simultanuesly.
    you just mk_recovery > /dev/0m and it dumps an image to your DLT tape, you take the tape, put it in the victim machine, boot from it, it puts the image on the new hard drive (assuming there's enough space on it), you boot it again, and you have an identical machine to the one you've taken the image from, kinda neat, but works only for HP machines running HP-UX 10.20 and later.
    Putting all together, g4u could possibly help deploying that technology to other unices which are non-proprioty.
    May the developers continue their good job with their innovatives ideas.
  • Random thoughts. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @04:33PM (#4585012) Homepage Journal
    Just a few random thoughts on this..Sorry moderators if I get too bleeding edge for you :)

    This was listed under developers when it should have been listed under desktop monkeys that run around putting out fires everytime the sales groups comes back with a crateload of laptops that just got smashed through the Chicago Ohara airport baggage system and now he/she has to get these laptops ready for the next trade show kind of person. (zoolander speak, gotta love it)

    I remember doing this a few years back when I worked for Altigen. Well, ok it was transferring over the SCSI bus instead of ethernet... Here's what happened.

    There was some big 'ol trade show in vegas and we were getting chummy with 'ol compaq. They wanted us to be a VAR by adding our telephony system to their servers. So as a show of like, i dunno what to call it, good faith? They shipped us 10 of their top of the line servers all decked out sweet.

    Hmm, what year was that? 2000? Well, win2k was just out and our version of ghost hadn't quite caught up to M$'s new moving target NTFS. (Everytime you install any MS they do little tweaks to the MBR that aren't backwards compatible.) So me and my partner were sitting there scratching our heads. The servers had arrived 1 day before the show (late, fuqin compaq) so our choices were...

    a. stay up all night installing these motherfuckers one by one.
    b. figure it out.

    Well, my partner was totally windows at that time, and I had been using linux for about a year and open source was getting me jazzed. I had a linux system I had scratched together from broken parts in the warehouse running next to my 2k system. So I went around IRC and reading up howto's about DD.

    I made some notes and yanked the IDE drive out of my system, walked over to the compaq's and pulled a drive from each one, then filled one of them with all the drives. I put my linux IDE drive in the system and booted.

    dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/sda

    It was a suspenseful moment to say the least. We watched as the first image was being made and almost held our breaths in anticipation as we waited for it to boot up.


    That night we both went home totally stoked that we got it done without hassle. We just repeated the process for the rest of the machines and we got to go home early. I fucking hate this gay ass penguin OS for a desktop (it really sucks!!!) but i'll take it any day over any commercial product if I need to save my ass.

    Thanks :)


  • wd0: (uncorrectable data error)
    wd0: transfer error, downgrading to PIO mode 4
    wd0(pciide0:0:1): using PIO mode 4
    wd0d: error reading fsbn 56960 of 56960-57087 (wd0 bn 569760; cn 60 tn 4 sn 8); retrying
    dd: /dev/rwd0d: Input/output error

    27+0 records in
    27+0 records out
    28311552 bytes transferred in 41.015 secs (690273 bytes/sec)
    226 Transfer complete.
    8087791 bytes sent in 00:37 (211.08 KB/s)
    221 Goodbye.
    rm: not found
    Any help?
    • Help how? If you follow the instructions on the web page closely, you will see it'll warn you to ignore the errors (well, the first ones - missing 'rm' is a hitch I'll fix in 1.9 :-).

      After that, you should be able to deploy the disk image.

      - Hubert
  • Another One (Score:3, Informative)

    by OrangeHairMan ( 560161 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @04:44PM (#4585049)
    There's a similar project, called RECCD toolkit, but it places the hard drive image onto a CD, rather than over a network. It's great for backup and use in computer labs.

    http://www.bablokb.de/reccd/index.html [bablokb.de]
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    Wow, looks like someone put dd on a boot disk! Will the innovation never cease?

    Come on, there IS a reason people pay for ghost. I for one, would like some assurance that I can clone disks that aren't exactly identical..
  • by bourne ( 539955 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @04:57PM (#4585108)

    I can see no discernable difference between this and any bootable Linux CD with 'dd', 'gzip', and 'nc' or 'ssh' installed. The reason people buy Ghost is that it resizes partitions, and this doesn't have any of that.

    Am I missing something? Is there something on their page that I didn't see as I read through? Is there a demand for new and unfamiliar commands for doing familiar things?

    This is not a troll - this is honest curiosity. I've used Partition Image, which is similar, and don't use it for pretty much the same reason - nothing added. On the other hand, I've used multiple bootable distributions (linuxcare, superrescue, @stake) to make disk images using dd/gzip/nc/ssh/md5sum. Cake.

    • Of course there is nothing new in g4u, it's just Unix after all.

      But why spend an afternoon surfing the web for alternatives to Ghost, DriveImage and friends when you can rewrite your own version from which you know what it does, and while there get famous on /.?

      - Hubert

      P.S.: Does Ghost etc. support Gigabit Ethernet? USB Ethernet? Token Ring? No? Of course not - have fun finding the necessary DOS drivers.
      See the g4u webpage for reasons why I wrote this. :)
      • Does Ghost etc. support Gigabit Ethernet? USB Ethernet? Token Ring? No? Of course not - have fun finding the necessary DOS drivers.

        Hell, Ghost barely supports most laptops with pcmcia ether. But that hasn't stopped it from being the tool of choice for IT departments, because they want to take an image made on machine hardware X and be able to blow it onto machine hardware X.0.1.

        I wonder, though, if you could boot a Unix CD with the appropriate weird network driver and then run Ghost under dosemu or something like that... All it wants is net and disk, why not? That doesn't solve your problem with finding a Unix server, but it would be an interesting experiment.

        In any case, congratulations for making it onto /., and for having your server survive...

  • Ghost 7.5 experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ModelX ( 182441 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @05:30PM (#4585207)
    Quite recently I used Ghost 7.5 to clone a win2k+rh8 installation to 15 workstations. My experience was the following:

    it can clone win2k partitions without any problems

    it has problems cloning redhat 8.0 ext3 partitions (cloning breaks with a strange error)

    it can clone anything in the sector by sector mode (the images are compressed on the fly)

    it is extremely efficient in multicasting mode - it cloned to 14 machines only slightly slower than to a single machine!!

    a lousy DOS packet driver can cause really strange problems (that's the driver problem, but still it does affect ghost!)

    I see advantages and disadvantages with g4u:

    + you are not tied to a win32 ghost server on the LAN, you merely need a reachable FTP server

    + many many NIC drivers included

    - no multicasting

  • I wonder.. am I the only one who reloaded his page a couple times to see how quickly the visitor number at the bottom increased as a result of the slashdot effect? :-)


  • SystemImager (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FredGray ( 305594 ) on Saturday November 02, 2002 @08:49PM (#4585917) Homepage
    We [uiuc.edu] have about 50 Debian boxes, all installed with Systemimager [systemimager.org]. Basically, it uses EtherBoot [etherboot.org] to load a kernel/initrd over the network, then uses rsync [rsync.org] to do most of the heavy lifting. We had to make a few local customizations, but it has worked quite well for us.

news: gotcha