New bug taxonomy for Rescatux

While I was going to categorize many offline notes that I have about Rescatux about bugs I thought again about current bugs versions.

I have added a note in the Rescatux wiki about the new bug versions.

  • version-beta: E.g. 0.32-beta are errors only found on beta versions
  •  version: E.g. 0.32 are errors only found in stable versions
  •  version-freeze: E.g. 0.32-freeze are error only found on beta versions that we have decided need to be addressed in order to release its associated stable version.

Unfortunately in order to see what are these affected bugs you need to have an account in Cenatic and then build an advanced query inside the Rescatux Bugs tracker. This is not bad because you can create an account in Cenatic Forge whenever you want to.

The purpose in this versioning change is knowing what it’s the minimal set of bugs that need to be solved so that I can release new Rescatux as an stable release. And, at the same time, not having to take care manually of a roadmap.

Feature requests are still present and are not affected by this version renaming.

2014 August development update

Rescatux development

Debian Live improvements

I had planned to do a lot of Rescatux development during August but I just worked with the Debian Live part and I was quite proud of it.

As you might know one of the upstream projects for Rescapp is Debian Live. If you happen to contribute back to Debian Live not only Rescatux wins but also all the Debian Live derivatives. Including, probably, Ubuntu live cds.

CPU detection at boot

You might know that Rescatux has an autodetect boot entry at its boot. You can find it in versions prior to Rescatux 0.32b1. Boot system in Rescatux has been always based on Grub2 so that Super Grub2 Disk could be easily integrated. More than this an isolinux version of the iso was included . As a consequence a findiso boot parametre was needed for that to work. I also added (adapted from grml if I remember it ok) findiso to Debian Live back in the time. You will see that I’ll mention it later.

In order to avoid problems with people not being able to put the ISO into an USB using standard tools since Rescatux 0.32b1 Rescatux no longers depends on Grub2 as a bootloader but it depends on Syslinux / Isolinux.

That meant that Rescatux 0.32b1 did not have a cpu autodetect option. The amd64 option was the default one and if it did not work you were supposed to choose the 486 option.

I recently learnt that Syslinux / Isolinux had cpu detection capabilities through a com32 file.

I have implemented that functionality for both syslinux and grub2 in Debian Live. That patch won’t have been possible without the findiso option.

You can see how the auto detect (and the new logo) looks like in this Rescatux screenshot.

Rescatux Autodetect Syslinux based
Rescatux cpu autodetect is now based on Syslinux

 

Loopback cfg support

The loopback cfg support is a very good idea. As Grub2 can loop mount ISOs it can read its files without having to extract to temporary files.

So you can write an specific Grub2 file named loopback.cfg that specifies how the kernel (or initrd) can find the ISO so that it can loop mount it and gather their needed files to boot into a Desktop (or whatever your Live system does).

This Debian Live improvement means that when new Debian Live (or Debian Live derivatives) will be released they will have a working loopback.cfg by default.

Another reason for using Super Grub2 Disk Choose Bootable ISOs option.

I join an screenshot on how the loopback cfg looks like when run from SG2D. The reason why you don’t see Rescatux instead of Debian Gnu/Linux – Live is because Debian Live does not let you to easily change that string. I am talking about that issue to Debian Live developers too.

 

Rescatux new loopback cfg entry as seen from Choose Bootable ISOs option from Super Grub2 Disk
Rescatux new loopback cfg entry as seen from Choose Bootable ISOs option from Super Grub2 Disk

Super Grub2 Disk development

Smx work addition failed

I tried to gather additional functionality from Smx’s supergrub2 repository but it was not possible. Too many conflicts. I’ll wait till he rewrites the commits so that I can just fast-forward them.

So if you want to be able to use your own keyboard layout at grub shell or being able to chainload a partition manually you will have to wait.

Grub 2.02 not so stable

Grub 2.02 has not been released as stable yet. It’s still beta.

The first problem happened when SG2D made Virtualbox to hang. Apparently it only happened when I tried to list files in an special partition called: (cd,apple4)/ .

It seems it only happens when you build EFI and you use Virtualbox. This is why it was so hard to detect. The bug has been already been solved.

However the second problem is related on how Grub 2.02 tries to detect new devices. Grub 2.00 had an specific way of doing that by loading specific modules.

Now it seems you have to use the new nativedisk command and it will detect them for you and even rename the new devices so that they replace the existing ones.

Actually, I have not understood how it is supposed to work but it might make more difficult the Everything + option. Probably I will have to remove it.

So the error happens when running nativedisk. Grub2 seems to do some weird ahci calls and Virtualbox aborts the VM without saying anything in the logs.

So, even if Grub 2.02 gets into Debian as an stable package I’ll take a double look at it because of nativedisk and maybe other problems that might arise.

Vote on Sourceforge by downloading Rescatux

Sourceforge has selected Rescatux as one of the Projects of the Week, June 23, 2014. That means that in this specific week you can see it as a featured project in Sourceforge frontpage.

If you had thought about downloading Rescatux in the next days I encourage you do to do it before June 30, 2014 so that it is taken into account into the final Project of the Month Voting as explained in Revival of Weekly Featured Projects and Project of the Month Voting .

If Rescatux performs as one of the nine best performing projects by dowloads it will appear in Project of the Month voting poll which I would encourage you to vote in the next weeks thanks to a Sourceforge account :).

So, that’s why I have added some links at the top of article so that it’s easier for you to download it.

Remember that we don’t want to cheat. Just download Rescatux if you had already planned to download it but not before June 30, 2014.

Thank you!

Rescatux 0.32 beta 1 released

Rescatux 0.32 beta 1 has been released.

Rescatux 0.32 Beta 1 Extended menu
Rescatux 0.32 Beta 1 Extended menu

Downloads:

Rescatux 0.32b1 size is about 406 Megabytes.

Rescatux 0.32 beta 1 Regenerate Sudoers file. Not the support buttons rearrangement so that Run button is visible.
Rescatux 0.32 beta 1 Regenerate Sudoers file. Note the support buttons rearrangement so that Run button is visible.

Some thoughts:

Trendynick, from the irc, sent me a nice mockup of how he thought Rescapp should be designed. The final result is 100% as he expected but most of it.

Now we can add new options without bothering about design because we have got an scroll bar for seeing all the options.

The best thing about the new design is that you can see all the available options in one glance.  That makes easier for new comers to discover the truly Rescatux potential. It also makes easier to run options because the Run option screen which shows the html help, as always,  has had some of its buttons rearranged.

As I was not able to use RazorQT from unstable or testing Debian, and as LXQT was even more difficult I had to drop RazorQT and fallback to LXDE (which it’s currently based on GTK2). The long waited dream of an almost  QT based rescue cd has been paused. That’s the reason why I had to change 0.31 to 0.32.

The other reason for 0.31 to 0.32 change is because I am dropping Super Grub2 Disk integration. I have been thinking about a Rescatux Plus edition that would include it but I’m not very sure of it. I would rather prefer to have only one Rescatux download and then, if you want to, you can build your USB with both Super Grub2 Disk and Rescatux in it.

If you wanted an ISO for the your CDROM with both Super Grub2 Disk and  Rescatux, well, you will have to burn two cds. If you don’t agree with this decision please comment below so that we can gather actual feedback on how many people think the Super Grub2 Disk is something useful for them or not.

As you can see one drawback from using isolinux instead Grub2 from Super Grub2 Disk is that the logo and boot entries are the Live ones (Rescatux is based on Debian Live project) instead of Rescatux ones. As this is a beta and I don’t want to mess in a long time with Rescatux code I have decided not to worry about that.

Unless you think you are going to have problems with network connections (which it’s not actually needed for Rescatux to work, only for asking for support) if you have Rescatux 0.31 beta 5 there’s no need for you to download this version.

Of course, you are welcome to download it so that you can give us feedback so that we can improve it.

Fixed bugs:

  • Networking detection improved (fallback to network-manager-gnome)
  • Bottom bar does not have a shorcut to a file manager as it’s a common practice in modern desktops. Fixed when falling back to LXDE.
  • Double-clicking on directories on desktop opens Iceweasel (Firefox fork) instead of a file manager. Fixed when falling back to LXDE.

Improvements:

  • Super Grub2 Disk is no longer included. That makes easier to put the ISO to USB devices thanks to standard multiboot tools which support Debian Live cds.
  • Rescapp UI has been redesigned
    • Every option is at hand at the first screen.
    • Rescapp options can be scrolled. That makes it easier to add new options without bothering on final design.
    • Run option screen buttons have been rearranged to make it easier to read.
  • RazorQT has been replaced by LXDE which seems more mature. LXQT will have to wait.
  • WICD has been replaced by network-manager-gnome. That makes easier to connect to wired and wireless networks.
  • It is no longer based on Debian Unstable (sid) branch.

Known bugs:

  • Handling of directories with spaces when detecting Windows SAM files is not optimal
  • Rescatux logo is not shown at boot
  • Boot entries are named “Live xxxx” instead of “Rescatux xxxx”

Pending features or bugfixes for 0.32 stable release:

  • Select keyboard from Grub2 boot or Isolinux boot so that you can type your correct password when resetting Gnu/Linux password. (Or type password without masking it).
  • New option: Easy Grub fix: Runs both Restore Grub and Update Grub options
  • New option: Easy Windows Admin that runs: unlock user, promote user to admin and blank admin user password so that you can straight-forward as a windows admin user.
  • Rewriting of Windows chntpw based options so that source code is not repeated
  • Use of new 140201 chntpw version

Distro facts:

Feedback welcome:
I’ve tried myself the distro in my dev environment for the new options, not the old ones and they seem to start ok. Another thing is doing a full test about their complete functionality. Please test the ISO and report back if something that worked on previous stable versions no longer works in this beta version.

Don’t forget that you can use:

Help Rescatux project if you cannot wait:

I am very busy right now at work. So you should expect two, three or four months of Rescatux development stalling. These are some of the funny tasks that anyone can easily contribute to:

  • Making a youtube video for the new options.
  • Make sure documentation for the new options is right.
  • Translate the documentation of new options to Spanish.
  • Make snapshots for new options documentation so that they don’t lack images.

If you want to help please contact us here:

Thank you and happy download!

Howtos are now simplified

Many of you have complained about the howtos being too complex.

Too many links to open in order to find useful information.

Too many links that were not links because some of the pages were meant to be in progress.

So…

Thanks to a plugin that now let’s me include any page inside another one I have managed to rewrite the howtos.

I am still including pages but somehow  the howtos are much more simple. The maximum number of links to click in order to find useful information is two.

Well, here there is a link to the howtos: Super Grub Disk site  Wizards

If you still think that there is room for improvement please complain (on the specific howto page)!

Rescatux 0.31 beta 5 released

Rescatux 0.31 beta 5 has been released.

Rescatux 0.31b4 new options: Promote Windows user to Admin and Unlock Windows user
Rescatux 0.31b4 new options: Promote Windows user to Admin and Unlock Windows user

Fixed bugs:

  • Hard disk detection was improved when non standard partitions such as LVM or encrypted ones are present.

Internal improvement:

  • Added cryptsetup packages to default build so that we can mount LUKS partitions later.

Known bugs:

  • Handling of directories with spaces when detecting Windows SAM files is not optimal
  • Double-clicking on directories on desktop opens Iceweasel (Firefox fork) instead of a file manager
  • Bottom bar does not have a shorcut to a file manager as it’s a common practice in modern desktops

Pending features or bugfixes for 0.31 stable release:

  • Select keyboard from Grub2 boot or Isolinux boot so that you can type your correct password when resetting Gnu/Linux password
  • New option: Easy Grub fix: Runs both Restore Grub and Update Grub options
  • New option: Easy Windows Admin that runs: unlock user, promote user to admin and blank admin user password so that you can straight-forward as a windows admin user.
  • Rewriting of Windows chntpw based options so that source code is not repeated

Downloads:

Rescatux 0.31b5 size is about 430 Megabytes.

Distro facts:

Feedback welcome:
I’ve tried myself the distro in my dev environment for the new options, not the old ones and they seem to start ok. Another thing is doing a full test about their complete functionality. Please test the ISO and report back if something that worked on previous stable versions no longer works in this beta version.

Don’t forget that you can use:

Help Rescatux project if you cannot wait:

I am very busy right now at work. So you should expect two, three or four months of Rescatux development stalling. These are some of the funny tasks that anyone can easily contribute to: Making a youtube video for the new options. Make sure documentation for the new options is right. Translate the documentation of new options to Spanish. Make snapshots for new options documentation so that they don’t lack images.

If you want to help please contact us here:

Some thoughts:

Just another iteration in Rescatux development. Now it seems that a big bug has been detected. In some hard disks setup Rescapp was not able to parse all the hard disk names and its sizes correctly. That’s only two lines of code changed but a new release needs to be made public.

The addition of cryptsetup package is for 0.32 or 0.33 development. Don’t expect something related for the final user in the short term. Somehow in the future I will add LUKS support to Rescatux. You can check my personal blog post on Rescatux Development: Detecting LUKS encrypted partitions to help me on that subject.

As I had already said for 0.31 beta 4 version this release uses SG2D 2.00 beta 6 that means that it supports both BIOS and EFI boot. You’re invited to test that functionality too.

Thank you and happy download!

Improving documentation

One of the most recurrent complaints about Super Grub Disk site is either the lack of documentation, either the documentation being outdated or even being wrong.

I have started to write what I have named Wizard pages which are kind of like the old fashion howtos but split in several pages so that each one of their sections can be reused by various Wizards. You just click on every option and they are opened on new windows (or tab if your browser is recent) as needed.

Finally there’s a place where it is explained how to put a Rescatux ISO in a USB when using Windows without having to format it and that it works.

I still have to complete the Restore Grub with Rescatux wizard explaining the several ways you can boot from your media and then how to use it. This is not very urgent because Rescatux has built-in instructions with these steps.

Once I would have written every step on this first wizard I will try to do the same thing for Super Grub2 Disk wizards.

And, yes, I will add snapshots some day and, maybe one video or another, but from the ones I have already made. I won’t have enough spare time to make new ones.

I am planning on release a Super Grub2 Disk 2.00 RC version and then a final version because although I don’t like developing Super Grub2 Disk for one reason or another I don’t like the old 1.98s1 version being the current stable one. Check Super Grub2 Disk mailing list link below if you want to help on this release.

Rescatux 0.31 will have to wait for 2014. I don’t discard to release another beta before the end of the year though. If you cannot wait so long please check this message that I already wrote from last Rescatux 0.31 beta 4 release:

Help Rescatux project if you cannot wait:

I am very busy right now at work. So you should expect two, three or four months of Rescatux development stalling. These are some of the funny tasks that anyone can easily contribute to: Making a youtube video for the new options. Make sure documentation for the new options is right. Translate the documentation of new options to Spanish. Make snapshots for new options documentation so that they don’t lack images.

If you want to help please contact us here:

 

Rescatux 0.31 beta 4 released

Rescatux 0.31 beta 4 has been released.
Update: I add a video from Bóson Treinamentos em Tecnologia which describes quite well the Rescatux 0.31 beta 4 release. Video audio is Portuguese.

Rescatux 0.31b4 new options: Promote Windows user to Admin and Unlock Windows user
Rescatux 0.31b4 new options: Promote Windows user to Admin and Unlock Windows user

New features:

  • Better handle of /boot/grub2 in Fedora installations when running grub-install or update-grub options
  • Update Grub should work in any Grub2 system (previous version only worked on Debian or Ubuntu distributions)
  • New option: Promote a Windows user to Administrator
  • XFE is the new file manager instead of qtfm
  • New option: Unlock a Windows user to re-enable it
  • LVM and RAID support for Restore Grub and Update Grub options (It seems it already worked from 0.30.2)

Known bugs:

  • Handling of directories with spaces when detecting Windows SAM files is not optimal
  • Double-clicking on directories on desktop opens Iceweasel (Firefox fork) instead of a file manager
  • Bottom bar does not have a shorcut to a file manager as it’s a common practice in modern desktops

Pending features or bugfixes for 0.31 stable release:

  • Select keyboard from Grub2 boot or Isolinux boot so that you can type your correct password when resetting Gnu/Linux password
  • New option: Easy Grub fix: Runs both Restore Grub and Update Grub options
  • New option: Easy Windows Admin that runs: unlock user, promote user to admin and blank admin user password so that you can straight-forward as a windows admin user.
  • Rewriting of Windows chntpw based options so that source code is not repeated

Downloads:

Rescatux 0.31b4 size is about 427 Megabytes.

Distro facts:

Feedback welcome:
I’ve tried myself the distro in my dev environment for the new options, not the old ones and they seem to start ok. Another thing is doing a full test about their complete functionality. Please test the ISO and report back if something that worked on previous stable versions no longer works in this beta version.

Don’t forget that you can use:

Help Rescatux project if you cannot wait:

I am very busy right now at work. So you should expect two, three or four months of Rescatux development stalling. These are some of the funny tasks that anyone can easily contribute to: Making a youtube video for the new options. Make sure documentation for the new options is right. Translate the documentation of new options to Spanish. Make snapshots for new options documentation so that they don’t lack images.

If you want to help please contact us here:

Some thoughts:

I think that making Rescatux 0.31 stable is more defined than ever. The keyboard support needs to be there so that Gnu/Linux password change is done with the right password and not another one, and also so that people are not annoyed when trying to use chat. Improve the documentation so that there’s nothing missing and nothing more.

There are also these new easy options that combine individual options functionality into one just to make live easier for everyone also but that doesn’t seem too complex to develop and it will encourage to reuse code and thus improve the rescatux_lib library.

This release uses SG2D 2.00 beta 6, which it will be released soon. That means that it supports both BIOS and EFI boot hopefully. You’re invited to test that functionality too.

Thank you and happy download!

Rescatux for the sysadmin – Linkat’s example

Linkat is an educational Gnu/Linux distribution from Catalonia (Spain). Thanks to the Departament d’Ensenyament institution they offer an adapted Ubuntu version specially aimed at education at their region.

One recurrent sysadmin task in those educational centers is restoring the master image to all the computers in the different classrooms. However, sometimes, the machines refuse to boot.

In such cases you can Restore Grub thanks to the Grub (+) -> Restore Grub option, change root password (now that you are at it) and even setup the right user for the sudoers file (Usually this step is not needed but the video shows how manteniment account is choosen as the sudo default account).

The video that has been made by Cròniques d’Amarok Recuperant GRUB ( Rescatux) people shows how thanks to Rescatux in less than 1 minute 40 seconds you can perform these described sysadmin tasks… even if you are not a sysadmin ;). More than this you are using only one GUI for all of these tasks.

Actually it’s not everything as good as it might seem because I haven’t managed to add LVM support in the Rescapp GUI. It’s my next task in my TODO list ;).

Enjoy the video!

Rescatux 0.31 beta 3 released

Rescatux 0.31 beta 3 has been released.

Boot-repair, Os-uninstalle, Photorec and
Boot-repair, Os-uninstaller, Photorec and Testdisk were added as expert options to Rescapp

Changelog:

  • Razor-qt desktop was updated from 4.x version to 5.x version
  • Added a frame so that embedded webpage is seen inside a grey square.
  • Now xchat nickname shows Rescapp version so that accurate help can be given in the chat.
  • Added the following expert tools:
    • boot-repair
    • clean-ubiquity
    • os-uninstaller
    • testdisk
    • photorec
  • Rearranged as an expert tool:
    • gparted
  • Added these CLI programs for experts:
    • extundelete

Downloads:

Rescatux 0.31b3 size is about 424 Megabytes.

Distro facts:

Feedback welcome:
I’ve tried myself the distro in my dev environment for the new options, not the old ones and they seem to start ok. Another thing is doing a full test about their complete functionality. Please test the ISO and report back if something that worked on previous stable versions no longer works in this beta version.

Don’t forget that you can use:

Some little thoughts
I’ve added these expert tools because, basically, I don’t have to implement boot-repair functionality into Rescapp wizard (And the idea is one or two years old :(). Another reason might be because testdisk, photorec and extundelete can be useful in some situations but… again… I would rather include its functionality into Rescapp script (instead of adding disconnected apps).

Not everything is bad because adding these tools has made me add the Expert tools options menu to Rescapp. Now you can find Gparted inside of Rescapp instead of having to search for it in the Start menu.

I’m not sure if I want to freeze 0.31 beta 3 as it is right now or if I’m going to add one of these things: 1. Add more chntpw-ng functionality to rescapp. 2. Improve the Restore Grub and Update Grub to be able to detect Logical Volumes (LVM).

Thank you and happy download!