The DistRogue

Friday, March 23, 2007

Meet the pack...

Today, I was introduced to Wolvix, a SLAX-based live CD that uses XFCE instead of KDE. I've already downloaded the CD, added some custom SLAX modules (gotta have SuperTux and SuperTuxKart on there...), remastered the .ISO file, burned a CD, and made an untested QEMU image, so I can run it in Windows. Yes, in Windows. Now, the way I use computers might be changed completely. Most people think of a computer system as hardware and some software and data installed on a hard drive. With Wolvix, all the software resides on a CD, which is much more portable than a hard drive, and the data, along with the QEMU image, can be stored on a USB key. This "hybrid system" is highly portable, which might become a virtue when I take the next year off in Spain, without a half-decent system of my own, but with a lot of web cafes and maybe complimentary Internet access at the place I'll be staying. Wolvix, when used with QEMU, can run on Windows without any prerequisites, and the live CD doesn't even need Windows- or a hard drive, for that matter. One major problem: I'm using the pre-1.1.0 series of Wolvix, in which the provided NVidia driver ( doesn't work. I've tried it with several variations, but it still fails to work. :( Read more here. [EDIT: As you can see from the link, they're working on it. The beta versions of Wolvix 1.1.0 will, apparently, have working NVidia drivers.] As soon as that bug gets ironed out, I might use Wolvix as my primary system. Who knows where the possibilities end?

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This is where a rescue CD would come in handy...

I just lost ~$100 worth of music. Not to mention a crapload of other files. How did this happen? Well, the desktop system I use for gaming kept crashing during the Windows boot sequence, so my folks decided to send it in for repairs. It came back a day later (that would be today...) minus everything. I guess he took a certain adage to heart: "The quickest route to a computer's heart is through a strong electromagnet." All the files were gone. The HD had been reformatted, and Windows XP reinstalled over it. I could describe it more emotionally, but it would have to be censored. Heavily.
Now, what did the n00b-masquerading-as-a-pro do wrong? He forgot to back everything up before reformatting it. Sure, he couldn't access the files from the Windows boot, but there was a perfectly good Mandriva partition available... I take it he thought himself above that. Not so, the damned luser! I'm getting the LART out now. There's no idiot stupid enough not to be smartened up a bit with a Cat-5-o'-Nine-Tails. Anyways, Mandriva, the developers being to dumb to include it without Gael Duval, lacks support for reading NTFS drives. But guess what?
Knoppix can. So can a crapload of other live-CD distros.
So really, this guy had no excuse. Live CDs like Knoppix are free, and are more than adequate for backing up files. Pop a Xubuntu disk into the drive, plug in the media, and copy away. There's a reason why they call these "rescue disks"...
Moral of this story: Linux users are more competent than people who haven't heard of it. If you're in the computer-repair business: learn from this poor old jerk's example, and GET A COPY OF KNOPPIX! Dammit, what are you waiting for?!
EDIT: Sorry for the strong language. Well, the files are all intact, but almost everything had to be reinstalled.

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