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Old 09-04-2010, 08:36 AM   #1
Ulysses_
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BIOS-level driver to turn any hard disk into an equivalent liveCD/DVD


Unfortunately scripts that come with many distros to convert your cherished hard disk install into an equivalent live CD or DVD,

1. do not always succeed,
2. are often incomplete, and
3. take much too long

For those of us who use live CDs and DVDs for security (I use them for secure shopping, with the hard disk disabled in the bios), and we often need to change the contents of the live CD or DVD, a drastic alternative should be possible:

A low-level driver that sits between the bios and the operating system and puts all writes to the hard disk into a special memory area instead. So the contents of the disk stay the same, it's like a liveCD, but the operating system thinks it has written to the disk.

Something like this already exists for windows, it's called Deepfreeze and is used by some internet cafes.

But how can I do the same in linux?
 
Old 09-04-2010, 09:09 AM   #2
linus72
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not sure about the deepfreeze thing
but as for the remastering apps,etc

which ones have you tried and why did they not succeed?

I use Remastersys(debian/ubuntu) & linux-live-6.3.0_x86/Linux-live-6.3.0x86_64 (ARCH/Slackware)
the linux-live is a modified linux-live-scripts (modified by Ritchie at Slax forums for use with squashfs 4.0/4.1-cvs) and its made for the newer kernels, etc with aufs2
I also have modified both Ritchies lls and remasystersys scripts a bit to suit what I want

I encourage you to try remastering again; its pretty easy and I can point you to
many links with kernel patches,etc
 
Old 09-04-2010, 09:22 AM   #3
Ulysses_
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Thanks, I have used vectorlinux's remaster script, damnsmalllinux's, slitaz's, and some more I do not remember now, including manual instructions for debian and ubuntu-privacy-remix. It's probably what I've got on the hard disk that is the source of problems (vmware workstation, openvz, xen).

But my main problem is this:

3. they take much too long

And you shouldn't use the computer during the remaster. And also if you do use it there's a lot of high compressing going on, which means the CPU is running at 100% so the user interface is made almost unusable on my machine, for hours.
 
Old 09-04-2010, 10:40 AM   #4
linus72
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are you doing the remasters only in a vm, not off hdd?
mine take about 20min for debian/ubuntu, about 45min for slack/arch as they use squashfs-lzma

my pc's are dedicated testbeds, I dont have windows
 
Old 09-04-2010, 11:09 AM   #5
Ulysses_
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Yes, I'm doing the remasters in vm's. How big is the live disk you're making in 20 mins?

Last edited by Ulysses_; 09-04-2010 at 11:11 AM.
 
Old 09-04-2010, 11:59 AM   #6
linus72
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most of the stuff I make is around 700mb or less
the debian/ubuntu systems using remastersys take about 20-25 min to create a 700mb iso from a roughly 2.5gb install
the arch/slackware ones take longer due to lzma compression thus with lzma the iso is much smaller but takes longer to build

basically with reg 4.0 squashfs in debian/ubuntu you gotta keep the install to about 2-2.5gb
but with the squashfs-lzma in the custom 2.6.35.4 kernels I compiled for arch/slackware I can use about 3.0+gb install to create 700mb iso.
all of them are made on a amd athlonxp (K7) with 768mb ram

yeah, the vm is your problem, thats why its taking so long

I have kernel kits,etc available at my site for arch/slackware
though I'm now updating everything to 2.6.35.4 for slackware and kernel26-pf for the arch builds
and the debian uses the liquorix kernel while the meerkat builds use ubuntu's 2.6.35-19 kernel

so you wanna make a security/penetration distro?
from which base distro?
 
Old 09-04-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
Ulysses_
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
all of them are made on a amd athlonxp (K7) with 768mb ram

yeah, the vm is your problem, thats why its taking so long
Possibly also the cpu, it's an amd turion 64 mobile ml-37 at 1.6GHz. Cpu-bound processes are not affected much by virtualisation, so if the guest takes ages, so should the host.

Recently discovered this little known gem called vectorlinux. It outperforms some 30 liveCD's I benchmarked, in terms of one particular video rendering test (HD flash videos on a VM). Many people have good things to say about this distro, it's as user-friendly as ubuntu but without the bloatware, running well in both new and old hardware. The last live disk I made was a 1.3 gig DVD, using the remaster script of vectorlinux std on a 4-5 gig install.

Quote:
so you wanna make a security/penetration distro?
from which base distro?
Not really, I just want a host for vmware that works off a live DVD or other non-persistent storage, for security. Something like ubuntu-privacy-remix*, minus the ubuntu bloatware, plus vmware workstation, plus the linux equivalent of deepfreeze.

____
* This one has no standard disk access, it can only read truecrypt volumes. Also it has no networking at all. VMs would have to connect to the internet through the usb cable of an adsl router.
 
Old 09-05-2010, 06:33 PM   #8
jefro
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Like a bare metal vm is what you want.
 
Old 09-08-2010, 07:24 AM   #9
Ulysses_
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I'm not sure what a bare metal vm might be. Bare-metal host o/s like ESX Server may be small but it still includes normal internet access and full hard disk access, I was hoping to have internet access in vm's only.
 
  


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