About Rescue tools in GNU/Linux systems in 2014 (Draft)

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I wrote these lines about a year ago. I was very busy at work and trying to put a Rescatux release in shape. So I did not finish this work. My objectives were too high. Try to study all the rescue-aimed packages from different distros. Try to identify non-specific rescue tools on Rescue disks. Then I want to produce three lists:

  • Packages for Debian Live Rescue cd tasksel package
  • Packages for next Rescatux release
  • Packages for Rescatux in a future

and, of course, if a program was not Debian package I also had to tag it.

The discovery of new tools and distribution also was going to modify the article itself. Let’s say that we find some password crackers packages. That would have meant having to search all distributions which have them. And maybe ophcrack would have been discovered. Ophcrack will have shown us more rescue packages that we might have not been aware.

If we discover another taxonomy name that fits into rescue we can then discover new programs related to that taxonomy.

I am not sure if I had thought on checking also private programs but, well, that would make sense more for Rescatux implementing new features already present on those disks.

SynrG has arised in Debian Live irc his concerns on having a Debian Live rescue cd or a Debian rescue blend. I was shy on showing this non finished draft but… well… here there is… if SynrG or another one can gather from it then it’s fine.

You know the final objetive is gathering an useful list of rescue packages for submitting an ITP for tasksel-rescue package (if that’s the right name). It can be done by one person (as I pretended to do initially so that a good clasification was done) or maybe in the mailing list in a collaborative manner.

Good luck!


I have offered myself to review current packages for Debian Live Rescue cd. Currently there is a Debian Live Rescue cd however its packages are defined in a list inside a text file. This was the old method and people from Debian Live want it to be replaced by a tasksel- task package. A tasksel task package is, as far as I understand, a Debian metapackage which depends on other packages so that you can define, i.e. a LXDE desktop, just by these packages. It’s something similar to the ubuntu-desktop or kubuntu-desktop packages from Ubuntu.

As a tasksel package needs to be defined from scratch it would be nice if we could review current packages available at Rescue disk and do a tasksel task package properly.

This article will also dive into many packages, rescue tools, or GNU/Linux live cds so that we can fully understand what rescue tools are available.

Finally, as I am also the Rescatux developer I will also comments on some tools being or not in Rescatux, or some tools that it would be fine to have into Rescatux.

The journey begins… .

 Current packages for Debian Live Rescue cd

  • Debian forensics . These set of packages might make sense. We will see it later in the taxonomy section.
  • Installer . These packages only make sense in the Debian Live CD. You don’t want to install the debian-installer-launcher when you install these packages to your system.
  • Live . Specific tools for Debian Live. Once again ignoring.
  • Localization . Basically it forces task-english to be installed. We will see it later in the taxonomy section.
  • Memtest . This is the program for testing memory at boot. We will see it later in the taxonomy section.
  • Rescue . Most of its contents need to be included. However we will discuss some of the in the taxonomy section.
  • Standard . I suppose these are packages usually added to a live cd. task-laptop and task-ssh-server. They don’t make sense in a rescue tasksel package.

Rescue tools taxonomy


As most things we can also classify rescue tools or programs. I’ll add some group names for these packages from several places and later on we will discuss them.

Package groups

  • Forensics. That is tools aimed at computer forensics. The goal of computer forensics is to examine digital media in a forensically sound manner with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analyzing and presenting facts and opinions about the digital information.
  • Boot loaders . Tools aimed at recovering or reconstructing mbrs, pbrs, or boot loaders.
  • System . In the case of system section at Debian Live rescue cd current list these are some tools related to system, but that do not have too much in common.
  • Editors. Some console editors. Some of them as hexedit are specific for non standard text editing.
  • Hard disk. Tools for dealing with cdrom and hard disks.. Check hard disk status. Secure delete.
  • Browser. Some console Internet browsers.
  • Compression. Compression tools similar to well known zip tool.
  • Backup. Some handy tools for doing backups.
  • File comparison. Tools for comparing files.
  • General. Similar to system section. Many tools that you might need but that do not fit somewhere else.
  • Special hardware. Some special hardware packages.
  • Network
    • Network – Firewall. Tools for avoiding having ports open.
    • Network – Essential networking. These tools make easier to connect the live cd to the Internet.
    • Network – Bridging. Tools for doing network bridges.
    • Network – Routing. More toos for dealing with networks.
    • Network – Monitoring. Tools for monitoring the network.
    • Network – Testing. Mainly tools for testing the network.
    • Network Analysers. Some of these tools help debugging networks.
    • Network servers. Some useful tools when you want to serve some network services.
  • Log Analysers . These tools help you to analyse log files.
  • Filesystem tools. Filesystem tools for doing operations over filesystems.
  • Microsoft tools. Some filesystem and network tools that only make sense for Microsoft systems.
  • Miscellanea. Whatever does not fit in the rest of groups.
  • Flab. Not sure what it means.

Package groups analysis

Now I’m going to go through all these groups and argue if they need to be inside Rescatux or in rescue tasksel.

 Gnu/Linux Rescue Live CDs

Now I’m going to go through most of the current GNU/Linux Rescue Live CDs. The idea is having a little description of the cd, what it’s main purpose and relation to rescue tools. We will try to find its packages groups to add them to taxonomy section above. Finally we will have a link to its packages, specially the rescue ones.

In order not to forget any GNU/Linux Rescue Live CDs is interesting to use some rescue cds listings:



  • Debian Live Rescue CD
  • Rescatux
  • Parted Magic
  • System Rescue CD
  • Ultimate Boot CD



non-free packages. This is Debian specific.

 Non GNU/Linux tools


Super Grub2 Disk



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