Posts Tagged ‘rescatux’

Rescapp 2008 Draft

diciembre 22, 2013

I’ve been checking my old backup files on the nowadays old CDROMs from 2008 and I’ve found an scanned Rescapp draft. It’s not handkerchief based 🙂 but paper based. It’s interesting because Rescatux 0.01 came around June 2010, that’s two years later. Sometimes old thought projects come back to life. I wish that the Nowin project was alive again but it seems that the desktop systems are quite dead nowadays with all the cloud stuff. So I will leave it there as a a vaporware.

Rescapp is the main program included in Rescatux. It makes possible that the final user just uses a wizard to perform his rescue tasks. What you are seeing attached to this post is one of the first rescapp drafts. If you see the current Rescapp layout you might be astonished because it’s very different. The first draft, as you see, is very cluttered. I still like the idea of the first draft although I would be probably wrong if I wanted to switch current layout to draft one 🙂 . One thing is what you would like to do, another thing is what you can do, and another thing is what you should do.

Initial idea about a rescue application named Rescapp

Initial idea about a rescue application named Rescapp

The attached draft is written in Spanish but as it has letters in red for each one of the sections it’s going to be very easy for me to explain it. If you see it with a quick glance you will see that it’s quite technical. There are three sections about the source code: [H]: Technical Help (Source Code Explanation), [I]: Source code Edit and [K]: Original source code View. The idea is that if the Rescapp scripts needed to be edited you could do it in the same Rescapp window. You can check original source code to compare it to your edited code. And, if you are not sure about what you have typed you can always click on the [J] Obtain difference button so that you see the diff output.

Another improvement can be found at the bottom. [L] Console Output let’s you see what Rescapp script is doing in the background while performing its rescue tasks. You don’t need to open any log file, it’s all there and you can scroll it too. Currently Rescapp saves all the logs associated with your rescue tasks, in this Rescapp draft you need to save the log specifically thanks to the [M] Save Log button.

Another big difference that you can see is what we could call the status awareness. I mean, you always know what’s the current status of Rescapp. [B] Menu status shows you which option from the [C] MENU you are in. Just above it you can find [A] Steps status which tells you in which one of the [D] Steps from the current option you are. That way you can know if you are about to end your rescue tasks or if you have just begun to use it. I suppose that in the final implementation of this design both [C] MENU and [D] Steps would be hidden when running an option. Alternatively when you are not running an option you wouldn’t see: [A] Steps status or [B] Menu status.

So, what’s left? There’s [F] TIP where you are given tips when selecting an option or when being in an specific step and [G] Classic help which would have something as a manual.

Finally there is the [E] Action widget where the user is being asked some questions and at the same he’s being informed about what is happening.

So that’s it. Some of these ideas might come back to Rescapp in the future? Probably the [C] MENU one if there are so many options in the future. I don’t like tree menues at all because they seem to me as impersonal and complex. We will have to make out a workaround 🙂 .

I’m attaching other Rescapp screenshots so that you can compare how Rescapp has changed in time.

Enjoy!

Rescapp in 0.2x Rescatux series was based in Zenity

Rescapp in 0.2x Rescatux series was based in Zenity

Rescapp in 0.3x Rescatux series was based mainly in PyQT (Python + QT). Some Zenity code persisted though.

Rescapp in 0.3x Rescatux series was based mainly in PyQT (Python + QT). Some Zenity code persisted though.

Anuncios

Rescatux Development: Detecting LUKS encrypted partitions

noviembre 30, 2013

I have been chatting in the rescatux irc channel with someone trying to recover its Grub. The special thing about his setup is that its root partition was a LUKS encrypted partition. I think he finally managed to recover his grub but we needed to fix a hard disk parse problem (to be fixed in Rescatux 0.31b5) and he needed to perform some commands in the command line interface.

These are some of the things you need in order to be able to access the LUKS encrypted partition as a non-encrypted partition. After these steps Rescapp script detects it ok and can do useful things with it like recovering Grub.

First of all we need cryptsetup package (Already added for inclusion in Rescatux 0.31b5).

Then I need to detect all the possible encrypted partitions. I have not managed to solve that one but I suppose that there would some cryptsomething command to so.

Then you need to lucksOpen it so that it can be seen unencrypted.

That’s made with something like:

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda5 sda5_crypt

If you want to ask the passphrase to the user without using a CLI you can use zenity such as in:

zenity --entry --hide-text --text="Enter your passphrase:" \
| cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda5 sda5_crypt

Optionally if the partition is a VG member you need to activate it with:

vgchange -ay

And that’s it. You have probably:

/dev/mapper/sda5_crypt

ready to be used so that Rescapp uses it.

I have some questions:

  • If the Rescatux live cd has cryptsetup package installed by default would it try to luksopen it and ask the final user the passphrase at boot time?
  • How to detect which partitions are encrypted

It seems you can use:

cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sda5

and exit value gives you a clue if it’s a luks part or not.

  • Should I ask the user to decypher their partition when Rescapp starts or when a Gnu/Linux based option is used?

This encryption support will probably be implemented in Rescatux 0.32 or 0.33. In the meantime you can help me by answering these questions. 🙂

 

Update. Final thoughts about talking again with Anonymous semicolon: When Rescapp starts we loop in every partition doing a luksDump. If someone of them has a luks partition then luksDump is going to exit 0. If one of them is luks then ask the user if he wants to uncypher on the fly their LUKS partitions so that Rescapp can use it.

So let’s suppose that the user answer Yes. If the user click on Cancel he is saying that he skips partition uncyphering on that specific partition. If it puts the password and command exits wrong … ask again for password … till all the partition are uncyphered. Then we run vgchange -ay just in case someone has LVM partitions on it (Check later if this is a good idea if we have LVM rescue tasks).

Finally we can add a button in a new Advanced menu (or something similar) in order to “Uncypher LUKS partitions on the fly” if the user decided to decypher them later.

The problem is if the user tries to decypher partitions twice. That might pose a problem so… maybe we should check for the uncyphered device first or maybe it’s not worth coding that corner use case code.

Making money out of Rescatux and Parted Magic binary being pay only

agosto 17, 2013

Sometimes I have thought on ways of making bussiness out of Rescatux. I always conclude that there’s no way of doing that. That there isn’t an appropiate bussiness model.

Selling CDs and T-shirts

That means that I have to invest in CD burners and T-shirt impress machines. That’s discarded. It could also mean to hire the work to another online shop that it’s specialised in such works. Don’t think that would make too much money out of it.

Asking money to IT staff

Most IT staff are supposed to use Rescatux to their IT tasks. I know two of them because they are known people from the job. They use it to reset Windows passwords. I suppose the reason is that it’s easiest and quickest way for doing it.

If the IT staff have already paid for Rescatux and it works for them I’m not sure they would pay for a newer version. Maybe if they were improvements or new features. But having new features implies devoting more developer time to Rescatux. It’s also a no-go.

Being hired by a datacenter

There are many datacenters out of there and many of them have the problem that when their customers make a mistake then their virtual or physical machines don’t boot. Maybe having Rescatux a way to boot with a VNC server (as suggested in Lowendtalk) started at boot would do the job. That might work but not for too long.

Donations

That isn’t no longer working since the global crisis began. Even with my improved sarcastic donation page.

Being hired my enterprises

That’s a difficult task. You’ve got to be good at what you do. It’s not the same thing to design a Live CD that works for everyone than being able to recover disks data (or whatever) in every possible situation. Initally you might think that as long as you cannot boot the machine you’ve got to drive till your destination. Alternatively an easy to install Teamviewer package could be added to Rescatux.

This way I could login to Rescatux and see what happens exactly. That would make happy some Rescatux IT users because CLI tools would be improved. Would I be able to know what happens when booting? No, I won’t. Unless I boot the hard disk via an integrated Virtualbox or QEMU but… that’s weird.. because the hardware might be virtual and it’s no by means a right way of checking if system works ok or not.

The optimal way of working is when you get access to a virtual Keyboard-Virtual-Mouse system via Internet so that you don’t have to use your car. But… Which entreprises owns that? The ones that have a good technician that can fix it in the first place? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Parted Magic being pay only

Introduction

Parted Magic, a really complete Live CD for rescue purposes where complete means that has a lot of programs as you can see in Parted Magic programs. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to use (using my own standards) else I wouldn’t be developing Rescatux myself.

All these thoughts about making money out of Rescatux have arised to me because I’ve learnt that Parted Magic offers binary download of his distribution via a paywall only. That means that you can only download its binary version either paying $4.99 for the current download or maybe from an alternative mirror.

Download / Upload / Legal

I mean, anyone can pay the download and upload it to offer for download elsewhere. That’s technically possible because it’s free software and because I suppose Patrick doesn’t play with Parted Magic being a Trade Mark as Red Hat does.

I mean, that the CentOS people have too remove any RedHat logos to be able to re-distribute their binaries based on Red Hat source code. If Patrick had the same policy with Parted Magic logo that could imply someone creating an Open Rescue Consortium that builds OpenRescue CDs out of Parted Magic source code.

I don’t think anyone would do that by only a $4.99 fee but who knows.

Parted Magic current discussion

I’ve been reading a bit about this Parted Magic subject because who knows if I could be in the same situation as Patrick, that is, having to live only by the means of my open source projects.

The first article I read was from opennet (RU) and that’s an interesting article because it points to a Parted Magic forum thread entitled Possible website concern, have you been compromised? which has been deleted. Maybe it has been deleted because this way people don’t get confused about site being compromised? Doesn’t matter.

This deleted thread points us to Dedoimedo – The state of the Linux community article where it concludes (after a quick read) that each one of us have to donate one dollar per month to FLOSS sites and communities and at the same time stopping blacklisting (I suppose he means with ADBlock software) your favourite sites.

The second article I read was the Phoronix one entitled Parted Magic Is Still Free where we learn that Parted Magic is still free and that old versions are available in Sourceforge for the people who cannot afford donating. Test versions, according to opennet people will be also published in SourceForge by the way.

And then there’s the update that explains the situation Pattrick lives in. Here there is an excerpt:

I talk to Patrick Verner once in a while and for years Parted Magic has been something he did in his spare time. A little over a year ago, he lost his job and stated on the Parted Magic site that he would like to dedicate his full time to Parted Magic as a “job” if users could donate collectively at least $1,200 a month to the project for him to put food on the table and pay bills. A “salary” if you will.

[…]

Fast forward to July 2013, his wife has now lost her job.

[…]

People were downloading it and not helping him out so he decided to make it a paywall so that he could encourage some revenue to come his way to now support his out-of-work wife and himself.

[…]

He was going to ask for more but I actually told him $5 seemed like a fair donation/price. It seems he took my advice to heart.

Some final words

So that’s it, if you read all the links I’ve given you you’ll understand he’s not doing something greedy but something as noble as trying to feed his family.

And just remember that free software means free as freedom not free as free beer (although the first one implies the second one soon or later). Patrick points us to GNU – What is Free Software . For the ones that are not convinced for the pay-for-download move of Parted Magic please consider reading: GNU – Selling Free Software .

In Reddit while someone complains about Parted Magic author making money out of other people work there’s an excellent answer:

But, maybe there is a reason to pay him for putting it together? By that logic, you shouldn’t donate to any distro, because all use software developed by other people. They just put it together.

And why’s excellent? Because I know, as the main Rescatux developer, that putting software together is not easy as it seems.

By the way don’t forget to download and pay for Parted Magic. If we’re lucky enough I will be able to reuse some of its future work in Parted Magic for improving Rescatux.

Rescatux idea: Recovering Windows registry

agosto 15, 2013

I should add this idea to Rescatux ideas at Rescatux wiki but anyways I’m writing it here. What I’m going to describe is recovering or editing Windows registry from Gnu/Linux manually. Rescatux would be improved hopefully in 0.32 version to do this from a GUI and as automatically as possible.

Recover Windows Registry from Gnu/Linux

If you want to recover Windows registry from a former restore point you can just copy the registry file from the restore point folder to the current registry files. That’s as easy as that.

Restore point path is like this:

/media/windows/System Volume Information/_restore{xxx}/RPxxx/snapeshot/

and its files are:

_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM

which need to be copied and renamed to:

/media/windows/WINDOWS/system32/config/

_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT => default
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY => security
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE => software
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM => system
_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM => sam

And you are advised to force a NTFS fix and reboot Windows twice thanks to:

sudo ntfsfix /dev/<device-name>

.
Don’t think it’s needed anymore with newer NTFS mount implementation in GNU/Linux but I’ll check that anyways.

There are also some other paths:

\windows\system32\repair
/Windows/System32/config/RegBack

I have found this information in Ubuntu forums: HowTo: Fix Corrupted Windows Registry from Ubuntu partition . There’s even kind of proposed python script in the same thread.

I only need to make sure I backup the original registry files so that they can recovered them too if needed. Also, Rescatux should be able to restore these Rescatux backups.

The other idea is making a Windows registry editor in Gnu/Linux.

There is already chntpw which I use already in Rescatux for blanking Windows passwords. And that’s what it’s also advised in the same thread: Editing the registry .

So hacking chntpw I might be able to show in a GUI all the registry keys and let the user edit or remove them. Maybe running regedit.exe from WINE would also work but I’m not confident on this one.

And, even if making a GUI Windows registry editor for Gnu/Linux might be difficult (for chntpw hacking and GUI development itself) just detecting Windows registry viruses and fixing the Registry values to default ones should be straight-forward !!!

Mergeide

When you move a Windows machine to a Virtual system sometimes you need it to support IDE.

Just check: Proxmox Wiki – Migration of servers to Proxmox VE – Innaccessible boot device .

It’s a matter of adding a REG file that Microsoft advises to use. That’s just editing the registry and can be done with chntpw.

That would avoid headaches if you haven’t run it in the origin virtual or physical machine just before moving to the new virtual machine.

Possible new Rescatux options for Rescatux 0.32:

  • Recover Windows registry from Windows restore points
  • GUI for editing Windows registry
  • Windows Registry cleanup for some known Virus
  • Add IDE support to Windows system (Ideal for Virtual systems)

Additional notes

It seems that Reglookup is handy when serarching for Windows Registry registry keys and its included in Parted Magic.