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Upgrades Operating Systems Software BSD Linux

Depenguinator "Upgrades" Linux to BSD 616

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-thats-just-creapy dept.
cperciva writes "Many systems around the world have been possessed by penguins and dead rats. It would be nice to exorcize these evil spirits, but this can be difficult without physical access to the machines in question. Thanks to a new depenguinator, it is now possible to upgrade Linux systems to run FreeBSD 5.x without requiring anything more than an SSH connection." Clever idea.
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Depenguinator "Upgrades" Linux to BSD

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  • by diersing (679767) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:23AM (#7834255)
    I'm now scared.

    The next root kit is announced and within days all machines have been *upgraded* to BSD. Argh

    • by skaffen42 (579313) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:04AM (#7834515)
      I think we finally have proof that BSD is dead. I mean, this is the clearest attempt at daemonic possession I have ever seen.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not sure how much of the Slashdot crowd woudl have decided to actually visit the page (your famous /. effect)... but I'm sure the server woudl remain up, as compared to other OS'es I've seen get /.-ed.

      I ran a LOTR promotion on my site a few months ago that brought a signifigant number of eyes to the page, in effect, a /. of my own making. Damned OS (FreeBSD 4.9) stayed up and chugging along...

      I've seen both Windblows and Linux creak under the same type of stress. You may label this as a troll post, bu
      • Linux as a server (Score:5, Informative)

        by shani (1674) <shane@time-travellers.org> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @11:41AM (#7835739) Homepage
        Interestingly, the k root name server has been running Debian Linux for a year or two now and has not had any "creak". It gets about 1500 queries/second per machine (the root server is distributed geographically via anycasting, and at each site by load balancing), and receives all manner of ill-formed packets.

        Other root servers seem to run Linux (use nmap if you're curious), but I don't know the people running them so I can't be sure.

        Now admittedly this is a very specific type of service: it's a single application that all fits into memory.

        We're going to be moving www.ripe.net and whois.ripe.net from Solaris to Linux in 2004. The WWW server gets about 20 hits/second as you can see here [ripe.net], and the whois server gets around 28 hits/second as you can see here [ripe.net]. These have more complex usage, with disk I/O, new process creation, and so on. I wouldn't let these services migrate if I thought they would be unstable.
    • by EvilAlien (133134) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @10:56AM (#7835336) Journal
      I'm really dissapointed that nobody got around to writing a Welchia variant that upgrades vulnerable Windows boxes to Linux. It would have been a business move to gain desktop market share that even Bill Gates would have applauded.

      Oh well, snooze ya lose.

  • Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RobKow (1787) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:23AM (#7834256)
    How do you moderate an entire article as flamebait? ;)

    Cool stuff, but the write-up is a little, uhm, polarizing?
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the uNF cola (657200)
      Yup. No different from the linux polarized messages we see from time to time. Nothign to see here.. just some people proud of their work :)
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Zathrus (232140)
        Care to show a recent main page /. article that praised Linux while bashing BSD at the same time?

        Sorry, while the tool is interesting, the article is flamebait. You can be proud of your work without being childish.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by technoid_ (136914)
      Just think, if it was about "upgrading" windows boxes to Linux it would not be considered flamebait. It would be applauded by the slashdot sheep.

      Gee, could it be that we have some double standards...naah, couldn't be that....

      technoid
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Paradise Pete (33184) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:59AM (#7834894) Journal
        Just think, if it was about "upgrading" windows boxes to Linux it would not be considered flamebait. It would be applauded by the slashdot sheep.

        So you can't see how saying one thing is flamebait, but saying the opposite is not?
        Example:
        You're a moron.
        You're no moron.
        It also depends on your audience. Saying "Abortion is murder" at a pro-choice meeting might well be flamebait, but saying it at a pro-life meeting certainly is not.

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shaitand (626655)
        Well for one thing this site is news for nerds. Nerds are educated and therefore run englightened technically superior operating systems such as linux and BSD and all form of *nix.

        Windows is out of place here and therefore upgrading windows to pretty much anything would be quite on topic with the theme of the site. Since although you may disagree on other points, surely you wouldn't claim that windows is on par with any of those systems in a technical aspect (security, stability, performance, hackability
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by sempf (214908) * on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:26AM (#7834278) Homepage Journal

      Could be worse, we could be talking about a package to upgrade Linux to Windows 2003.

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

        by richie2000 (159732)
        upgrade Linux to Windows 2003.

        You are upside-down - up has become down and down is up. Please turn yourself over.

        I myself have upgraded twice, first from Win2000 Server to Red Hat 8 and then to Gentoo.


    • How do you moderate an entire article as flamebait?

      May be you can write a program to flamebaitrate the article. Nobody said only people who freebsduse can verbgenerate, rite ?
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:17AM (#7834592) Homepage Journal
      I'm a freebsd user (5.1 - cvsupping to 5.2rc2 at the moment) and I love it. Contrary to some myths, it is great on the desktop. There are some things that just work. Put one line in your kernel config file (devce pcm) and you can just plug any supported sound card in, and it will just work, without the need for any configuration. The same goes with digital cameras: plug it in, and mount_msdosfs /dev/da0s1 /mnt/camera and there you go. Configuration is no more difficult than slackware (in fact, its easier, with automatic dependency checking/resolution ala apt-get, or by simply using the ports system). On the other hand...

      I agree with parent post ... sadly, this announcment will be considered as flamebait. I don't understand this, really. I signed up to bsdforums when switched to BSD, and I must say its one of the friendliest forums I ever been to (including mandrakeusers.org or pclo which are also great). I don't find the hostility against linux in bsd users there the way I find hostility towards bsd users from linux users here on slashdot or recently, even osnews.In fact, there is a linux section (other os) on bsdforums, and I saw people helping out with fedora install or whatnot there without any 'use bsd instead' notes. I wish this continual flamewar would end, but frankly, I believe (mod me down if you wish) that most hostility comes from linux users. If you find some bsd folks here a little touchy, considering the amount of trolling every bsd announcment gets, it is a small miracle that people still come here for bsd news, that they are not as bitter as one would expect (but than, they - warning, flamebait! - seems to be more mature.

      This is not because BSD is better or something. I like linux as much as I do BSD, I just like to use the latter better, because it is more interesting/fun to _ME_. I believe the linux crowd can be (and maybe it is) as 'mature' as bsd folks, but it is a more diverse group as well as considerably larger, so I think there is more room for a small but vocal minority to ruin the relationship and raise ill will towards each other. I wish that more considerate linux users would help out modding down trolls, afterall, we both have profited from each other's work.

      Unfortunately, due to licencing, code exchange is mostly a one way road (BSD > Linux), but still BSD has to thank for GCC (well, not specifically linux) or the ULE scheduler (which is partly based on a linux developer's work - more linux specific) without which our beloved OS would be poorer.

      Anyhow, the point I was trying to make is that this article can sadly be considered a flamebait, although we see similar announcment without anyone fearing that it is on the 'other' side. It would be nice to live without fears that such announcments would attract a large amount of trolling, to think that the article (read it!) has its on technical merits that can be interesting to anyone who visits slashdot (nerds?) no matter what OS they use.
      • * Put one line in your kernel config file (devce pcm) and you can just plug any supported sound card in.
        * The same goes with digital cameras: plug it in, and mount_msdosfs /dev/da0s1 /mnt/camera and there you go.

        You mention this as if it demonstrated how easy freebsd was to operate!

        Whilst the above steps might seem trivial to the experienced users, you have to admit it's not the kind of intuitive setup proccess you would reccommend to your grandma.

        Whilst win32 is a joke to advanced users, you generally p
        • Whilst the above steps might seem trivial to the experienced users, you have to admit it's not the kind of intuitive setup proccess you would reccommend to your grandma.

          The comparison was being made with Linux. Granted, Linux has made some strides recently. But look back just one year ago. Under FreeBSD you just mounted your camera like it was an everyday filesystem. Under Linux you had to get special software, wade through reams of imcomplete HOWTO's, cross your fingers, clench your buttocks, and hope it
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)


        I wish this continual flamewar would end, but frankly, I believe (mod me down if you wish) that most hostility comes from linux users. If you find some bsd folks here a little touchy, considering the amount of trolling every bsd announcment gets, it is a small miracle that people still come here for bsd news, that they are not as bitter as one would expect (but than, they - warning, flamebait! - seems to be more mature.

        I don't think its so easy to point to the source of hostility.

        Around '97 I was be

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by secolactico (519805) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:17AM (#7834594) Journal
      He. I tought it was more funny than flamebaiting.

      How long before it gets added to debian or gentoo as a package?

      "apt-get install freebsd" or "emerge freebsd".

      There goes my productive day... Now I *have* to try this. I'll set up a linux box and see if I can depenguinate it.

      He... even the name's funny.
      • Nah, that would be more like dist-upgrade, we talk about replacing the core of OS, not just adding something.
      • How long before it gets added to debian or gentoo as a package?

        Actually, I was planning on making an RPM out of this, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. (And, to be honest, I have work I really should be doing...)
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dasunt (249686) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @02:35PM (#7837811)

        How long before it gets added to debian or gentoo as a package?

        "apt-get install freebsd" or "emerge freebsd".

        Debian is already flirting with demonic possession in different [debian.org] ways [debian.org]

        Ne'ermind the hopefully optimistic other project [debian.org]

  • by CompWerks (684874) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:24AM (#7834263)
    and watch this flame war. Marshmallows anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:25AM (#7834267)
    .. a worm to upgrade all windows boxes to linux remotely :D

    • Dummy! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Linux is viral (due the the GPL) you're the worm! ;)
    • What, don't you remember Tuxissa?
    • March 29, 1999 What started out as a prank posting to comp.os.linux.advocacy yesterday has turned into one of the most significant viruses in computing history. The creator of the virus, who goes by the moniker "Anonymous Longhair", modified the well-known Melissa[1] virus to download and install Linux on infected machines. "It's a work of art," one Linux advocate told Humorix after he looked through the Tuxissa virus source code. "This virus goes well beyond the feeble troublemaking of Melissa." The advoca
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Guys? Let's not keep lauding every new 20 lines of shell script and sophomoric disk duping tools as a new invention. And "making sure the first 40 Mbytes is not in use" is non-trivial. In most cases, it involves relocating the "/boot" partition. "/boot" is almost never necessary these days, you can put its contents on "/", but it's still awkward to do.

      Switching from one OS to another is not completely obvious to do at its best. I've written tools that do extremely similar things in Linux, although I stuffe
  • by tuxzone (64722) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:25AM (#7834270)
    Looks like a great tool. Unfortunality for the daemons, I want to replace my dead rat (7.2) with a Debian branded penguin. I would love to do that upgrade online. Any tips or tools?
    Thanks!
    • you need debootstrap. now is not the best time to be looking for the rpm, as people.debian.org is still down after the brk() attack, but the relevant section of the install docs is here [debian.org].
    • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:35AM (#7834330) Homepage
      Use debootstrap. It will create a minimal install in any folder. Then chroot, and there you go, a small Debian system. Using that, you can either install Debian on another partition while running another distribution, or I suppose you also could replace your current install with Debian by booting into single user mode, and replacing your old system with Debian.

      While you should be able to simply chroot into your new system and start adding stuff, I'd be a very good idea to boot it first. Debian will need to run some scripts on boot to finish configuring itself.

      I'd go with the first option. The second one is too easy to screw up if you don't know what you're doing.
    • I would guess the easiest way to do this is to get a Knoppix CD image, unpack it to disk and then boot from it, just like the source article describes.
    • I have once installed Debian over ssh, after I got the owner of the box to boot Knoppix. I guess DeadRat might work as well - except that you need to be careful not to mess with the partition(s) where the system is living. The Knoppix CD contained Debian's install software, and Debians website had a guide (somewhere - lost the link ) on how to a very manual install. I had to do all the disk partitioning etc from the command line, but that should not scare a slashdot reader...
    • by Marsala (4168) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:54AM (#7834457) Homepage

      Well, I don't know of a tool, but how about HOWTO [sourceforge.net]?

      Have a good one. :)

    • I believe VNC comes with the distro
    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:55AM (#7834837) Journal
      I use User-Mode-Linux for my web/email/DNS servers. The co-lo that rents servers only rents RedHat servers. The 'host' still runs RedHat, but really very little of it - I have my own custom kernel (with skas patch, very useful if you are running UML virtual machines) on the RedHat host, plus iptables to act as a firewall. The RedHat host conceptually just runs as a network router.

      The real servers are all UML instances, all running Debian. The UML page on Sourceforge has a minimal Debian root disk image. I based my root images from these (created a new filesystem on the RedHat system of the appropriate size, mounted both, and cp -a from the minimal Debian install to the root filesystem file I was going to use, edited /mnt/etc/network/interface etc. to set the right IP addresses etc.) then booted. After that, it's just a case of using apt-get to get the packages you want to run.

      The nice thing about separating all your services on different VMs within one host is you can apply decent firewall rules for each VM. If, say, your DNS UML got rooted because of an unpatched BIND (unlikely with Debian, since you can just apt-get update && apt-get upgrade to keep up to date) the skript kiddie - instead of having the run of your whole server and being able to deface your website (or worse) is locked into your DNS UML. Add proper egress firewall rules with iptables on the host, and you can prevent most skript kiddie attacks from being able to work.

      Although I like the BSDs (I like all UNIX style OS, well, except a certain company whose name need not be mentioned), they can't yet (natively) do the equivalent of user mode Linux which is something I find incredibly useful. Hopefully they will in the future.
    • I want to replace my dead rat (7.2) with a Debian branded penguin. I would love to do that upgrade online. Any tips or tools?

      Well, my long held belief is that before upgrading you should back up /var, /etc, /home, /usr/src, and /usr/local.
      Just tar them up and dump them on a CD- put the date on it. I've been upgrading linux systems since '94, and this method has worked for me.

      (/usr/src may be a bit much, but if you have installed much custom software there might be something there you can't find- my fav i

  • They're lurking in a nice Linux system just waiting for the moment to come alive and do their dirty work.

    Perhaps we penguinistas need to perfect a means of exorcising our systems of these evil daemons! Pure Linux, I say, pure Linux!

  • Flame war! (Score:2, Funny)

    by GeckoFood (585211)
    Oooooh! Fire! Pretty!
  • by vinsci (537958) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:29AM (#7834294) Journal
    Personally, I find this howto more useful. ;-) HOWTO - Install Debian Onto a Remote Linux System [sourceforge.net]
  • by Channard (693317)
    Found next to the Bat Anti-Shark pills in Batman's utility belt, maybe? Still no reaction to the news from Mr Flibble, though
  • by tommck (69750) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:31AM (#7834303) Homepage
    This is going to go over like a pregnant nun!

  • pff, old stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sweede (563231) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:31AM (#7834304)
    This isnt new, I changed 3 of my dedicated servers (2 debian 1 redhat) to Gentoo using a doc thats almost 2 years old that was based of a "how to remote install BSD"

    you can do this with any system that lets you bootstrap the OS from the harddrive (i.e. gentoos stage tarballs).
  • by Fizzl (209397) <fizzl@fizzl. n e t> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:32AM (#7834310) Homepage Journal
    So, it writes a bootloader, ramdisk loader scripts and a bare bones BSD image to the beginning of your disk, trashing the partitioning (not sure about the last bit. That's the impression I got).

    Effective, yet mischievously evil.

    Well. Uhoh.. I don't know what to think about this. I mean, it's kinda neat. It's called depenguinator to make clear it's going to get rid of your linux, butbut...
    I still think the way of operation is very crude and evil.

    It says:
    This code is beta-quality at best. Do not use this unless you know what you're doing.


    I'd personally go as far as saying:
    Do not use this unless you are reallyreallyabsolutely sure you want to permanently destroy your current system.
  • Windows - Freenix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aking137 (266199) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:34AM (#7834317)
    I've often wondered if this could be done with Windows - if one could make a (perhaps large) Windows executable that, when you double click on it, assimilates your system and turns it into a Linux box. (Which could in turn provide the depenguinators with lots more machines to work on.)

    Win9x should be more straight forward - you can boot a linux kernel directly from a real DOS prompt using loadlin (although this may not be necessary), and it's possible to have the whole root filesystem stored in one file on a FAT32 filesystem, so the .exe could create the root filesystem (maybe something like a base debian or gentoo install), put everything in place, change how the machine boots, and restart.

  • The dead are going after the living!

  • by e_AltF4 (247712) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:34AM (#7834321)
    >5. Make sure that the first 40MB of space on your hard drive is not being actively used. ...
    I'm afraid that is NOT a trivial thing in 99.9% of all machines
    • by sparkes (125299) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:47AM (#7834403) Homepage Journal
      "upgrading" from one OS to another is never trivial.

      I would think that on most i386 systems running linux the first 40mb or so is /boot or swap.

      Swap is a simple case of swapoff then setting it up again in the freebsd setup (perhaps using the old /boot?)

      and /boot is going bye bye anyway.

      As a confirmed debian user (running it across multiple platforms) I wouldn't use this anyway and would suggest any user looking for a clean upgrade to a BSD from GNU/Linux would be better off backing up /home and other stuff that you want to survive the upgrade (/var/www perhaps) and nuking the whole thing using OpenBSD. If you are 'upgrading' from GNU/Linux to a BSD at least make it the safest variant ;-)
  • I wonder if there's a security risk here... so I can "upgrade" someone's linux installation to freebsd using only ssh, assuming permission is not blocked? That sounds like a potentially dangerous piece of software!
  • Dead Rat (Score:3, Funny)

    by lunenburg (37393) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:45AM (#7834384) Homepage
    Dead Rat? OMG! I get it! It's like you took "Red Hat" and changed some letters around, and now it's like insulting!

    That's what makes it funny!!!!111
  • Where was this when I needed it about 3 months ago?! This is PERFECT for one of those Dedicated Server hosting providers that don't let you touch your box at all.

    Oh, and "creep" not "creap."
    • Re:Useful! (Score:3, Informative)

      by cperciva (102828)
      This is PERFECT for one of those Dedicated Server hosting providers that don't let you touch your box at all.

      That was the initial motivation; although it turns out that this is also very useful for installing FreeBSD on easily accessible servers, since loading the entire OS into a memory disk makes it possible to do things which sysinstall doesn't support -- for example, creating a vinum root system.
  • by bobthemuse (574400) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:50AM (#7834427)
    So all this does is write to the boot partition and load a barebones copy of bsd on a ramdisk? Not terribly impressive. Now if there was a script which could make a list of my RH packages, backup all my config files, generate an BSD install script, then most importantly, intelligently copy my config files from their old RH default location to the new BSD location, then I would be impressed.

    Not really difficult, just time consuming. Of course, this assumes the RH system was installed through packages only, would break on most anything compiled, but the script described above would be a start.
    • So all this does is write to the boot partition and load a barebones copy of bsd on a ramdisk?

      It also inserts a system configuration file into the filesystem image; and the filesystem in question -- UFS2 -- is one for which Linux support is rather lacking, so the filesystem image has to be built entirely within userland (thanks NetBSD!).
  • Not as useful as a defenestrator.
  • I can safely live in a world running
    ps -waux
    instead of
    ps -ef

    -t
    • I can safely live in a world running
      ps -waux
      instead of
      ps -ef

      I don't get it. ps -waux works fine on my Debian GNU/Linux box. So does ps -ef. On the other hand, my braindead OpenBSD box doesn't support ps -ef and I assume FreeBSD probably doesn't either since you're all a bunch of flaming BSD zealots and won't accept the superiority of System V. For god's sake you probably haven't even adopted System V runlevels and /etc/init.d script directory structures. Savages.

  • Uh-oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by essdodson (466448)
    This code is beta-quality at best. Do not use this unless you know what you're doing.

    Apparently the software was not designed to be used by the majority of the Linux community.
  • The concept of an upgrade is dying. We all know we can switch out operating systems just like we can change what pair of shoes we are wearing. Each OS has good and bad points and I'm in favor of anything that makes it easy to shuffle between them. We should be bright enough not to destroy our production machines anyway. Isn't the ability to play with different things key to the evolution of open source software?

    Ancient Anguish [anguish.org]

  • by phr1 (211689) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:18AM (#7834602)
    Reverse defenestration, throwing windows out of your computer. Where do I download? (Props to Eric for definition).
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:27AM (#7834661) Homepage
    What's up with BSD "demonizing" linux like that?

    Actually, it's a fairly neat hack, even if the rivalry is somewhat silly.
  • excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevin lyda (4803) * on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:35AM (#7834707) Homepage
    this is a good thing for linux and bsd. it would be nice to see a dedemonizer to go with it. this shows to people what "open systems" REALLY can be.
  • You don't need a depenguinator to do this. If you want to keep the pesky little critters from crapping on your lawn, just use a shotgun. If you are good, you can do it from your second floor window, that way you don't have to put on pants for the day.

    -Charlie
  • by puzzled (12525) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:58AM (#7834885) Journal


    I run two IBM T20s - on is my main machine, the other is backup and it runs the OS of the month. I keep FBSD 4.9 on most everything including my primary laptop, but last week I loaded 5.2RC to check its progress.

    I was mostly interested in improved USB support and I'm pretty pleased with the behavior so far. I've found some things to not love about ACPI but that may be my lack of clue rather than a problem with the OS.

    I pronounced 5.2RC almost cooked enough for daily use. I'm going to wrench on the backup lappie for a few more weeks and if it does nothing worse than ACPI neutering the power switch I'll probably swap drives and make it my main machine.

  • Like a program that would "Capture the Flag" of a certain monopolistic regime...

    Now *that* would be a Wonderful use of a "program" ;) Taking all the current settings of a Windoze machine, keeping the "wallpaper" and similar, familiar trappings, and allowing you to switch to BSD (or your fax 'NIX), and minimize the trauma of some poor drone's switch to something "else"...

    But what are the Odds of seeing That happen anytime soon?
  • i think xbill now needs a sequel (after all the machines are turned into toasters): xlinus. except that now the daemons trash the dead rats.

  • by ksheff (2406) *

    I've done a similar thing to thousands of SCO boxes in order to turn them into penguins.

  • Bah. (Score:2, Troll)

    by Enahs (1606)
    As far as I'm concerned, this is further proof that BSD zealots are far worse (and less trustworthy) than Linux zealots.
  • After all the tools were taken from NetBSD (looking at the bottom of that web page), I wonder how hard it would be to adopt this to end up with NetBSD on the disk? :)

    - Hubert

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