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Upgrades Operating Systems Software BSD Linux

Depenguinator "Upgrades" Linux to BSD 616

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 tuxzone ( 64722 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:25AM (#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?
  • pff, old stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sweede ( 563231 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:31AM (#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).
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:33AM (#7834315)
    The download would be to large, 10000 patches plus the service packs plus windows. After a 6 day download all you would be left with is a useless baseline os that can do nothing but catch worms and virus. So to make this cool new OS do something you pull out the ole checkbook and stroke a large one to ole bill.
  • Windows - Freenix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aking137 ( 266199 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:34AM (#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.
  • by heikkile ( 111814 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:38AM (#7834345) Homepage
    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 sparkes ( 125299 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @09:47AM (#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 ;-)
  • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @10:26AM (#7834659)
    As someone who has been using FreeBSD on his desktop for over a year (first 4.8, now 5.1, soon 5.2) I'm interested in why you don't like FreeBSD on the workstation.

    The way I look at it, you get all the stability of FreeBSD's server skills, but on your desk. And the "polish" hasn't been an issue as Gnome looks the same on FreeBSD and Linux.

    Heck, I got a TV-in card for xmas and installed it in just a few moments. Popped it in, used kldload to load the driver without touching the kernel, built fxtv from ports, and a min later I was watching CNN in a window on my desktop.
  • Re:Thanks, thanks! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @10:32AM (#7834689) Homepage
    Yep, too many curious people. I've disabled for now, but I'll put snapshots of the MRTG graphs online later for anyone who wants to see what a slashdotting looks like.
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @10:58AM (#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.

  • by X!0mbarg ( 470366 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @11:00AM (#7834900)
    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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @11:19AM (#7835062)
    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 stuffed the OS image into a swap space at the *END* of the disk, and completely automated the OS installation procedure to do a complete "burn to bare metal" and completely partition it as desired. Unfortunately, this guy's approach does not allow a graceful recovery if the middle step fails. If you use the Linux LILO tool, you can, by using "lilo -D" to set a default OS, but using "lilo -R" to set the next reboot to use the other OS for one time only.

    It's easy to do in the Linux world, because you can chroot to the new partition and run "grub-install" or "lilo" from there. It's tougher in the cross-platform world: getting it to correctly write an MBR is considerably more difficult. I normally solve it for Linux/Windows/Solaris/what-ever by using the Linux-based MBR generation tools, then if I really feel the need to flush the Linux partitions and blow away the MBR, use the other OS's native MBR tools while running that other OS.

    But the basic technique is at least 3 years old, hardly worthy of slashdotting.
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @12:39PM (#7835714)
    You mean like: E00Z smopuiM o+ xnui7 apeJ6dn ?
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @03:35PM (#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 [] ways []

    Ne'ermind the hopefully optimistic other project []

  • by fred666 ( 597170 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @04:22PM (#7838297) Homepage
    Actually, i think it is better (and easier) to have some kind of viral knoppix for that, since the system is already configured and immediately usable.

    There is very little steps needed to be performed when the worm is run, have a look:
    * First, the worm must download the knoppix ISO image (this is the most time and bandwidth consuming task)
    * Then, check the MD5 signatures and extract the files from the ISO and the boot floppy images to the harddisk into an hidden directory
    * Using the Windows "locales", configure little things like keyboard layout, default language,...
    * When everything is set up, install and configure the linux bootloader. (lilo is preferred here since it is blocklist based: booting Knoppix from NTFS partition is possible)
    * Mass-mailing using outlook, like any other worm :-)
    * You may have a choice here: should it delete the windoze system files ??
    * Finally, the worm reboot the system to finish the "infection" :-)
    * Enjoy your Gnu/Linux-infected machine :-D

    "Infecting" windoze machines with a Gnu/linux distribution without user interaction look like a feasible task to me: all we need is a crazy and skilled enough windoze worm developper.
  • by DeKoNiNG ( 597077 ) <p@d@de@koning.freeler@nl> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @06:40PM (#7840018) Homepage
    You have been rooted, welcome to BSD
    From the Depenguinator site: it requires quite a lot of RAM (512MB is enough; 256MB might be, but I'm not sure)

    Please give it a try on my Linux Box, 120 MHz and 48 meg RAM, running Slackware 9.0 hehe...
  • Sometimes true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <> on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @07:19PM (#7840379)
    This is often true, but configurations in which it is not true are not uncommon. A friend of mine once had his BSD server stay up with a load of 86. It might take 2 minutes to completely service a request, but it still worked. When he had linux on the same box, same configuration on the same services, it would fall over around 12. BSD is incredible at handling load. It's less flexible in many ways than Linux, but it makes a really great server.
  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @08:53PM (#7841148) Homepage Journal
    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 worked.

    Whilst win32 is a joke to advanced users, you generally plug in supported hardware, and it just works.

    Yeah right. And I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn...

    Over Christmas vacation I was visiting my mom. Her computer was Win98SE. USB mass storage devices are supported by the OS. Plug in my thumbdrive and it works. But plug in my camera and it goes off into neverneverland. Even though my camera is a standard UMass device. I had to download the camera's USB drivers for Windows before it would recognize it. But I didn't need any special software under FreeBSD.

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.