Štěpán Roh

Alive But Sleepy

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Day With SLAX

by Štěpán Roh

Post-post disclaimer: I described here my experiences with SLAX 4.2. New SLAX 5 is much better and can e.g. switch automounting off. Also the paragraph on fsck is not true, because SLAX does not use it. Strange things happen in my head.

Several weeks ago I burned SLAX, the live Linux, onto a CD. I wanted to try it, but because my Slackware was working well I did not have to. But, suddenly, the opportunity was there: my hard drive failed.

Because I did not like the image of restoring my data from incremental backups I decided to recover data from almost dead hard drive with help of SLAX. Placed CD in drive, reboot, nice logo, nice booting messages, nice udev ... oh no, do not mount dead drive, please... I wonder if that automount can be switched off - no, nothing, nada. I hate computers.

Second try - install SLAX on new hard drive and edit rc scripts. Nothing looks more "geeky" than connected hard drive turned upside down laying on a pile of books. Scripts edited, SLAX rebooted, fsck trying to access dead hard drive... FSCK IT! I hate computers.

Third try - finally success, data partition recovered. System partition was in much worse condition and after six hours of dd_rescuing I gave up. But I was too lazy to reinstall and came with the idea of upgrading SLAX to Slackware. It is based on Slack, isn't it?

I removed all SLAX-only packages, upgraded the rest (not reinstalled, but upgraded, which I regretted afterwards) and installed new packages I needed. Reboot ... eyes closed, fingers crossed ... login prompt! Logged in and ... login prompt! What? Did I say how much I hate computers?

To make long story short with the help of Slackware 8.1 rescue floppy disk I was able to found out the problem: incorrect link in /usr/lib caused profile script qt.sh to terminate login process (this bug was fixed in Slackware-current few days ago). I really hate computers.

Remember the reinstalled not upgraded regret? Well, SLAX packages look like regular Slackware packages, but some files like documentation, header files and man pages are not installed. But it is not indicated anywhere. It takes some time to find it out. I ... shut up now.

Don't get me wrong, I like SLAX. And Slackware. And computers. But sometimes ... sometimes I want to live on an island without electricity.

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