sysrescd future vision / specialization

Discussions about what to change in future versions (except software request).
Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Jun 2012, 09:01

sysrescd future vision / specialization

Postby jirij » 12 Jun 2012, 10:42

I've been using sysrescd for several years now (since ~2007 or so) and I always wondered - what specific aim does it have?

If it's aimed for system administrators and rescue experts, why does it have a nice graphical isolinux frontend that doesn't really work over serial console?

Furthermore, the menu itself makes little sense, as there's no way to combine all commonly used options (docache, setkmap=us, nomodeset, vga=0, all that with combination of std/alt kernels, both 32 and 64bit) in a meaningful way with syslinux/menu.c32. So my question is - what was wrong with the original command line? Why not just list those options on the front page and let user choose the combination?
Not to mention other things like - does _really_ anybody use keymap other than "us" for rescue operations? I'm from Czech Republic and we have quite exotic keymaps here, but I'd never use them during a system rescue.

I admit - I'm impressed by the console= kernel parameter detection from userspace and automatic appropriate append to /etc/inittab, which is nice, but (assuming menu-less bootloader), would it be too hard to add a "serial" version of the bootloader, possibly as a separate syslinux config (triggered by a keyword on the cmdline), if syslinux can't multiplex its input/output?

Aside from the bootloader, if sysrescd is aimed for system administrators, why does it do so many "dangerous" things automatically? Like the automated MD-based RAID assembly (which can corrupt metadata), LVM VG activation (likewise), network pre-configured using dhcp (that's not dangerous, but still, ..)? The initramfs tries to mount all disks until it finds sysrescd.dat, which is quite valid approach given that there's no easy way to assign UUID to a ISO9660 filesystem (and thus the blkid method is out), but mounting a filesystem readonly doesn't ensure "no writes" to the block device, for example ext3/4 will replay (or try to replay) the journal. One has to either specify "noload" mount option, or set the block device itself read-only first (ie. using blockdev).
The skipmount= option is nice, but regexp matching of the drive's /dev/disk/by-id/ would be even nicer as the drive order isn't guaranteed on some systems. Though I admit, that's more like a feature request.

Now, if sysrescd is aimed more for the "common joe", why doesn't it have sound drivers? A common joe would really like to watch youtube while moving a multi-TB NTFS partition. Why doesn't it have feature X, feature Y or Z? Because those are provided by Knoppix (or Ubuntu live nowadays), which (AFAIK) has gparted as well, along with all the stuff a common joe could possibly want, on a live DVD.

Is sysrescd meant to be somewhere in between? Allowing people, who can easily break things beyond repair because of the lack of knowledge, to do recovery? Should people, who don't know how to assemble a MD RAID or activate a LVM VG be recovering mdadm/LVM?

I'm being serious here, sysrescd is a piece of nice hard work and it helped me many times, I'm just a bit confused about the "user friendliness" it tries to provide.


Posts: 1127
Joined: 07 Apr 2010, 16:19

Re: sysrescd future vision / specialization

Postby gernot » 12 Jun 2012, 15:30

Yes, there are administrators that use non keyboard s :-)
There are also rescue specialists who like the comfort not to enter things like modprobe usb-storage :-)
The boot menu work via serial connection but its not activated via "serial" option.
Its easy to press tab and enter a custom bootline.

Using UUID to find sysrcd.dat on partitions is a good idea if it is save and portable.
A problem is that its hard to do because the "target ID" must be placed in a initrd or in syslinux.cfg


Posts: 61
Joined: 14 Nov 2007, 13:56

Re: sysrescd future vision / specialization

Postby costinel » 18 Sep 2012, 08:26

"Yes, there are administrators that use non keyboard s :-)" <- how many are using default us and how many don't? if us is majority, let it default and instruct the minority how to get their keyboard.

"There are also rescue specialists who like the comfort not to enter things like modprobe usb-storage :-)" - yes, I am a rescue specialist who prefer to not enter modprobe usb-storage, BUT as I raised attention FIVE years ago, I would prefer safety over automation whenever possible.

I have to repeat: DO NOT TOUCH the system *I* am examining/rescuing. Using sysresccd assumes I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING.

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