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MX-Clonezilla :)

Here you can post a testimonial about why you like or love MEPIS. Include as much detail and info as you wish.
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Adrian
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MX-Clonezilla :)

#1 Postby Adrian » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:04 pm

I maintain a lot of computers at work and I started to use Clonezilla to re-image them (long story short, the version of Symantec Ghost I have doesn't support Windows 10 and I wanted to use a fully-customizable Open Source solution).

Clonezilla is a great little OS, you can download either a Debian or Ubuntu based ISO and use it to save and restore disks or partitions. I highly recommend it for backups or for moving an OS from one computer to another, it's amazingly useful for sysadmins.

However, I could not figure out an easy way to fully customize it* to my liking and I remembered we have great live persistence and remastering tools in MX-15 (BitJam did a great job with all the utilities, if anybody haven't tried MX-15 or antiX as a Live USB they are missing what makes antiX and MX amazing) and lo and behold, clonezilla and partimage are packages available in Debian pool, so I simply installed them on MX-15, created some simple scripts that mount all I need to mount from the network, created some helper scripts like "saveimage.sh" and "restoreimage.sh" with my default settings and simply remastered the LiveUSB, I also removed some packages and services that I didn't need, but mostly it's the full MX-15 + Clonezilla tools, so it's all the tools I'm already used to and all the useful Clonezilla utilities in one nice package. To top it all, I took a snapshot and now I have an ISO that I can write on other USB drives. If I need to change something a remaster takes only a few minutes.

So, I ended up with what I call "MX-Clonezilla", just imagine, Clonezilla with custom everything: custom wallpaper, custom password protected screensaver that tells people "computer is being re-imaged, please don't touch" or something to that effect, mounting everything it needs to mount automatically and run scripts to save or restore the image, and all the nice tools that MX-15 has or anything else you can install from Debian. This saves valuable minutes for each computer I touch, let's say if it saves only 30 seconds per computer and you have to re-image 100 computers, that's already 50 minutes saved.

*You can set Clonezilla with different boot options: http://clonezilla.org/show-live-doc-con ... oc/99_Misc or even use it on a PXE server to boot computers on the network, but PXE doesn't work in all the environments (if computers are not on the same network for example) and I found that customizing a MX-15 to my liking was much more easier for me than playing with different boot options in straight Clonezilla, it's nice to change scripts live, test how they work, and then just do a remaster if you want to save the changes. I also boot using "toram" boot parameter and just unplug the USB after it finishes booting, that's also a nice feature.

Just felt like gushing about the live persistence and remastering tools that antiX and MX-15 have and about great Clonezilla tools.

Useful links
Clonezilla: http://clonezilla.org/
Creating a MX Live USB: http://www.mepiscommunity.org/wiki/help ... -antix2usb
Remastering and Persistency Help: http://www.mepiscommunity.org/wiki/help ... x-remaster

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Jerry3904
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#2 Postby Jerry3904 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:16 pm

Very cool. Perhaps to be added to the remasters we list?
Production: 4.7.0-0.bpo.1-amd64, MX-15 RC1, AMD FX-4130 Quad-Core, GeForce GT 630/PCIe/SSE2, 8 GB, Kingston SSD 120 GB and WesternDigital 1TB
Testing: AAO 722: 3.16-0-4-686-pae. MX-15, AMD C-60 APU, 4 GB

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Adrian
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#3 Postby Adrian » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:23 pm

Jerry3904 wrote:Very cool. Perhaps to be added to the remasters we list?

Well, for obvious reasons (has my passwords, custom mount points, etc) I won't make this public. But it's easy to replicate, just install clonezilla, partimage, add custom scripts and take a snapshot... Easy peasy.

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BitJam
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#4 Postby BitJam » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:08 am

Wow. Thanks for all the praise. :blush:

It's always really neat when someone gets what we've been trying to do with the live system which is: make it super easy to customize (in addition to booting fast, booting reliably, internationalized, etc). Also, I wanted to say that anticapitalista played a big part in this too. It would not have happened without him.
Will I cry when its all over?
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Adrian
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#5 Postby Adrian » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:32 am

Also, I wanted to say that anticapitalista played a big part in this too. It would not have happened without him.

Of course, neither antiX or MX would exist without him. I wanted to popularize a bit the live persistence and remastering tools using a more concrete example, the features are very useful and easy to use but might look a bit intimidating at first, heck, I haven't really used remastering till this year. I think your upcoming USB creation tool will help more people discover these features.

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PhantomTramp
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#6 Postby PhantomTramp » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:26 pm

Thanks for posting this, Adrian,

I have been using Clonezilla a lot for rescuing data from dying hard drives. The cloning rescue function acts like the program is malfunctioning sometimes but if I leave it alone and let it finish, it will recover a lot of data.

Can't wait to try what you have described here.

The Tramp

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Adrian
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#7 Postby Adrian » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:22 pm

PhantomTramp wrote:Thanks for posting this, Adrian,

I have been using Clonezilla a lot for rescuing data from dying hard drives. The cloning rescue function acts like the program is malfunctioning sometimes but if I leave it alone and let it finish, it will recover a lot of data.

Can't wait to try what you have described here.

The Tramp

Yep, I think that creating a custom MX-15 with sysadmin tools for backup and recovery is a great idea can be done easily. I think it's a superior solution to all the non-persistency and non-remastering distros out there. I cannot imagine now using an one-purpose distro that is not easily customizable if I can install the same/similar tools in MX with the obvious benefit of being able to easily save changes (I remastered even after editing a simple like of code in a script, on a decent machine remastering takes few minutes, you better spend some minutes to remaster than to run into errors or waste time each time you boot the distro). Persistency also works well, but I discovered I prefer to just remaster all the changes, that way I can simply unplug the USB while running "toram" if I don't want to change anything, or remaster if I want to save changes.

nathan2423
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#8 Postby nathan2423 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:32 pm

I think this is a great idea. As it goes forward I hope someone can figure out a way to make the clonezilla menus more understandable. I tried to use clonezilla just last week and I found the options mind numbing and counterintuitive and in the end I went back to qt-fsarchiver and just saved the partition rather than the whole disk, which is what I really want. I know this comes from Taiwan or some place in the east but it is as if the directions are just close enough to sound simple while still presuming more knowledge than the nonexpert has.

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BitJam
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#9 Postby BitJam » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:56 pm

Adrian wrote:I discovered I prefer to just remaster all the changes, that way I can simply unplug the USB while running "toram" if I don't want to change anything, or remaster if I want to save changes.

I too use remaster more than persistence, but that may be partly due to fact that recently I was doing a lot of development work on the timing of the live boot process.

I plan to fix the bug you reported (elsewhere) so live-remaster will mount the live-usb if it is not mounted and ask you to plug it in if it is not already plugged in. I think I already do that somewhere else, probably in persist-save. I save the UUID of the live-usb in the file /etc/live/config/initrd.out. So IIRC, root persistence should work with toram but you will need to plug in the live-usb before shutdown.

BTW: If you have a usb-3 live-usb then static-root persistence may be a good option for you (but it conflicts with removing the live-usb device). You can use "F8 Save" to make it the default in the live legacy bootloader. You can also put the root persistence file (rootfs) on a different device with one of the boot options pdev= plab= or puuid=. So you can put it on the internal hard drive. If you want to also put the linuxfs file on an internal hard drive then use one of the "frugal" options. Once you do that then you only need the live-usb device to boot. After you boot, only the internal hard drive is used. I tell people "frugal" is a to-disk version of to-ram. There are also fdev= flab= and fuuid= options for specifying the frugal device. The default is to look for a partition with the label "$DISTRO_NAME-Frugal". Use one of the f* options to change this default.

I hope this wasn't TMI.
Will I cry when its all over?
When I die will I see Heaven?

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Adrian
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Re: MX-Clonezilla :)

#10 Postby Adrian » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:03 pm

I tell people "frugal" is a to-disk version of to-ram.

That's a great analogy.


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