g4u 2.2 review

by rbytes.net on

g4u short from ghost for unix is a boot-floppy/CD that allows one to easily clone PC hard disks by using FTP. This is often done t

License: BSD License
File size: 4166K
Developer: Hubert Feyrer
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g4u short from ghost for unix is a boot-floppy/CD that allows one to easily clone PC hard disks by using FTP.

This is often done to deploy a common setup on a number of PCs. The floppy/CD offers two functions: it uploads the compressed image of a local hard disk to an FTP server, and then it can retrieve that image via FTP, uncompress it, and write it back to disk.

Network configuration is fetched via DHCP. As the hard disk is processed as an image, any filesystem and operating system can be deployed using g4u. Easy cloning of local disks as well as partitions is also supported.

Image creation:

Boot the CD or floppy on the machine you want to clone. See it read the kernel from disk, then print out all the devices found in the machine. It will do DHCP next, asking for an IP number - be sure you have DHCP configured properly! At the end you'll get a text description of possible commands, and a shell prompt.

Whole harddisk:

Type "uploaddisk your.ftp.server.com filename.gz" to read out the machine's harddisk (rwd0d), and put it into the "install" account of your FTP server under the given filename. The disk image is compressed (with gzip -9), so maybe use a ".gz" file suffix. You don't have to, though. Before putting the file on the FTP server, the "install" account's password is requested.

If you want to clone your second IDE disk, add it's name on the uploaddisk command line: "uploaddisk your.ftp.server.com filename.gz wd1". Similarly, if you use SCSI instead of IDE disks, use "uploaddisk your.ftp.server.com filename.gz sd0".

If you want to use a different account name than "install", use "account@your.ftp.server.com" for both uploaddisk and slurpdisk.

One partition only:

Get an overview of disks recognized by g4u by typing "disks", a list of partitions on a certain disk is available via "parts disk", where disk is one of the disks printed by "parts", e.g. wd0, wd1, sd0, etc. Partitions are numbered with letters starting from 'a', where partitions a-d are usually predefined, with your partitions starting at 'e'. Partitions here are BSD-partitions, which have little in common with DOS MBR partitions. To specify a partition, use something like "wd0e" or "sd0f": "uploadpart your.ftp.server.com filename.gz wd0e". Run "uploadpart" without arguments for more examples.

Wait until you're back at the shell prompt (ignore the errors :-). Depending on your network, CPU, harddisk hardware and contents, image creation can take several hours!

You can switch off the machine now. Type "halt" or simply press reset/power button - there are no filesystems mounted so no harm will result.

Check that your FTP server's "install" account now has the image file.

What's New in This Release:
The most important changes in this release lie in an improved infrastructure that allow more flexibility, removing the 2.88MB limit that g4u previously had.
Many new device drivers were added.

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