Terminally Incoherent

Utterly random, incoherent and disjointed rants and ramblings...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Slax to the Rexcue!

The other day I was fighting with a really shitty desktop at work. All I had was an oldish HP monitor which for some reason did not want to work with WinXP. The frequency was wrong or something like that. Sad part is that I needed to log into windows to fix it - but I could not do that without a monitor (and the desktop was set up not to allow remote connection).

Fortunately, all I needed to do is to get in there and copy some files to the server. So after looking for a working monitor for half an hour, I pulled out my CD case... And realized that I gave away all my Knoppix CD's! (Note to self: burn more Knoppix!)

So I ended up using Slax which I had in my case for a while now. It was a godsend - the version I had was booting into text mode and I could simply access the public shares via smb from bash. But just for the kicks I tried KDE. Again - monitor could not handle it. I killed X and tried again - this time using slax script called guisafe. I'm not sure what it involved (I guess starting up X with the lowest specs possible) but it worked like magic! I had KDE running within seconds, and I was happily browsing network shares, and copying files where needed.

Today I had to do a total wipe & reinstall on that machine. WinXP installation held up nice on the shitty monitor all the way through install, configuration and until the first real boot into windows. And then it crapped out again. I actually had to drag the box to the next cube to get a working monitor and finish up.

Conclusion - my I would be dead without my live linux cd's. And my monitor is a piece of shit :P Oh, and slax is actually extremely useful. If you don't have Knoppix handy, Slax can be a lifesaver. And it is one of those minimalistic suites that will fit on the 8cm cd - that makes it more portable than a full sized knoppix cd.

Of course there's always DSL Linux which weighs in at 50 meg, and fits on a credit card sized cd :P Or course it is a little on the light side, application wise. Still, it is a fully functional, multi purpose distro.

If you don't care for flexibility, and need your h4xing tools you can always go with the infamous Knoppix STD which is a really bare bones system with some useful tools for cracking passwords and doing security audits. I actually used it at one point to reset passwords in a winxp box that got locked out.


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