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Archive for August 5th, 2009

28 Partitions on a Single Disk? No Problem!

August 5th, 2009 by

So far it was only possible to have upto 16 device nodes for a single disks. This restricted the number of usable partitions. As a workaround kpartx could be used to create device mapper mappings for further partitions but that was never fully integrated in openSUSE.

With version 2.6.28 the kernel supports upto 256 device nodes per disk, much more than the partition table allows. But since the implementation is not straightforward, the additional device nodes are assigned dynamically, user-space programs may need to be adapted.

For openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 5 YaST was extended to support this new kernel feature.

Some quick tests showed only problems with LVM. If you are interested in this feature and have the possibility please give it a try so that we find remaining bugs.

Hybrid Live Systems

August 5th, 2009 by

When talking about live systems on USB sticks people reported many problems with bootloaders like grub to boot the stick. Even though this is most often a problem with the stick hardware or the PC BIOS it’s an annoying situation which should have a better solution. There are also many people who wants to use the stick as a data container in combination with a live system to work with

With the ISO hybrid technology and the integration into kiwi there is a way to create such a stick very easily. A hybrid ISO is an iso filesystem which contains a MBR and thus it’s seen as a disk to the PC BIOS. As it’s an ISO the isolinux bootloader is used instead of grub which works better on many systems. Additionally the hybrid ISO can be used as a live system on CD/DVD as well as on a USB stick

What’s required to use this

  • kiwi v3.68 or later
  • syslinux-3.82-2.1 or later

How do I setup a hybrid ISO in kiwi

In order to activate the creation of a hybrid iso in kiwi you only have to add the hybrid=”true” attribute as part of your iso image type in config.xml:

<type boot="isoboot/suse-11.2" flags="clic" hybrid="true">iso

You can use the suse-11.2-JeOS from the kiwi-templates package as example image description for your hybrid testing. The generated .iso file can be dumped via a simple dd call onto the USB stick. The same file also can be used to be burned on a CD/DVD

dd if=LimeJeOS-openSUSE-11.2.i686-1.11.2.iso of=/dev/... bs=32k

After that the stick can be tested. By default all attempts to write data will go into the RAM of the system. As a stick allows storing data persistently you can create a write partition on the stick using fdisk:

fdisk /dev/...

kiwi will prevent using a vfat partition for the operating system. So make sure you create a 0x83 (linux) type partition and not a vfat partition for the write support. If you additionally create a vfat partition you can use it as a container for any kind of data independently from the live system. We choose vfat here to stay compatible with Windows systems.

Known bugs

  • when using the clicfs filesystem (flags=”clic”) the persistently write feature into a single partition will fail because clicfs currently can’t deal with raw block specials as cow device. Will be fixed as soon as possible

Have fun 🙂

The Desktop DingDong

August 5th, 2009 by

Just incase you’ve been living under a rock on Mars there is a certain feature request in openFate. Both Michael and Zonker have posted on the matter but as they are both Internal (as in they get paid by the Big N) I thought I’d throw my external views (these views are not solicited by anyone other than me, yadayadayada) into the pot.  Now I know I was asked to put my thoughts down and send them into the mailing list, but to be honest the whole discussion has turned into a childish “My dad’s got bigger knuckles than your dad” style flamewar and there are multiple threads on the one topic.  Personally I have now switched off of the discussion on the lists as it’s hard to follow and frankly going nowhere.

Firstly I’d like to think that Frank had no malice in filing the feature and only had the best intentions for KDE and openSUSE at heart.  The problem is there doesn’t seem to have been enough background checks and verification of facts prior to unleashing this handgrenade of annoying pointlessness.  If you default on a loan/mortgage/credit card you are in jeopardy of loosing assets.  The same can be carried over to this discussion.