Powered by SlackwareDon’t worry, Linux is not dead yet. And the $TITLE is not about a new RIP implementation on Linux. The name stands for Recovery Is Possible and it’s in fact a Slackware-based Live OS.

It can be used for various tasks like maintenance, troubleshooting, rescuing an installed system, or even as a Live OS for browsing the Internet, chatting with friends, listening to music or watching movies. All that at a cost of a 90MB ISO image.

RIPLinux comes in different versions (X, non-X, Grub, Grub2, PXE) and it’s a lightweight distro, only requiring 256MB  of RAM and a 586 CPU to run.

Boot options

The boot menu offers a lot of choices:

RIP Linux boot optionsI tried booting both 32-bit and 64-bit kernels and a Windows XP partition with no issues. It even offers support for Windows Vista Bootmgr and for any other partition that has a boot manager on it.  For that,  several pre-configured Grub entries are available, but all lines are editable so they can be customized to your needs.

The Desktop

The X version offers a graphical environment running on tty9. The default screen resolution was 1024×768 which is reasonable considering that I was running RIPLinux as a guest OS in vmware-server. Of course, non-graphical terminals are available too with CTRL+ALT+F{1-8} .

RIP Linux desktop

RIP Linux virtual terminal

Recovery tools

There are quite a few tools included that can help you diagnose a faulty system.

  • system monitoring: lshw, atop, htop, dmesg, dmidecode, mount utility (of course, these tools come with most of the Linux distros today but they could be useful to detect I/O errors, BIOS warnings, damaged partitions)
  • partitioning: fdisk, cfdisk, Ghost For Linux, GParted, Grub, Partimage, Testdisk (the list of supported partition types includes EXT4, Reiser4 and NTFS)

RIP Linux Gparted

  • QEMU emulator (boot ISO, HDD or floppy images)
  • F-PROT antivirus (can be used to scan mounted Windows partitions)

As a test, I successfully mounted a NTFS partition, modified a couple of files and scan it with F-PROT antivirus. I also played with partimage to create partition backups.

Other tools

RIPLinux includes a network configuration tool. It supports both wired and wireless connections. I’ve only tried the Ethernet as I didn’t have a wireless card to play with. Having Internet access while troubleshooting is important, that’s why you’ll find these applications very useful:

  • remote connection clients (ftp, ssh, telnet, rdesktop)
  • IM/IRC (Gaim, XChat)
  • mail (Fetchmail, mutt)
  • newsreaders
  • Internet browsers (Firefox, Links)
  • online and offline documentation

remote

Other applications

I was able to play my mp3 files thanks to xmms, watch movies with xine and view pdf files with PDF Viewer. RIPLinux also includes several file managers, an archive extractor and even a GUI for rsync.

video1

Issues

I only had issues trying to install/update some of the packages. The installation tools are either Slack based (installpkg) or BASH scripts (install-pkg). nmap installation failed each time with a “Not Found” error, while ntfs3g update worked second time I tried.

update

Conclusions

RIPLinux includes tools for system recovery and a series of scripts for self mainetance tasks (e.g. update-pkg, install-pkg) that can install and/or update several of its packages. That makes it a great choice for troubleshooting system issues using latest versions of the recovery tools.

Don’t forget that recovery is possible!