Yet another recovery OS has been updated this month. SystemRescueCD 1.5.8 is a minor update (the 2nd release in 3 weeks) to provide new standard kernels (126.96.36.199), alternative kernels (188.8.131.52) and a new version of the gparted package.
Although I’m not a big fun of it (I prefer RipLinux) I wanted to give it a try, as I’d heard a lot of positive things about this OS.
Being a recovery OS, SystemRescueCD comes with lots of boot entries, as well as numerous boot options. The options list is impressive — if you can read it (the color scheme with the blue/cyan background and the grey/yellow font is not the happiest combination). The developers even included an “out of the box” PXE boot server (which must be manually started after login) that can be used by other computers on the network to boot SystemRescueCD and use it for troubleshooting (http://www.sysresccd.org/Sysresccd-manual-en_PXE_network_booting).
The text mode login screen displays a warning message that startx may fail, but the exact opposite happened to me: I couldn’t start X with the recommended Xorg or Xfbdev and startx was the only thing that worked.
The default desktop session (powered by the XFCE desktop environment) opens a terminal and I was really surprised to see the user’s shell is zsh which is a powerful shell and command interpreter:
The application list is not that impressive. It includes partitioning tools (gparted, Partition Image), disk tools (Testdisk), some file managers (mc) and text editors (gvim), an antivirus (Clam), a PDF reader (ePDFviewer), a burn utility and of course firefox and ssh/vnc. The full package list is available at http://www.sysresccd.org/System-tools.
The distro’s website is a great source for documentation, support and other useful information so make sure you check it out.
I don’t have anything bad to say about this Gentoo-based Linux OS. It is lightweight, fast and it runs a powerful shell. The list of recovery tools and utilities is not that long, but it includes anything you require for troubleshooting your system. The PXE server is a powerful feature for a recovery OS and it can be really useful in a LAN, although it only provides support for PXE booting 32-bit systems.