Signal Ground: Stupid dd Tricks (or, Why We Didn’t buy Norton Ghost)

[ Thanks to Ken
for this link. ]

“The company that employs Tom and me builds big pieces of food
processing machinery that cost upwards of $400K. Each machine
includes an embedded PCs running — and I cringe — NT 4. While
the company’s legacy currently dictates NT, those of us at the
lower levels of the totem pole work to wedge Linux in wherever we
can. What follows is a short story of a successful insertion that
turned out to be (gasp!) financially beneficial to the company,

“…Ghost works well; it does exactly what we wanted it to. You
boot off of a floppy (while the image medium is in another drive),
and Ghost does the rest. The problem lies in Ghost’s licensing. If
you want to install in a situation like ours, you have to purchase
a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) license from Symantec. And, every time
you create a drive, you have to pay them about 17 dollars. When you
also figure in the time needed to keep track of those licenses,
that adds up in a hurry.”

“It finally occurred to me that we could use Linux and a couple
of simple tools (dd, gzip, and a shell script) to do the same thing
as Ghost — at least as far as our purposes go. … The Results? We
showed our little program to management, and they were impressed.
We were able to create disk images almost as quickly as Norton
Ghost, and we did it all in an afternoon using entirely free
software. The rest is history.”


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