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Archiv für 'Cheatcodes'

Automatic language detection

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I just added automatic langauge detection, kind of small magic before an internet connection exists.

How does it work? Currently it searches for the last recently used NTUSER.DAT and reads the registry key “Control Panel\International\LocaleName” from there. Of course this requires a windows installation to be present. But since this feature is targeted at some commercial derivates of LessLinux that are sold as rescue systems in various European countries, probably 95% of computers where LessLinux is booted have a windows partition.

If you are booting LessLinux on a machine without windows you might specify


to skip the selection and predefine a certain locale. The old


only works for a limited subset of languages (German, English, Spanish, French, Polish, Russian, Italian, Netherlands).

Moving to kernel 3.17.4, adding i3 tiling window manager

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

I just prepared a fresh build based on kernel 3.17.4. The biggest difference is that the kernel configuration is now based on Ubuntus 3.16. On the one hand this means many drivers are included that your live system will never need, on the other hand some drivers are known to work better in this configuration. The initrd is now bigger by around 20MB per kernel (kernels are included for 32 bit PAE, 32 bit non PAE and 64 bit). If this is too big for you, tinker around with the kernel configuration for your own builds.

Cairo dock now uses gnome-menus-3. This re-introduces icons and allows a nice search box. A much bigger change is the addition of i3. Start with the additional boot parameter


to start with three terminals in i3: One root terminal and two with normal users privileges. I know there are quite some i3 users out there and I would be happy to hear from you and share your experiences.

Grab it here: lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20141127-055823.iso lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20141127-164346.iso

Update: I just added i3status and changed the urxvt terminal in i3 mode to a much better readable font.

OpenVAS included, GUI for BLOB installation

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

We made some progress in both handling of BLOBs (binary large objects, programs like Google Chrome or TeamViewer that are only available as binary packages. A new feature is the integration of OpenVAS, a vulnerability scanner to detect unsafe devices in your networks. I am especially proud for my wrapper script to start OpenVAS: This does all necessary preparation work, so you do not have to manually download vulnerability definitions or rebuild databases. However, OpenVAS is still fat and occupies more than 1.2GB RAM when started from DVD! So, some preparation is recommended.


Fresh development build – fixes BLOB support

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

I just uploaded an image that fixes BLOB support. To use it:

  • dd the ISO to an USB thumb drive
  • Pass blobsize=512 (any value between 256 and 2048 makes sense) as boot parameter upon first boot – this wil create the LessLinuxBlob partition upon first boot
  • Download Chrome stable for i386 and put the deb to the folder /lesslinux/blobpart – use a file manager with root privileges for this
  • Reboot – Chrome is now contained in the menus

Besides this, Thunderbird and Firefox both got updated to 31.1.0, the kernel received a smaller upgrade to 3.16.2. The tools for acessing disk drives now use a different architecture. mmcblk devices (some card readers) are now recognized correctly, it works a bit faster and should be easier to integrate with upcoming releases of SaferSurf.

Download lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20140909-083241.iso

Introducing BLOB support

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

About one and a half years ago I started implementing suport for the possibility to persistently add binary applications to LessLinux. This enables adding closed source binary only software without polluting the open source build tree. BLOB support was used in a commercial derivative to include TeamViewer. Now it is also possible to add Google Chrome – quite some users requested this feature since Chrome has very good multimedia support and implements a remote desktop solution.


Let’s develop further

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Here we go with a fresh development build. The build and the included software is quite stable, but menus, themes and small stuff need lots of cleanup. Xorg moved to 1.15 and Mesa to 10.1. This allowed inclusion of some games like Quadrapassel that I like to play during data rescue or forensic sessions. A few changes had to be made to be able to compile everything against Glibc 2.19 and Glib 2.40. Some old software that refused to compile against Glib 2.40 was retired, other programs were patched. The kernel used is 3.14.4. More than 150 packages have been update. Cool thing: LXQT has been added. To use it, pass


to the boot command line. It is quite usable but needs some polishing. Connman is included and totally usable if started from the command line. Unfortunately the Connman Gtk+ user interface is affected by a Gtk+. I am quite sure we can fix this for the next stable and then use Connman to replace Wicd. Everyone loves screenshots:

LXQT is now optional

And do not forget the download link: lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20140528-080923.iso

New development build with kernel 3.10.5 available + new tools

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The last weeks saw many improvements that especially targetted reliability. As you probably know, LessLinux contains a feature called “ISOhybrid conversion”: Official ISO images are valid HDD images as well, so you can either burn them on a DVD or “dd” them to a thumb drive (Windows users will take Win32DiskImager to write to an USB drive). Upon first boot, the ISO image is move to the end of the thumb drive and some partitions are created – so part of the thumb drive is still writable and the boot configuration is editable.

More reliability on cheap USB flash drives

During the last weeks I ran into problems with some cheap USB thumb drives: continously reading 8MB and instantly writing them somewhere else often resulted in some flipped bits. Thus I introduced some checks: First, and upon each boot, the binary files in the initramfs (BusyBox, some statically linked binaries, firmware files and kernel modules) are checked and upon failure the system shuts down. Then before doing the ISOhybrid conversion boot files (kernel and initramfs) and the SquashFS containers are checked. During the conversion each block is checked after writing: if moving fails, it is tried again. Some very cheap thumb drives that formerly resulted in nearly 20% corrupt installations are now down to 2%.

Another big change in ISOhybrid conversion is, that we are now very generous with available space: In addition to the last partition for the ISO image, another partition in front of it is created. Both use 125% of the space of the ISO – yes, 250% together. The intention behind this is, that updates are handled much easier this way: The old ISO image can now be piped through Xdelta3 and the STDOUT can be written to the empty partition. As a result, I will begin to offer updates between stable releases from now on.

Encrypted /home

I re-activated a feature that was introduced some three years ago, but could only be used by creating a container file by hand. If you now specify the cheat code


upon first boot, during ISOhybrid conversion a partition with between 512MB and 1.5GB is created and later used for storing the contents of the home directory and settings for WICD. Reasonable sizes for the /home directory are between 256MB and 64GB (if you install to a USB hard disk and have some large directories in your /home directory, e.g. Thunderbird will full IMAP caching).

Remove ransomware from registry

Some ransomware writes a shell entry that cannot be removed from a running windows system. I was disappointed with license and usability of Kasperskys ransomware removal tool, so I wrote one myself: This tool scans all your hard disks for Windows installations (currently XP, Vista, 7 and 8 are supported, 8.1 might work as well), then it reads the shell entries and gives you a button to reset the shell to the default “explorer.exe”.

Some Eyecandy, notes on network

I created some commonly used functions for displaying a progress bar during startup and ISOhybrid conversion. Sadly, kernel 3.10.5 contains some bugs in some wireless staging drivers that result in no connection or crashes (especially sad when considering those drivers worked in 3.9.11), so I had to blacklist rtl8192se. To speed up boot, ethernet drives are loaded after udev is started. If you intend to netboot lesslinux, please take a look in the handbook.


Download the build lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20130807-124945.iso and burn it to DVD or use “dd” or Win32ImageWriter to write it to a thumb drive.

 PS: This build still uses Firefox 22.0 and Thunderbird 17.0.8, some pending updates on the Xorg subsystem are not yet included and I plan to add and configure GRUB as an alternative bootloader on UEFI systems (in the mid term, this should reduce the size of ISOs by ~50MB). So now you know why the build is labeled testing. From the stability standpoind there are no reasons (besides the broken WiFi drivers) not to use it.

Fresh build with kernel 3.6.10

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I just uploaded a fresh build of LessLinux Search and Rescue. The most notable changes to the release from September are:

  • Linux Kernel 3.6.10
  • Glibc updated to 2.16.0
  • Firefox 17.0.1 and Thunderbird 17.0
  • Gparted updated to 0.14.1
  • Tools for XFS, JFS and BTRFS added respectively re-added
  • Nice icons in upper left corner show boot progress

Of course there are lots of minor changes as well, for example it is now possible to load the complete system via tftp. To do this follow the instructions to load the kernel and initrams from your PXE-/TFTP-server and add


Please note that this feature is experimental. The “wgetiso” cheat code might work much better with the protocols http or ftp, but in cases where you can’t or don’t want to setup a web server and still boot from the network, it might come handy.

There were some minor changes to the thin client functionality, but it still is not production ready, be prepared for more on this topic in January.

As always you can download the latest build from download.lesslinux.org: lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20121217-095052.iso

Release: LessLinux Search and Rescue 1.5

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I am proud to present release 1.5 of LessLinux Search and Rescue. This is the first stable, open and free release from a series of rescue and recovery systems previously featured in magazines like Computer Bild. The CD targets both users unfamiliar with linux who are in search of a easy to handle live system as well as administrators or anyone familiar with linux. For the latter group the command line offers tools found on every better rescue system, but also many “cheatcodes” (boot options) to enable netboot or remote administration via VNC. The former group finds some convenient graphical wrappers for typical tasks like resetting Windows passwords or wiping hard disks.


Presenting the “Grandma Mode”

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Do you also have some relatives that always ask for “family support”: When you come to their house, you find a totally f***ed up Windows XP machine with tons of spyware and you’ll get to hear “I did not do anything”. The worst part of it: While you do the work, they keep talking at you.

Well it can be easier. Just configure your DSL router to forward inbound traffic on port 5500 to your desktop machine and get a nice DynDNS hostname. Then remaster any LessLinux Search and Rescue CD to include one boot entry that does not disable earlynet and add the cheatcode


In case of emergency tell your grandma to boot the CD with the respective entry. The earlynet script requests an IP address on all wired interfaces and instead of starting a local Xserver Xvnc is started and a reverse connection to your host is made where a listening VNC viewer must be running.

There is one drawback: the data is transmitted unencrypted, which might be an issue with sensitive data. You might however use this first VNC connection to build up a SSH tunnel between two hosts.

The background of this feature: I got some customers quite far away from here. With this cheatcode I can help them no matter where they are – no special configuration of their router required. This feature also will work over WLAN soon. I just introduced some cheatcodes to attach to a wireless network while startup. Those are not tested yet, so please be patient for a few more days.

Should work in all builds higher than 20100701-000000.