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IBM Operating Systems Software Technology (Apple) Windows Linux Technology

IBM Using iPod to boot Linux on PCs 318

Applejack writes "Looks like iPod fever has caught on to Big Blue. IBM has a yet unreleased iPod-based software for rescue, restore, and recovery of failed Windows PCs. I read this description of the software on Amit Singh's blog, whose group at IBM apparently created this stuff. If I understand this correctly (and I think I do), the iPod contains IBM's rescue software along with Linux. A crashed PC boots into Linux from the iPod, after which you get all kinds of rescue & restore functionality ... web browsing and all, even if the PC's drive is totally hosed. All this while the iPod keeps working normally as a music player as it would. The blog has pointers to further information, including a Windows Media demo of the thing. " Should be noted this is not iPod specific; USB devices will do.
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IBM Using iPod to boot Linux on PCs

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  • No, Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) * <> on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:42PM (#11911896) Journal
    Recovery tools? On an external hardrive of some sort? What will they think of next?!
    • Re:No, Really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#11911918) Homepage Journal
      No kidding. I could keep the iPod in my pocket stuffed with tunes, and simply use a USB thumb drive. . . which I already do, using BartPE.
      • Re:No, Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:57PM (#11912115) Homepage
        Well, the nice thing is that it's designed to work on something that's commodity item and probably won't get lost as easily as rescue CDs. Plus, a lot of people still recover from floppy disks, and we all know what a pain that is with the very limited space and frequent bad blocks :P
        • Re:No, Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by xstonedogx ( 814876 ) <> on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:29PM (#11912561)
          I'm confused. Aren't USB thumb drives also a commodity item that probably won't get lost? Heck, you can stick one on your keychain and they cost less than an iPod.
        • "Well, the nice thing is that it's designed to work on something that's commodity item and probably won't get lost as easily as rescue CDs."
          • Why not just make 10 copies of your rescue CD? It's a lot cheaper to copy a CD than it is to buy 10 iPods.
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:54PM (#11912077)
      Next they'll start using shinny discs with microscopic pock marks that are "readable" with a high focus laser diod. Naw, thats the stuff of science fiction.
    • Some sort of keyboard/display arrangement, and emacs on the ipod.
      But what sort of music would be suitable for the RMS ad campaign? The Residents []?
      They have eyes, you know. ;)
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#11911908)
    ...and then I deleted all that other stuff to make more room for my iTunes purchases, and now my system won't recover.
  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#11911911) Homepage Journal
    I'm using my $699 iPod as a substitue for a $0.10 Knoppix liveCD!!!
    • by catch23 ( 97972 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:54PM (#11912072)
      $699 iPod? Did you pay for the SCO license?
    • If you already have one then why bother carrying the CD, after all people buy iPods so they don't have to carry around CDs everywhere. That's the whole point...
    • This will have IBM specific tools, and recovery software that spans several CD's. Will also let you save users data...

      Having been on the road doing service work this is a great thing. Lugging around a laptop and a box of cds is cumbersome.

      Though back when i did it, you carried a box of floppies and your portable might have a 10MB drive, if you were lucky....
    • I just can't listen to that CD anymore. The drumming is awful, the bass player is stoned and the rhythm guitar is seriously out of tune.

      That and it's the same song, over and over.
    • What, you didn't get your ipod for free? Get with the times, man!

      Note: yes, I AM whoring the ipod pyramid scheme in my sig. Yes I am making fun of these very schemes. Half the fun, for me, of the free ipod scheme, is the challenge of it.
  • hmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by thirteenVA ( 759860 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:43PM (#11911915)
    Is there anything the iPod can't do? ;)
  • Free (Score:5, Informative)

    by QMO ( 836285 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:44PM (#11911927) Homepage Journal
    Aren't there several free live linux distros already easily available with the same capability?
    • Yes, and they're very helpful. I can't count all the times a livecd has pulled one of my desperate friends out of a jam. They also serve as an introduction to linux for them, when they wouldn't have otherwise tried one.

      I guess the nice thing about this is that alot of people always have their iPods around, and you have something to write back to if you can recover some lost stuff off your drive.
    • Re:Free (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spongman ( 182339 )
      You're right, there are.

      But it begs the question: why would anyone in their right mind boot to Linux to recover a windows machine?

      If you have a wayward Windows machine (or think you might have in the future), get this [] and stick it on a CD or USB Key.

      It's got many more windows-centric tools than the Linux liveCDs including anitivirus, malware removers, registry editor/recovery, NTFS defraggers, WPA tools, network support, web browsing, etc...

    • Re:Free (Score:3, Informative)

      by _Swank ( 118097 )
      I will venture a guess that there are NO linux distros with the specific ability specified in the article. What it seems everybody is missing is that this is NOT a general recovery solution. This is a specific recovery solution that works with the XPoint software listed (also called IBM Rescue and Recovery). This software is installed now on every new IBM Thinkpad (and maybe their desktops as well) and essentially stores images of a person's hard drive on a hidden portion of their hard drive. For exampl
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:45PM (#11911953) Homepage Journal
    when compared to say, a CD containing said rescue sw? Sounds to me a lot more like justifying the iPod purchase.
    • Hey, if this gives you a way to get your employer to buy you an ipod as a rescue device, why the hell not?

      I think this should be carried to the extreme, can someone figure out a way to use one of the new Mustangs as a backup device? Maybe a RAID array designed to fit in the trunk, and the fast car keeps your data out of harm's way (ie impending fire, flood, etc.)
    • It's just a cool thing to do with an HD-based MP3 player. Chances are you'll have them with you most of the time, especially with the mini-sized devices, and with ~5 GB you probably can spare 100 to 500 MB for a small Linux install. With a flash MP3 player that might be half of your total memory. And in contrast to a CD-based Linux you are working with writable storage - this needn't be limited to rescue operations, you could carry around your $HOME with you, or your $HOME plus a minimal working system to u
    • It's very cost effective indeed if you already own an iPod
    • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:09PM (#11912266) Journal
      Purchase Request

      Item Name: Apple iPod

      Description: To be used as an external bootable storage device for diagnosing and recovering PC's with failed hard-disks.

      Hmmm, wonder if the boss would go for it...
    • OK, I'll bite.

      How about the re-writeability of a HD-based medium? What about the screen, and its ability to output several lines of text? Not a great deal, but about as much as a PDA used as a serial terminal, which has been done. Given that the need for a recovery medium presupposes a need for diagnosis, I'd say the iPod is more suited for this than almost anything, even a PDA -- just think how much space a core dump can take up, and you'll see what I mean.
  • Not ipod specific (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Should be noted this is not iPod specific; USB devices will do."

    Thanks for this little sentence hidden at the end of the article. And somehow the headline looks rather sensationalist, doesn't it? They are using a USB mass storage device with Linux to rescue broken CDs. Wow. Why did nobody else have this idea before...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:51PM (#11912025)
    1. Take any generic news item
    2. Try to work the iPod into the story, no matter how forced
    3. Front page!
    • 4. Wait for the hundreds of repetetive comments about how bad Slashdot is but same people that complain keep coming back driving up your ad revenue.

      and as far as the iPod used as a recover tool, that's kinda like putting linux on a toaster. you could do it. but why?

      for $100 you could have an external firewire hard drive that could do the same or as others have noted.. you could use knoppix/knoppix variants for rescue.
    • 1. Take any generic news item
      2. Try to work the iPod into the story, no matter how forced
      3. Front page!

      You forgot...

      4. PROFIT!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I read this description of the software on Amit Singh's blog, who's group at IBM apparently created this stuff.

    He is "group at IBM apparently created this stuff"???

    That's a very long adjective!

    • No, it's a posessive. "The group at IBM which belongs to him apparently created this stuff". Ok technically it should perhaps be whom's, but that would sound really odd.
      • No, it's a posessive. "The group at IBM which belongs to him apparently created this stuff". Ok technically it should perhaps be whom's, but that would sound really odd.

        Do I get to be the first humor-impaired person to point out that the correct word is "whose" ? There is no "whom's" in the English language, and "who's" can only be a contraction.
        P.S. you also mispeled possesssssive
  • In this [] CRN news article, Steven Welch, an "IBM distinguished Engineer", is quoted as saying, "One-touch IBM Rescue & Recovery On Linux all wrapped up in a portable media device under $300. Priceless. That is music to my ears."

    I wonder how his ears would respond to a free Knoppix CD?
    • Sorry to reply to my own post, but after watching the video [], it seems there would be at least two advantages over Knoppix:

      1. A USB Flash drive/MP3 player is somthing you might be carrying anyway.

      2. It looks as if you can mirror your internal drive to the USB device as a precautionary measure and then boot off the USB drive when the interal one fails. I do this with my iBook and iPod using CCC [] or SuperDuper! []

      Of course, your laptop must support booting from USB/Firewire as well.
    • Working in a small PC repair shop, I feel a need to respond to this. We use BartPE simply because we need the spyware scanning tools in our work, but a BootCD certainly isn't a 'best' solution for data recovery.

      In fact, every time we need to do any form of serious data recovery, it means I have to pull out our external USB HD anyway. If I can simply boot off the external drive in the first place, have the system run faster since it's working off a HD instead of a CD-ROM, and get my work done, all the bette
  • very cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by helix_r ( 134185 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:52PM (#11912035)
    All this while the iPod keeps working normally as a music player as it would. ...


    Now sysadmins can listen to chill-out music while repairing mission-critical workstations!
    • Now sysadmins can listen to chill-out music while repairing mission-critical workstations!

      Actually, they can't, the submitter is wrong. When the iPod is mounted as a harddrive, it stops working and puts up a message asking you not to disconnect it from the computer. At least mine does.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...any USB (or Firewire, depending on the system)device will serve this purpose. Oh, Slashdot, what happened to you over the years?
  • by Rheagar ( 556811 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:54PM (#11912069) Homepage
    Seems to me that the developers are on the ball with this one. They get to requisition expensive iPods for, ahem, work. They also get media attention from slashdot. This is much sexier than burning knoppix.
  • by Master_T ( 836808 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:57PM (#11912104)
    Microsoft machines repaired by apple hardware using linux.

    Thank you steve jobs for your magical machine of reconciliation. Do you think we could use IPODs to achieve peace in the mideast?

    • Don't forget that there's *Windows Media* of the event on the blogsite...
  • Cool. A write off. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @01:57PM (#11912106)
    Cool. Now I can write off my iPod as a "tool of trade" on my taxes!
  • by Qwavel ( 733416 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:03PM (#11912180)
    As many of you have pointed out, this has little to do with the iPod.

    (But the iPod solution should be compared to a LiveCD - more like a LiveUSB key.)

    On the other hand, if IBM has created a Linux distro for managing and repairing Windows PC's then maybe it has some features that the other Linux distros (like Knoppix) don't have. For example, does it support captive for NTFS defragging and writing?

    Yes, I've tried BartPE. I find it's functionality to be quite limited.
  • Ultimate Boot CD (Score:5, Informative)

    by cjsnell ( 5825 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:05PM (#11912212) Journal
    If you're looking for a cheaper solution, check out the Ultimate Boot CD []. It has tools to test memory, CPUs, hard disks, and so much more.

    It's definitely something to keep handy and is much cheaper than an iPod.
  • Another day, another bunch "Knoppix is cheaper" posts without any thought.

    Hey, here's a question for you who aren't getting it: If you boot up from your Knoppix CD where do you plan on saving your data when you recover?

    In case you haven't figured it out, booting from a harddrive/iPod with rescue/live-OS gives you a place to restore your data.
    • by milesw ( 91604 )
      If you boot up from your Knoppix CD where do you plan on saving your data when you recover?

      1. Any USB/Firewire device
      2. Another internal hard drive
      3. Any other PC connected through virtually any connection (serial, parallel, cross-over cable, SSH, FTP, etc)
      4. Floppy!
      • 1. Any USB/Firewire device

        If you're going to do this, you might as well just boot of the USB/Firewire device.

        2. Another internal hard drive

        You don't know that every PC has 2 internal hard drives. Many outfits run cheap as possible.

        3. Any other PC connected through virtually any connection (serial, parallel, cross-over cable, SSH, FTP, etc)

        Hmm.. How about USB/Firewire?

        4. Floppy!

        Have fun with that one! :)
    • I guess this story [] didn't get duped enough.
  • Anybody know how this works? I've got a gen 4 iPod and it doesn't act like a normal USB storage device. On Windows PCs, the iPod doesn't show up as a drive unless iTunes has been installed. A little investigation shows iTunes is bundled with a driver for the iPod and installs an iPod service. I admit that I haven't actually tried to boot from the iPod, but I can't see how it would work. Does anyone know if the iPod mini is different in this respect and functions as a standard USB storage device?
    • Re:boot from iPod (Score:4, Informative)

      by zonker ( 1158 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:22PM (#11912446) Homepage Journal
      it depends a lot on what generation ipod you have. with older ipods you have to put the ipod itself into 'disk mode' for windows to see it as a drive. newer ipods (the mini included) this is no longer the case and they work out of the box as a normal usb storage device.

      not sure what is going on with your 4th gen (i have a 40g 4th gen and a 4g 1st gen mini), because any computer with firewire and/or usb should be able to read it as a hard drive without installing any software at all.

      many (most?) windows machines lack the firmware to be able to boot directly off a usb or firewire drive.
  • PCs that can boot from USB/1394 drives are still pretty rare.

    Once they become more common, this does have the advantages over a LiveCD such as Knoppix in the fact that it's somewhat more convenient to carry around with you at all times (many people already do so.) Note the comments that it doesn't interfere with the device's music capabilities at all.

    It's an obscene waste of money for someone who doesn't already have an iPod to buy it for these purposes, instead of just using a LiveCD. But if you alread
    • " PCs that can boot from USB/1394 drives are still pretty rare."

      This is flatly untrue. Pretty much any post-Pentium!!! motherboard will do it. Hell, I would bet most later-model Pentium!!! and Athlon (non-XP) boards could handle it, too.

      The "story" is hardly news, and the iPod angle is just more fanboy masturbation. A bus-powered drive makes far more sense than an iPod in any event - and I'm sure I saw someone selling one of those online.

      • I know for a fact that the Dell Inspiron 8200 does not support booting from USB/1394 devices, and it's a P4-era device, from midway through the P4 era.

        The Asus A7V8X (Still a current Asus product, and less than a year old.) also does not support USB boot. (Oddly, the A7V8X-X does support USB boot but doesn't support many of the other features that the A7V8X does.)

        In the situations where someone might want a bootable iPod to service many machines (i.e. corporate), there are likely to be PLENTY of P3-era m
  • it can run linux???

    seriously, why are we throwing such a fit about using the ipod as a cd replacement when if you read the summary, we can use the pinnacle of alphageekdom (sorry, couldnt help the made up word)(who has the largest thumbdrive if you couldnt guess). Most of us have thumbdrives to run this stuff from, quit complaining just becuase someone found that this works on the ipod, and realize that this could be more/less helpful than a slax or knoppix cd (pick spinoff as appropriate). Most of my li
  • How are they getting the machine to boot at the BIOS level? They usually do not recognize FireWire devices for purposes of rebooting, though I wish they would finally add that functionality!
  • on a first generation iPod. Ok, not this, we booted OS X ( 10.1, I think ) off of it. Still, it's funny that this is 'news', even though it's cool that IBM is giving IT admins a way to expense their iPods...
  • by The Wookie ( 31006 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:13PM (#11912322)
    Not to be outdone, Microsoft is reportedly working on a way to crash and iPod when Windows crashes.
  • I did this with my 6GB Archos Recorder, like, two years ago. More capacity, cheaper, and it recorded.

    Ha! Ha! Oh, Apple, you know I kid because I love you.

    But seriously, I did. One ancient laptop, a floppy, a busted CD-ROM drive, and an image of a Gentoo liveCD loaded onto my Archos. I used a Red Hat recovery floppy for the USB drivers, then mounted the image as a loopback device from the MP3 player and chrooted to it. I felt like a badass pulling that one off.
  • I think what everyone fails to realize is this...

    You can't WRITE to a LiveCD. I imagine you can write to the iPod while booting off it.

    It can be used for other things than rescuing a system due to the fact that you can write back to what you're booting off of.

  • You've managed to achieve an unprecedented level on confusion induction in a headline.

    I salute you.
  • by Anti Frozt ( 655515 ) <chris.buffett@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Friday March 11, 2005 @02:29PM (#11912562)

    "IBM has a yet unreleased iPod-based software for rescue, restore, and recovery of failed Windows PCs."

    So IBM has not unreleased this software. I know that delays are inevitable in development, but actually moving backwards through time. This puts Duke Nukem Forever to shame.

  • Bootable Live CDs with recovery tools - old news
    Pockets big enough to carry CDs - so seventies
    Titanium jewel case to protect the CD in your pocket - expensive, lumpy and painful

    Using your iPod to rescue a PC while still listing to your music in front of a drop jawed user. Now that's cool.
  • An iPod is an expensive external hard drive. Why not just use any of the numerous and cheaper models that are available. Some of them don't even need a PSU.
  • by theLOUDroom ( 556455 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @03:05PM (#11912993)
    "Should be noted this is not iPod specific; USB devices will do."

    Seems like five times a week we see some new story involving "ipods", that really isn't ipod-specfic at all. Does slashdot make a comission off every ipod sold or something?
    Otherwise, why be such blatant whores for apple?

    Here are some exampmles:
    1. ipod shuffle RAID [], so you can make an array of USB drives using ANY USB drive, and someone did it with an ipod. Big deal.
    2. Crank recharged ipod. [] Was anyone NOT aware that mechanical energy can be converted to electrical energy and that ipods are powered by electricity?
    3. Bootable linux on an ipod. [] Not the ipod actually RUNNING linux, just being used like any other mass storagte device. Not ipod specfic at all.

    If you have news about the ipod that's actually ipod-specfic, then fine, otherwise PLEASE STOP WHORING A SPECFIC BRAND NAME. THIS IS SLASHDOT, WE ARE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT A "MASS STORAGE DEVICE" IS.
  • The article just points to the home page. The Perm link to the Blog entry [] or tml
  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Friday March 11, 2005 @03:18PM (#11913141) Journal
    It was a windy day and I had a stack of papers that I wanted to sit down on the bench next to me....There were no rocks in site.

    I made an awesome discovery. It just hit me. I could use my iPod layed at just the right angle on top of those papers to keep them from blowing away.

    I had done it -- I had invented the first paper weight that could also play music. How did we all survive before iPods. This damn swiss army knife in my back pocket seems so useless now.

  • ... but I don't have a Knoppix CD clipped to my belt as I go about my day. I realize among Slashdotters, that might put me in the minority.

    My iPod, however, goes everywhere. This could prove to be a useful secondary function.

    Only catch is that, since the iPod lacks a "regular" USB out port, I'd need to have the iPod USB cable with me. That's still easier to carry around than a CD though. While CDs are nice and thin, they've got an awful lot of surface area and don't fit nicely into your pocket.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.