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grml, the No-Frills Linux Rescue CD--USB - page 2

Serious Tools for Serious Admins

  • November 16, 2010
  • By Joe Brockmeier

When running grml in VMware I noticed that it defaulted to a much higher resolution than my laptop screen could accommodate. If you want to change the resolution, you can use the xrandr utility, like so: xrandr -s 1440x900. Change the resolution to suit your taste, of course.

If you really love grml and want to run it full-time on a system, the grml2hd script or grml2hd-utils will help you get grml onto a system. Here's another tip: grml can work as a Debian install disk. Use the grml-debootstrap script, which will help get standard Debian installed on the machine.

If you try out grml, be sure to poke through the FAQ, even if you don't have any burning questions. You'll learn a lot about what grml can do and some of its capabilities might surprise you. I'm sure some folks use grml full-time as their main distro, but my experience with grml is that it makes for a very good live CD to have handy when I just need to boot a system with a minimal GUI, and have a good set of admin utilities handy.

Upcoming Release

The most recent stable release of grml came out in April. Daily builds based on Debian Squeeze and Debian Sid are available, but not necessarily usable. When sitting down to work on this I started with a Sid build, and then a Squeeze build. For some reason, neither release would recognize a keyboard when booted on the test laptop I was using. That was a bit of a show-stopper. The stable release, however, worked just fine.

The last few releases of grml have come roughly six months apart, so a new release should be imminent. But don't wait — it's not a distribution that requires the latest and greatest to be useful.

grml is not for everybody, but it's handy to have around as a rescue CD, or as a set of portable admin tools when you're on the road. For example, if you happen to be heading home for the holidays and want to be able to repurpose (or fix) the family computer rather than carrying your laptop.

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