[conspire] Utility to rescue formatted EXT3 partition & distribution choice?

David E. Fox dfox at m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com
Thu Mar 8 20:35:48 PST 2007

On Thu, 08 Mar 2007 18:57:50 -0800
Edmund Joseph Biow <biow at bigfoot.com> wrote:

> Hi folks,
> I'm looking for a utility to recover a formatted EXT3 partition. 
> Here's the gory details: I built a nice new box, AMD X2 5000 on an ECS
> Nvidia chipset board with a 400 GB SATA HD, a DVD burner, 2 GB of
> Kingston PC5300, onboard Geforce 6100 graphics, and a Antec Minuet 300
> case, about $490, plus tax.  Far and away the nicest machine I've ever

wow... I'd sure like something like that :) where did you go shopping?

I've been looking a bit at upgrading my box (an old Athlon, still has
*some* spunk though) but don't have a great deal of $$ to plunk down on
it. Maybe if I keep waiting - the prices will keep coming down, or I'll
get more bang for my buck. I do a fair amount of avi->mpeg encoding and
disk mastering, and for that stuff my box is a bit on the underpowered
side, but still manages to get the job done without falling over :).

Disclaimer: I know of no way to 'unformat' an ext3 partition, but I have
other comments :).

> I figured I'd dual boot 32 bit and 64 bit using the same home partition
> and user.  SIDUX-64 was blazingly fast scrolling through images on my

I've heard good things about sidux - I managed to d/l and test-drive the
latest release. It was fairly nice, actually. But I'm not in the
"amrket" for distro's right now.

> computer, with the NV driver, no less, and it rendered local directories
> with a lot of files (like /usr/bin) in record time.  But 64 bit has some

How is the 3D acceleration? Have you tested anything like beryl or
compiz (they are not on the sidux distribution CD, but Knoppix has
them.) I take it that all that comes with the installation CD is the
non-proprietary driver, and you might need the proprietary one. But
I've got a MGA, so I'll just stick with that for now -- although beryl
won't run (yet).

Sure, 64-bit does come with difficulties in some areas, but you can
either dual-boot, or use chroot. But with Xen being in the offing (as
well as kernel support for HW virtualization) one wonders why you
couldn't run a i386 program inside of an amd64 kernel (I suppose you
would just boot the other root partition as a virtual task). I don't
have the machine oomph to try something like that, though. (kqemu
works, but kinda slowly).

> 3. 3D desktop.  What the hey, I've got the muscle.  Not too picky
> between XGL, AIGLX, Beryl, etc.  Really, I just want the mouse
> scroll/keyboard zoom and translucency effects.

Knoppix (so far) is the only distro that I've been able to see firsthand
beryl work straight out of the box, and that was on a couple of laptops
and a mac mini -- all of which have an i810 chipset. Apart fromt that,
you can get some translucency effects using xfce4 as your desktop,
doesn't seem to require compiz. 

Correct em if I am wrong, but AFAICT, aiglx is something that is built 
in to X.org and only needs an option line to enable it -- and for me it
was something I had just stumbled on recently -- I was expecting another
piece of software (namely aiglx something) to have to be shoehorned in. 

> 4. At some point I'd like to play around with virtualization.  The AMD
> X2 apparently has some hardware virtualization support.  Wine is a pain
> and there are some Windows apps I like (curiously, generally NOT

Again, as far as I can tell - haven't done anything firsthand, yet:

1) use Xen, it's part of the kernel - you can install a xen-ified kernel

2) use the virtualization (kqemu) - accelerator is now GPLed. Kernel
support may exist here in more recent (2.6.20+) kernels, but correct me
if I am wrong, as I may be confusing 1 & 2

3) vmware or something similar

> commercial ones).  I don't care about using an unsupported version like
> 98SE, since it wouldn't be used for surfing, other than, say, CDDB
> access for Exact Audio Copy). 

Plenty of linux audio apps talk directly to cddb.

> I'm having some second thoughts about installing 64 bit anything. 
> Granted 64 bit is a great option if I were running some sort of database
> or serious web server.  And I was very impressed by how quick SIDUX-64

It's also (in my understanding) useful for video processing and related
apps, many of the stuff 3dnow/sse2/sse is being used for now to
accelerate that surt of thing. But in the 32-bit world you have to
figure out whether your target machine is going to support all, some or
simply none of that extra stuff -- at least with the amd64 you have a
uniform target (for instance, sometime ago I got what was purported to
be an athlon build of gimp -- turned out it had to be run on a later
rev of the athlon than mine (thunderbird vs. palomino or something);
hence, it segfaulted with an illegal instruction. With an amd64
platform, I wouldn't have to worry about such things. 

Theoretically, the amd64 seems to be an easier platform for optimization
(for one thing, there are a bunch more registers -- intels have been
long crippled by the availability of only eight, and realistically, 4,
maybe 6 registers that can be employed as "general" purpose registers).
Obviously, there is a lot more at stake than just the availability of
more registers.

It's true though that much of the speed increase is due to your new
whiz-bang hardware, but of course amplified with faster ram, bus,
probably much faster overall I/O throughput -- and of course, a faster
CPU. But you'd have to run some tests (benchmarks and all that, and we
know all how useful *those* are :) to get a feel as to just how much
the amd64 platform in and of itself contributes.

Of course, the applications would have to take advantage of the amd64
and I'm not sure how well they do that (i.e., just 'make' using amd64
gcc). On the other hand, I've read some anecdotal evidence that a good
optimized transcode on an amd64 yields frame rates that I can only dream
of ;).

> Also, at this point I'm also wondering about my choice of SIDUX.  I'd
> like to be somewhat closer to the cutting edge than Sarge (which
> periodically updates me to the latest revision of Firefox 1.0.4).  I

Agreed, although I wouldn't be one to pan Etch, even though it isn't
quite 'stable'. Although I haven't run Sidux more than a test-drive, I
have tried out Ubuntu Edgy Eft (on another borrowed box), but my
mainstay for at least the past year has been from a snapshot release of
debian Etch that I keep regularly updated.

> figured this isn't a great time to install Etch, since it is about to go
> stable in a couple of months.  At the beginning of the next release

So, I'd probably disagree with that statement. :) 

> cycle Etch will probably become much more like Alpha software, no?  I
> don't really want to experience major breakage every few weeks.  When

Actually, Etch becomes the 'stable', what currently is in sid (more or
less) becomes new 'testing' (name to be determined?) while sid continues
to break things :).

> Etch becomes the new Stable I wonder if I could pin my install to stable
> or would I still be in testing?   Sidux has too short a track record to

Depends how your sources are defined. If you track 'etch', you'll end up
with etch, in a stable state (at least theoretically). Once 'etch'
becomes stable, apt-get update semantically becoems the equivalent of
it on sarge systems now -- updating bug fixes. If your sources list
tracks 'testing', you always are using 'testing'. Caveat though if you
do that when Etch becoms stable - at least for a while (anyone else had
issues like that during transitions? they seem to come up now and again
on debian-user).

Etch (at least for me) h as proven quite robust over the long haul
(the real notable exception being the transition from xfree86 to
x.org, which didn't go *quite* like I wanted, and the up & down
nature of accelerated X support).

> SIDUX be very helpful to the overall community?  I worry that the
> fragmentation of Linux leads to a lot of duplication of effort.

This has also been a concern of mine. There are a lot of 'small'
distros (small in the number of users/developers, not in the sense
of 'small' footprint) that seemt to just coem and go, cause a flurry
of attention, and then they're gone. Many don't (unless they're a
fork of debian) have a clear upgrade path. The support is forum-based,
which is not strictly a negative thing; I prefer mailing lists to

Be that as it may, though. I have gone through several installs of
Linux, starting with SLS, then Slackware, Redhat, Mandrake/mandrive for
quite a while, then Mepis & eventually Debian). 

But IMHO much of the talent could be put to better use if it were
'pooled', rather than 'look here, I just made a new linux distro' :).

> Opensuse, Fedora & Mandriva are wonderful distributions, but I prefer
> apt to zen, yum & urpmi, so I'd rather stay with a deb based distro. 

I prefer apt as well (and to think I was at one point a very satisfied
urpmi user). Actually, the use of the tools are not the primary reason
I use debian. To me, the project has a better infrastructure than some
of the other distros out there, and in some cases the tools *are*

David E. Fox                              Thanks for letting me
dfox at tsoft.com                            change magnetic patterns
dfox at m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com               on your hard disk.

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