Diary (pre-August)

July 27th, 2001

I have received some very interesting patches, one of which will wean Mindi off the /dev/loop devices. I am evaluating BearShare as a way to test-drive new music for free. No news is good news. I am not releasing a new version of Mondo (or Mindi) for another week or so, just in case something comes up. I also want to learn more about ncurses-type interface. I would like to make Mondo's 'restore' interface prettier.

July 25th, 2001

If you are running a Lin/Win system, your restored Windows partition with very little free disk space. If you run Scandisk after rebooting into Windows, that will fix the problem.

Good news: I have backed up my non-RAID system and restored with my /usr partition as RAID-5 (XFS disk format). It worked, too.

July 22nd, 2001

Mondo is behaving perfectly. I've just backed up, vaped and restored my RAID-based dual-boot Lin/Win system (for the 5th time this week) and I haven't lost any data at all. I am a happy bunny.

(4 hours later) OK, I've done it (backup/wipe/restore) again. Everything went splendidly. The thing is, either Mondo does its job or it doesn't: the trick is to make it do its job 99.9% of the time. If it doesn't work on your distro, I want to know about it.

Here's something cute. I've just been told by a French user that "Mondo" sounds like the French for my back ("mon dos", with a silent S). So, Mondo is a pun in Italian and a homophone in French. I just wish it would be reliable in Debian...

July 19th, 2001

Mondo supports software RAID. I have backed up my system in non-RAID, fabricated /etc/raidtab, restored to RAID, backed up again and restored again. Everything worked fine (after I fixed a lot of bugs).

July 17th, 2001

I am close to offering RAID support in Mindi/Mondo. Things are going very nicely... and surprisingly quickly. I am waiting for a problem or drawback that never comes. Mondo might even support RAID by the end of July.

July 16th, 2001

Mondo v1.05 and Mindi v0.31 are out today. Again, I fixed some silly bugs. Feedback would be appreciated. This release includes DoJ's devfs patch.

July 15th, 2001

Mondo v1.04 and Mindi v0.30 are out today. I fixed some silly bugs. Oh, and stop press - DoJ has submitted a very cool patch to make Mindi work with devfs-only kernels/distros. I'll look at that this week.

I think my CD writer has been overheating. Anyway, Mondo v1.03 and Mindi v0.29 are behaving well. I have backed up and nuke-restored my system twice without any problems. Well, there was that one Out Of Memory error reported by the kernel, which struck me as odd because the computer has 256MB of RAM. Be that as it may, the new releases look good to me. If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear them. Now I need to test these releases on other distributions...

Debian has been a boil on my butt since the first time I tried to use it. It doesn't like Mindi, it doesn't like Mondo and it refuses to play nicely with either. It generates bizarre errors that do not occur on any other distros. It doesn't even come with gawk, for God's sake, not even a shortcut to awk, so goodness knows what else is wrong. If the Debian team spent less time acting all superior over their .deb packaging format and more time making their distro a little more accommodating to applications written by mere mortals like me, they would be a lot more popular... and so would their distro.

July 14th, 2001

The new releases - Mondo v1.03 and Mindi v0.29 - include a lot of minor bugfixes. Mondo now has a new interface to the restore engine. In fact, I ported almost all of the restore-side code to C. I have found the new program - 'mondo-restore' - to be fast and reliable. However, if you have any problems, the old scripts (prep-me, restore-me, etc.) will be on the ramdisk at restore-time if you need them.

I have been getting a lot of feedback from users, which is helpful and gratifying. I am trying not to be grumpy when users report bugs. :-) However, please bear in mind that there are a dozen mainstream Linux distros and over a hundred (deservedly) lesser-known ones. If you want to help me chase these fireflies, your help would be most welcome.

Finally, a cautionary tale. Either my CD writer malfunctioned or the CDRW disk became damaged. Either way, I was unable to restore my system from the most recent backup: there was a bad sector on the CDRW disk, I think, which caused one of the tarballs to be irretrievable. So, I restored from an older backup and downloaded the changed files from the Web (the changed files being Mondo and Mindi *g*). So, folks, do run that Compare Mode cycle, just to be sure your backup is good.

July 12th, 2001

Mondo-rescue.c, my replacement for Mondo's restore-time scripts, is coming along nicely. It is stable, informative, much more attractive than the old "Let's vomit our progress onto the screen and hope the user is a speed-reader" presentation format. I hope to release something next week.

Yes, the "Support for GRUB" line in July 9th's notes was indeed a typo.

July 9th, 2001

I have ported the Nuke Mode restore-side scripts to C, rolled them into a single program and given said program an 'ncurses' interface. It looks good. I'm still testing it and I shan't release it until it is definitely stable, and even then, I will keep the old scripts around just in case the executable goes nuts at the moment of truth.

The new interface is very basic: no colors, no fancy boxes, just a checklist with "percentage done" next to each. It has worked well in tests. Eventually, I want to write something a bit like 'Disk Druid' so that the user can prep, format, mount and restore interactively (and selectively). This is the beginning.

July 7th, 2001

Mondo v1.02 and Mindi v0.28 include some minor bugfixes - minor unless you're the person who experienced the fatal error, anyway.

This weekend, I shall be testing Mondo and Mindi on different Linux distributions. Mondo and Mindi appear to be stable; now is the time for me to test them to within an inch of their life (as we say in England).

July 5th, 2001

I have just backed up and restored my system using Mondo v1.01 and Mindi v0.27; everything ran smoothly. Soon, I shall look at adding RAID and LVM support to Mondo. At the moment, I am concentrating on making Mondo as stable as I possibly can, especially at restore-time (when "Syntax error" is the last thing you want to see). I also want to add support for GRUB.

July 4th, 2001

Okay, this has been a long night. A silly bug turned up in Mindi v0.25 yesterday and I have been rewriting Mindi to formulate its boot/data disks in a more reliable fashion. I have also been backing up and restoring my system again and again (using Mondo), just to make sure it behaves itself in a mission-critical situation. It is mission-critical because I only have one hard drive, which means if Mondo eats my data then I am screwed. You are reading this; therefore, Mondo works, even on Lin/Win systems.

I am intensively testing it, just to make absolutely sure there are no sneaky bugs hiding in the restore scripts (i.e. Mindi) or in the backup program (Mondo). However, there are no showstoppers left. Enjoy!

June 30th, 2001

My sincere thanks go to Maciej Kulasa, Bruno Cornec, Jeroen van Pelt and everyone else that stuck by Mondo (and me) through the last few months. My personal life has been unpleasant at best. I am now getting divorced. However, (a) my wife and I are still friends, and (b) I am now in a position to resume Mondo's development.

v0.99 is out and has been for some time. Thanks to Bruno, Maciej and others, the project has not petered out. Now that I am back, I can fix some bugs and release v1.00.

March 16th, 2001

Well, tomorrow will be my last day at Ingram, so I am making the most of it by releasing a new version of Mondo. Please try v0.981 and v0.99, to see which behaves better on your system. If you have any problems, please e-mail the mailing list with a detailed bug report. Tell me which distro of Linux you're using, which kernel, the exact command with which you called Mondo (e.g. mondo --bkpath / --exclude-paths yak yak yak) and the last 20 or 30 lines of your /var/log/mondo-archive.log; or, if the problem is with the restore side, describe what you see on the screen as best you can. The more information you give me, the better equipped I am to help you.

If you are using CD-RW disks, or you are creating multi-CD backup sets, your feedback would be particularly welcome.

March 12th, 2001

v0.99 is nearly ready. The latest kernel (2.4.2) is broken and will not run Mondo properly. However, v2.4.1 is OK.

A member of NLUG (www.nlug.org), the Nashville Linux User Group, has alerted me to their existence. I've been living near Nashville for almost two years and yet somehow I managed to remain oblivious to the existence of NLUG. Sucks to be me. Oh well, now that I know they exist, I am looking forward to attending. See, my head has been stuck so far up my INS that I've not been getting out much. :-)

March 9th, 2001

v0.981 is being re-rolled. (/proc wasn't being excluded from backup.) A new tarball and a super-duper RPM should be available soon.

v0.99, Bruno Cornec's 2.4-compatible version of Mondo, looks great and will soon be released. I'm asking Maciej Kulasa to make sure his restore script-related bugfixes are present in v0.99. If they are, the release is good to go.

March 7th, 2001

My wife was in surgery yesterday. She's fine, she's at home, she's dosed up with painkillers and I'm keeping a close eye on her. She'll be back at work on Monday. This has nothing to do with Mondo: I just wanted to share. :-) I love her very much and I wouldn't be the man I am today without her.

OK, on a Mondo-related note - v0.981 is out. Art Wells has done some sterling work re-rolling the tarball. He also added 'dd', which was missing for some reason. (My bad.)

More good news - Bruno Cornec has been working to make Mondo compatible with the Linux 2.4-series kernel. He is also looking at making it RAID-compatible.

February 23rd, 2001

Art Wells has re-rolled the tarball for me. I'm releasing v0.98: it's basically the same as v0.977 with some cosmetic changes. It still says "v0.977" in some places but Art & I will fix that before Monday, with a bit of luck.

February 20th, 2001

I'm thinking of releasing v1.0 soon. It will be almost identical to v0.977. The thing is, no-one has reported a serious bug in Mondo for many months, so I am thinking that perhaps I should declare v1.0 in order to get people's attention. Think about it: what is v1.0? It is the first stable, feature-rich version of a program. Mondo has been stable and feature-rich for months, with no reports of data loss.

February 19th, 2001

To the thugs dissing Mondo, y'all better stop hating on my boo or I'll get heavy with my nine. I'm 'bout it and I ain't afeared of cocking my gat and spraying you. See you at the crossroads. (Did I mention my pants are 3 sizes too big?)

OK, so no news is good news.

Febuary 12th, 2001

Angelfire took down Mondo's tn2/hugo web site. Weird. I've set up a new site athttp://www.angelfire.com/tn2/mondo; let's see what happens.

February 9th, 2001

Mondo v0.977 is out. It is a bug-fixing release. Special thanks are due to Maciej Kulasa and Petre Scheie for their bugfixes. Also, my wife's 1991 Ford Probe is back from the shop after nearly two months in & out of there. Neill Sandler Body Shop, Murfreesboro, TN has charming management but breathtakingly inept technicians.

February 7th, 2001

If you boil a frog slowly enough in a pot of water, it doesn't notice the change in temperature and will die without a struggle. Voters are the same way, I think. The last thirty years have seen significant legal and social progress towards equal rights for women, homosexuals and people of color. It would be a pity if the new President saw fit to undo some of that progress.

I never understood the Democrat/Republican thing anyway. In England, I was considered right-wing because:-

However, in America I am considered left-wing because:-

And what's with this Electoral College thing? They say that if we abolish it then Presidential candidates won't bother campaigning anywhere but California and Florida. So what? I hope the candidates don't campaign at all; I hope that, instead, they stay home and publish their views in their respective puppet newspapers so that I know where they stand and therefore who I should vote for. However, if I'm wrong and people do in fact vote for a familiar face rather than a good heart, God help us...

The only rational attitude I have found is to regard the American left- and right-wing ideologies as economic in basis, and that anything else is done to win votes. The Democrats get the black vote because most people think the Republican party is racist. The Republicans get the Christian vote because most people think the Democrats are a bunch of godless pedants. (I wonder who black Christians vote for? Maybe they don't...)

February 6th, 2001

Mondo v0.977 is about to be released. Maciej Kulasa has built a new hboot.img file (the floppy disk image) with some important bugfixes. Outstanding! This will be incorporated in a new RPM/tarball release shortly.

The bad news is I can't ftp-upload or telnet from this PC: the firewall is just too strict. Sheesh. I guess I had better not try using Nmap then...

February 1st, 2001

Ever since I got to this country, people have been trying to screw me (in business, not in my personal life; I mention that in case my wife reads this). Two car repair companies, my first employer and now my local karate club have tried to screw me. To be fair, the club's sensei had no idea his credit people were doing what they were doing: they had kept it from him, for some strange reason.

I have no doubt that most Americans and therefore most American businesses are charming, honest and respectable. However, I do have to wonder if "Please fsck with me!" is written on my forehead in an ink which only rednecks can read.

January 30th, 2001

I'm ba-ack! Lots of bugfixes to roll into the next release. I want to do something with 2.4 because it allows for a variable-size ramdisk, specified at boot-time. That would mean 2.4 users could use their own kernel, modules, tools, etc. when creating Mondo's boot disks. It could even open the door to a multi-floppy mini-distro based on the user's own system.

I'm very excited to be 'back on the case'. Anyone who wants to participate, would you please join the mailing list.

September 1st, 2000

I am releasing v0.976 (alpha) early. I can't test it, so I'm hoping some brave souls will do it for me. Ain't I a lazy bum? :-) Check it out & send me your feedback, please.

This new release uses only 25-30MB of each CD for overheads, compared to 60-70MB previously. It should support ReiserFS. It won't support GRUB yet: I need some intrepid GRUB users to help me. It has a few minor bugfixes, too.

I have no clue if it'll work for Windows... but if it does, the requisite ISO (without archives - you know, 'mondo-archive --no-bkpath') would be small enough to be put on the web site. That way, non-Linux users could still backup their Windows PCs. Neat, eh?