Finnix 89.1 Released

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 89.1 for the x86/AMD64, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.

Finnix 89.1 is a maintenance and bugfix release. Base system has been dist-upgraded to Debian's 2007-04-03, the day etch was marked stable. "testcd" boot option has been fixed on the PowerPC platform. The ipcalc package has been added, and the finnix-3ware-install package has been upgraded to 9.4.1. ssh-agent is now started at boot-time, and is shared among all VTs.

Finnix 89.0 Released

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 89.0 for the x86 (and now AMD64), PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.

Finnix 89.0 features Linux 2.6.18, a new "finnix64" AMD64 boot profile, netboot support with a built-in netboot setup wizard, MD RAID and LUKS crypt autodetection.

AMD64 support

An AMD64 kernel is now included on the Finnix x86 CD. To use this kernel on an AMD64/EM64T machine, type "finnix64" at the boot prompt. While the Finnix userland is still 32-bit, using an AMD64 kernel on a supported platform yields several advantages:

  • More than 4GB memory can be utilized natively.
  • Statically-compiled AMD64 applications can be executed.
  • You can chroot into native 64-bit AMD64 filesystems.

This addition gives a total of 6 supported kernel environments: x86, AMD64, PowerPC, PPC64, User Mode Linux, and Xen.

Netboot support

Finnix can now be booted via a network. A NFS server export is set up with the Finnix files in it, and the kernel and initrd are served to the user via TFTP. The Finnix CD contains a utility called finnix-netboot-server, which allows one Finnix instance to serve as a NFS/TFTP server for a Finnix netboot instance.

RAID/LUKS autodetection

Previous Finnix installations would detect and automatically set up LVM volumes. Finnix 89.0 goes two steps further with autodetection for md-based software RAID arrays, and LUKS-based dm-crypt encrypted partitions. Software RAID arrays are set up automatically if all array parts are found, while LUKS partitions are set up if the user types in a valid decryption password for each partition.

Finnix 88.0 Released

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 88.0 for the x86, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.

Finnix 88.0 features Linux 2.6.17, a faster, more complete hardware autodetection routine, DMA mode enabled by default, Broadcom 43xx support, a DOS boot profile, and NTFS write support. Linux 2.6.17's new bcm43xx driver has been tested successfully on both G4 PowerBooks and x86 laptops with Broadcom cards, even with optional wpa_supplicant. FreeDOS ODIN, a 1.44MB image containing many DOS utilities may be booted by typing "dos" at the boot menu. The NTFS FUSE package, while present in Finnix 87.0, has been heavily tested, and seems to work rather well. Instead of mounting the normal way, simply type "ntfsmount /dev/hda1 /mnt/ntfsmount" to use the FUSE functionality.

P.S. Many thanks to the Oregon State University Open Source Lab for providing primary Finnix release mirroring, after still-unresolved problems with SourceForge's mirroring system. Thanks OSL!

P.P.S. This announcement is being made a day early, as I'm not confident I'll have internet access tomorrow evening, and I'd rather release a day early than a day late.

apt-get Broken in 87.0

A rather nasty bug in unionfs for 2.6.16 has made installing via apt-get impossible. However, there is a workaround. You must move /var/lib/apt and /var/cache/apt to /tmp and reconfigure apt to use these new directories. A script has been released that makes this easier. Simply do:

# sh <(curl http://www.finnix.org/files/scripts/apt-get-unionfs-workaround)

This requires about 15MB of memory available, and should be done before an apt-get update, otherwise it will take up another 15MB of memory.

Let this be a lesson never to use CVS development snapshots (unionfs 1.1.3 does not compile against 2.6.16), despite the maintainers assuring that it's "stable".

Finnix 87.0 Released

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 87.0 for the x86, PowerPC, UML/Xen, and iPod platforms.

Finnix 87.0 contains new features, including Linux kernel 2.6.16, full automatic LVM detection, console mouse support, SMP support for the PowerPC release, dynamic filesystem overlays, improved IDE DMA support, and a utility to assist with creating a bootable USB thumb drive with Finnix. Finnix can now also be installed on the popular iPod hardware, for a total of 5 platforms Finnix can be run on, though this new platform is still considered experimental.

Home page: http://www.finnix.org/
SourceForge page: http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/finnix/
Download: http://www.finnix.org/Download
Release notes: http://www.finnix.org/Finnix_87.0_Release_Notes
Finnix for iPod: http://www.finnix.org/Finnix_for_iPod

New content on Finnix CDs in the store

In order to justify using a 700MB CDR to burn a 100MB distro (and possibly the $6 price tag), Finnix CDs bought through the store now include over 300MB of extra content not included with the downloadable version. This includes all packages needed to install Debian "sarge" via debootstrap, as well as stage 1, 2 and 3 Gentoo tarballs. Now you can effectively install either Debian or Gentoo without ever going out to the Internet.

Two small updates: finnix-scripts, finnix-3ware-install

A typo has been found in the finnix-hwsubmit program (included in finnix-scripts) that prevents the output of "lspci -vvn" from being included with the report. If you use finnix-hwsubmit (and if not, why aren't you?), you will want to do an "apt-get update" and "apt-get install finnix-scripts" before submitting.

Additionally, a small package called finnix-3ware-install has been released. At work, we have a great number of machines with 3ware SATA RAID controllers in them, and using the 3ware CLI management program (tw_cli) can be handy. Unfortunately, the CLI is binary-only and closed-source[0x01], so it cannot be directly distributed with Finnix. Instead, I have created a script (that comes in the finnix-3ware-install package) that shows you the 3ware EULA, then downloads and installs it automatically. If you want to use this package, "apt-get update", then "apt-get install finnix-3ware-install". Enjoy!

[0x01] Why? 3ware's drivers are GPL, and the 3ware developers work with the kernel.org people so the drivers included with vanilla Linux kernels are usually identical to the version that 3ware distributes itself. However, the array management tools are closed-source.

Finnix 86.2 Released

Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of version 86.2 for the x86, PowerPC, and UML/Xen platforms.

Finnix 86.2 contains several new features, including Linux kernel 2.6.15, improved hardware detection (using data from Fedora Core 4), improved reliability when booting from USB CDROM and thumb devices, and an expanded general-purpose task utility, aptly named "finnix". In addition, Finnix may now be installed and run directly from a hard drive. The ISO size has also been reduced, from 100MiB to 92MiB on the x86 platform, without any loss of functionality.

Home page
SourceForge page
Download: x86, PowerPC
Release notes

New website, remaster guide, upcoming release

To celebrate the new year, a new website has been launched. This site uses MediaWiki, and includes all content from the previous site. Since it is a wiki, if you have any info to add, just go ahead and edit!

In addition, a remaster guide has been posted. This guide shows you how to quickly edit Finnix to suit your needs.

"Hey, it's been over a month without a release! Are you going to take another 5 year vacation!" No, 86.2 is coming along well. All of my desired changes have been completed, I'm just waiting for Linux 2.6.15 to go gold. The 2.6.15-rc builds are working out very well, so a Finnix release will probably be made right after 2.6.15 is released.

New Finnix website: http://www.finnix.org/
Finnix Remaster Guide: http://www.finnix.org/Remastering_Finnix