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Linux beats Windows to Intel iMac 537

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
Ctrl+Alt+De1337 writes "The Mactel-Linux folks have now successfully booted Linux on a 17" Core Duo iMac. They used the elilo bootloader, a modified kernel, and a hacked vesafb to boot from a USB drive. No GUI pictures for now, just white text on a black background. The distro of choice was Gentoo, and instructions and patches are promised this weekend."
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Linux beats Windows to Intel iMac

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  • Great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:17PM (#14736718)
    World's most expensive desktop linux machine
    • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by creimer (824291) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:30PM (#14736842) Homepage
      I thought that distinction belongs to Sun SPARC boxes running Linux.
    • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      World's most expensive desktop linux machine

      So... Linux can't run on anything that costs more than $1299 (LCD monitor included)?
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot@kadin.xoxy@net> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:52PM (#14737048) Homepage Journal
      World's most expensive desktop linux machine

      No, I think that dubious honor belongs to this: the IBM IntelliStation A Pro [ibm.com]. Take it home today, only $11,779.00.

      And that's for a dual-Opteron system with RHEL, it's not one of the big RISC-based AIX workstations. Granted, it does come with 8GB of RAM, Ultra320 SCSI, and a ridiculous display card (3DLabs Wildcat Realizm 800).

      Frankly though, I think the Mac looks cooler.
    • Windows on a mac? That's just expensive hardware. +5 Insightful [slashdot.org]

      Linux on a mac? That's just expensive hardware. -1 Troll [slashdot.org]
  • Oh boy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:17PM (#14736722) Homepage Journal
    White text on a black background; that sure beats that old OSX graphical interface.
    • Re:Oh boy! (Score:5, Funny)

      by DrEldarion (114072) * on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:19PM (#14736742)
      Yeah, but now you can actually play games on the mac!

      Oh, wait... never mind.

    • Re:Oh boy! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:20PM (#14736755) Homepage
      Yes, I agree, the OSX GUI is awesome, and why would you be excited that someone booted Linus onto a MAC and got a b/w screen!?!?!
      I can answer that- Because this is an important step into something we have all been interested in, i.e. whether or not we can boot something other than an apple os onto an intel mac...
      A thousand mile journey begins with a single step, and all that jazz...
      • Re:Oh boy! (Score:5, Informative)

        by caseih (160668) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:09PM (#14739302)
        Am I the only one who finds OS X's user interface to be just as inconsistant as any other current Linux desktop UI? Here's a number of my pet-peeves that seriously affect my efficiency in OS X:
        • Inconsistant PageUp/PageDown use. Some programs move the cursor, some just move the screen. Very annoying when only the page moves. Now if all aps standardized even on the annoying behavior at least we'd be consistant.
        • Home/End keys. If you understand the logic, it's not bad. Command-left_arrow and command-right_arrow do the trick. But if you go in and change your OS X keybindings to restore normal windows/linux home/end behavior, you only get very spotty coverage with some apps honoring the keybindings, some not.
        • Click to focus a window absorbs that click. But not always. Depends on the app. Really slows you down if you use dual-monitors and have lots of windows spread between them.
        • Scroll wheel can only affect a focused windows. This means you can't have your browser slightly underneath your program editor and scroll up and down through API docs without clicking away from the editor window. This one is pretty close to being a show-stopper for me. Combined with the previous problem with the focus these leads to some serious impedence of work. In essence the UI fails in this aspect because it doesn't get out of the way and let you work. Instead it is in your face.

        So I just laugh whenever people talk about one UI (be it Windows or Gnome or KDE or OS X) being so much more consistant and usable than any other UI.
        • Re:Oh boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Friday February 17, 2006 @03:03AM (#14740340) Homepage
          I've never noticed most of these (perhaps because I've been using Macs since, oh, '84), but these are interesting observations.

                  * Inconsistant PageUp/PageDown use. Some programs move the cursor, some just move the screen. Very annoying when only the page moves. Now if all aps standardized even on the annoying behavior at least we'd be consistant.

          How does the app know whether you just want to "look" a few pages up or down (and not lose the location where your cursor aka your current work position is), or actually "move" there? I personally hate when the cursor moves because there's no guarantee you know where it lands- and half the time I wanted to "remain where I was". But I'm a heavy mouser I guess.

                  * Home/End keys. If you understand the logic, it's not bad. Command-left_arrow and command-right_arrow do the trick. But if you go in and change your OS X keybindings to restore normal windows/linux home/end behavior, you only get very spotty coverage with some apps honoring the keybindings, some not.

          Might be a difference between Cocoa and Carbon apps. This is just a legacy Mac thing. Since I'm a legacy Mac guy though, I've never gotten used to using the home/end keys to begin with though ;) Command-arrows I've known forever.

                  * Click to focus a window absorbs that click. But not always. Depends on the app. Really slows you down if you use dual-monitors and have lots of windows spread between them.

          My habit that I guess makes this not bother me is that whenever I want to bring a window to the front I click in a "non-busy" part of it. Then it doesn't matter whether the click is absorbed or not, but yes, you would still have to click where you actually want to "go". I didn't know one extra click actually bothered people. though.

                  * Scroll wheel can only affect a focused windows. This means you can't have your browser slightly underneath your program editor and scroll up and down through API docs without clicking away from the editor window. This one is pretty close to being a show-stopper for me. Combined with the previous problem with the focus these leads to some serious impedence of work. In essence the UI fails in this aspect because it doesn't get out of the way and let you work. Instead it is in your face.

          I don't quite understand. If you arrange the windows in a non-overlapping way, it's an alt-tab to change the focus. Not very expensive to do alt-tab, roll wheel, alt-tab back. There is a UI convention that says that the frontmost window should receive all events.

          You know, I wanted focus follows mouse for a long time, but then I realized that if you had focus follows mouse, you'd never be able to choose anything in the menus, unless you dragged the window to the top of the screen first to make sure it was the topmost window on your way to the menubar. So not only would you have to have focus follows mouse, but also menus tied to individual apps instead of globally. Forget about it.
          • Re:Oh boy! (Score:4, Informative)

            by Walkiry (698192) on Friday February 17, 2006 @05:31AM (#14740767) Homepage
            I think you missed something important in your comments, and it's that most of the time it was the inconsistency of the behaviour in every point what annoyed the GP poster. Inconsistency is always an irritation, even if it's relatively small.

            Oh and one more thing:
            >You know, I wanted focus follows mouse for a long time, but then I realized that if you had
            >focus follows mouse, you'd never be able to choose anything in the menus

            You have found just another source of irritation for people who prefer to have independent menu bars for each app. And of course, mouse focus (although you've quite handily pointed out why we'll probably never see mouse focus for the Mac).
    • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04&highpoint,edu> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:23PM (#14736782)
      See, because the background is black, you can store the color in a single 8-bit register instead of taking up a whole 32-bit register and it saves so much space in the L1 cache that it makes the computer go so much faster. Also, from a usability standpoint, the console is much better because it doesn't have any of those confusing buttons or hard to install mouse drivers. Just type the command and it's been done before you know it; no more waiting for the GUI to load its fancy pictures.

      The worst thing is that I'm actually going to college with people that have that very same dinosaur mentality that I just spoofed. Then again, a little fancy ASM code in all of the C++ flying around really could speed things up, but I just have more of a preference towards ASM over higher level stuff.
      • Re:Saves memory (Score:3, Insightful)

        by heinousjay (683506)
        Then again, a little fancy ASM code in all of the C++ flying around really could speed things up

        Great, a micro optimizer in training. Just what the industry needed.
      • by Bob of Dole (453013) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:32PM (#14736860) Journal
        8 bits? Are you mad? If only we had that much ram to waste!
        Black on white. Two colors: ONE BIT DISPLAYS!
      • Re:Saves memory (Score:3, Insightful)

        by engagebot (941678)
        Yes, i know that mentality all too well. (I just graduated in CS last year)

        My friends and I jokingly called it the 'Shave with a Rock' mentality. "Electric shaver?! Ha! What are you, a chick? You're not hardcore unless you shave with a rock."

        Can you believe some of these guys would even scoff at using XCode of Visual Studio. I halfway expected to see 'GCC h4RDc0R' tattooed across their knuckles or something...
        • hardcore (Score:3, Funny)

          by Tumbleweed (3706) *
          "You're not hardcore unless you shave with a rock."

          Wuss. You're not hardcore unless you pluck the whiskers out individually ... with your fingers!
      • Re:Saves memory (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        And certainly there's no need for hammers anymore now that we have advanced robots that can build cars.

        A good tool is a good tool. I'd never use text-mode to browse the web (except for kicks). GUI is great for some things. CLI is great for other things. Sometimes a GUI is just too clunky, but sometimes a CLI is too confusing or difficult to get to work right. Use the right tool for the job. No need to be locked into one or the other.
      • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @06:37PM (#14737508) Homepage
        The worst thing is that I'm actually going to college with people that have that very same dinosaur mentality that I just spoofed.

        A friend I went to university was recently boasting about his latest hardware acquisition - a colossal Apple monitor (I'm pretty sure it was the 30in Cinema display) and an appropriately speedy graphics card for his PC to drive it.

        He uploaded a photo. He runs nothing but Xterms, tiled across the display thanks to some ultra-primitive window manager.

        I nearly flew across the Atlantic in order to beat him to death with my prehistoric gaming CRT...
    • by dch24 (904899)
      So... funny comments about black and white displays, eh?

      From Apple's website, 1002:71c5 *might* be the Radeon X1600. (This is the PCI vendor:device ID for the video chip.) An ATI Radeon X1800 is 1002:7109, but ATI doesn't always number their devices in any reasonable way.

      The ATI linux driver should support it ... let's wait 'til the weekend and see if they get the graphics driver working. Should be SWEET!

      (drums fingers impatiently...I'm at work)

  • by pxuongl (758399) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:18PM (#14736732)
    i wasn't aware there was a competition
  • I knew it was a matter of time, and knew Linux would run on it eventually. I know it's still premature, but I can't wait to buy an Intel PowerMac (or whatever name they give it...shiver) to run Linux and OS X on. I don't have any use for Windows, but would love to have my two favorite desktop OSs on one box.

    • You know that one has always been able to run linux on regular old macs for a good decade now yeah?

      I've recycled a bunch of old 'colourful' macs that are too crusty for OS/X into nice linux X-terminals and stuff.
    • It was a matter of very little time in fact. Linux supports the enhanced firmware loader used by MacOS X even now. Winhoze will not support it before Vista.

      Still, unless Intel made the mistake of leaving some of their PC handywork around this will not be enough.

      In order to run a mobile Pentium you have to aggressively control its frequency. Otherwise it will fry itself.

      The support for this in Linux is heavily dependant on ACPI. AFAIK the Intel Macs are supposed to have ACPI completely taken out and replaced
      • Re: It uses ACPI (Score:3, Informative)

        by dch24 (904899)
        I realize that EFI can replace ACPI, but it looks like they just took the easy route.

        I'm looking at the dmesg [nyud.net] listing, and it runs through EFI first...

        But then it identifies and runs through the standard ACPI listing. Processors identified, power states, the works.

        Not to say you aren't right about needing to throttle the processor, but Apple made it a little easier by using ACPI instead of reinventing the wheel...

  • Let's face it, OSX being BSD means theres already a bootloader for the Mactel that will handle Linux. Didn't take much to make the jump.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:20PM (#14736748)
    ...that the TPM is not "preventing" alternate OSes from booting, as some conspiracy theorists have begun to suggest.
    • All it proves is that *this particular implementation* doesn't prevent alternate OS's from booting. They could change it tomorrow if they felt like it.
      • Sure, they could change *anything* in a future product.

        But Apple knows it's important for people to be boot and develop with other OSes, such as Linux and BSD variants, Darwin, and so on. This is how it's been on Macs as long as they've existed.

        And since Trusted Computing is a direction the entire industry is moving, and since Apple has already made direct, explicit statements that they aren't doing anything to prevent any other OSes from booting, Apple is by no means unique here, with respect to TPM adopti
        • by afidel (530433) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:38PM (#14736935)
          Huh? The Mac's aren't early to using TPM. IBM laptops have had them for the last several years. In fact IBM said "Over 16 mllion IBM trusted clients have been shipped with Atmel TPM as of June 25, 2004"
          • *Sigh*

            They're the first mainstream consumer vendor doing it in the mainstream consumer marketplace.

            Just like 802.11, USB, DVD writers, 64-bit processors, an online music store and a whole laundry list of other services and technologies.

            You can argue Apple wasn't the "first" in any of these areas and be strictly correct.

            But they were the first to do it in a widespread fashion in the consumer marketplace with a broad scope.
            • Re:no it doesn't... (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Laur (673497)
              64-bit processors

              Doesn't anyone else find it ironic that they are back to 32 bits now? I haven't heard that fact mentioned by anyone else, and I remember how much they touted the fact that they were the first "64 bit desktop."

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:20PM (#14736749) Homepage Journal
    expect to see it in, oh, maybe five years.
    • vista [reference.com]
      n.

      1.
      1. A distant view or prospect , especially one seen through an opening, as between rows of buildings or trees.
      2. An avenue or other passage affording such a view.
      2. An awareness of a range of time, events, or subjects; a broad mental view: "the deep and sweeping vistas these pioneering critics opened up" (Arthur C. Danto).

      As a free bonus, may I present the fabulous Vista Cruiser! [texas442.com]

  • by Syberghost (10557) <.moc.tsohgrebys. .ta. .tsohgrebys.> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:20PM (#14736750) Homepage
    . The distro of choice was Gentoo, and instructions and patches are promised this weekend. ...when Gnome finishes compiling.
    • We prefer to call it "on demand application generation."
    • I love the Gentoo long compilation jokes. I'm a frequent Gentoo user, and it just goes to show the power of Gentoo. Sure, it may take a few days (quite literally) to compile your app. Or you could wait for a precompiled binary. When's that coming again? No one knows? Oh, I guess that means it could be never?

      Gentoo is not for everyone, I even find it frustrating occasionally, but my package management (or source management) has never been simpler.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:22PM (#14736772)
    The distro of choice was Gentoo, and instructions and patches are promised this weekend."


    I'm not even smart enough to get Gentoo booting off my PC! :(
  • Call CNN! (Score:5, Funny)

    by w0lver (755034) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:24PM (#14736791) Homepage
    Wow, Linux is more flexible and you can customize the installation routine! This is completely unexpected... In other breaking news, water still wet and gravity still in effect
  • by TomDLux (28486) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:25PM (#14736797)
    If you want to run freeBSD on an iMac, you don't have to do anything.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:27PM (#14736816)

    The answer is "because you can".

  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967)
    The cost involved with getting Windows to run on Mac hardware wouldn't be worth it to Microsoft. People who own Mac hardware already own OSX (or an older OS version if you're talking about old hardware). Additionally, most Mac users are pretty happy with their OS. Overall, the number of people who want to switch from OSX to Windows XP would be REALLY small. Microsoft would be much better off putting their money into development of other software.

    This title is pretty misleading. How about we apply the s
    • The cost involved with getting Windows to run on Mac hardware wouldn't be worth it to Microsoft.

      You've completely missed the point. Nowhere in the title or the article is Microsoft mentioned. Since you apparently have not been paying attention to Slashdot lately, with Apple's new firmware (an EFI implementation) and new, more standard, processors on new boxes - hackers have been rushing to get alternative OS's running on them. Most users are interested in dual booting Windows so that they can play games

    • But the number of people who'd like to be able to dual-boot to play games would be REALLY big. Please, think outside the Mac box you've put yourself in. Isn't that what you people are supposed to be good at?
  • does it brick it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by madnuke (948229) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:29PM (#14736832)
    I'm not bricking my new Mac trying to run linux, I just have a horrible image of waiting on the phone with Apples tech support and them going 'no its not under waranty'.
  • NetBSD? (Score:3, Funny)

    by CodePoet82 (177189) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#14736846) Homepage
    Okay, so it runs Linux now. But can it boot NetBSD yet? ;)
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by dch24 (904899) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:31PM (#14736848) Journal
    The link is to the coral cache [nyud.net] of the original page [xbox-linux.org]. Even that is slashdotted right now. Here's the article: (it's a Wiki)

    Main Page

    Mactel-Linux is the effort to adapt the GNU/Linux operating system to Intel-based Apple Macintosh hardware.

    This requires changes/additions to at least the following projects:

    • the elilo bootloader
    • the Linux kernel
    • several drivers

    This site is not about Linux distributions for Intel-Macs, but about developer communication.

    Status

    Using elilo and a modified Linux kernel, we can boot from a USB hard disk on the 17" iMac Core Duo. We are using the hacked vesafb driver to inherit the bootloader's framebuffer, keyboard and a USB network card work. Gentoo runs and can compile the Linux kernel with a compiler that runs on linux, which was compiled in linux, on a mac running the new intel duo processors.

    lspci
    00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS/940GML and 945GT Express Memory Controller Hub (rev 03)
    00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS/940GML and 945GT Express PCI Express Root Port (rev 03)
    00:07.0 Performance counters: Intel Corporation Unknown device 27a3 (rev 03)
    00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller (rev 02)
    00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02)
    00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02)
    00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #1 (rev 02)
    00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #2 (rev 02)
    00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #3 (rev 02)
    00:1d.3 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB UHCI #4 (rev 02)
    00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
    00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev e2)
    00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 02)
    00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller (rev 02)
    00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) Serial ATA Storage Controllers cc=AHCI (rev 02)
    00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 02)
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Unknown device 71c5
    02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 22)
    03:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4310 UART (rev 01)
    04:03.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Agere Systems FW323 (rev 61)

    dmesg click if you want to see it [nyud.net]

    Instructions and Patches

    Coming this weekend.

    FAQ

    Can I already run Linux on the iMac Core-Duo?

    Not quite. The kernel boots, and you can interact with the system on the command line, but that's as much as you can do with it at the moment. If you're a developer, though, that's a starting point.

    [edit]
    Why Linux? OS X is so great!

    Sure OS X is great. But this is fun.

    [edit]
    Why Linux? Why not Windows?

    Windows isn't fun.

    [edit]
    Why not OS X on non-Apple PCs?

    That's way uncool.

    [edit]
    The Intel-based Macs are standard PCs, aren't they?

    They share many characteristics with PCs, yes. Though, their firmware is EFI, not the old 1982 PC-BIOS.

    [edit]
    Then what took you so long??

    • "16 Feb 2006: Linux boots Linux boots on the 17" iMac Core Duo, due to gimli's work."

      Hey you Apple zealots out there, now THIS is proof that Mac OSX got dwarf'd out there!
  • by Ledsock (926049) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:35PM (#14736896)
    ...it was recently announced that Linux had been ported to run on a standard wrist watch. Developer John I. Ronman stated, "This is really only a tech demo. Currently, the display only shows 18:88:88, but we are confident that not only will this allow the watch to display the time, but it will be Open Source time!"
  • Opening Statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:36PM (#14736909) Homepage Journal
    It's sad that it's entirely possible that there's a Windows instance running on Intel Mac HW, somewhere behind closed Microsoft lab doors. OSS isn't just "open" when the source code is available for public download. The open project, the details of which are transparent and public, is another strong advantage. Particularly in the public relations arena, where the public claim is the prize, regardless of the real facts.
  • by myrdred (597891) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @05:36PM (#14736912)
    Of course, with Linux, comes Windows. In the form of emulating it using VMWare (which isn't supported on Mac OS X natively yet), and also with Wine (true, this isn't real Windows - but it satisfies people's needs to run some Windows programs).
  • by JustNiz (692889)
    why?

    It seems to me that the only good reason to pay those bloated prices for Apple hardware is that you get to run OS/X.
  • by chinton (151403) <`chinton001-slashdot' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @06:26PM (#14737398) Journal
    Someone better let Dvorak know... He may want to update his article: "Will Apple Adopt Windows^H^H^H^H^H^H^HLinux?"
  • by vga_init (589198) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @09:35PM (#14738754) Journal
    I told you so. [slashdot.org]
  • by RedBear (207369) <<redbear> <at> <redbearnet.com>> on Friday February 17, 2006 @08:13AM (#14741137) Homepage
    Am I the only one that is less excited about the Linux part than about the fact that the Intel Macs can apparently boot from USB drives? Up until now Macs have only been capable of booting from Firewire drives, something about the USB bus getting reset during the boot process. This means it will eventually be possible to carry around a single USB drive from which you can boot your choice of Windows, Linux or Mac OS X on any available computer hardware that supports booting from USB, whether it's a "PC" or a Mac. This is very cool.

    But maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to imagine having a drive with bootable partitions of Windows, Linux, "LinuxIntelMac", LinuxPPC, and Mac OS X, and being able to carry around my entire computing environment without carrying any computer hardware with me. Put it on a 2.5" notebook drive in a small USB 2.0/Firewire drive enclosure and it will fit in a shirt pocket. Notebook drives go up to 120GB and 7200rpm these days too, so it's not like it would be slow. Wherever you go, you're home. I've even seen some drive enclosures with integrated fingerprint readers. The whole disk is encrypted so you wouldn't have to worry about losing information if it's stolen. Keep an identical drive in a computer at home and you can probably even keep a backup of the entire multi-OS drive with something like dd.

    Someday I'm going to actually turn this from a pipe dream into a reality, just you wait.

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