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Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 16 Sep 2020, 18:34
by yogi
I was undecided about posting this because it's not a major issue. But, considering we lost a couple thread responses, it might be just as well to start anew.

As I am wont to do when I get bored, and find an interesting article on Twitter, I'll dive into a new version of Linux OS that has something appealing to my interests in it. Today's OS of choice is Linux Parrot. My attention was brought to this version of Linux by a review somebody gave regarding rolling releases. I'm unimpressed one way or the other with rolling updates because most of my time on a Linux OS is for evaluation and not to do anything productive. I would like to find a default Linux OS, but no such thing has crossed my desktop so far. I thought Ubuntu might be it, but they have taken off in a weird direction that is neither Linux nor Windows. I'm not sure what they are up to but I've decided Mint is the only reliable distribution of Linux out there. Mageia has a lot of good stuff too for fans of Fedora. Then there is Parrot.
  • LInux Parrot comes in several flavors:
    Parrot Home MATE ISO (default)
    Parrot Home KDE ISO
    Parrot Home OVA
    Parrot Security OVA
    Parrot Security MATE ISO (default)
    Parrot Security KDE ISO
    and, Parrot Docker Containers
The cool thing about this list, albeit not obvious from its name, is that one of those is designed specifically for virtual machines. While that was interesting I wanted to check out the version designed for penetration testing to see how it stands up against the Kali Linux I've been evaluating. So, I made a wild guess and downloaded the Parrot Security MATE version. Good guess, because it has all the things I was looking for and then some.

The Parrot I selected is a bit more than 3Gb in size, which is about double most of the Linux OS"s I've been looking at lately. This is due to the dozens upon dozens of extra utility programs installed as part of the network penetration testing suite. The download site isn't big and busy as are the more popular distro's would be so that it took around half an hour to download all those gigs. I tried different mirror sites too and they all were pretty slow. In any case, the sha256 checksum was perfect and I proceeded to make a Linux On A Stick installation on a spare 64Gb flash memory stick I had laying around. I did this using the tried and true virtual box method because I had no idea how well behaved the EFI part of this OS was going to be. The install went flawlessly in spite of the installer not looking like the Ubiquity installer most other Debian clones like to use. There was no ambiguity about what was going to happen and I liked that.

Booting my new Linux on a Stick didn't go as I expected. Normally I'd plug the USB stick into the laptop and boot from a cold start. Grub would appear and we'd go on from there. Not so with Parrot. Booting defaulted to Windows every time indicating to me that Parrot was doing something nobody else was doing during boot time. I tried using the Windows bootloader manager; pressing SHIFT while clicking Restart. The manager came up and the boot partition on the stick was an option. I chose that but it went back to Windows yet again. That told me that whatever Parrot put into the ESP partition was nothing Windows knew how to deal with. I think I know why but have yet to prove it. There is a default boot directory path in the ESP for external booting. It's the equivalent to Grub but goes by the name shimx64.efi. The UEFI standard says this is what is to be used to boot removable devices, but they don't say precisely what code to put in there. So, Parrot, like so many others, decided to put it's own version of Grub there and of course it's not recognized.

Undaunted, I had one other boot option to try. I installed rEFInd on the laptop as well as the desktop. It's the default for the desktop because I've become, well, pissed off with Grub. rEFInd allows you to see every bootable kernel on the system and not just the ones in the ESP boot directory. That means you can bypass EFI booting and load up the kernel directly from the installed system /boot directory. I can't tell you how many times that flexibility has saved me from destroying my desktop environment. That's why I put it on the laptop too but it is not the default boot manager on that machine. Since I'm doing beta testing for Microsoft I stick with their boot manager just to be safe. rEFInd found the Parrot kernel and allowed me to boot just like downtown.

The MATE desktop looks exactly like ... the MATE desktop. Nice but plain. Normally when I install Linux from an ISO there are some things missing and which I consider essential. Gparted is one example. For some unknown reason Gparted is on just about every bootable ISO but does not appear in the final installed system. I know why it's on the ISO but how difficult is it to install on the real system? Well, Parrot already had Gparted, and Bleachbit, and synaptic, and the nVidia drivers I typically put in place post install. This is really very thoughtful of Parrot.

You would think I'd be happy about all this but I was greatly disappointed when I looked for Gparted and found only its installation script. OK, so I'll install it using the Parrot supplied script. Nope. Didn't work. The script started, and actually downloaded Gparted from the repository. But no-go for the actual installation. After a few failed attempts I called on Google, my friend. It turns out I'm not the only one to have problems installing Gparted into Parrot OS. The script is broken right out of the box, so the self-proclaimed expert said. The solution is to download Gparted from it's website and do a manual install. Well yeah, but, but, but it's a tar ball. Who uses tar balls these days? So, it was time to learn about the Parrot archive manager and how to unpack Gparted. The only thing that was extracted was a script used to do the actual installation. It's a shell script and you got to now how to run those things, which I did so that there was no problem. It unzipped just fine and worked peachy. I also discovered that this version of Gparted can run stand alone or it can be registered as part of the OS. It works fine either way. If you don't register it, then it can be run from any directory you please which makes it very portable. I liked that a lot, but decided to learn how to register packages and integrate them into the OS. It's very simple if you know what the command line is.

I did the usual dist-upgrade and cleaned up the temp files and now have Parrot on a Stick working just like a pro. It still needs rEFInd to boot, but that's a minor problem. Irritating, but minor. I have yet to check out any of the forensic or pen testing routines. I have no idea what to do with most of them, but they are there if I should happen to learn. LOL

One other very interesting aspect of Parrot Linux is that it does not use ext4 file systems. It uses Btrfs instead. I've looked around and tried to get some info on Btrfs but there isn't much written about it. It's considered unstable, but is the wave of things to come. I guess it's like UEFI was about a dozen years ago. You can do things with Btrfs that can't be done with any journaling file system such as NTFS or ext3 or ext4. Sub-partitions seems to be the big advantage, but I have no idea why I would want a sub-PARTITION. I guess if I were running RAID I'd know why, but I'm not. About the only obvious difference in Btrfs is the terminal command line. There is more than the usual machine name prompt. It spells out what directory you are in and that tends to be confusing when you actually dive down into sub-directories. The home directory is at the top of the list instead of the bottom as it has been all my computer life. Well, they say this will be standard at some point in the future. Possibly, but right now it's an oddity and not very useful to me. But, I can say I now have experience with Btrfs. LOL

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 17 Sep 2020, 16:01
by Kellemora

I'll touch on Btrfs first, since I've looked into it, due to all the many hard drives I use.
Btrfs is designed around using multiple SSD drives, and multiple normal hard drives.
On a single computer system it is slower than ext4, but has other benefits, especially for enterprise grade systems.
As you said, it will get more polished as time goes on, because in the very near future, such a file system will become necessary. Some of the things I have read about on the downside was it is still not fully perfected, and underlying partition schemes are still quite faulty. Ext4 is still the best way to add sub-partitions for now.

Since I like my Debian, and have very little play time to try out anything else. I'll just stick with Debian. I do have Linux Mint also on most of my machines, and on one machine I only have Linux Mint 19.3 with it's constant updates. Every day there is one or more updates to install. I guess it really wasn't ready to be released, and now they are pushing Linux Mint 20. I still have Debian 8 on one machine, which is probably expired, but it still works like the day it was installed.

You more or less compared NTFS with Ext3 and Ext4 in your comment.
NTFS is nothing at all like any other file system. It is more like a long daisy chain, where files just keep getting added to the end of the chain, including changes to earlier files, and the changes added to the end of the chain. It's actually not a very good way of setting up a file system, and why it needs defragged to pull all the files back together in one piece again. The only thing it has going for it these days is that any Windows computer can read an NTFS drive. This is also one reason why Linux folks run backups onto an NTFS drive.

We were talking about the ZFS file system a while back, and although it died back in 2009, Sun came out with a new ZFS file system that topped the old one Apple one hands down. But ReFS seems to have them beat already. Not that we will ever see those used in home systems, hi hi.
What is interesting to note is almost all comparisons of file systems are usually compared to Ext4.
As fast as technology is changing, especially since the advent of SSD and its improvements. I don't doubt we are going to see some totally new file system designed for super high speed devices after SSD becomes considered too slow, hi hi.

Google has their own file system, GFS I think they call it. But there is another GFS file system out there also, but I forget who makes it now.

Then I get confused on the new File-Striping systems that are not RAID. I assume they work like RAID but without the RAID hardware. And they are supposed to be transportable as well, but I have no idea how. The big thing about these new File-Striping systems is they supposedly cannot lose data. Especially if half of the storage system is in a separate location, all of the data could be recovered if an entire building blew up or burned down.
One article I read last month which was posted on-line said you didn't have to run backups, as the data could be spread across 2, 3 or 4 separate physical locations. Such as home, office, a cloud package, or host server package. One could lose two or three physical locations and not lose their data. An interesting article, but it didn't say how it was done.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 17 Sep 2020, 18:21
by yogi
I didn't dig into Parrot Linux because it was Btrfs, but it is interesting to learn that ext4 is not the cat's meow people think it is. At least that's the impression I get from the cursory explanation of Btrfs I read. The comparison of NTFS to ext4 comes from their common approach to file structure, i.e., journaling. I've read that term a few times in the past but never got an explanation of exactly what it means. The Btrfs guys claim journaling is prone to data loss and not very good at error correction. It has to do with putting the file changes into a journal before they get written out to memory. Btrfs solves that problem with it's copy-to-write approach. Well, they never explained what that is either so I don't know what to tell you about the advantages.

The need for a new file system is a lot like the need to get off MBR booting and switch to EFI. The old MBR way is fabulous but no longer is able to keep up with bigger storage capacities, among other things. The journaling approach to file systems has the same problem in that there are limits to the amount of memory it can handle. As you point out, us home users never would need to use that much memory, but they are not making computers for us old guys anymore. The future of computing is in The Cloud. That dependency on cloud systems is increasing at an exponential rate and the old way of doing things is becoming deprecated. It's not all about SSD's, but size and speed does matter. Btrfs meets the expected needs of the future which is why there is a lot of talk about it. RAID and fail safe data retention are big issues in the cloud. It's not possible to make conventional backups of what is up there so that always-up systems have become a necessity. Thus the problems with journaling are rearing their ugly heads at breakneck speeds.

My first encounter with Btrf was back several months ago when I was doing all that research into EFI boot. I recall reading an article from a guy who had a particular solution I needed. He went into great depth to explain how to implement what he was talking about, but he used Btrfs on his computer and was not sure any of the solution he offered would work on ext4 or elsewhere. That made me wonder why people bothered with Btrfs, but now I think I know why. It is the future of file systems.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 18 Sep 2020, 19:21
by Kellemora
The only thing about Journaling I learned the hard way.
When you are working on a large document and hit save, it goes into RAM space first so you can get on with your work, and from that RAM space it writes the file to the hard drive. That's all and good unless the power goes out and what is in RAM is lost. I thought I lucked out when I had saved a long book I was doing editing on, and thought it was saved in the nick of time, but then I learned it wasn't yet written to the disk, and the power going out during a write corrupted the entire file. Thankfully I did have it backed up. I've learned to run a backup each time I finish a project. But the bad thing about that too is, if the file is corrupted, if you save it to backup, the corrupted file overwrites the good file. This is why I've always kept redundant copies of everything.

I'm starting to wonder just how safe storing stuff in the cloud is. After all it really is nothing more than a file server somewhere, and it may use File-Striping, but it is usually all in one building or on one floor of a building.
Smaller cloud storage companies lease space from larger companies, and if they don't pay their lease, the users data is wiped from the system after a specific time frame.
I know people who had all of their photo albums on PhotoBucket, and when they suddenly decided to charge like 400 bucks to use their service, many couldn't afford that. Most did get their pictures back again when they restarted at more reasonable rates, but some of those who had humongous files found theirs were wiped from the system.
That's also one reason I never put much on DropBox. I use my free space for exchanging files with some folks, and keep backups of everything I put on there. The way their system worked was also very confusing to me. I worried if I removed a shared folder, it would remove it for other people. No way of telling who created the original folder. Plus in some cases, like with my publisher, they had a folder with several people in it, and I think some of it used up some of my space, so I began deleting the folders of those I was not working with. I don't think they disappeared from the publishers, but then when he said he put something up for me, I don't have the folder he said it was in, so then he has to send me a share request, which often means with the person who actually owns the folder. Very convoluted if you ask me.

I don't think it much matters what file systems are out there. Whatever is on Windows computers is what everyone will have to kowtow to. Maybe not in the back room of large companies. But even the biggest of companies running UNIX still all have Windows computers on the floor. Albeit, most are just used as dumb terminals, hi hi.

That's one thing I've still not figured out how they do it. Like when I tried Edubuntu. The computer serving up Edubuntu needed at least 4 gigs of memory per user, and the machine could only hold 32 gigs of memory. So how could it handle a whole classroom of two dozen computers.
Looking back at our Wang VS system, we had 8 dumb terminals, although only a couple of them were used heavily. When we sold the system to Tradin' Times newspaper, they had something like 18 dumb terminals. And I know that old Wang VS system didn't have much memory.
However, I do think each of the dumb terminals did download the program for the purpose of that terminal.
I say that because if I was out in the greenhouse office, and wanted to check something that had to do with account receivable, I had to wait for the accounting module to download so I could check the main computer for the info I wanted. At least I could do anything from any computer, but the first time it took forever to load, then after that, fast access. However, if it was on a terminal not normal for that program, it would unload that program after about 15 minutes of not being used. Also, from the main computer you could set which terminals started with what programs.
And come to think of it, the route drivers computer was designed so it could not load any unauthorized program from that terminal. So I guess we did have some security features back then.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 19 Sep 2020, 00:52
by yogi
Anything intended for mass storage gets there via a buffer. RAM would be a convenient and fast way to buffer data destined for a hard drive. I don't know if that is the "journaling" being referred to because buffering is more of a hardware necessity than it is a file system requirement. This Ol' Windows 7 desktop has what ASUS calls RAM disk installed. RAM is not supposed to be permanent, but I never lose what is in there no matter how many times I recycle the power. Obviously they are writing it out to disk for safe keeping, but the working instance is resident in RAM. That gives it all the benefits of speed associated with reading RAM.

My RAM disk scenario might be part of an explanation of why a whole classroom full of computers can be run off a 32 gig machine. Only what is active is run on the server. The rest is stored locally on what you call the terminal. Game servers work like that too and they have millions of people playing simultaneously.

The attraction to cloud computing is the ease of maintenance. Any changes in software need to be made only once, on the server, but each client attached to the cloud will see that change. Thus an IT department with 24 technicians required to update a corporate computer network can be cut down to maybe 3 technicians. The cost saving is tremendous. Universal access is also a big deal when you operate a business. No transactions are stored on a laptop or mobile device when it's connected to the cloud. In fact many of those devices don't even have a hard drive. Thus you can go anywhere in the world and use any computer to access your cloud. That convenience is what most people like.

Shared file servers such ad Drop Box are, how can I put it nicely ... toys. There are security issues galore intrinsic to such setups and the so called free space you get really isn't free. They make life difficult on purpose so that you would upgrade to a real file sharing version. I'm not too upset about the way they do permissions. I've been dealing with Linux long enough to know how convoluted things can be when everybody and their cousin can put there hands on the source code and modify it.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 19 Sep 2020, 15:16
by Kellemora
The only thing I know for certain, on my machine, the I/O Buffer uses a specific area of RAM. And if I put up the RAM monitor in the panel bar, when I'm saving a large file, it loads up, then slowly unloads as the data is transferred to the disk.
When I copy a whole large folder, I will see the RAM use go up, back down a bit, then back up again, until the transfer is complete. And if I'm doing some RAM intensive stuff, the transfer slows way down and uses less of its RAM storage space.

I do remember back in the early days of computer we made heavy use of RAM disk programs. I'm sorta thinking this is like a Swap File as used in Linux. When there is not enough RAM to do something, it saves some things to the Swap File.

I really never used DropBox until I worked with an editing group at one of our writers guilds. We used it as a place to put stuff up to edit, and another folder to put it in when it was done. Then they started adding new folders for each user, plus a notifications folder, since there was no way of telling if work was available or not, or what was finished. I don't think it was a very good system for what we were doing.
Then a member came along who set up website with a work board and an index which was also connected to the work board. After that, we rarely used DropBox except to transfer larger files back and forth that e-mail don't like, hi hi.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 19 Sep 2020, 17:37
by yogi
Collaboration seems to be a big thing these days. There is a huge need for access to a common space that everyone can add their part to. Cloud servers are a natural mechanism to accomplish such things, but it's usually too technical to do without a GUI front end. That's where all those file sharing services make their pitch. It's all in the cloud, somewhere, but the thing that makes it seem unique is the interface software.

Your observations of RAM activity is pretty much how things work. That's one reason why more RAM is better. The buffering is the secret. When there is no more room in RAM for a particular task, the program does not just stop working. It stores what does not fit into RAM in a dedicated memory space called a page file. I guess this is similar in purpose to swap, but nothing like it from a technical perspective. Swap has usually been a separate partition somewhere on the network. Lately I've seen a few Linux distros abandon that partition in lieu of making a swap file on the system disk. I've used both and can't say I noticed any difference in performance. The data bus speed between RAM and the CPU is about as fast as anything can get on the motherboard. When you transfer data to partitions or other hardware devices the lag would be noticeable. I use my RAM disk primarily for downloading and installing files. It saves wear and tear on the SSD, but the performance is also noticeably better doing it that way.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 20 Sep 2020, 14:45
by Kellemora
I learned something today about how games like Farm Town maintain all the data for 3 million players without backups.
And it is not what I thought either, that the same data was stored on multiple servers, it is but not in the way you think.
All of their server nodes are connected of course, but they are using blockchain technology. Each users group of farms are an encrypted block of data. But Slashkey maintains both their key and each users key themselves, and keeps a copy on your computers as well. You can basically use any computer you want, and if it has no key, your log-in to their game servers copies you data to a new block and gives it a new temporary key. Handy for folks who use public computers like at libraries. The blockchain is not publicly shared as in BitCoin, and maintained only on all the Slashkey servers located around the world. Interesting but sounds more complicated than cloud storage. They say it is virtually hackproof, and your block contains every change you made since you started your very first farm. Also interesting, the files must be humongous then, even though they are just numeric and text data files.

I started opening 50 tabs of the same game, but not the whole game, which would cause Flash to Crash, hi hi.
When a window is not in focus, it only loads the basic user data, and does not load the farm data until you bring it into focus. However, with 50 tabs open, and sometimes 16 of them loading farms while I'm working on a couple of others, I noticed my Swap File is coming into play now, where before it never did.
I know Flash is coming to an end. But I also leaned it opens only like 6 instances, and as I close tabs, I may end up closing all six instances causing it to lock up. A simple reload of the farms I'm working on fixes that.
The reason I'm fairly certain that it may work that way, is because for each six farms I open, if I always save the first one of each group of six, and only close the other five, after I have six other running, Flash will never lock up on me.
Although I have no idea how Flash works under the hood, figuring that out has saved me from reloading after I have closed the first 36 tabs I have opened. Just more tidbits I picked up while playing that game.

I'm also learning about SSD's and their different technologies. Don't know much yet other than there are different types, and some are better than others. Next I'm looking at Enterprise SSD drives, more out of curiosity because they are super expensive.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 20 Sep 2020, 17:19
by yogi
We were talking about "journaling" file systems earlier. That's what Blockchain is as far as I understand it. The main distinction in blockchain is that the journal never changes. Once an entry is made it stays that way forever. This is an important distinction when dealing with things like Bitcoin, but I don't understand enough about it to see how it would be advantageous to MMO game players. Gamers use a game server with that blockchain structure hidden in there somewhere. Like yourself I don't know the details, but it might be interesting to do the research.

SSD's do come in various flavors which is simply different architecture of the switching transistors and the logic they use. Exactly why one method is better than another remains an unknown. Some may have higher r/w cycle counts but I think the price one pays for that is speed. Let me know if you find out anything interesting.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 21 Sep 2020, 13:35
by Kellemora
Keeping every single transaction forever makes it sound like that file will grow to be humongous really fast.
But then so do accounting records as far as that goes, since they log every change and addition.

The way I understood it, there was no central storage facility. It uses everyone's computer that is a member of like BitCoin for example. This way you have access to your wallet wherever you are and at any time.
I did try mining BitCoins for about 4 years and never made enough money to cover the electric my computers were using. I think I was up around 30 bucks when I decided to cash in and close my wallet. It also seemed nobody took BitCoins yet which was another reason I closed my wallet.

I used one old computer like Glenn did for Boinc. But I stopped that at the time I moved down south here. I lost whatever points I had earned, although I don't know what I would have done with them anyhow.

I read a little bit more on the Enterprise SSD drives. Some of the older never used drives still sell for around 300 bucks. But it looks like all the good ones are 500 bucks and up.
I'm sure home user quality is much cheaper.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 21 Sep 2020, 15:27
by yogi
It looks like blockchain is becoming popular in other places than mining BitCoin. A couple people approached me about investing but I never knew enough about it to make a commitment. The stock market is shady enough for me. LOL

I left Motorola before SSD's became readily available and thus have no experience with corporate versions of them. I didn't know there was such a thing until you mentioned it. The one's I've purchased are all from a single company and about 500GB in size. That is where the prices were still reasonable. I'm guessing that I can get 2 TB now for the price I paid for 500 gigs, but I have yet to find a use for anything that large. I don't do a lot of streaming here. I've been cautioned about the durability of SSD's but I haven't found one that failed me yet. Well, I take that back. There is a USB memory stick that I had to trash a while back, but that was only one out of a couple dozen. Reading data is not a problem for SSD. I have written lots and lots of TB to the SSD's I use and no signs of early failure are evident. I'd say I am an average user of memory in spite of some of the technical things I do. On average I'd say I find a need to replace a hard driver every 3-4 years. Apparently SSD's can do that, and more.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 22 Sep 2020, 15:24
by Kellemora
Ironically, I still have nearly every HD I've ever owned, including the early Large Format drives, of course they don't hold enough to bother with them.
As you know, I gleaned all the data off of most of my old IDE drives and compared the data to what I have on the file server, but still have four 250 gig drives to get to yet, although I know there won't be anything I don't already have on them.
Rather than toss those old drives, I've been using them for redundant back now, mainly of some very old Windows stuff I don't want to get rid of, but doesn't make sense to keep on the file server anymore, old programs that won't run on newer computers, not even in Wine on version 3.11 option, hi hi.

I assume an SD card will almost last forever if you don't keep writing to it. All the data on my OLD PDA, and on my OLD Garmin still reads OK, and both of those are Ancient now.
I did have a MINI SD card go bad on me. It was like the size they used in early cell phones, and to read it you had to take it out of the phone, put it in a larger SD carrier, then stick it in the slot on the computer. I got rid of that phone years ago and left the MINI SD card in the carrier and used it to move data from one computer to another. Usually data I wanted on the accounting computer that was not hooked up to the LAN. But ever since that went south, I started using an old 200 gig external drive to move things to that computer. Now I just plug it into the LAN long enough to copy the info from the file server.

I think I mentioned once eons ago that of the Fonts I Purchased to make them legal to use in my books and for commercial work, all of those are on 5-1/4 floppies. I kept each one, along with the License for them together in a storage box. Plus I had a copy of each of those on CDs and on my HDs.
It's a good thing I kept them too!
A few months back I got a official looking letter from an attorney, it was more of a warning than a threat.
It simply said "My client recognized one of their proprietary fonts being used on one of your products." They didn't name which product, but I figured out it must have meant the booklet that goes with the product. The letter went on to tell me how to apply for commercial use license for the font.
So I dug through my file box of 5-1/4 floppies and dug out my license, got the serial number for it, made a scan of the license, the 5-1/4 floppy, a blown up copy of the serial number area, and sent them a reply letter. I've not heard back from them since. They probably don't keep data that old on things they sold, hi hi.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 22 Sep 2020, 18:45
by yogi
At Motorola audits were made periodically to review the software installed on all the computers. A valid license had to be retained for each installation. This was not difficult to do from an IT perspective, albeit time consuming. However, people tend to install their own software on top of the images provided by corporate. If the user could not show a license, the software had to be removed. You can't believe how pissed people get when they are forced to remove illegal software from their machines. Engineers were the worst offenders but a lot of it was just due to carelessness and not doing anything illegal. In some cases the company could have been fined $50,000 per instance of illegal copy of software. While we audited the employees, I don't think the company itself was ever formally checked. Microsoft had its own ways of telling what we were doing, but we bought so much from them that they would tend to overlook a lot of things.

Being in business requires a lot of paperwork, or disk files, in order to stay legal. You did the right thing by saving all those fonts and hard copies of the licenses to go with them. It might have been a good idea to find a way to migrate off that old storage media and onto something more modern.

Tomorrow will mark 53 years of being married to the same person. As of this moment we don't have any special plans and will probably have left overs for dinner. LOL We got a box of frozen pizza today from the girls. It's not just any pizza. It's from one of the better known places in Chicago that we used to frequent when we wanted to sample some of the best pizza in the city. It must have cost more to ship it than was the price of the pizza because it came in a thick Styrofoam box with two inches of hot ice lining the bottom. If it wasn't over night shipping, it certainly had to be one day which is about as expensive as it gets. Got to love them girls for thinking of us. Who knows when we'll ever be able to go back to Chicago for a visit and eat at the real restaurant.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 23 Sep 2020, 15:43
by Kellemora
Motorola sounds like one of the places I used to work part-time in the mid-80s.
Several of the order takers put games on their computers, how I don't know since they were basically dumb terminals. Unless perhaps they loaded them on the mainframe.
They would bring up the game in between phone calls, and just hit escape of the phone rang to get back to the order taking screen.
After I was working their perhaps six month, although I had no access to the computers. Some big wigs were there reading the riot act to the manager, we could hear them clear back in the department I worked in.
We couldn't understand exactly what was being said, but after that day, all the workstation computers were wiped clean, and the company program reloaded on each. No one could install anything on any of the computers after that. But all was not lost, the company then provided about 24 different games they could pull up on the workstations, and ironically they worked the same, just hit the escape key to get back to the order taking screen, hi hi.

You would not believe the number of forms, paperwork, licenses, and permits are required to run a business.
Plus all the various accounting items that are not actually accounting we must have immediate access to.
And this is above our Corporate Paperwork, Operating Agreement, Required Monthly and Annual Meeting Reports, etc.
I still keep one of my company registration forms from 1972 handy, since I still use that company name for some things.
I am missing a couple of important papers from the 1981 to 1982 era that may have been lost in the floods.

WOW - Congratulations, and I wish you and yours a very happy 53rd Anniversary.

I sent my cousin The Duker a Watermelon while he was stationed in Alaska.
It was a good thing my family was in the horticultural business, because I had a few contacts I needed to obtain a permit and get inspections to ship that watermelon to him. If we didn't know those contacts it would never have happened, legally anyhow. It was as very large and heavy watermelon, and it had to be wrapped with several layers of Kraft paper, and glue type brown Kraft tape almost covering all the wrappings like a mummy, then it was set in an excelsior layer with excelsior packed all around it as tight as we could get it. The carton box had a wood frame added to it which increased the weight even more, and then another carton material over the wood framing.
Once all that was done, there were like 6 different inspection stickers we had to put on the box, and three different papers in sleeves for examination.
It arrived in perfect shape, and The Duker talked about it for many years.

I scared the bejesus out of him one time while he was flying SAC.
Nobody is supposed to know where he is or what he's doing.
But I had an old aunt who still worked for the Red Cross, and she knew there was a way for me to contact him, without my knowing where he was.
It took her nearly a week to get it all set up for me.
She gave me a long distance phone number to call, and what phrase to tell the person who answered, and that I would have to wait on hold possibly for a long time.
The phone number she gave me was to phone near the outside gate of a hangar at some military base somewhere.
When the person answered, I read the phrase I was told to read, then said I needed to speak to the pilot of plane number such n such that should have landed a few minutes ago. Without that phrase I had to give the guy, it would never have happened, because he asked me to repeat it to him twice while he checked something.
The Duker said he was notified there was a personal phone call in the hanger for him before he was ready to get off the plane. He knew perhaps his mom or dad died, as that is the only way he would have received a personal call while on duty. When he heard my voice he was already starting to choke up. I caught this and said, No Problems Duker, I'm just calling to say hi and wish you a belated happy birthday. This was the first I could get through to you.
He was totally amazed I was able to track him down, much less get to talk to him at all.
So that was something else we all talked about for years and years. I told him our aunt is who made it possible.

We still talk every year sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, regardless of where he was or what he was doing.
Even when he was flying Commander One, and piloting a chopper over in Desert Storm. Never missed connecting yet.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 23 Sep 2020, 19:47
by yogi
There are ways to lock down a full function computer so that it resembles a dumb terminal. At least I know it can be done in Windows and on Apple computers while I worked at Motorola. We didn't disable the production machines so that it was possible to load anything you wanted onto them. Of course you had to know how to do that which was our most powerful defense. Most factory people had no clue. Now and days it's easy to hijack a computer if it allows booting from a USB device. The kids at your local library have shown you how easy it is. We gave the engineers at Motorola a lot of latitude because they worked in a high stress situation; or so that is the theory behind it. Motorola even went so far as to make a game room for the development people, equipped with air hockey, pinball, and gaming computers. It was an amazing place to work back then.

Your ability to send watermelons to your military cousin just proves one thing. It's not what you know, but who you know that gets things done. Old aunties have all the right connections. :lol:

When my best buddy was serving time with the Army in Viet Nam all I had for contact information was an APO. That worked amazingly well in fact. We sent him cookies and they arrived in tact, mostly. The secret to success is in the packing. I sent cookies to a civilian friend of mine in England several years back. They made it through the boat ride, customs, and the postal service with only minor injuries. Crumpled up newsprint turned out to be the best protection for delicate cookies. You need at least six inches of the stuff on all sides, but it does work very well.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 24 Sep 2020, 15:41
by Kellemora
The way you describe Motorola, it almost sounds like when I worked for MRTC (Mississippi River Transmission Corporation).
They piped natural gas from the Landa fields in Waskom and Woodlawn up to St. Louis.
In the engineering building where I worked, we had a lot of amenities, a room beside the free cafeteria had a small game room with pinball machines, video games, and tables to play table games, usually poker, hi hi.
But then over in the main building they had a super fancy restaurant, also free, BUT we had to pay at least a 35 cent tip to the wait staff, most of us left 50 cents, but they were paid normal wages already, only a dollar less per hour than we draftsmen made, hi hi. Many were secretaries and steno pool workers who worked their lunch break as wait staff too.
Now over in that building, down one floor from the main floor, they had a full gym, and next to that was a room with pool tables, and at the very far end was a narrow but long swimming pool for swimming laps, but it was only open to the execs I think.
The few times we had to work overtime, the company required we take a one hour dinner break, of which we were on the clock, plus they paid for our dinner as well. There was a list with about 5 or 6 fancy restaurants we could also go to eat and show them our badge to cover the bill, but not the tips, of which we had to tip a minimum of 4 dollars per person if we chose to eat at those places. Most of us didn't, we liked this little hole in the wall place which was more like a quiet diner.
The company changed drastically within six months after I left their employ.
I was sad to leave, but after seeing how they changed, I'm really glad I did.

Yes, sending produce across state lines is bad enough, but having to pass through Canada on the way to Alaska presented many problems. One thing I was glad of was the package was not opened for inspection while en route. That was the first thing my cousin told me the next time we talked. So I assume everything they get shipped in does get opened for inspection. He only sent me a few letters, and greeting cards, and all but one greeting card came in a new government envelope with the original envelope inside, opened. He didn't seal the one greeting card, so they probably opened it saw what was in it, the sealed it themselves and saved an official envelope and postage, hi hi.
Only one of his letters had a black line covering a couple words, but I could still make out what those words were without a problem. I saw no reason why they were blacked out either. I knew what base he was at, and what plane he flew, hi hi.
My mom had all the letters she received from my dad when he was overseas during WWII. But they had a secret code they used so he could let her know where she was. Although at the time, all those names which are common today made no sense to her, such as Okinawa, Iwo Jima, etc. Now, try to write a meaningful sentence where the second letter of every other word in that sentence used the letters in Okinawa in order, hi hi. Their key for which sentence contained his location was a sentence starting with the letter D, but not the first word in the sentence, so it was words 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.
Every letter he sent to her was in a cover envelope added by the government also. Messages got to her much faster if he used simple post cards, of which she had stacks of those also. These were not picture post cards, just the plain post cards almost completely covered with writing. If dad wrote on the front of the postcard, and did so upside down, if you read the second letter of each word that started on the maroon divider line, and then checked the word below it, and the word below that, it told her something that could be said in only one or two words. Only mom knew what those words meant and she never did tell us, so it must have been something private to her alone.

Although I was not in the service for very long, and since I was on a secret project, only a letter from mom about once a month actually came through. At first is was moved between different bases, so only a couple caught up with me. It wasn't until they shut down our project and sent us home that I started getting every piece of mail mom, dad, or my brother sent, and then I was told is was still not all of them they had sent. My brother said he sent me a keychain and fob of which I never received. Mom sent me a pair of nice leather fur lined gloves when I was at Ft. Leonard Wood, and I never got those until I was back home, I sure could have used them too. Crazy thing about when I did get them, they were inside of five different government envelopes, each one addressed to a base I was at. But none to the SDS where I was stationed last.

When cousin Duker was in Japan, I sent him four packets of shoe inner soles. He never got them, but did get the empty envelope, hi hi.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 24 Sep 2020, 19:03
by yogi
I'm not surprised at all by the security and inspections military mail must endure. As far as I could tell my buddy in Viet Nam got every piece of mail I sent, including the cookies, and I got every piece he sent back. It might have taken a month to reach its destination, but the mail did go through. I think Nam was a different case than WW II in that they were doing things to keep up the morale of the soldiers in Viet Nam. As you know it was not a popular war, not that any war is, and there was a lot of protesting going on. So, the mail did get through and I don't recall seeing any redactions or getting something inside a second envelope. Now that I think about it, my buddy told me exactly what he was doing and probably told me where he was exactly too. I recall he was in FDC (fire direction control) which was a bunker behind the big guns sending coordinates to the guys up front aiming the guns. He assured us he was nowhere near where all the front line action was, but it was Viet Nam. Anything could have happened.

When I first started with Motorola it was definitely a family run business. Got my mom a job there simply because she was my mom and they liked what I was doing. That became totally illegal after some years. Most of what Motorola did was not for consumer sales. They had a total lock on the communications equipment for many big cities and they had a lot of political backing because some of the senators and representatives for Illinois were real life neighbors of the owner. Their first big entry into the consumer products business was in fact televisions. They did a great job engineering but had failed miserably against the competition. They had to sell the company to Quasar just to cut the losses. By the time cell phones came along the potential for competition was enormous. The original founders and his son had all passed on so that now the grandson of the founder was running the company. It was commonly thought that he was clueless but had good advisors. Those advisors are the people who urged him to emphasize employee comfort as a means of increasing productivity. It worked well for many years and Motorola was in the top ten companies to work for according to Forbes for several years. But, then, eventually the boss's kid showed his incompetence. The company took a nose dive and the investors were pissed. They sold off the cellular business which is why I had to leave the company. Either that or learn to speak Chinese. LOL Actually Spanish would have been better. My job ended up in Mexico from what I understood.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 25 Sep 2020, 15:42
by Kellemora
From working at McDonnell-Douglass Aircraft and having a Black Level NASA Security Clearance to do work on the Space Capsule. I do think this was one of criteria that got me sent to a Secret Test Installation. Possibly why I was bounced around to different military divisions in order to get there too. I thought it might have had something to do with pull dad once had, but he said he had nothing to do with where they moved me or why. I knew he had tons of higher up friends.
The government loves to be verbose to help add confusion to everything.
This is basically what my final assignment looked like.
United States Special Forces.
Tier 2 Grey Special Operations.
5th Special Forces Group.
US Army Command.
Marine Amphibious Unit.
Low Intensity Conflict.
Special Operations MAU (SOC).
Project Delta (SEC). (SEC is Surface Effect Craft)
SDS Facility (SDS stood for Seven Devils Swamp).
Phoenix Program LCAC support for Sigma and Omega Initiatives.

All that mumbo jumbo above simply named where I was, but not what they or I did.
We were testing submersible hovercraft, and almost all of the designs were total failures.
But my main job was as a pilot. The type of craft I was assigned a PAC-V SK5, I piloted Unit #3.
Other than testing the submersibles at the SDS facility, I hauled a few of them on the PAC-V.
We were in a Hospital ship that sat just over the horizon out of view of Nam.
The back of the ship opened and we would run over to a beach on Nam, take the submersibles to collect injured solders and bring them back to the PAC-V, once the submersibles were back on board, we would head back to the hospital ship.
I also had to pilot one of the submersibles to pick up injured soldiers on the cliff side of the beach.
During my second trip to Nam, on the way back to the hospital ship, we took a mortar shell to the rear deck.
No one was injured but it meant if we made it back to the ship, it wouldn't be going out again until it went back home for repairs. Heck, with all the things on that ship, I think we could have repaired it well enough ourselves to make a few more trips. But we did have 3 more on the ship to make the runs.
I think I mentioned once before that the back of the ship opened up and we could sail out into the ocean and back in again like pulling into a marina dock, hi hi.

One of my cousins worked for a small family owned aluminum casting company.
Their first big break, if you want to call it that, was the son of the owner got a contract from an automotive transmission manufacturer to produce aluminum transmission casings. In order to do this they had to beg borrow and steal as much money as they could get to retool their existing factory and start building a new larger facility.
They managed to do that and grow rapidly, adding all kinds of amenities for the growing number of employees.
Thereafter they started getting contracts for helicopter components from a government supplier, until the government began coming straight to them. But once they got the government contracts themselves, everything changed drastically.
All the amenities disappeared overnight, and many employees kept leaving. The government began telling them how to do things, which was against former company principles. That's about the time my cousin left their employ.
Within the year, the company changed names and built yet another factory somewhere way out west. Once it was completed they closed down their St. Louis facilities. Or perhaps Couples Company bought their facility.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 25 Sep 2020, 16:22
by yogi
It's apparent from your story that you were one of those invisible heroes during the Nam war. We all can appreciate what you did to save the lives of our soldiers, but the soldiers themselves and whose life you saved really owe you a debt of gratitude. Whatever else you accomplished in your busy life can't possible match the the contribution you made to the lives of those wounded soldiers. I know, it was just another days work for you, but you have something very special to be proud about.

The demise of the original Motorola cell phone business was likely due mostly to the family ties of the CEO at the time. The original company was established out in the boon docks near where the family farm was. If I recall correctly they were manufacturing car radios in a barn or something like that. They convinced a train line to run a siding to the company's location so that they can ship stuff to Chicago where the actual market for their products existed. LOL As popular as their OEM car radios turned out to be, Motorola made it's name in the walkie talkie business during the war.

When cell phone technology started to explode, Motorola, the inventor of the technology, ran out of space to satisfy the demand for the product. By that time several big players were giving the company a lot of competition. So, the CEO decided that the cure to fight the battle of how to supply low cost cell phones to the masses was to build a huge manufacturing facility and take advantage of the economies of scale. That might have worked if the competition was on American soil. But they were all overseas where the labor costs were dramatically lower. That didn't stop the CEO. He pick a plot of land on which to build a 1.5 million sq ft plant to employ 6000 people initially. The governor of Illinois was elated because all those people would be working jobs that never existed previously. Those people would be paying taxes, of course, but oddly enough Motorola was exempt from paying most of its taxes for ten years or so.

The new plant was magnificent. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, Illinois. Well, it just happened to be down the road a piece from the original family homestead, but to this day they claim that was not a factor in making the decision where to build. The problem was that there was no workforce anywhere within driving distance. The Chrysler assembly plant was a dozen miles nearby, and for some crazy reason they thought people would leave those union jobs to work in a non-union Motorola facility. A few dozen people actually did come on over. But there were 6000 vacant positions for a long long time. Eventually they got enough people to manufacture cell phones, but the costs didn't come down. The competition was selling phones for what it cost Motorola to buy the raw material. I think the plant lasted five years before they sold the property to a developer. To this day it remains vacant; well it was four years ago.

So much for family sentiment when running a high tech business.

Re: Parrot Linux and Btrfs

Posted: 25 Sep 2020, 16:49
by Kellemora
Actually Yogi, it was the Medics who saved them. They got those who were hurt bad enough they needed immediate surgery stable enough to be transported. It was hard to get to where some of them were located, thus the reason for the tiny submersible hovercraft, we could zip in to get them and head back out again to the PAC-V. So really, my main job was just getting them from the beach to the hospital ship as fast as possible. The Medics are who made sure the surgeons knew what was coming and who needed attended to first or fastest. An entire crew on the hospital ship retrieved them from the hovercraft and got them into surgery.
I was just a pilot, although it did entail more than that, boots on the ground as they say.

Don't get me going on corporate taxes. The ONLY people who PAY corporate taxes are the Consumers, often at 5 to 7 times more than the government actually gets. It's a lose lose situation for everyone.
6,000 employee's would generate a massive amount of income for the state, and the federal government.
Taxing the corporations is only taxing the consumers at exorbitant rates.

FWIW: When they built the new Chrysler Plant back home, the closest city was Kirkwood. Valley Park was closer, but at that time it was sparsely populated, mostly river rats. Folks who went to work there lived sometimes 20 or 30 miles away. Some came in from much further and stayed the week nearby, then went home only on weekends. After the Chrysler Plant drew more people to the area, small towns around them began selling houses, and subdivision began popping up. Once there was a large enough workforce established, other large companies moved around them, like Maritz and others. A lot of smaller supplier companies also popped up in the area, usually further west where land was cheap. Warner Motive, Pacco auto parts packaging, and several other caused the Manchester, Ballwin, Elliville, housing boom.