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#1 2019-07-12 14:04:39

omnio
Member
Registered: 2019-07-12
Posts: 12  

Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

First, thanks for a supertool, refractasnapshot is very easy to use. My question is whether it is meant (by design) to work only on machines where devuan was installed using the livecd, or it should also work on installs made with the "classic" install DVD (4,4 Gb). I'm asking because when I run refractasnapshot on installs made with the livecd the resulted image works flawlessly, but on installs made with the classic DVD the resulted image doesn't boot, it drops to a busybox shell with the error "(initramfs) Unable to find a medium containing a live file system".

What am I doing wrong? In all the tests I used ASCII installs (i386) without altering the refractasnapshot config file and without UEFI (also, with the same refractasnapshot version - 10.1.1, as reported by apt).

Thanks again.

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#2 2019-07-12 16:32:38

fsmithred
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Refractasnapshot and refractainstaller were designed to work on debian. It shouldn't matter whether the system was installed from a live-iso, a regular debian or devuan installer iso, debootstrap or any other install. It also works on most debian or devuan derivatives that have been tried.

Take a look at /var/log/refractasnapshot.log (or something like that - I changed the name recently). I don't recall if that version is set to always run in debug mode or not. If the log has a lot of lines that start with + signs, then it's a debug log and it will probably tell what the problem is. If not, re-run 'refractasnapshot -d' or 'refractasnapshot-gui -d' and paste the log some place where I can see it. (email it to me if you want)

If you're creating a snapshot on a system that has an encrypted filesystem or a swap partition, you may need to remove a file or two from the initrd. There are instructions for that in /usr/share/doc/refractasnapshot-base/readme.refractasnapshot.txt.gz or from the Help choice in the program. Or you could use the latest version and it will make those changes for you. 10.2.3 is here (cli and gui will work on ascii) - https://sourceforge.net/projects/refracta/files/tools/

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#3 2019-07-13 06:46:04

omnio
Member
Registered: 2019-07-12
Posts: 12  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Hi fsmithred, thank you for taking the time to reply. Here is /var/log/refractasnapshot_errors.log that was created when I ran 'refractasnapshot -d' (for version 10.1.1, the one that apt installs in ASCII): http://paste.debian.net/hidden/93a0485b/

I also took your advice and later updated refractasnapshot (I installed refractasnapshot-base_10.2.3~fsr_all.deb, it seems this is the newest). However, when running the new refractasnapshot, this is what happens:

Running updatedb...

/tmp/extracted /home/work
Decompession error...

So I had a look at /usr/bin/refractasnapshot (starting with line 321):

	COMPRESSION=$(file -L "$initrd_image" | egrep -o 'gzip compressed|XZ compressed')

	if [ "$COMPRESSION" = "gzip compressed" ]; then
		echo "Archive is gzip compressed..."
		zcat "$initrd_image" | cpio -i

	elif [ "$COMPRESSION" = "XZ compressed" ]; then
		echo "Archive is XZ compressed..."
		xzcat "$initrd_image" | cpio -d -i -m
	else
		echo "Decompession error..." && exit 1
	fi

However, on my machine, things look like this:

root@devuan:~# file -L /initrd.img
/initrd.img: ASCII cpio archive (SVR4 with no CRC)
root@devuan:~# ls -l /initrd.img
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 27 Jul  4 23:43 /initrd.img -> boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-6-686

I'd say that my initrd is not supported, but I don't know why/how, this is a simple ASCII i386 install made with the regular big DVD.


Best wishes,

Omnio

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#4 2019-07-13 07:12:11

golinux
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,754  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Something is definitely going on with refractasnapshot and compression/decompression.  I don't begin to understand it but here's a report of a similar failure.  fsmithred will figure it out eventually.

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#5 2019-07-13 10:08:21

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Is your system encrypted?
Do you have a swap partition?
Did you install either amd or intel microcode package?

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#6 2019-07-13 13:38:30

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Try this one:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/misc … ot-mod.txt

Download it, copy it to /usr/bin/refractasnapshot
Make it executable and run it 'refractasnapshot -d'

Note: Before you run it, edit /etc/refractasnapshot.conf and set save_work="yes". That way, if we need to make more changes to the initrd, you can just repack the iso without re-squashing. That takes less than a minute as opposed to however long it takes to run the whole thing. (10-40 minutes in my experience)

Edit: If you're using Refracta or other distro that defaults to xz compression on the initrd, use this one instead:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/misc … t-mod2.txt

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#7 2019-07-13 21:53:00

stanz
Member
From: Northern Earth ~~ Brrrr
Registered: 2018-01-14
Posts: 143  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

I just went thru the Decompression error again...
Building beowulf, used beowulf repos - installing: refractainstaller-base 9.5.3
enabled ceres repo - installed: refractasnapshot-base 10.2.3 - decompression error.
uninstalled 10.2.3
enabled ascii repos - installed: refractasnapshot-base 10.1.1 - no error, successful snapshot!
Snapshot booted, & ran ok... (except for my continuing usb issue! sad )
hope this helps~~
asta...


miyoisomix.i2p

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#8 2019-07-13 22:37:33

fsmithred
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Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Thanks, Stan. I think I got it sorted out with Ralph's help this morning. Try this one:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/misc … t-mod2.txt
I'm just waiting for someone other than me to test it so I can push the changes and get 10.2.4 out there.

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#9 2019-07-13 22:59:25

stanz
Member
From: Northern Earth ~~ Brrrr
Registered: 2018-01-14
Posts: 143  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

sorry, but.. I'm gonna
Download it, paste into /usr/bin & overwrite refractasnapshot
Make it executable and make snapshot using: 'refractasnapshot -d'

And version? repo..? 
I have installed now: ascii repos - refractasnapshot-base 10.1.1  (no errors)
I imagine to use:
ceres repo - refractasnapshot-base 10.2.3 (decompression error)

K...brb...


miyoisomix.i2p

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#10 2019-07-13 23:09:04

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

It'll work with either ascii or ceres version. You could even run it from your download directory. It knows where to find the config file and excludes list.

Thanks.

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#11 2019-07-14 01:30:43

stanz
Member
From: Northern Earth ~~ Brrrr
Registered: 2018-01-14
Posts: 143  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

it's running now...
I used ceres - 10.2.3, which errored for me..."no errors now"!
script didn't work for me from dl dir...so I adjusted name - overwrite snapshot in /usr/bin,
and its cruizen now..
gonna take abit here - I haven't adjusted the excludes file...this will be interesting! yikes

Last edited by stanz (2019-07-14 01:31:18)


miyoisomix.i2p

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#12 2019-07-14 03:04:32

stanz
Member
From: Northern Earth ~~ Brrrr
Registered: 2018-01-14
Posts: 143  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

refracta can do a 28.2G iso?!
kewl... cool


miyoisomix.i2p

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#13 2019-07-14 08:08:11

omnio
Member
Registered: 2019-07-12
Posts: 12  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Guys, sorry for the delay, I'm out of town right now and I can't reach my machines, but tomorrow I'll be back and test stuff.

fsmithred, about your questions:

encryption: no
swap: yes (4 Gb)
raid: no
lvm: no
microcode: I remember microcode packages being installed (and initrd being rebuilt) when, being in a hurry to install wifi drivers, I ran something like 'apt install firmware-*' (I installed ASCII from the regular DVD and no firmware got automatically installed, like with the live DVD). I'll post again tomorrow after testing refractasnapshot-mod. Thanks!

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#14 2019-07-14 18:02:32

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

New version, refractasnapshot 10.2.6 is in ceres. We had some trouble building it, and it turns out there are separate i386 and amd64 packages. I haven't tried downloading the packages installing them on the wrong architecture to see if they work. (They'll work if they install - they're just bash scripts.)

So, if you want a portable package that you can use on either arch, or if you don't want to add ceres repos and install from there, I built the same version and uploaded it to sourceforge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/refracta/files/tools/

The above might sound confusing. I tend to carry several deb packages of different versions of the tools on my live-usb sticks. (I try to carry the latest one, and the old ones just accumulate.)

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#15 2019-07-15 14:44:20

fsmithred
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,280  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

OK, we got the architecture issue sorted out. Burned through a few version numbers on the way. 10.2.4 though 10.2.8 are essentially the same.

$ apt-cache policy refractasnapshot-*
refractasnapshot-base:
  Installed: 10.2.8
  Candidate: 10.2.8
  Version table:
 *** 10.2.8 100
         50 http://deb.devuan.org/merged ceres/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
refractasnapshot-gui:
  Installed: 10.2.8
  Candidate: 10.2.8
  Version table:
 *** 10.2.8 100
         50 http://deb.devuan.org/merged ceres/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

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#16 2019-07-16 05:06:59

omnio
Member
Registered: 2019-07-12
Posts: 12  

Re: Running refractasnapshot on "classical" installed systems

Thank you. I needed more time to make more tests, but it looks like I still need more time to make more tests because I can't figure out yet what's going on with this machine/install of mine. In short, on this machine I have two Devuan installs (one made with the live DVD and the other one made with the regular big DVD). On the install made with the live DVD refractasnapshot worked from the start, like a breeze, but on the other install (made with regular DVD) I just can't make it work (the resulted images fail to boot with the error "(initramfs) Unable to find a medium containing a live file system").


And step by step, this is what I did in the meanwhile:

1. I installed refractasnapshot-base and refractasnapshot-gui, both v. 10.2.6 i386 from CERES (no problem installing on ASCII, btw). Ran refractasnapshot (no error messages regarding initrd with this new version) => no success
2. Uninstalled microcode packages, re-ran refractasnapshot => no success
3. Purged ALL the firmware packages, re-ran refractasnapshot => no success
4. At this point I was striving to realize what exactly is different between my two installs and why in one place it works and in the other one it doesn't. One thing that occured to me was that the live DVD was installed on an ext4 partition, whilst the regular DVD was installed on a JFS partition. So I cloned (with rsync) "the JFS install" to an ext4 partition (and updated fstab, initrd, grub). Booted "the ext4 clone", re-ran refractasnapshot => no success

What I'm going to do next is:
- upgrade the kernel, on the install where refractasnapshot works I have a 4.9.0-9-686 kernel, and on the other install a 4.9.0-6-686 kernel;
- search for differences between the two installs - in grub.conf, fstab... anything that could be responsible for the different behaviour.

Last edited by omnio (2019-07-16 07:54:34)

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