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FAQ for grml

Up2date: applies to Grml version 2014.03

Index:

General:

  1. What is Grml?
  2. What are grml32 / grml64 and grml96?
  3. What is the difference between grml-full and grml-small?
  4. Where do I get Grml?
  5. What does Grml mean?
  6. What about the release name?
  7. Requirements for running Grml
  8. Which bootoptions does Grml support?
  9. Are there any known issues with this release? How about reporting bugs?

Features:

  1. How do I boot Grml from a USB stick?
  2. Is it possible to store my settings?
  3. What are the passwords of users on Grml?
  4. How do I find out the version of Grml
  5. How do I change the language/keyboard settings?
  6. Which window managers can I use?
  7. Where are my LVM devices?
  8. Where are my Software-RAID devices?
  9. Which ways exist to boot Grml?
  10. How do I configure timezone on my Grml system?
  11. Is it possible to install Grml to harddisk?

Software:

  1. Which package(s) and which version is available?
  2. Why is Zsh the default shell?

Support / Unanswered stuff:

  1. Further questions?
  2. Commercial Support

General

What is Grml?

Grml is a bootable live system (Live-CD) based on Debian. It is not necessary to install anything to a harddisk. Grml includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrators. It specializes on administrative tasks like installation, deployment and system rescue.

What are grml32 / grml64 and grml96?

Unless you've a good reason to really choose the 32bit flavour we strongly encourage you to use either the grml64 or the grml96 flavour.

Please notice that this schema was introduced starting with the downsized Grml release 2011.12. Until then grml96 didn't exist and grml32 was known as just 'grml'.

What is the difference between grml-full and grml-small?

grml-small provides a reduced set of available software compared to grml-full. It provides the same Linux kernel image as grml-full and is fully binary compatible. Choose the grml-small flavour if size - for whatever reason - really matters to you.

Where do I get Grml?

Grml is open source, you can download it from the mirrors listed at grml.org/download/.

What does Grml mean?

Grml comes close to 'argl' or 'grrr' in English. People use this when they want to express their dissatisfaction with software (amongst other things).

What about the release name?

Codename of Grml 2014.03 is "Ponywagon", which might be understood if a carinthian talks about "Bahnübergang" (german for railroad crossing).

Requirements for running Grml

What does accessibility at Grml mean?

The Grml kernel includes support for speakup. For software, brltty and espeakup are included.

Which bootoptions does Grml support?

Check out the grml-cheatcodes file (also available via grml.org/cheatcodes/). Of course kernel-parameters.txt of the Linux kernel applies to Grml as well.

Are there any known issues? How about reporting bugs?

Please visit the bug webpage.

Features

How do I boot Grml from a USB stick?

Check out grml2usb at the usb webpage in the grml-wiki.

Is it possible to store my settings?

Yes, using the a persistency feature.

What are the passwords of users on Grml?

There are no default passwords - all accounts are locked by default for security reasons. Even local logins are not possible (unless you set a password or create new user accounts as root). You can create valid passwords using "sudo passwd [username]" from the shell individually. To set a password for users 'root' and 'grml' and enable SSH login you can use the 'ssh' boot option, like 'ssh=yourpassword'.

How do I find out the version of Grml

Run 'grml-version' or use the following command:

$ cat /etc/grml_version

How do I change the language/keyboard settings?

By default Grml uses english settings. But it is possible to change the settings via using either the bootparam(s) lang, keyboard and xkeyboard or via executing grml-lang when Grml is already running. Usage examples:

grml lang=de      # enter this at the bootprompt and you will get
                  # german keyboard layout and german $LANG, $LC_ALL,
                  # $LANGUAGE...
grml keyboard=de xkeyboard=de lang=at # enter this at the bootprompt
                  # and you will get german keyboard and austrian
                  # language variables
% grml-lang de    # enter this in the shell to switch keyboard layout
                  # and $LANG settings in a running Grml system

Note: run grml-setlang to get a dialog based frontend for /etc/default/locale. Run grml-setkeyboard to get a dialog based frontend for /etc/sysconfig/keyboard.

Which window managers can I use?

Starting with the 2011.12 release Grml provides Fluxbox as window manager.

Where are my LVM devices?

LVM (Logival Volumes) is not started by default to avoid any possible damage to your data. To get access to present LVM devices just execute:

# /etc/init.d/lvm2 start

If you want to enable LVM by default just boot using the 'lvm' bootoption which automatically enables LVM.

Where are my Software-RAID devices?

Software-RAID (usually known as the mdadm stuff) is not started by default to avoid any possible damage to your data. To get access to present SW-RAID devices just execute:

# /etc/init.d/mdadm-raid start

If you want to enable SW-RAID by default just boot using the 'swraid' bootoption which enables automatic assembling of software raid arrays.

Which ways exist to boot Grml?

Of course running from CD/DVD is a common way to boot Grml. But Grml provides many more ways to boot:

It is possible to boot Grml via USB (e.g. USB stick or harddisk), firewire, or running from a Compact Flash disk. It works out of the box; you don't need to modify anything. Check out the usb webpage in the grml-wiki for more details.

Your computer can not boot from CD-ROM but provides a floppy disk? Take a look at btmgr, ubcd4win or sbm. They provide support for booting from CD-ROM via a special floppy disk.

grml-terminalserver makes it possible to boot your system via network using PXE (Preboot Execution Environment). If your network card does not provide support for booting via PXE you can still boot it either using the provided grub image by grml-terminalserver (for example via floppy drive) or using gPXE. For more information, refer to the grml-terminalserver webpage.

How do I configure timezone on my Grml system?

Available bootoptions relevant in live-cd mode:

Further information: manpages hwclock(8), tzselect(1) and tzconfig(8); Debian GNU/Linux System Administrator's Manual Chapter 16 - Time and TimeZoneChanges in the Debian-Wiki.

Is it possible to install Grml to harddisk?

Short anwer: No.

If you want to get a plain Debian system take a look at grml-debootstrap.

Long(er) answer: yes it's possible to install Grml. But it's not supported and you'll be on your own. That's why we decided to make it not-so-obvious. If you really know what you're doing you'll find out on your own. Reminder: use grml-debootstrap or Debian Installer instead.

Software

Which package(s) and which version is available?

If you want to get details about the provided packages and the package versions without booting the Grml ISO check out the dpkg_... files in the Debian-Information section on grml.org/files/.

Why is Zsh the default shell?

Short answer: because Zsh rocks, really!

Long(er) answer: If you don't know Zsh take a look the Grml Zsh reference card.

If you are a Bash user and don't know Zsh yet, don't be afraid. Bash is largely a subset of Zsh and you don't have to throw away your knowledge about shell stuff.

Support / Unanswered stuff

Further questions

Do you have a question which is not answered in the FAQ or in the provided documentation (execute "grml-info" on your Grml system for offline documentation)? Also check out 'grml-tips $KEYWORD' on your Grml system. Take a look at the Grml website and the grml-wiki. A good place to become part of the community is the Grml mailinglist.

Commercial Support

You want to deploy Grml in your data center, use it as part of your business or have an emergency case? You're happy with Grml but would like to get your very own live cd (providing your favourite software selection, special configuration, setup and your bootsplash)? Please get in touch with us.

Sponsors

Grml is sponsored by several companies. For more information about our sponors check out the Sponsors webpage. Our main sponsor is:

hostway logo