Read only os pro and cons

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andreas84
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Read only os pro and cons

Post by andreas84 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:23 pm

The basic idea is to make the os work like a linux live cd which can always be started fresh with one addition that if a program installs a hook or a regentry or anything else it would be safed seperated from the os and the program can run at a restart. This could go in hand with a repairconsole and other tools when the os is messed up.

The core os should really be like a cd.

Pros:
A new ros can be installed with a mouse click.
A tool could safe your settings for reinstallation.
No cd rom required for reinstall and much less time.
A corrupted file can with little effort be reset to its original state with a management console.
If something is corrupted the os can be boot as life cd and maybe some tools would make it more easy to repair. Which is useful for netbooks and other.
Ros would get an advantage against windows
If working with fileduplicates in case of hooks the extra space on hd would be small.

I will post an other idea about an advanced uninstaller and advanced security suit for when put to work those pros add:
If react os is getting slow it can be reinstalled easily.
You can recreate ros while keeping the installation of programs.
The core system is always clean from junk and by seperating programs from the core install it would be easier to find and delete junk and virus or malware with special tools.

Cons
MUUCH work i think
performance loss ?

i do not see many cons exept the needet work.

Haos
Test Team
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Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by Haos » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:30 pm

This sounds like a brand new project, which would base off ReactOS. With modifications to such extent, differences would be too severe for us to be able to group it. It would be another product as well, requiring its own tests and infrastructure. This is beyond our capabilities, someone else would have to set it up and maintain.

milon
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Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by milon » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:01 pm

andreas84, you might be interested in QubesOS. It's not released yet, but the focus is on the security and maintenance of the core OS. Everything else is run in secured, private modules that cannot alter the OS itself.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by PurpleGurl » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:19 am

This sounds a bit like ChromeOS. It is a browser-only OS, and once it loads, there are no hard drive accesses. So if there is a virus picked off the web somehow, then rebooting would get rid of it. It stores all its stuff in memory.

andreas84
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by andreas84 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:25 am

Haos might be right that it is out of scope.

So i thought about it a while and in the end i think a normal live cd like ros installed protected on hd can do something very similar.

So i suggest to install a vanilla version of ros which is readonly on the harddisk. This will be the rescue and maintaince os.
After this create a copy of it as normal os.

The maintenance os should come with a panel where other installations can be managed and repaired. If a file gets corrupted the file can be copied from the maintenance os ( if a windows file gets corrupted windows copy the original back)

if the dayly use os must be reinstalled or you need a new copy the panel could use the settings and the application installations from the old os and copy them to the new so all installed programs work on the new os without a need for reinstalling all.


Pros:
A new ros can be installed with a
mouse click.
A tool could safe your settings for
reinstallation.
No cd rom required for reinstall and
much less time.
A corrupted file can with little effort be
reset to its original state with a
management console.
If something is corrupted the os can
be boot as life cd and maybe some
tools would make it more easy to
repair. Which is useful for netbooks
and other.
Ros would get an advantage against
windows

I will post an other idea about an
advanced uninstaller and advanced
security suit for when put to work
those pros add:
If react os is getting slow it can be
reinstalled easily.
You can recreate ros while keeping
the installation of programs.

Theese would not apply anymore
pros

The core system is always clean from
junk and by seperating programs
from the core install it would be easier
to find and delete junk and virus or
malware with special tools.
- no now not easier.

If working with fileduplicates in case of
hooks the extra space on hd would
be small. - now every os needs its space.

Cons
MUUCH work i think - now its only the installer and the maintenance that would be need to be done

performance loss ? - no performance loss

Haos
Test Team
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Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by Haos » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:39 pm

ReactOS livecd anyone?

Radhad
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Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by Radhad » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:46 pm

The opening post seems similar to what you can do with Active Directory, reset settings etc. after logout. And I think support of Active Directory is far away.

Black_Fox
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Location: Czechia

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by Black_Fox » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:05 pm

PurpleGurl wrote:This sounds a bit like ChromeOS. It is a browser-only OS, and once it loads, there are no hard drive accesses. So if there is a virus picked off the web somehow, then rebooting would get rid of it. It stores all its stuff in memory.
Excerpt from one of their articles:
First, Chrome OS is not a general purpose OS. Second, it's based on Linux with all its security limitation that are a result of using a monolithic kernel described above (e.g. all the networking and USB stacks in the kernel without a possibility to deprivilige them). (...)
Haos wrote:ReactOS livecd anyone?
I'd recommend the same, but it's probably too mainstream.</tongue-in-cheek>

andreas84
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by andreas84 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:38 am

Live cd will not work with my netbook or any other and there are cases when live cds not work. Plus if a file is corrupted it is easier to install the os on the hd than to copy the file from a cd.

Also my other suggestion is a repair and install tool that runs out of the live cd and installs a read only version of the live cd on hd either as default or on user demand. And the tool should be useable to install a normal system.

The basic idea is to maintain the os with the read only installation. As example filesys and virus checking or partitionswork and installations. This should work without much work of the user as an automation lets say at startup. I think its also in general better to have the live cd on hd so there should be an option to do this.

Black_Fox
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:44 pm
Location: Czechia

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by Black_Fox » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:05 pm

If I understand you correctly then, you mean having a partition on HDD doing what LiveCD does, except without need for a CD drive?

andreas84
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by andreas84 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:10 pm

yes this combined with a tool which helps the user to create installations and maintain them from this installation.

Note the original idea was a bit different but a normal installation of a live cd and some tools could get a similar effect

b4dc0d3r
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:17 am

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by b4dc0d3r » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:45 pm

You want the windows recovery console. The rest of this post is why that is true, and I'm only going beyond that first sentence because you are looking for pros and cons, and evolving your idea with new information. So here is information.

A read-only partition controlled with software is not a read-only partition. In theory it is, but in practice it will be compromised. The OS cannot update files there, nor allow the user to do so, without opening a way for *anyone* to do so. Therefore it cannot repair itself if the OS is read-only. And for the same reason the recovery partition cannot be enforced as read-only in software, not enough to prevent malware. The only guarantee of protection is a truly physical enforcement of read-only, such as a CD-ROM. Anything else gives you the illusion of security and maybe some added convenience.

You have suggested an implementation of the Windows Recovery console. You think it is not quite as functional as you would like, it seems, or are not familiar with it.

I think you were initially looking for a way to re-set the OS without losing installation settings. This is the core of your original suggestion. The entire purpose of a Windows re-installation is that it is impossible to tell which settings are required by the OS, and which are valid application settings, and which are settings causing problems. This has been resolved partially by System Restore, so that you can un-do large changes if something causes problems. That does not require a recovery partition, but it does not always work.

You cannot, as an example, take the initial hive data (registry) from the Cd or recovery partition and overwrite the current values. That is, merge with what is currently there. At the least, it would simply do nothing, since any problems may be in application specific settings, such as file associations. It would probably also overwrite any references to drivers specific to your hardware, which would need to be re-installed. You could hunt around the registry and other places to find problems, but you would not have access to an up to date virus scan to eliminate known threats. Imagine implementing a network update for virus definitions in the recovery console, and then imagine malware altering the virus scanner so that when you use it, it no longer detects anything. Or downloads malicious definitions.

The probability of having a "corrupt" file that you can copy from some location is highly unlikely unless your hardware is degrading. More likely it is a configuration file which was improperly written to, or a power outage while writing. The former is a bug that you are likely to find again, the latter is prevented by smart power management and having a battery. Until the battery falls out. Then there is no way to restore that file - it is a live part of your system, and copying it from a source removes any changes applications or the OS have made. Things like your registry, or assuming you are not on a domain your user profile.


You don't realize it, but this is what you truly want. Make a bootable media (USB or CD-ROM) with Norton Ghost, or similar. If you're using an old version tell it to ignore log files. Set up your computer the way you want it, preferably with the core OS on one partition and data (music, downloads, documents) on another. Be thoughtful about where and how you install and configure things so that the OS partition has everything it needs to run. The only reference that the OS should have to your data partition are shortcuts, hard or sym links if you want, and MRU lists. All preferences and work folders are on the user partition. Reboot into your bootable media. Ghost your system into a file on the data partition (or preferably a CD burner if you can get one that will work with your netbook). Boot back into your normal OS, and protect the image you just made with PAR2 or similar recoverable redundancy. Burn or copy those results to 2 or more places - read-only media and external USB media would be good. Now your system is safe.

When something goes wrong, you have a clean slate with everything installed. When you make large changes, repeat the backup.

No OS can do these things for you, especially since application installers put data all over the place. An OS can try to do this, but installers and applications will put things wherever they wish. And it is hard for an OS to know if something is data or settings.

Your options are now
1) Make a new OS and require applications to install intelligently (or all be portable apps) - no compatibility with current installers
2) Make every developer aware of the data/OS split responsibility and fix your OS to accommodate it (good luck with that)
3) Do the image backup once, realize how easy it is, and stay in control of your digital life
4) Pray your installation stays good enough to work
5) Buy some backup software and pray it works as advertised. They can refund your purchase, but not your data.
6) Rely on things like system restore and recovery console, knowing they are not perfect and are no guarantee.


So, PROS: in a very limited subset of scenarios, it has a very small chance of allowing you to find the cause of the problem, and a lesser chance of actually fixing it. And it's not on a CD, because you may not have a CD drive.

CONS: insecure. incapable of doing any maintenance beyond allowing manual investigation or fully re-installing, wiping the system and starting over. No reliable virus checking, especially when malware authors know where exists.

The logic required to intelligently and automatically repair anything is mind-bogglingly complicated, and that's when you know what's wrong. Look at all of the wizards Microsoft implemented in its help and troubleshooting area. Wireless network actually a notwork? Windows will try to fix it, fail, and be unable to tell you what it did or what failed. Microsoft can't get it right using the full power of a running instance (with access to all of the system devices and installed drivers). A subset like a recovery partition would give you at best the tools to investigate, and as a fallback a way to wipe and start over. " without much work of the user as an automation lets say at startup" is like saying "and I'd like to be able to fly, and while you're at it also make me rich". Hopefully you read that as being informative and not sarcastic or insulting - it is just as impossible (practically speaking).

zZaRDoZz
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:05 pm

Re: Read only os pro and cons

Post by zZaRDoZz » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:56 pm

@OP

This is about as close as you'll get.

http://www.toolwiz.com/products/toolwiz-time-freeze/

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