[gobolinux-users] LiveCD proposal: Use a windows folder to store information

Martin Baldan martinobal at gmail.com
Thu Nov 23 20:23:45 UTC 2006

Hi, Andy (and also Rafael)

On 11/23/06, Andy Feldman <nereusren at gmail.com> wrote:
> That's a really neat idea, and I'd love to see it happen, if it's
> feasible. Is there a particular reason you actually want the file
> structure to be in NTFS, rather than just using a single disk image? I
> don't think "being able to edit Gobo files from Windows" is a very
> useful feature, although I guess it might let you recover a busted
> install without using a LiveCD.

Let's begin with the intended features: It should give you a true linux
system, with full linux security, with access to some directories where you
can put your stuff (documents, photos, etc) while being able to view and
edit them both under linux and under windows. It's not essential to access
your linux config files from windows, I agree, just your personal files.

The problem I see with the disk image is as follows (but I may well be

If you store your personal files in the disk image, you can't access them
from windows as easily. You need  virtualization software, right? For
instance, if you created a .doc file under linux with OpenOffice, you can't
read or edit it directly in Windows with  Ms Word. You would need a virtual
machine and a virtual network connection.. that's a bit awkward, besides
slow and fragile, isn't it.?

You could think of using the disk image for system files only, and a Windows
directory for your personal files, but it doesn't work, I think, because in
order to edit files in this directory you would have to mount the real hard
disk as "rw", and regular users could then destroy your system files,
because they are in the disk image file, inside the  real hard disk, and the
image is a NTFS file, without Unix file permissions, so you lose Linux

I propose the following:

A kernel patch that lets the kernel pick the NTFS directory structure, then
find a configuration file with all the missing info about file permissions,
about which files are symlinks and all that, and then treat NTFS files as if
they had this info, transparently. The kernel looks into the configuration
file each time it has to check a file's permissions, and before it accesses
a file, to find out whether it is a symlink and where it points to. The
symlink destination could be stored either in the configuration file or in
the "symlink file" itself, as regular text (I dunno which approach would be
better). The kernel changes file permissions by editing the configuration
file, and it creates symlinks by creating text files and then editing the
configuration file.

IF this can be done transparently for applications, it might be a good way
to promote Gobolinux. Otherwise, I agree it's not worth the trouble.

Anyway, that's an interesting feature suggestion. If it was
> implemented, I would definitely burn some Gobo discs and get my
> friends to try it. The main thing stopping me now is that I don't want
> to mess up their system by partitioning... I've had bad luck with
> that.

It could also be useful for seasoned users. For instance, let's say your
computer breaks and a friend lets you use his/hers. Obviously you would let
their windows installation alone, but you could use Linux this way. It
wouldn't be just a demo, but a real Linux system, only that you have to use
a boot disk.

Martin O.B.
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