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My Mutagenix Monday

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Mutagenix is a suite of four livecd variations from which to choose. It comes in basic Rescue CD, KDE 3.4, xfce, and gnome (freerock .2.0) versions ranging from 99mb to almost 600mb. Quite the bold undertaking for our hero I must say. He defines Mutagenix as "A dynamic and mutable variant of Linux; Any one of several LiveCDs based on Slackware and Linux-Live." Today, I thought I'd boot up two versions of the latest release, Mutagenix 2.6.10-1.

Some features include:

  • Multiple CDs to choose from. Each is built using the Rescue CD as the base install.

  • Starts automatically as a dhcp client.
  • Integrated Firewall which auto starts on DHCP networks in stealth mode.
  • Slapt-get, with multiple rc files with different sources, is included.
  • Cpan2tgz for automatically downloading and installing perl modules.
  • Ext2 partitioned USB keys will be mounted as your home dir (/root) so your environment can be saved.
  • An xorg.conf on the mounted USB key will be used instead of the default supplied xorg.conf
  • Test applications for creating a load across a network. Includes smtp and http sources and sinks.
  • Windows password changing utility.

According to the changelog, some improvements this release include:

  • Added packages to base build: naim, irssi, ntp, reiserfsprogs

  • Removed packages from x11 build: netscape, x11-devel, x11-docs, x11-docs-html, x11-xprt, skype
  • Added a Freerock Gnome build
  • KDE 3.4 from slackware-current...
  • Dropping generic X11 build
  • Adding XFCE 4.2 build
  • Integrated Killerwall (firewall autoconf and rc file) into all builds

Mutagenix Rescue 99mb

The Mutagenix Rescue CD is a handy dandy livecd based upon Slackware Linux and containing all the network and filesystem tools to rescue a local or networked computer in a 99 mb download. To quote the Mutagenix.Readme, "The Rescue CD is a base set of slackware packages with networking support (select packages from the a and n disksets). With this disk, one has all the tools necessary for rescuing a damaged slackware (or other distro) install."

The first time I booted the rescue cd, I saw that evdev.ko had failed to load but ssh fingerprints were setup. It booted to a terminal and one can input "root" as the user with no password. However the networking didn't work. It had set up local loopback ip and resolving. It took quite a bit of editing to talk it into working. However the second and third boots went as expected having the network available upon login and the ip address setup as assigned by my dhcp server. I suspect the culprit here is dhcpcd running before hotplug finishes it's thing.

Included in a compressed tarball is the build script that the author used to build mutagenix. Also included:

  • Killerwall (iptables scripting) in all
  • Skype in X versions
  • Firefox in X versions
  • cdrtools in all
  • Kernel 2.6.10 in all
  • slapt-get in all
  • vi(m) in all
  • various networking packages in all

The Rescue CD was fun and fast and fairly complete for rescuing operations or even a basic functional system when on the go. It includes some basic mail tools such as fetchmail, tho I didn't go as far as to test them. It sets up support for most common filesystems. You won't find fancy smb, but ssh, ftp and irc support is included. And of course, the best thing Mutagenix has going for it is it's Slackware roots!

Mutagenix KDE 472mb

Mutagenix KDE is the same great mutagenix rescue cd with KDE 3.4 on top. It's the full KDE release as seen for Slackware 10.1, except the sound isn't working. According to the roadmap at, that's planned for the next release. Other than that, hardware detection was good, most everything was recognized and appropriate modules inserted. Even my bttv card was recognized, but I didn't try to use it. I've not seen a Linux distro that set mine up correctly by default. The dhcpcd worked the first time and I could surf the net at will. Ssh as well as ftp were included, but not samba.

When one boots the Mutagenix KDE cd, it goes thru it's hardware detection and set up, then takes one to a gdm looking graphical login with a lovely background. One logs in as root with no password as on the rescue cd and clicks login. A stock KDE 3.4 desktop greets them. With all the power and speed of KDE 3.4 behind them, mutagenix could be used an everyday livecd. Take it with you, boot it, use it. It's a wonderful suite of livecds and one can tell the author has worked long and hard. I've enjoyed my Mutagenix Monday and will keep a copy around for emergencies.

However, I think Mutagenix has too much competition and should perhaps customize the look some. I can envision a dark wallpaper with Mutagenix's big green M logo and a matching green theme. Perhaps install the suse window decorations from and some nice icons. Frivolous you say? Especially for a rescue suite? It's all in the presentation I answer.


Screenshots in the Tuxgallery.

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