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Amazed at linux agility

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OK, I have no idea how other OSes would have behaved in such a situation, but linux amazed me these days...

I have a brand new desktop machine (which is called obelix, with rather low specs for its age (athlon 64x2 3200+, 2 Gb RAM, Nvidia 8200), but worth the very low money less than 300€ including shipping cost) and amply sufficient for the family computing needs. Unfortunately, the SD card reader went dead a few weeks ago. A minor annoyance, but still an annoyance, especially when your camera uses an SD card... I shipped back the machine for replacement, and the aforementionned family would have had to do without a PC during that time.

That was a non acceptable situation.

I decided to try to bring back to life our previous desktop machine, called agecanonix, which had a dead SATA controller. I took out the SATA disk from obelix, put it into an external USB bay, and attempted to boot it from agecanonix. And it worked ! Well, that is, it displayed the grub menu, but refused to go farther. After a nice piece of hand from the fantastic Archlinux community, the boot process was complete, and here I was looking at the same desktop than on obelix.

I mean, I took out a hard drive from a machine, booted it from another (old) machine through an external USB bay, and it just *worked*. OK, the older machine also had an athlon (64 2200+) and an Nvidia card (6600GT), but still. The KDE 4.3.4 desktop was significantly slower, but that was expected.

Now, obelix is back and kicking, and it only took a few minutes to put back the hard drive into it, and get surfing again, only this time at full speed.

Again, I have no idea how other OSes would behave, but I'm left in awe for linux agility.

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Comments

In my experience Windows in a similar situation would have brought you flawlessly to a nice blue screen. :)

I'm not sure why you consider this to be such a feat. Ive been doing this ever since. Old machine (mainboard mostly) dies - get a new one, maybe salvage the old ram chips if they arent blown, stuff in the disks and continue working. The same goes for putting pata or sata drives into external firewire or usb cases if the internal controller died. And why should it not work? As long as the bios can get to grub it will. Maybe fstab needs some adjustments but nowadays device ids are used.

Well maybe I'm still windows polluted after all these years using linux (I'm only using it since 2003)Tongue out

I had the same experience about two years ago. I had a IBM Thinkpad X24 and had to sent it in for repair. Therefore I built the harddrive into an Dual Pentium 2 machine. The only thing I had to adjust was the driver that X had to use. Rest just worked.

Different chipset, different graphics card, different cpu, and even two instead of one cpus...

Windows can't do this

I would recommend that you configure GRUB to use the root partition's UUID in the kernel command line.  Ubuntu does that, and as a result, a similar situation resulted in a system that "just worked".  It's also more robust overall.  There is nothing in the kernel or udev that says /dev/sda should always point to the same physical drive, but the UUID will always be the same.

In XP it wasn't even possible to change between motherboards with a different IDE chipset without getting a blue screen. I don't know how 7 would behave, but at least it would require a license reactivation i think...

i dont know why it shouldnt work on windows. i dont know how it sets up the partitions but uuid and device id are the same so there should be no problem

I know it's impossible to do that with XP, and i was tought it is imposible with Linux too. You are the first guy who tell me that it is possible with Linux. Great...

I have a system installed onto an external USB/eSata drive that I take between work and home every day. The one thing that the two systems have in common is a reasonably recent nvidia grapphics card but other than that it is pretty much plug and play.

I have had some success with Windows XP (as an esata drive) however XP and newer versions of windows freak out when the hardware changes and require you to re activate your system with microsoft. (My XP drive is sitting broken until I do this)

A few years ago I was going through a bit of a "hot rod" phase and I was running a Slackware system with a custom kernel, pared down to only the drivers needed for that machine and nothing in /lib/modules/x.y.z at all. Well eventually the machine died. I figured the HDD was okay, so in my next machine I decided to recycle it. Just to see what would happen, I tried to boot the thing. It worked first time! I couldn't believe it, I had stripped basically everything I could get away with out of that kernel and still it was fine on the totally new machine.

Anyway, fast forward a few years and I am using a sensible stock kernel on the amazing Arch Linux of course :) But yes I know what you mean when you talk about these kinds of surprises.