Monday, December 31, 2007


If you're a system admin, charged with deploying workstations, likely you have need of a cloning system. In the Windows world, that system is predominantly Symantec Ghost. Perhaps you're like me and have noticed how much a pain in the backside Ghost is. Specifically, it can be difficult to set up a bootable image with the right network drivers for your hardware. Also, Ghost is notorious at hanging when one client fails to participate properly in the multicast deployment.

In walks DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot in Linux). Essentially, DRBL allows you to remotely boot an entire Linux OS across the network. The useful possibilities that offers are quite extensive. But the use I'm highlighting here is what DRBL calls "Clonezilla". Using open source NTFS tools, DRBL in Clonezilla mode allows you to take a snapshot of a partition or entire disk and then multicast that out to many clients. The advantage of doing this in Linux is the modularity of its kernel and support for a wide range of hardware, all in one easily distributable system.

It can take a bit of skill to get DRBL set up correctly, but once you do, the advantages over such a narrow and closed piece of software as Ghost make the effort well worthwhile.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts of Consulting - K.I.S.S

My father once told me to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

Keeping it simple is never an easy task especially when in business. Its been about 15 years since he gave me that wonderful thought and the principle hasn't left me. Moving away from a big wheel consulting firm has challenged my mind to just keep things simple for my own consulting business. While there are many functions that need to be in place (standardized procedures, contracts, and SLAs) there is a great deal of flexibly without the hierarchy of operation. For starters the company laptop of choice was a macbook pro! Taking it to another level entirely, I've made it a rule for myself not get bogged down in all this consulting verbiage locked in glossy powerpoint presentations. To keep it simple I've moved to glossy Keynote presentations. (I'll leave that for the experts to debate - Comment As Needed).

So in an effort to maximize the launch of LightCube Solutions I'll keep it simple.

Ahh, that Microsoft ingenuity...

It appears that Microsoft has been inserting some controversial code into its OS. Jaqui Greenlees tipped me off to this and has commented about it in his own blog.

There has been a second article written about the particular implications of this "feature" which makes for a very interesting read: Bolted-on security features


Light it up!

Alright, here it goes! A first post for LightCube Solutions (if you don't know who we are, take a look at

We formed the company in November 2007, feeling that there must be a way to work with the technology we love and still be masters of our own time. Since its inception, there have been scores of opportunities presenting themselves on the consulting horizon, one of the more interesting ones being an opportunity to pioneer an open source courseware application (more details on that later).

We've created this blog as a means to track the progress and experiences of the consultants here. We hope to regularly provide interesting posts: tracking unique experiences we encounter, links to articles of use to those in our profession and, of course, updates on the open source adventures we pursue.

Let the fun begin...