Tool tests on the fast track

F3 6.0

Function: Testing the size of flash media


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: none

Plenty of users are familiar with this phenomenon: The cheap 128GB USB stick is already full after using 64GB. This is because of a hardware manufacturer gimmick that makes the operating system think there is more space than is actually available. Windows users can test new storage media using the proven program H2testw. Linux users test flash media using the F3 test suite.

F3 contains the command-line tools f3read, f3write, f3fix, f3brew, and f3probe. The f3write tool writes random data onto a flash device and f3read reads it again. Users can access the two tools together with a USB memory mount point. Depending on the size of the data medium, you may want to allow for some waiting time. If the data volumes don't match in the end, this might be an indication of a "fake flash."

Anyone who doesn't want to start the read and write cycles manually can use f3brew. The tool writes 1GB blocks on the drive, performs a reset, and reads the data again. The f3probe tool checks the blocks of a medium and requires root privileges; parameters control thoroughness and storage needs. f3fix is a tool for repairing the partition table of flash media. It requires the Parted libraries.

(4 Stars) F3 determines the actual size of flash memories and includes fake information. The tools f3probe, f3brew, and f3fix are still marked as experimental, but didn't cause problems when tested.

Sauvegarde 0.0.7

Function: Client-server backup solution


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Urbackup, Bareos, Bacula

Sauvegarde is a new project. The backup solution includes three tools: cdpfglserver, cdpfglclient, and cdpfglrestore. The former is a central server component that cdpfglclient sends its data to and cdpfglrestore helps with restoring. The server listens on all interfaces on port 5468 by default. The incoming data ends up in a two-stage directory structure under /var/tmp/cdpfgl/server. Sauvegarde supports deduplication.

You can start the cdpfglclient tool on the systems you want to back up. In the configuration file, you can specify the directories that the client should keep an eye on, and you can exclude certain files or file patterns from the backup. The client backs up the data as soon as it detects a change. During the transfer to the server, it breaks the data down into 16KB blocks and computes checksums for checking. Information about the backups ends up under /var/tmp/cdpfgl in a SQLite database.

There currently is no proper documentation – just an installation manual and some configuration files in the GitHub repository. Users need to search for all other information themselves, although compilation from the sources can be done quickly. Users should also note the list of dependencies on GitHub.

(3 Stars) Sauvegarde is already a reliable client-server backup solution. However, because of the meager documentation, it may take a while before users manage to get a meaningful configuration.

WackoWiki 5.4.3

Function: Resource-saving wiki


License: BSD

Alternatives: DokuWiki, Moin Moin

Several wiki solutions are vying for the attention of Linux users. WackoWiki is located somewhere between top dogs like DokuWiki or MediaWiki and the minor alternatives such as Wiki on a Stick and LionWiki. The rather speedy engine provides a wytiwyg editor, a multilingual interface, access management, data uploads, mail alerts, and more. WackoWiki requires PHP and MySQL.

Once you've unpacked the archive in the web server's document root directory, you can set up WackoWiki either using a text editor or via the web interface. The latter only makes sense if the server is isolated in a local environment or supports HTTPS. The SMTP server setup via the web front end wasn't successful in the test. Mail delivery is required for automatically registering new users. You can also set up the feature manually in the config.php file.

Working with the editor is convenient – a preview function helps users with composing their posts. The wiki administrator gives users different rights and restricts access to individual pages, as required. WackoWiki pages keeps an eye on sites and sends notifications via email if changes are detected. Registered users can determine the appearance of the wiki and the language in their own settings.

(3 Stars) WackoWiki is a compact, resource-saving wiki engine. Thanks to the user management system, it is suitable for semi-professional use, although the web-based configuration does have weaknesses.

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