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Re: diskscrub and shred

From: Jim Garlick
Subject: Re: diskscrub and shred
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 09:04:49 -0800
User-agent: Mutt/

On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 03:24:12PM +0100, Jim Meyering wrote:
> Toni Ruottu wrote:
> > I've been trying to get Diskscrub (
> > http://*code.google.com/p/diskscrub/ ) to Ubuntu installation cd.
> > Having it on the cd would be good as it'd allow one to boot from the
> > cd and securely erase the entire hard disk.
> >
> > Usually getting a package to the cd is done in three steps:
> >   1) get the software packaged
> >   2) apply for official support from Canonical
> >   3) prove that including the package on the cd is a good idea
> >
> > The software just got packaged and was included into Ubuntu universe,
> > and obviously having such a tool on the cd is a good idea. So I got
> > two of three covered. However it turned out that GNU Coreutils package
> > contains a similar too called shred. Adding another tool with the same
> > purpose was considered bad, as it would complicate things. Also a wide
> > range of other systems ship with Coreutils preinstalled, so having a
> > proper tool as part of the Coreutils is desired.
> >
> > It was decided that instead of adding yet another tool, we should try
> > to get the developers behind the said tools to co-operate, and get all
> > the useful features from Diskscrub merged into shred where they will
> > be useful for a larger user community. So here I am delivering the
> > message to whom I believe to be the lead behind the two projects.
> Sounds like a fine project.
> Now all we need is someone willing to compare features and to
> present the results.  Maybe someone will even propose a patch or two.

Sorry for the delay responding - I was out on holiday last week.

I think the main thing shred needs is the more modern 3-4 pass overwrite
algorithms.  Supposedly the full Gutmann algorithm is really only effective
on MFM drives, and 3-4 passes is all you need on modern drives.  As Toni
points out, it would be extremely advantageous to have this installed on
every machine that runs coreutils.

I could prepare a patch to coreutils to make various overwrite patterns
including Gutmann selectable via shred option and a NNSA NAPS-14.1-C
compliant pattern the default (random, random, 0x00, verify).  This would
make my employer happy.  Would such as patch be considered, Jim M.?


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