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HowTo: Flashing Your System BIOS Under Linux

The BIOS is Basic Input/Output System used by a computer, which embedded on a chip on a computer's motherboard. It is used to controls various devices connected to your computer. When you turn on the computer, the BIOS starts up and perform a Power-On Self Test (POST). The BIOS will check all devices connected to your computer such as the CPU, RAM, the video card, the sound card and so on. Once the post test has completed, the BIOS will looks for Linux operating systems on the hard drive. At this point, the Linux takes over control of your computer and finishes starting up system in GUI or text based mode.
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When you work in tech support department and deal with inexperienced clients debugging problems turns into a nightmare. As a sysadmin, you won't become too paranoid if less experienced people have root-access. As a consultant, you won’t feel isolated if you don’t have remote access to your systems. As a support engineer, you won’t become frustrated if a customer has fiddled around with some important config file and you have to find which. As a performance tuner, you can capture the state of the system configuration in between performance tests/benchmarks.

Luckily, some nifty tools can create a system's hardware and software configuration snapshot. This kind of information is valuable asset while troubleshooting problems.

dconf (System config collector) is one of such tool. It allows to take your system configuration with you on the road, compare identical systems (like nodes in a cluster) to troubleshoot HW or SW problems, indeed a lifesaver.

Dconf is also useful in projects where you have to manage changes as a team. Dconf can run periodically and send out system changes to a list of email addresses so that they can be revised and discussed in group.

You can customize your dconf configuration for specific needs, like making a profile of your web server’s hardware or copy specific software configuration files to send out or compare with other systems.

As a sysadmin, you will not become too paranoid if less experienced people have root-access. As a consultant, you will not feel isolated if you do not have remote access to your systems. As a support engineer, you will not become frustrated if a customer has fiddled around with some important config file and you have to find which. As a performance tuner, you can capture the state of the system configuration in between performance tests/benchmarks.

Install dconf

If you are using Debian / Ubuntu Linux then type the command:
# apt-get install dconf
You can download Dconf for RedHat or Suse Linux here

Create a system's hardware and software configuration snapshot

Once installed you can simply create a snapshot using dconf command:
# dconf
It will write snapshot in /var/log/dconf/ directory. To view current snapshot info, enter:
# zcat /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-latest.log.gz
To check the latest changes against the previous snapshot:
# zdiff -u /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-previous.log.gz /var/log/dconf/dconf-$HOSTNAME-latest.log.gz

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