Juraj Sipos


Introduction of MaheshaBSD-2.0 – What’s New On The Lake Manasarovar?


MaheshaBSD-2.0, a FreeBSD Live CD (modular/education/presentation/rescue toolkit) based on FreeBSD 9.0, is introduced in this article. The Live CD was released in February 2012. The article will summarize the news in the new version of this distribution (for example, a possibility to use 4 keyboard layouts also with Devanagari, the author’s Xmodmap solution, and many other things). The name MaheshaBSD is derived from Mahesha, one of the names of Lord Shiva. The name was chosen because Lord Shiva is armed with the same weapon as FreeBSD – the trident (trishula in Sanskrit).


Brief introduction of the project


The full article about MaheshaBSD-2.0 was first published in the 2012 March issue of the BSD Magazine. You can see more details and pictures at the reference link.


To quickly recap what MaheshaBSD is, how it works and what it offers, the following points will put you into the correct light:


MaheshaBSD is a modular (and rescue/education/presentation) toolkit. MaheshaBSD’s purpose is to bring some useful system/recovery utilities to people, but on the BSD platform – like TestDisk (which will recover lost partitions), PhotoRec (which will undelete files; it can also undelete files on USB memory sticks), Clamav (antivirus software), immediate NTFS R/W access (with ntfs-3g), chntpw (for resetting the Windows XP/W2K passwords, a very practical utility), FTP server (which immediately works without need to configure anything), MPlayer (to watch films; DivX and many other codecs are supported), and many other things – for example, MaheshaBSD can be used for presentations (you can bring it anywhere with you and show thousands of pictures to people, or present videos while giving a lecture, or watch videos with friends), or easily let your documents speak their contents for you with the MaheshaBSD’s built-in speak (espeak) functionality (a very useful thing for blind people).


Linux emulation is activated. You may run Skype or any Linux software under condition that you also have the necessary libraries. For that reason, the static versions of Linux binaries are recommended.


The MaheshaBSD’s modularity feature, too, is very useful – you may place a tweaked mfsroot.gz file into the MaheshaBSD’s /boot directory. This means that you can prepare router/ftp server/www server and so on that will suit your particular needs.


MaheshaBSD is not for everyday use. It is a recovery toolkit that can be also used for presentations, etc., and it serves this purpose only for a couple of hours. Its FTP server (vsftpd) is your door to log into any computer running MaheshaBSD (a broken notebook, for example) and save (copy) your data. You may also delete defective software on your Windows NTFS partition (to mount it in the NTFS R/W mode, use ntfs-3g – it works immediately).


MaheshaBSD will help you be anonymous on the Internet (with tor and polipo [a proxy server]).


You may choose national keyboard layouts in the IceWM’s menu (German, Russian, Czech, Slovak); dead keys work too.


You may write documents in the Seamonkey’s Composer component (HTML editor). Click on the “Write documents” icon in IceWM. You can also download dictionaries and spellcheck your texts.


Sample use cases


1) Your notebook falls down on the floor and the screen gets broken. You are not a techie and you do not know how to get your hard disk out of your computer. With the built-in MaheshaBSD’s FTP server (vsftpd) you may log in to your computer via SSH and get to your files.


2) You may run the Clamav antivirus software from within the MaheshaBSD’s environment.


3) You may recover lost files/partitions (TestDisk, PhotoRec).


4) You are a Windows user and you need to reset your Windows password.


5) Many other possibilites…




If you want to complain that running Skype in the MaheshaBSD’s /tmp directory is not a wise idea, I emphasize again that MaheshaBSD should be used only for a couple of hours (and under condition that all your hard disks and cellular phones fail, so there is really no need to complain about security) and mostly as a recovery toolkit. The above points, as you see, already express the essence of the MaheshaBSD’s objectives and there is really no need to worry about security. Nevertheless, if you want to complain, run Skype in your Linux /etc directory and not in the MaheshaBSD’s guest account (which is always available for you:).


What’s new in MaheshaBSD-2.0?


MaheshaBSD-2.0 is based on FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE (i386), and it was released on February 7, 2012.


MaheshaBSD-2.0 is now Skype ready – that is, you do not need anything to install to use Skype (some Linux libraries were missing in MaheshaBSD-1.0). This Live CD contains instructions on how to put MaheshaBSD on a USB memory stick and you may carry it with you also with the Skype Linux static binaries.


Youtube videos now run without need to install Adobe Flash Plugin from the Internet (but without native Adobe Flash).


X Window may now be started with the startxaut (start X automatically) script, which will generate the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (with the command Xorg -configure) and the X Window GUI environment will start automatically without any manual configuration.


MaheshaBSD-2.0 has a new logo (Manasa Devi). Manasa Devi, the Naga Goddess of the underground (Patala), is the daughter of Lord Shiva.


MaheshaBSD-2.0 has a special Xmodmap map with Devanagari and IAST support; it is in the More Progs IceWM’s menu. You may use 4 keyboard layouts with it (to switch between them, use CAPSLOCK).




The pull behind the MaheshaBSD project is to support and spread words about FreeBSD. Its Hindu touch is geared toward the same purpose, because there are still many people who have never heard of FreeBSD. If they search for some Hindu keywords, they may possibly find it and try it and convince their neighbors that FreeBSD is not only for the techies. In the future, MaheshaBSD will always keep its original contours, because a possibility to type wise ideas in Sanskrit or IAST transliteration of Sanskrit will make many people look out of their (Linux) Window(s).


Reference Links


Project home page (with download): https://www.freebsd.nfo.sk/maheshaeng.htm

RootBSD Hosting: https://www.rootbsd.net

BSDMag (with download): https://bsdmag.org/magazine/1795-nessus-exploitation-tools-and-payloads