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Choosing the right flavour

Inquisitor is a modular system that comes in several flavours.

In ideal world, testing a computer system is simple process: you load a testing program, run it and get results. However, in our sub-optimal world, things are somewhat more complex. The problem is that “testing program” (i.e. Inquisitor and its tests) has to be stored somewhere (i.e. on a hard disc or other storage media), but this storage media has to be tested too. Serious storage media tests usually result in all data overwritten, including testing program. So, Inquisitor has several flavours to work-around this issue.

Standalone

The simplest way is to just ignore such destructive tests. This way, Inquisitor can be installed right into your normal Linux OS installation. If a standalone package is built for your distribution, you can just find an inquisitor-standalone package in your package repository, install it (it’s usually a fairly small download), and try Inquisitor in a matter of seconds.

However, you’ll need to be extra careful with it: of course, there are warning signs in destructive tests, but you may ruin your system if you don’t read it. Moreover, some tests can’t be executed at all if you have a modern full-blown desktop running, as it won’t let Inquisitor to access some of hardware resources it would need to test.

Bottom line: Standalone flavour is a good thing for demonstration and learning Inquisitor, but it’s not really useful for any serious testing work. In fact, if you have a new shiny computer that you want to test, installing a Linux OS manually there and then installing Inquisitor in it is an overkill. Most probably you’ll want one of other 2 flavours.

Live

Live flavour is a Linux Live CD (or DVD) that you can just boot from and get all the tests and features in a sterile environment. It doesn’t require you to have an installed Linux system, in fact, just the opposite: it’s best to have your HDDs blank – this way they could be tested throughly with read/write operations.

That’s the flavour most people would use.

Enterprise

If you have multiple computers and want to test them simultaneously in a controlled environment, then even Live CD is a bad option: you’ll have to burn and insert into drives multiple copies of it – that’s a lot of hard labour, you’ll have to run tests manually on each machine, you’ll have to gather testings results manually, etc.

Enterprise version alleviates these problems. If you have to test multiple computers on regular basis, it’s possible to set up a dedicated testing server that would allow any computer to boot from network using PXE protocol and then would control it to execute the tests you’d want, according to prepare test profile. All results are automatically gathered and memorized in a central database on this server. Everything can be controlled using a friendly web interface.

That’s the most advanced flavour of Inquisitor.