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Ask Slashdot: Good Tracking Solutions For Linux Laptop? 253

First time accepted submitter WillHPower writes "So I have ordered a new Ubuntu-powered laptop. I spent some extra bucks on lots of RAM and a good sized solid state drive. After putting money into it, I'd like to find a way to track this laptop in case it's ever stolen. Are there any good tracking software/services the run on Linux laptops? Also, are there any other techniques besides tracking for dealing with a lost or stolen laptop that I should consider?"
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Ask Slashdot: Good Tracking Solutions For Linux Laptop?

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  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:14AM (#44216027)

    You're probably better off going with theft protection. Your best bet might be to label it a "Linux Laptop" in big bold letters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:24AM (#44216117)

    You'll have to try harder than that to get me to help you track people.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

    by schnell ( 163007 ) <me&schnell,net> on Monday July 08, 2013 @11:36AM (#44216205) Homepage

    No, there's no good Linux HW tracking software

    Of course there is. You just need to tape a note to the laptop asking the thief to compile and install it after doing a code review to make sure it's trusted, and submitting any code patches necessary back to the developers.

  • This is actually not a terrible idea. Kinda along the lines of how people joke that the best anti-theft an American car can have is a clutch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @12:01PM (#44216415)

    You're a slashdot guy, so you must be pretty talented. Open the thing up and find some unused GPIO (or serial port) that you can tap into and hook a small block of C4 and a detonator up to it [1]. Then, create a cron job that runs daily to check that you've been logged in at least once, and if it doesn't it should assume the laptop was stolen and trigger the detonator. No. Wait. Better make the cron job run every 12 hours. You can never be too careful. Just make sure you never sleep in on weekends or leave your house without your laptop.

    Next, to be extra safe, you'll want to somehow monitor failed login attempts and trigger the C4 whenever too many happen. Not sure how to do this as I'm a hardware guy myself, but I'm sure you can figure things out on your own or with your frienemy Google. I'd say that allowing one failed login attempt should be a safe threshold, but I'd recommend against allowing any more than that, as you're just asking for trouble. In fact, unless you're some kind of pussy that can't type, you can probably get away without any grace login attempts.

    If you were really paranoid, you could try to implement some sort of retina scan or proximity sensor using the built-in webcam, but that's an advanced topic probably better left for some future "Ask Slashdot" post.

    [1] If you have sort sort of issue with using C4, maybe you should consider somehow using a thermite charge instead. Less "bang", yes, but definitively more colourful, and would give new meaning to the term "toasted skin syndrome".

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @12:05PM (#44216447)

    Put a Windows 8 sticker on it. Nobody will touch it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 08, 2013 @12:46PM (#44216881)

    No, just enter the following URL: lost my laptop could you tell me where it is

    I have to admit I was freaked out when the result came back and said, "You're ON your laptop. Stop fucking around, Robert"

  • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @02:14PM (#44217639)

    And make sure it's a bright pink laptop. People will pay you to take it back!

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer