PING (Partimage Is Not Ghost) is a free softwareLinux-based live CDISO image built upon the Partimage and Linux From Scratch (LFS) projects for disk cloning or backup purposes. The software supports most hardware platforms using Parallel ATA, Serial ATA, or SCSI systems for desktop computers, workstations, and servers. It can access file systems using FAT16, FAT32, NTFS or ext3 format. Disk partition images can be stored on other partitions on the same drive, other drives on a network, or written to one or more CDs or DVDs (CD/DVD spanning). Images can be written without compression or using a choice of several compression schemes, thus reducing storage requirements.
PING got its fame in the Asia market during the late 2000s as an "open-sourced alternative to Symantec Ghost" in local educational magazines. It was the first of the kinds integrating disk tools from Linux on a boot device. It is also considered the software alternative to hardware partition cloning cards. The drawback is it provide only English and French interface. Therefore when later a competitor Clonzilla from Taiwan appeared, local schools switched to Clonzilla for the following 3 reasons:
It provide interface in several languages, including Traditional Chinese, their major language,
It gives a higher compression ratio, and
Clonzilla allows cloning to DVD, but PING restricted to only CD-R.
Although the user interface is keyboard-based, it is easy to navigate with the cursor keys. Option selections are checked or unchecked with the space bar, and minimal typing is required when specifying file names for backup or restoration.
Since PING is built upon LFS, it is very small in size. Even if a user decided to expand the content and install it permanently on hard drive, it would still take only 20 megabytes. Normally, the software is burnt on a CD-ROM or installed into a USB flash drive for booting. There is also a special version that allow users to load plug-in programs, for example, Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV) for virus scanning.
Downloading PING requires registration with an email address. Older versions are still available for download.