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Linux System-to-Go


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#1 wizardfromoz

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 02:34 AM

I have a number of Linux Live USB and Live CD/DVD solutions in place, mostly featuring Ubuntu 14.04.1  LTS Trusty Tahr, and Linux Mint 17 Qiana Mate. These to show my brother-in-law on my next trip to Brisbane.

 

However, before Admin consider moving me to the Live Linux subfork, that is not necessary, I believe, as my questions are related, but also different to Topic questions and Posts that arise in this part of the world. Of course I will follow Admin's lead, but here goes.

 

The live environments I have set up are on 4 and 8 GB USB sticks, and can be made bootable through the usual temporary boot order alteration (F key). Similarly with the DVDs, some are Read only, others rewritable. Most are 32-bit, for my brother-in-law is running Windows XP SP3, and if I use a DVD option with him it would be read-only (closed session), and in any event, USB or DVD, I will leave the medium/media with him, because I ain't taking no viruses or malware home with me, thank you very much (even though Linux is as safe as houses, for the larger part).

 

Where my questions arise that diverge from Linux Live options is to do with the following:

 

At this point I should tell you that I got these ideas from reading rp88's Topic, just gone Hot, here.

 

And the input from pcpunk at #15 and subsequently cat1092 at #16 set me to thinking.

 

Q1. Can I put more than one Linux Distro (eg the abovementioned pair), along with files I have created, onto a USB stick to go? I have just purchased a 64GB stick, a size I previously would never have dreamed would become available a few years ago.

 

Q2. Will it have (or can I have) a Grub-style startup Menu to choose which Distro to work with?

 

Q3. If I format the drive (currently showing as file type ms-dos) am I best off formatting it eg vfat32, NTFS, Ext4 &c, bearing in mind that I want to use it cross-platform, and can I do all this using a GPartedLive CD I have?

 

In all likelihood, by or before 128GB sticks become readily available, I would like to be able to port my 3 current Distros and all files (likely with a shared Home Directory I have yet to standardise and share (currently using my 3TB external HDD for Home-like stuff as well as backup, imaging &c) onto a stick, and become "Have System Will Travel", lol.

 

Q4. I am also looking to Test Drive 2 - 3 different Distros, at least one (1) RPM-based, in the next few weeks, purely for Home use at this point in time, and NickAu1 you have mentioned recently about formatting sticks to Ext4 for perhaps a compatible purpose? Again, if I can put them on one stick (I have a 16GB spare), the question about a Grub menu arises?

 

OK, that's a lot to ask, and perhaps I was premature in paragraph 2 about asking for this to remain in "Linux Main", but I see very little "Live" content here.

 

Chris Cosgrove - are you out there? And should the Topic be split? Thanks.

 

Acknowledgements:

 

rp88 for his Topic, whereby I got the ideas running

 

pcpunk for explaining how he does things   and as always,

 

cat1092 for his input.

 

Later

 

:wizardball:

 

Edited typo


Edited by wizardfromoz, 30 November 2014 - 02:37 AM.


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#2 technonymous

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 06:13 AM

Sure you can have a multiboot usb stick with a grub loader. A couple tools comes to mind YUMI & XBOOT. http://www.pendrivelinux.com/tag/multiboot-usb/

 

Unetbootin doesn't make multiboot I don't think, but it is a nice tool to have to create bootable USB's. It has a list you can choose what you want. It will go out and get the distro download for you. http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

 

 

Edit: Oh and you probably want to stick with Fat or Fat32 for the most part since it's  universally used throughout all the different platforms. However, I imagine it is possible to have partitions on the USB each with different types of formats. Again, you will likely come acrossed with issues and trying to get FAT, EXT, NTFS all living happy together. You probably would have to create a custom MEMDISK for NTFS. http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK


Edited by technonymous, 30 November 2014 - 06:26 AM.


#3 NickAu

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 06:25 AM

Install ( like to HDD) Linux to USB, Format the stick to ext4, Then create partitions, Treat the USB Like it's a hard drive, Doing a full install tu USB will also give you persistence.

 

The thing is installing say Ubuntu to USB is a waste as it will be slower than HDD. The exception being Puppy Linux.



#4 wizardfromoz

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 04:23 PM

Bear with me, people, I am quick to grasp some concepts, slower with others. It is to do with a disorder known as (Adult) Add/ADHD. I am hoping to use this Topic both as a learning exercise for me, but hope it teaches some, also.

 

Ta very much NickAu1 and technonymous, keep 'em comin'!

 

Nick's mention of persistence refers to the ability to generate and save data to the USB stick, that will remain accessible after your Linux session has been terminated, the stick removed, and you might move on to another computer with it and use it. The alternative under the ordinary "Live Demo" route is that any data generated is only stored in system RAM, and is lost once the session is terminated.

 

For more info on persistence, Google/DuckDuckGo up persistence linux and enjoy a little light reading over a coffee.

 

Back soon, and thanks, guys.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#5 NickAu

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 05:30 PM

 

bearing in mind that I want to use it cross-platform,

If you are going to try and access files on a USB from windows it MUST be fat 32 or NTFS

 

 

Q4. I am also looking to Test Drive 2 - 3 different Distros

That's what Live CD's are for.

 

To install Linux to USB you DO NOT need any software. Insert the ISO into CD drive and boot the PC into a Live session, Then use the Linux installer that comes with the distro and install it to USB stick just like you would to HDD. Just remember to point the installer at the stick.

This method is not a Live boot or a Live boot with persistence, Its a full install of the OS.


Edited by NickAu1, 30 November 2014 - 05:33 PM.


#6 wizardfromoz

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 07:56 PM

 

If you are going to try and access files on a USB from windows it MUST be fat 32 or NTFS

 

...was going to be my next question - ta

 

 

To install Linux to USB you DO NOT need any software. Insert the ISO into CD drive and boot the PC into a Live session, Then use the Linux installer that comes with the distro and install it to USB stick just like you would to HDD. Just remember to point the installer at the stick.

 

And using that procedure, if I have partitioned the 64 GB into 3 - 4 Partitions, I could install 3 - 4 full Linux OSes, with a choice at (reordered?) boot of a Grub menu allowing for which Distro to go into?

 

Thanks

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#7 Al1000

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:46 AM

And using that procedure, if I have partitioned the 64 GB into 3 - 4 Partitions, I could install 3 - 4 full Linux OSes, with a choice at (reordered?) boot of a Grub menu allowing for which Distro to go into?

Grub should automatically detect and create menu entries for operating systems that you have already installed.

I primarily use Grub4Dos, but from there I can boot into Grub2 which I recently installed on my laptop. When I installed Grub2 (using Kubuntu) it also detected and created a menu entry for Puppy which is installed to another partition. Likewise, Grub4Dos does the same.

There is an application - some sort of Grub "manager" - that you can download and use to re-order the Grub2 boot menu to whatever order you want, but I've never used it. With Grub4Dos it's simply a matter of editing the configuration file, but the configuration file for Grub2 is generated automatically and isn't supposed to be edited manually.

#8 technonymous

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 06:21 PM

Although Xboot works good, but the developer passed away so there is no newer features like persistence. However, here is another slick tool that builds multiple live distro's in the same way on the USB flash drive and supports all the formats and makes persistent files for each of them. There is a lot of vids there about it. http://www.easy2boot.com/ they all use grub4dos at some point.


Edited by technonymous, 01 December 2014 - 06:32 PM.


#9 wizardfromoz

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 09:47 PM

 

There is an application - some sort of Grub "manager" - that you can download and use to re-order the Grub2 boot menu to whatever order you want, but I've never used it.

 

That would be Grub Customizer I suspect, Al. I used it in Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS before it morphed into TimNet. But I couldn't get it to work for me properly - might have been holding my mouth the wrong way.

 

And thanks for the tips technonymous.

 

:wizardball: Wizard



#10 NickAu

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:36 PM

 

That would be Grub Customizer

 

Grub Customizer is a graphical interface to configure the GRUB2/BURG settings and menu entries


Edited by NickAu1, 01 December 2014 - 10:49 PM.


#11 wizardfromoz

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 11:16 PM

I'll have a BURG .. er .. to go, with all the trimmings and fries.

 

If you Google up grub 2 burg you will find plenty of reading, and a YouTube video to boot (means "as well", not to boot the PC - though you will)

 

Thanks as always for the input, Nick - I have yet to try BURG, will do so likely with my next multi-boot setup coming soon.

 

:wizardball: Wiz

 

I vote for a 26 hour day so I can try out a half the things I learn on BC



#12 wizardfromoz

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 02:57 AM

FYI - No I haven't done a Rip van Winkle and fallen asleep for 20 years (or in this case, 24 days) on this Topic, I have been researching.

 

One alternative I have found is a French one called MultiSystem - it is somewhat clunky to install, and once running, can provide the functionality I am looking for with a number of Distros. I have it running Trusty Tahr and Rebecca Cinnamon so far, via a Grub2 bootloader, but have hurdles to overcome in other areas and with other Distros I will detail later.

 

I will also be trying easy2boot, with grub4dos options, shortly.

 

Thanks for your patience.

 

:wizardball: Wiz

 

Edited typo


Edited by wizardfromoz, 26 December 2014 - 02:57 AM.


#13 cat1092

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 05:24 AM

Most any of these options, while can be done, will usually be slower on Flash drives than on disk. 

 

For that reason, it's best to get the fastest Flash drive you can find, preferably one designated for Windows To Go usage. It still won't be as fast as on disk, but won't be dirt slow either. 

 

My experience with this, no matter the speed of the card, including a USB 3.0 Class 10 UHS-1 SDHC card (mini w/adapter), plugged into a USB 3.0 card reader, wasn't much faster than a Class 6 on writes, but much faster on reads (ATTO benchmark), Writes around 20MiB/sec & reads close to 40MiB/sec. of which my SSD eats it alive, but may compete on my 11 year old T42 Thinkpad. 

 

Either way though, and you can browse safely on another's computer, the main purpose of having this. 

 

Cat                                               


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#14 technonymous

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 03:05 PM

There are some really fast thumb drives out there. Sandisk Extreme for price is a great deal. It has come down in price since this review...http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-usb-3-0-thumb-drive/ I tend to stick with Sandisk for the low price and they also have 128 bit encryption software that comes with it. The other thing you got to look out for is knock off's. They have been floating around places like EBay. It's possible to get them from wholesale outlets, but stick with reputable places that will honor a return. For the money this is the best deal around. Sandisk Extreme http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AF384W?tag=thewire06-20&linkCode=as2 Has a lot of good reviews and some people posted, that even plugged into a 2.0 port it caps it easily with 40/20 Read/Writes. To get better speeds, be sure to keep the motherboards drivers up to date etc. Right click the drive and go to properties and choose to run it as best performance. Some formats may also perform better Exfat vs NTFS and adjusting cluster sizes. However, there is a trade off, you lose the abilities of NTFS (EFS) crypto security. Although, Sandisk has it's own crypto software. In anycase you will lose some performance with the encryption overhead. If you aren't using NTFS or crypto, EXfat is where it's at with large file transfers large or small. NTFS is bad on small files good on large files. Again, with crypto overhead the worse it does. It's possible somewhere out there someone made a SATA adapter that holds a sandsik sdcard/micro, or something that plugs into 1x or 16x pcie. There are some high performance SSD that sits on a 16x slotted controller, but it will come with a hefty price tag vs the usual SSD Sata-3.


Edited by technonymous, 27 December 2014 - 03:07 PM.


#15 wizardfromoz

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:27 PM

Totally lost me :scratchhead: with the above two (2) Posts, but keep the input comin', guys! Sounds really interesting. I expect it will all sink in sooner or later.

 

I have an 8-in-1 or some number, card reader on the back of my Acer AIO, where it remains dusty and unused -  would that be suitable for those sort of cards, Cat? Only it would limit my options to showing friends and family whom had card readers at their end. My main purpose/s, personally, in starting this Topic, were:

  1. To find a solution whereby, if my wife and I go caravanning (trailer parking) around Australia next year, and we've got her a new laptop by then (maybe two, so no fights), I can take my system with me and have 100% functionality, subject only to wifi coverage at the parks or the nearest Macca's (McDonalds). But then since April 8 cessation of support for XP
  2. I also want to be able to visit my brother-in-law, or my daughter-in-law, or my daughter, and others whom have XP, warn them about Ransomware etc, vis-a-vis losing their photos and dat, and have the only sensible alternative (Linux, several flavours) in my pocket to show them.

I hadn't even thought of safe browsing, Cat, but take that on board. technonymous, I stick mostly to Sandisk, but also have some Lexar and Imation. The Latest Sandisk I bought for AUD$39 has 64GB.

 

Going a little off-Topic (but if I can't hijack my own Topic, whom can?), but not really, as it can be linked to the raison d'être for this Topic:

 

Have you heard that Kingston have released/are releasing a 1TB stick? Prices in OZ look to be around AUD$1,000 initially. Now THAT's a stick.

 

:wizardball: Wiz

 

BTW - I know I can buy an accessory gizmo, usb'ed for portable card-reading access, didn't think of it re the above.

 

Edited - added BTW


Edited by wizardfromoz, 27 December 2014 - 06:29 PM.





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