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Vegetarian Smoker 12-21-2006 10:50 AM

I'd Like To Install Debian on a USB Flash Stick
 
I'd like to install Debian 3.1 (sarge) or 4.0 (etch) on to a USB flash stick. The idea is that I'd set up a bootable system that could be used in nearly any computer. I would be willing to accept certain constraints, such as SVGA+ graphics and 128MB+ RAM, or constraints that most computers currently in use fulfill. I'd also be willing to use a boot floppy to load from USB if the computer isn't new enough. The idea is like the good old DOS floppy with utilities, only it's Linux and on USB.

One constraint that I cannot negotiate is the ability to run without swap, as that's bad for flash.

I've never done this before, so I'm kind of in the dark. I've seen instructions for other distributions, but I like Debian the best and it's what I have the most experience with, so if at all possible (surely it must be), I'd like to use Debian. I don't care if it's a little complicated. I suppose some place on the Internet might sell it, but that's no fun. Unless it's necessary hardware, I don't want to buy anything.

Is it possible to use the net-inst install method, but install to the USB flash instead of one of the hard disks?

Right now I'm going to try using VMWare and the net-inst method as I described in the last paragraph, but I have a feeling that's not going to work.


Ben

Vegetarian Smoker 12-21-2006 11:06 AM

Update
 
OK, I tried the net-inst/USB Flash instead of HD method. It didn't work, I got a message that says: "Failed to Create a file system."

I don't want to give up yet though.


Ben

amocjr 12-22-2006 07:10 PM

I haven't tried it, but the article at the following URL seems like it's right on point for you.

http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/179

Good luck. Please post the solution if this article doesn't do it and you figure it out.

Vegetarian Smoker 12-23-2006 08:56 AM

USB Booting from Floppy?
 
Thanks for the article link. I'll try it (thank god for VMWare!).

Another question:

Is there a place where I can download some files to make a boot floppy that will, in turn, boot from USB storage? This is of interest because sometimes, for whatever reason, you can't boot directly from USB.

This sadly includes VMWare VM machines. The VM seems like an ideal place to test the device, but it doesn't natively support USB booting. Also, while possible, it'll be difficult for me to do that on my primary PC. It's a long story, but it's a pain in the butt.

I tried searching for such files but I haven't found what I'm looking for.


Ben

Vegetarian Smoker 12-23-2006 09:58 AM

I discovered that if I boot from the "net-install" Debian CD I can type something like linux root=/dev/<device name>. It's a step in the right direction, though I don't think the net-install loads USB drivers as that wasn't the intended purpose. Plus I doubt it'd work for non-Linux OSes. I have other goals, such as Windows on USB. Unless there's a way to load the USB storage drivers before the "Linux root" thing?

Ben


Quote:

Originally Posted by Vegetarian Smoker
Thanks for the article link. I'll try it (thank god for VMWare!).

Another question:

Is there a place where I can download some files to make a boot floppy that will, in turn, boot from USB storage? This is of interest because sometimes, for whatever reason, you can't boot directly from USB.

This sadly includes VMWare VM machines. The VM seems like an ideal place to test the device, but it doesn't natively support USB booting. Also, while possible, it'll be difficult for me to do that on my primary PC. It's a long story, but it's a pain in the butt.

I tried searching for such files but I haven't found what I'm looking for.


Ben



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