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Old 02-21-2003, 01:12 PM   #1
cli_man
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USB Flashdrive disto


http://linuxmobile.sourceforge.net/

I have seen it mentioned several times here as to whether you can boot a whole linux disto on a usb flashdrive, it looks like the link above is just for that, it is not in english so I could not make out much but take a look if you wish.
 
Old 02-21-2003, 03:05 PM   #2
ranger_nemo
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Uh... Did you try the English link?

Last edited by ranger_nemo; 02-21-2003 at 03:07 PM.
 
Old 02-21-2003, 03:15 PM   #3
cli_man
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You know I didn't really look at it, I have seen people ask about it here several times as to whether it was possible, I was looking for a good linux boot disk and happened upon that so I posted a link here for it.
 
Old 02-22-2003, 04:34 AM   #4
acid2000
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I don't think that is possible at the moment because the BIOS doesn't recognise USB as a bootable device
 
Old 02-22-2003, 05:09 AM   #5
finegan
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MasterC and I fiddled with this in a thread once, about 6 months ago I think, I took and put Slackware A,AP,N, and some other goop on a CF card formatted ext2. Then I made a boot floppy with all of the USB support, syslinux disk, typical slack, copied over the bare.i with my bzImage, booted from the floppy to the CF card at /dev/sda1 as the root device... pain in the butt, but easily doable, makes for an awesome rescue system... some systems will boot to firewire, now that's something I want to try soon. I would keep around a Linux system on a CF card if they weren't so expensive still.

When I BIOS can boot to USB, that'll be friggin awesome...

Cheers,

Finegan
 
Old 02-22-2003, 11:29 AM   #6
MasterC
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FYI, if fin says "Pain in the butt" that means, "The average user would have one helluva time accomplishing this..."

The prices really seemed to have plateau'd didn't they? I thought they'd keep droppin, but it's about maxed out for a while I guess. I'd really like to play around on a usb-bootable system, that'd be a pretty fun toy for a while.

Another cool thing about doing this is impressing your friends. There's nothing like showing them a boot distro... on a Memory Stick!

Cool
 
Old 02-22-2003, 11:09 PM   #7
Daemonfly
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There are newer mobos that can boot from USB, so this should be a viable project.
 
Old 02-23-2003, 04:56 AM   #8
finegan
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Quote:
Originally posted by MasterC

The prices really seemed to have plateau'd didn't they? I thought they'd keep droppin, but it's about maxed out for a while I guess.
They keep going down as far as I can tell. 6 months ago a 128 stick was about a $1 a meg, now we're into a reasonable $50s in pricewatch.

Offhand the method I used was pretty easy: Build the obnoxious 5 disk install set for Slackware 8.1: bare.i, then root disks 4-5. On another machine compile a kernel, and a newer one, at least 2.4.19 if not 20, and add in support for all of the USB CF card readers directly into the kernel, not as modules. Make certain the bzImage you produce is less than 1.2Mb. Mount the bare.i boot disk you created and copy over the vmlinuz there with your bzImage, keep the same name. Then boot the machine with the slack install disks and just proceed with a normal install, only don't touch or even configure any of the machine's standard drives, just fiddle with /dev/sda. Best to do a "menu" install and be careful as slack doesn't really tell you ahead of time if you're running out of filesystem. Don't bother to configure lilo...

Boot the machine with the same creative usb disk you created before, passing it the argument... I think it goes:

root = /dev/sda1 rw

Something like that anyway... it'll give you a prompt with the proper syntax, its prebuilt to be a rescue disk too after all.

Then you can monkey wrench /etc/lilo.conf, give it the boot line:

boot = /dev/sda

So it'll give the CF card an MBR. Then copy your kernel from the boot disk over to /boot and give it a lilo entry. Also, you may want to take the module set you compiled on the other machine and stick it on the card and remove the 18 megs or so of stock 2.4.18 slack kernel modules. Then run /sbin/lilo and if indeed a motherboard can boot to USB, there you go, a palm of your hand sized fully functional, read-write rescue system, which beats Knoppix in that you're not chained to the CD, and beats tomsrtbt in that you have a heck of a lot more than 1.77 megs of software and kernel. It makes for an interesting little niche that might get explored more by a full distro if indeed motherboard standardize on a boot from USB option. If someone builds a good one, it'll probably carve out some userspace from RAMdisk, maybe use the Knoppix-esque RAM stealing expansion for chunky binaries such as X that would kick the snot out of a poor little USB card with all of the disk accesses.

Cheers,

Finegan

Last edited by finegan; 02-23-2003 at 05:01 AM.
 
  


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