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Old 09-28-2009, 01:24 AM   #1
Diomedes
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8GB Flash Drive - Installing Linux, Unsure What Distro


The subject says it all. I have a flash drive upon which I would like to install Linux, completely independent of the computer and whatnot (i.e. incl. swap & /home space, bootable, etc. May go without saying, but I may as well say it). I want as much of the full feature set of the major distros as possible, and with maximum compatibility, but fairly lightweight.
Any suggestions on what distro to use? I was thinking DSL, but I don't have much experience with it, so I'm unsure of how to fill it with the apps I'd like.

Thanks!
Dio
 
Old 09-28-2009, 01:42 AM   #2
Diomedes
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Sorry. I answered my own question. I think I'm going with Linux Mint. If anyone has any input or suggestions, though, throw them this way!
 
Old 09-28-2009, 01:47 AM   #3
vigi
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I have Xubuntu liveCD667MB and Puppy linux on a 4GB stick and would recommend either. Amazingly Puppy includes all the average person needs for a desktop system in <100MB, yet vista needs 25GB?
 
Old 09-28-2009, 01:58 AM   #4
Diomedes
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Yeah, I'm not sure I really understand what all that space is for. Even XP seems unjustifiably bulky.
Puppy looks interesting. I've never heard of it before, and it may actually be what I'm looking for. It looks pretty simple, graphically, which is fine with me. Form follows function, right? And people seem to think function is what it has a lot of. I'll fire up the live CD ASAP and see how it goes. Thanks much for the suggestion!
 
Old 09-28-2009, 04:50 AM   #5
vonbiber
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diomedes View Post
The subject says it all. I have a flash drive upon which I would like to install Linux, completely independent of the computer and whatnot (i.e. incl. swap & /home space, bootable, etc. May go without saying, but I may as well say it). I want as much of the full feature set of the major distros as possible, and with maximum compatibility, but fairly lightweight.
Any suggestions on what distro to use? I was thinking DSL, but I don't have much experience with it, so I'm unsure of how to fill it with the apps I'd like.
I have these on a 4GB usb stick:
slax
grml
RIPlinux
pmagic

I installed and tested other live distros but eventually got rid
of them. I found these 4 are the best and they complement each other.
I have a multiboot menu that let me select which one to boot on
(they are all in the same partition).

http://www.slax.org/
http://grml.org/
http://www.tux.org/pub/people/kent-r...looplinux/rip/
http://partedmagic.com/
 
Old 09-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #6
vigi
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My 4GB usb has the following on 4 fat32 partitions: (it is mainly a testing toy). partedmagic, xubuntu, puppylinux, portable applications-(enables me to plug into any windows box and use my programmes (Thunderbird instead of webmail-notecase etc).
IMHO this is the ideal system. You have all your applications and data on a portable device (esata ssd would be better) and plug it into the pc to use the hardware and OS only.
I used unetbootin to install instead of CDs.

Vonbiber:
I have a multiboot menu that lets me select which one to boot on
(they are all in the same partition).

I have to toggle the boot with gparted or fdisk (not a great problem) however a menu sounds more convenient. How do you setup a menu?
Are you using the unetbootin menu?
Also how do you do it on one partion?
 
Old 09-28-2009, 05:35 PM   #7
vigi
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Vista certainly is the most profitable salami in the butcher shop ( or the big-mac)-100Mb of meat and 24.9GB of fat and bread crumbs.
 
Old 09-28-2009, 05:49 PM   #8
linus72
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sure
you can boot all those off 1 partition

you will need a 2nd partition ext2 labeled casper-rw for xubuntu persistence

so, this would be my setup if I was you

sdb1 fat32 using syslinux, has xubuntu, pmagic, puppy, and your windows apps
heard of liberkey?
pretty cool

sdb2 ext2 labeled casper-rw 2+gb is good

remember that you cant do upgrades from a persistent casper-rw
it wont work...sad

to label and format the partition for persistence
sdb2

Code:
sudo mkfs.ext2 -b 4096 -L casper-rw /dev/sdb2
you can also use Gparted to label the partition too

as for menus, what exact distros do you wanna boot from usb?
 
Old 09-28-2009, 06:07 PM   #9
vigi
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Thank you for all the information.
I take it the setup would be booting .iso files from the one one partition?
 
Old 09-28-2009, 06:19 PM   #10
linus72
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UH
no, thats booting the extracted isos

to Diomedes:

I would recommend like debian-live lxde edition
http://lxde.org/download

now, if you dont wanna dd the .img download to usb
just download the iso and extract it to usb
I can tell you how

also, you can easily use remastersys to make your own custom
debian-live
remastersys lxde is maybe older but good too
http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/downloads/

http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/index.html

Vigi, please start a new thread about putting many distro's on a usb
alongwith portable-apps or liberkey

please tell which distros you wanna boot
 
Old 09-28-2009, 07:52 PM   #11
Diomedes
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Lots of great info. I'm very interested in all of these points. However, among the distros mentioned, my question is this: what do they each bring to the table that the others do not? I've used Debian, albeit several years ago, and I liked it. I didn't like it enough to use it regularly, but it was good. Puppy Linux looks promising, and enticingly lightweight. Slax looks good for the same reasons. I used Ubuntu for a while, and I can't say I'm too impressed. It's a solid, shiny system, and it's obviously a great distro for making the jump to Linux, but some of the more powerful functionality I was used to having at my fingertips seemed to have been trimmed out or pushed to "optional package" status. It wasn't bad by any means. Just not my favourite. As such, I don't know if I'll go with xubuntu. In any case, the question is, among all of these distributions, why should I choose a specific one over the rest? I'm not trying to be stubborn. I'm just interested in why each of you use the distros you do. I'm trying out the live CD's one by one, but there's only so much I can tell about a distro within that timeframe.
I'd never heard of RIPlinux before, but upon perusing the homepage I can clearly see the predominant purpose of that distro. I like having that option. I think I would definitely have that aboard the flash drive.

Thanks for the input! It's been very interesting so far.
 
Old 09-28-2009, 08:02 PM   #12
linus72
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well
I really like Debian, specifically sid, as its cutting-edge, over 20000+ pkgs available
and can do almost anything
any desktop
easy to remaster
very customizable

mostly, the wide pkg selection and ease of use are what I like.

and, Debian's not going anywhere anytime soon

slax is great too, but for me is too wrapped around KDE
if you have ram its ok

GRML is the best
debian based, just is great

I have made grml-magix and now PocketWriter-full from grml-medium-daily-build-sid

best option is to boot many from your usb and spend time with each
maybe use each one exclusively for a week or so
then switch to the next...?

its all about personal pref
thats what makes Linux awesome dude

you wanna try out thorshammer or pocketwriter?
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...nd-hdd-758196/

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...remble-751227/
 
Old 09-29-2009, 01:33 AM   #13
vonbiber
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigi View Post
Vonbiber:
I have a multiboot menu that lets me select which one to boot on
(they are all in the same partition).

How do you setup a menu?
Are you using the unetbootin menu?
Also how do you do it on one partion?
I used the tools provided by slax (a script shell 'bootinst.sh')
No, I didn't use unetbootin
It's a syslinux-like menu

1. I started out with slax
when you unpack slax-$version.iso you get 2 directories:
boot/ and slax/
copied the contents of the iso to the mounted (vfat-formatted)
usb drive. Left slax/ as is, but tweaked a bit inside boot/:
originally
boot/: vmlinuz initrd.gz slax.cfg slax.png syslinux/ ....
I created a slax subfolder in boot where I moved vmlinuz and initrd.gz
boot/: slax/{vmlinuz,initrd.gz} ...
replaced '/boot/vmlinuz' by '/boot/slax/vmlinuz' in slax.cfg
ditto for '/boot/initrd.gz ...

ran the 'bootinst.sh' shell script
./bootinst.sh
IMPORTANT NOTE! you must cd to the usb mount point and run the
script from there:
cd /mnt/sdb1/boot
./bootinst.sh
(and not
/mnt/sdb1/boot/bootinst.sh
which would nuke your hard drive MBR)

Then I unpacked
grml-$version.iso, pmagic-$version.iso, RIPlinux-$version.iso
and put their contents (again I tweaked a bit the original placement
of files/folders, sometimes creating subfolders, etc.)
in the usb drive, added entries in boot/slax.cfg for them

It's too lenghthy to write all the details here.
Perhaps I should post detailed instructions in a web page
if there are people interested.

These 4 distros coexist nicely with each other. Some distros don't.
They insist that some files reside at the root of the drive.
Most of live distros use either syslinux or isolinux or grub as their
boot loader. If it's syslinux or isolinux you can just use the
entries from their menus (edit to suit your config), if it's grub
you should adapt to the syslinux syntax of the slax boot loader.

I actually did the reverse (syslinux to grub on hd).
I have an available linux-formatted partition on my hard drive
(no system on it) and I basically created the same structure as
what I have on my usb stick. But this time I use grub (already installed)
and adapted the syslinux menu entries to the syntax of grub
and added them to my main grub config menu.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 01:58 AM   #14
Diomedes
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@linus72: Not a bad idea, sir. If only someone could point out how to install multiple distros on the same partition... ;D
Seriously, I think I'll do that. As I said, the last time I used Debian, I believe I was using Red Hat 6 when it was cutting-edge. :P We're due to be reacquainted, I suppose.
I admit, as much as I have messed around with, I still consider myself a Linux initiate -- I have experience with only a short range of desktop managers, and little to do with "objective-specific" distros, for example. That's why this is so exciting for me! LXDE is looking very interesting. I like KDE a lot, but only on a high-end desktop. This poor old laptop I live on these days wouldn't stand a chance, never mind this laptop running off of a flash drive, so I think I'll skip KDE.
I think I'm going to install LXDE Debian, along with Puppy and Mint. I'm anxious to finally get a look at the core differences among multiple distributions. I'm still intrigued by the potential of RIPlinux, but I get the feeling it's less "everyday use" and more "use when needed".
So if I'm going to be using Debian, at least for a while, two questions remain. Firstly, GRML seems pretty popular. What makes it better than others?* Second, am I going to have problems using IceWeasel? I've heard of some domains simply not allowing access to IceWeasel users. Are things like this going to be a constant problem?

EDIT: *I believe I answered my own question. It's obviously optimised for system administration, and its app selection seems impressive. I believe it would complement anything nicely.

Last edited by Diomedes; 09-29-2009 at 02:28 AM.
 
Old 09-29-2009, 02:02 AM   #15
Diomedes
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@Vonbiber: That's a really good and straightforward approach. Definitely share more info if you can (but, as you say, somewhere more appropriate in the eyes of Mod). This definitely concerns me. For example, I understand Grub for the most part, but am not very familiar with syslinux et al. Thanks!

Last edited by Diomedes; 09-29-2009 at 02:04 AM.
 
  


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