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Old 07-09-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
iAlta
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Linux-on-a-stick, thumb drive size


I'm looking into installing a full-fledged Linux-distro on a USB thumbdrive, that I can carry with me.

But how much space would it take up; how big should the PFD be? Is one gig enough?


Since we're here, any suggestions on a distro?
 
Old 07-10-2007, 01:32 AM   #2
frazum
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By full-fledged install, do you mean running a live-cd from a PFD? That's usually the case when someone mentions installing linux to PFD. If yes, then it really depends on the size of the iso to begin with. For example, DSL is very small (50MB)and you can squeeze it into a 128MB PFD. If you like ubuntu, then you would need 1GB. I run 4 distros on my 1GB PFD: PuppyLinux, DSL, Zenwalk Live, and Gparted. I used to have SLAX in it, but I didn't like it. It really depends on what you want and what you want to do with it. DSL and PuppyLinux for example can help you with downloading different packages so that you can customize your DSL with programs you like and remaster it to create your own personal version. Then the size will get larger depending on the apps sizes.

Good luck
 
Old 07-10-2007, 02:48 PM   #3
iAlta
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I just want ssh, FireFox, maybe OpenOffice or AbiWord.

I'd forgot DSL, then I don't really need to buy a stick, I can probably just get a promotional one from my bank, they are like 64 or 128m. cool

thanks
 
Old 07-10-2007, 07:15 PM   #4
frazum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iAlta
I just want ssh, FireFox, maybe OpenOffice or AbiWord.

I'd forgot DSL, then I don't really need to buy a stick, I can probably just get a promotional one from my bank, they are like 64 or 128m. cool

thanks
No problem. OpenOffice will set you back an extra 99MB, but AbiWord is only about 9MB. You can custom build your DSL, or just download the MyDSL extensions for the programs you want. You can find more information here: http://damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index...DSL_Extensions

Try it with the free stick just for fun. If you are going to store documents, etc. You might want to just go ahead and get a 512MB or bigger size pendrive. Once you get the pendrive bootable, putting other livecd onto your pendrive is trivial.

Have fun.

Last edited by frazum; 07-10-2007 at 07:21 PM.
 
Old 07-11-2007, 08:23 PM   #5
Folcrom
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I've got Puppy booting off a 1gig SD card in a single card SD to USD converter.
Works very well and has a script to do the installation for you.
Puppy can also create a "WakePup" floppy, just in case your PC wont boot from pen drive as well.

Note about pen drives.
Not all pen drives will boot, some do, some don't.

Note about mother boards.
You need to have USB boot options in the BIOS, most new PCs do.
However some of the older PCs with USB boot options in the BIOS, wont actually boot.

So some trial and error and experimentation may be necessary.
Have fun.

Folcrom
 
Old 07-11-2007, 10:01 PM   #6
iAlta
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Thumbs up

thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
I also found a 2gig drive today, it was super cheap. Should have enough room for a few distros, I'm thinking DSL, knoppix, and puppy. maybe some more..
 
Old 07-11-2007, 11:32 PM   #7
frazum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folcrom
Note about pen drives.
Not all pen drives will boot, some do, some don't.
I have found that I can make most of the ones that won't boot bootable using the HP format utility. Of course this is a windows program. I haven't tested it using wine.

ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq/sp2...00/SP27213.exe
 
Old 07-11-2007, 11:53 PM   #8
Folcrom
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I have tried that program from HP.
It didn't work for me.
Then again, it may be dependant on the pen drive so it's worth trying.

Any utility capable of extracting the boot sectors out of a system bootable floppy and writing them to a pen drive, in theory should work, eg Bart's MKBT.

Now does anyone out there know how to make Knoppix work with a Laser 52 in 1 flash card reader?

Folcrom
 
Old 07-13-2007, 12:25 PM   #9
iAlta
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bought it, installed it, booted it, error.

I set the bios to boot USB-ZIP and installed the DSL to the USB with the USBZIP install script on the DSL LiveCD.

But when booting, it askes me to insert a boot disk. :/

Does the PFD have to me in a certain USB port, or just anywhere...?
 
Old 07-13-2007, 02:00 PM   #10
rmckibben
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I did it, here are my notes: I started w/ 1g, but that was too small
1. Debian.org - get Network Install CD for etch/testing
2. use burncdcc on windows to create bootable CD
3. for Dell: F2 at boot jumps to bios to change boot order for hd, cd, or usb 4. boot from cd
5. follow the steps …
6. do NOT install grub to HD MBR,
7. Do install grub to usb drive (sda or SCSI1, which net install calls “(hd1)”)
Linux: hda, hdb, etc(alphas)…. grub: hd0, hd1(numbers starting with zero)
8. do NOT reboot, shutdown
9. boot w/ knoppix
10. mount USB drive, writeable
11. in /boot/grub/domain._ and menu.lst - flip flop (edit, save) hd0 and sd1 to
sd0 and hd1
12. now reboot w/ usb
13. finish the installation - do NOT install gnome or kde at this time (too much space!)
14. get a fundamental tool!
#apt-get install mc (midnight commander)
(I have since migrated to aptitude versus apt-get, basically the same)
15. /etc/apt/sources.list (edit via mc)
# deb cdrom:[Debian... (comment out the cdrom disk after you get this far)
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ etch main (note: us = usa)
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ etch main
deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib
# for mplayer
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org/ etch main

# apt-get update (updates the applications database - do this whenever change sources)

16. Get the wireless working
# apt-get install wireless-tools
# lspci
look for broadcom ...
# apt-get install bcm43-fwcutter (see forums.debian.net HowTo: Broadcom BCM43xx wls card) … follow the prompts
# mkdir -p /lib/hotplug/firmware need to copy files to a different sub-directory)
# cp /lib/firmware *.fw /lib/hotplug/firmware

reboot
IF wireless does not come up automagically ... during bootup it will report obtaining an ip address
# iwconfig eth1 essid any
# dhclient eth1

17. Get x working
# apt-get install x-window-system-core (etch comes with x.org, not XFree86)
do NOT install gnome or kde ... too much space!
(however, if space is available, these packages have all the bells and whistles)

18. get a desktop:
# apt-get install icewm menu

# apt-get install gnome-games

19. Get a browser:
# apt-get install iceweasel (etch version of firefox)

20. Get a printer:
follow steps in "how-to dlink print server" to install a printer

21. email
# apt-get install sylpheed (email)(set up accounts)

22. noise:
# apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils alsa-oss (sound... and some other packages?)
(apt-cache search alsa to pick out what is needed)
(get an mp3 file to experiment with...)
# alsaconf (configure alsa...)
# aplay /path/to/mp3 file (make sure it works)

23. movies:
# apt-get install mplayer mozilla-mplayer w32codecs (include the plug-in!)
(from within iceweasel install flashplayer when a site requests it)
(w32codecs are not free, some folks use totem, totem-mozilla, ffmpeg...)
(others use xine, totem-xine, xmms, audacious, quicktime, vlc...)

to run a dvd from mplayer, open terminal, ...
# mplayer dvd://1 (but you can't "control" anything)

24: admin:
# apt-get install lshw (program to provide info on installed hardware...)

25. word processor:
# apt-get install abiword (nice x-window word processor)

At this point 2G usb Flash drive shows...
# df 95% used, 88 Mb free

26. after this I did a LOT of cleaning, etc. with several other tools and apt-get commands to get it to free up a lot of space, so that now I have multiple hundreds of meg free. purge is one, orphans is another, ? apt-clean?
 
Old 07-13-2007, 08:48 PM   #11
frazum
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rmckibben, the reason not to completely install linux on a stick is because of the short life of the stick when it comes to write or rewrite into the stick. If you boot live-cd from USB, you only use it for reading part and you can boot it to RAM and lengthen the life of your stick.
 
Old 07-13-2007, 09:23 PM   #12
pengu
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puppy, dsl, and slax are all good options

dont forget knoppix also..

of you looking for pen testing/sys rescue backtrack also a good one
 
Old 07-14-2007, 10:55 AM   #13
rmckibben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frazum
rmckibben, the reason not to completely install linux on a stick is because of the short life of the stick when it comes to write or rewrite into the stick. If you boot live-cd from USB, you only use it for reading part and you can boot it to RAM and lengthen the life of your stick.
First it was CD rot for files copied to CD for archives. Now, you're telling me that memory sticks wear out if you read/write too much? I guess I'll quit shopping for that 4G stick I thought I was going to use to beef it up to a more powerful system. dag-nab-it!

I have been using this stick off and on for several months now, so it's not a short term issue. But, I have a couple of other smaller capacity sticks that I would hate to lose.
 
Old 07-14-2007, 11:14 AM   #14
rmckibben
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengu
puppy, dsl, and slax are all good options

dont forget knoppix also..

of you looking for pen testing/sys rescue backtrack also a good one
I tried 4 out of 5 of these, but never was happy. They worked, but I could never get it tweaked just the way I wanted. My main issue with these was; I wanted to completely - absolutely - unequivably stay off the hard drive (read between the lines... ). I could do this, but creating a writeable user space was just too much hassle.

I've since inherited (from my daughter) my very own personal laptop which I've finally tweaked to "perfection" with Debian. I'll hang onto my stick and the paper how-to in case I ever need it again, but for now, full speed ahead with a real hard drive, plenty of ram, fast processor, and wireless!
 
Old 07-14-2007, 09:08 PM   #15
frazum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmckibben
First it was CD rot for files copied to CD for archives. Now, you're telling me that memory sticks wear out if you read/write too much? I guess I'll quit shopping for that 4G stick I thought I was going to use to beef it up to a more powerful system. dag-nab-it!

I have been using this stick off and on for several months now, so it's not a short term issue. But, I have a couple of other smaller capacity sticks that I would hate to lose.
I don't know the frequency of your usage, so I don't know how long your stick is going to last you. Anyway, here is an article that would shed a light on the write-cycle of USB drive:
http://www.getusb.info/what-is-the-l...sb-flash-drive

As I said, just for reading, it should pose very little problem, but for writing, erasing, and rewriting, it is different. Considering how cheap they are these days, maybe this is not such an issue. As for me, if I can avoid buying a new one, I would do it.
 
  


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