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What you expect to do with this thing? Basically you want it to work, and not care about the internals, persistence or full install.
The live cd/dvd's and now usb images that are offered are made to run on a wide range of devices by default. It is not a single install as in old days, you end up with some degree of bloat and slower a bit because all the support.
As I say some distro's offer a simple usb image too. It is a full install made again to be portable an easy to boot on many systems.
A normal usb hard drive is not as sturdy in my opinion as a usb flash drive. An 8 gig usb flash is pretty cheap and you can fit 20 in your pocket. Runs any normal desktop up to some very demanding workstation and server uses.
@jefro Sorry if my use case wasn't clear. Basically what I want to do is to take my entire "computing environment" with me wherever I go. So at home, on my desktop, I boot into linux from my external usb hdd. I play games, browse the web, write software, watch movies, etc. Then say I go on a trip and take my laptop with me. Well, instead of having 2 OS's, I just take my external USB HDD with me, and boot from it, same as my desktop. I boot into my same linux environment, same programs, same data in the same folders, same everything. Then say I'm at my parent's house, and they have a desktop there. I could use this same usb hdd to boot from. I get everything the same again. That's my vision, anyway.
So far, I think I understand that pendrivelinux way of doing things has the advantage of auto X configuration. But that seems to be the only advantage. I could certainly be missing something though. Thanks again!
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.10, openSUSE, Damn Small Linux, Fedora 14
Ohh don't even get me started on the beauty of a portable Ubuntu install. Installation to a USB HDD is easy in Ubuntu, just run the install like normal, selecting your USB HDD to install onto, and be certain that the bootloader will also be installed onto the external drive, not the internal drive of the computer used to complete the install.
Performance issues? My Western digital MyPassport 3200 drive has only slight performance degration compared to a full blown SATA drive install most are used to. It will not kill your HDD so long as it is a rotary platter HDD and not a flash based drive. (If it makes noises when it is powered on/writing or reading data it is a rotary based HDD)
I love it and use it often, and yes, make sure to do some backups or just be careful.
extract it and go into that folder, extract the "essentils" folder
as root copy the /etc/X11/gui.conf, /etc/profile.d/slax.sh, /etc/rc.d/rc.slax, and /usr/bin/xconf
into your ubuntu install
make sure to copy /etc/rc.d/rc.slax to /etc/init.d/ in a debian/ubuntu install
put on your grub2 grub.cfg on the kernel line "autoexec=xconf"
@cmas1148 Cool, so you actually do what I'm theorizing? Do you move it around various machines? How do you deal with the various graphics card drivers? Do you use an auto X config script ala liveUSB installs? Thanks for the input!
@linus72 Awesome, thanks! This project is looking more and more doable. I think this is exactly what I need!
The new "replacement" for Slax is called Porteus and runs just like Slax but it's based on newer Slackware,etc
Fathom, the maintainer, has a great setup and it should auto-detect your card as most recent distro's do
plus it's 228mb and runs great http://www.porteus.org/