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Old 10-12-2012, 07:14 AM   #1
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Difference in LiveCD install and full install.

After 15 years of professional Linux use I've suddenly discovered I've got a noob question.

Most distributions seem to have a two or three methods of installation. Some of them just copy the LiveCD over to the hard drive (as individual files rather than ISO) and others seem to have a fairly involved installation process.

My question is, does the actual installed distribution function differently on the inside if installed from LiveCD rather than a normal installation CD?

Whenever I set up a new distro I almost always use a standard installation CD because it 'feels' like the OS is better integrated to the hardware and structured properly according to the machine. LiveCDs then feel like a 'photocopy' and I'm not sure if things like configuration occur on every boot up.... maybe it does this on a standard install, and maybe my light-switch-on-off related obsessive compulsive disorder is just growing into new areas
Old 10-12-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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general answers only...

No matter what method is used to install, some kind of executable code needs to the read into RAM. This code could install everything from CD/DVD or it could get some or all from the net. The biggest difference in a "Live CD" is that you can run some portion of a distro from the CD prior to installing.

I would not expect the ultimate installed version to be any different---any differences--eg between two install of Arch Linux---should be only based on choices made by the person doing the install.
Old 10-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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The reason why I expected the installs to be different is this:

A LiveCD presumably contains scripts which will detect hardware and set certain configurations which would also presumably be based on a temporary setup (due to LiveCD's being used on a variety of different systems possibly on each boot).

I assumed a standard setup would have set configuration during install and without scripts being run on every boot the system would be more permanently structured underneath (not sure how but just feels that way) and the system would be more efficient.

I can't remember which one but I distinctly remember a distro that if you installed from LiveCD that it basically just copied the LiveCD files over to the hard drive and operated like a LiveCD rather than a fully installed distro.
Old 10-12-2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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There are only a very few specialized distro's that might simply copy the files in a live cd to usb deal. Puppy is about the only one I know of but maybe tinycore, maybe some old installs or odd installs of knoppix or dsl. Made for hard drive distro's almost never do it weird like that.

You are way over thinking this for 98% of the rest. An installer like in days of old did have a live environment (and they still exist) It always installed files. In some odd cases it did some tweaks to files based on hardware. Much of that changed so that now an installer installed files as they were designed for any hardware.

It is kind of untrue to say live cd's are different. The same end result will be what you selected while in the environment. One just offers a way to try and install while the other was a very limited live booted OS.

What you may notice is that some live cd's offer both a traditional boot to a simple installer or they have a new gui type. Some distro's have to be configured on the first reboot while some happily allow you to continue on the fresh install by means of chroot and such.

Last edited by jefro; 10-13-2012 at 04:48 PM.
Old 10-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Wether starting from a full install or a Live CD the machine will function exactly the same as per configuration. With a Live CD the only difference is you have an opportunity to test out the Distro 1st before full installation & the live disc wont run as fast as a full installl on the HDD. Either way the kernel will detect hardware & configure itself to best match your system.

I tend to use Live discs now in order to boot systems with damaged OS's for a temporary solution until the issue is resolved. Thats only 1 of many uses of a Live CD. GIve it a try!

Hope this helps.


installation, livecd

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