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Old 07-29-2014, 09:45 AM   #1
passinthru
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Two Debian Distros on One Multi-boot USB


Having successfully customized isos and created multi-boot usbs for my own use, I would like to be able to create a multi-boot usb with various distros and utilities for distribution to those who express an interest in Linux.

Objective: two (or more) live Debian isos on a multi-boot usb. E.g., the 32 and 64 bit versions of the same distro; or Linuxmint Debian and Solydxk (which is Debian); and/or Solydx 32/64 and Solydk 32/64 (i.e., 4 isos total).

I can achieve the objective with various *buntu distros, and with *buntu and one Debian distro. But I can not get a handle on how to include multiple Debian distros.

I have attempted both loop mounting and chainloading. The problem is that when I attempt to boot the Debian iso on sdc8 it either fails, or loads the Debian iso on sdc1 - and then freezes. I have tried every append to both grub and syslinux which I can find, but can not find the right configuration to make the second iso boot if it is a Debian iso.

Present test usb configuration (8GB Sandisk Cruzer):

Code:
NAME   FSTYPE   SIZE LABEL
sdc             7.5G 
├─sdc1 vfat     1.4G LMDECIN
├─sdc2            1K 
├─sdc5 ext2     1.1G UBUNTU
├─sdc6 vfat     1.1G UTILITIES (which includes SysRescueCD and Pmagic)
├─sdc7 ext2     2.7G MYDATA
└─sdc8 ext2     1.3G SOLYDX32
Bootloader: syslinux
/dev/sdc1 syslinux.cfg menu entries:
Code:
label live
  menu label Start Linux Mint
  kernel /live/vmlinuz
  append boot=live config initrd=/live/initrd.img live-media-path=/live quiet splash --

menu default
label xforcevesa
  menu label Start Linux Mint (compatibility mode)
  kernel /live/vmlinuz
  append boot=live config xforcevesa initrd=/live/initrd.img live-media-path=/live ramdisk_size=1048576 root=/dev/ram rw noapic noapci nosplash irqpoll --

label check
  menu label Integrity Check
  kernel /live/vmlinuz
  append boot=live verify-checksums initrd=/live/initrd.img live-media-path=/live

label ubuntu
  menu label Start Ubuntu 14.04 LTS amd64
  COM32 chain.c32
  append boot 5

label solydx32
 menu label Start Solydx 32bit
 COM32 chain.c32
 append boot 8

label sysresq
  menu label SystemRescueCD + PMAGIC 32/64
  COM32 chain.c32
  append boot 6

label local
  menu label Boot from local drive
  COM32 chain.c32
  append boot hd1 1

label reboot
  menu label Reboot
  COM32 reboot.c32
Directory structure of individual partitions:
Code:
sdc1:

/media/LMDECIN/
├── boot
│** └── grub
│**     └── x86_64-efi
├── dists
│** └── testing
│**     ├── contrib
│**     │** └── binary-amd64
│**     ├── main
│**     │** └── binary-amd64
│**     └── non-free
│**         └── binary-amd64
├── EFI
│** └── BOOT
├── live
├── pool
│** ├── contrib
│** │** ├── g
│** │** │** └── glx-alternatives
│** │** └── n
│** │**     └── nvidia-support
│** ├── main
│** │** ├── e
│** │** │** └── efibootmgr
│** │** ├── f
│** │** │** └── firefox
│** │** ├── g
│** │** │** └── grub2
│** │** ├── h
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-an
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-ar
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-be
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-br
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-dict-ko
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-en-med
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-gl-es
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-kk
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-ml
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-ru
│** │** │** ├── hunspell-se
│** │** │** └── hunspell-sv
│** │** ├── i
│** │** │** └── igerman98
│** │** ├── l
│** │** │** └── linux-wlan-ng
│** │** ├── libr
│** │** │** └── libreoffice
│** │** ├── m
│** │** │** └── mouseemu
│** │** ├── o
│** │** │** └── openoffice.org-dictionaries
│** │** ├── s
│** │** │** └── setserial
│** │** ├── t
│** │** │** └── thunderbird
│** │** ├── u
│** │** │** └── uzbek-wordlist
│** │** └── x
│** │**     └── xuxen-eu-spell
│** └── non-free
│**     ├── f
│**     │** └── fglrx-driver
│**     └── n
│**         └── nvidia-graphics-drivers
└── syslinux
    ├── com32
    │** └── include
    │**     ├── bitsize
    │**     ├── gplinclude
    │**     │** ├── acpi
    │**     │** ├── disk
    │**     │** ├── dmi
    │**     │** ├── vpd
    │**     │** └── zzjson
    │**     ├── klibc
    │**     ├── netinet
    │**     ├── sys
    │**     └── syslinux
    ├── diag
    └── dosutil

sdc5:

/media/UBUNTU/
├── boot
│** └── grub
│**     └── x86_64-efi
├── casper
├── dists
│** ├── stable -> trusty
│** ├── trusty
│** │** ├── main
│** │** │** ├── binary-amd64
│** │** │** ├── binary-i386
│** │** │** └── source
│** │** └── restricted
│** │**     ├── binary-amd64
│** │**     ├── binary-i386
│** │**     └── source
│** └── unstable -> trusty
├── EFI
│** └── BOOT
├── install
├── lost+found [error opening dir]
├── pics
├── pool
│** ├── main
│** │** ├── b
│** │** │** └── b43-fwcutter
│** │** ├── d
│** │** │** └── dkms
│** │** ├── e
│** │** │** └── efibootmgr
│** │** ├── f
│** │** │** └── fakeroot
│** │** ├── g
│** │** │** ├── grub2
│** │** │** └── grub2-signed
│** │** ├── l
│** │** │** └── lupin
│** │** ├── m
│** │** │** └── mouseemu
│** │** ├── s
│** │** │** ├── secureboot-db
│** │** │** ├── setserial
│** │** │** ├── shim
│** │** │** └── shim-signed
│** │** ├── u
│** │** │** ├── ubiquity
│** │** │** ├── ubiquity-slideshow-ubuntu
│** │** │** └── user-setup
│** │** └── w
│** │**     ├── wvdial
│** │**     └── wvstreams
│** └── restricted
│**     └── b
│**         └── bcmwl
├── preseed
├── syslinux
└── ubuntu -> .

sdc6:

/media/UTILITIES/
├── boot
│** └── grub
│**     └── x86_64-efi
├── bootdisk
├── bootprog
├── efi
│** └── boot
├── ntpasswd
├── pmagic
│** └── pmodules
│**     └── scripts
├── syslinux
│** └── maps
└── usb_inst

sdc8:

/media/SOLYDX32/
├── boot
│** └── grub
├── live
├── lost+found [error opening dir]
├── offline
└── syslinux
(The above listings do not show the hidden .dist directory in those distros which include it.)
Faced with dropping the project after hours of research and experimentation with the conclusion that the technology is simply above my "paygrade", if anyone has succeeded in booting two or more live Debian distros on one usb flash drive, I will be grateful to be shown by example how you did it. Thanks for your attention and assistance.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:34 PM   #2
jefro
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Why don't you go with grub2 instead of syslinux? If you view this usb as a real hard drive, how would you do dual booting on a real hard drive?
 
Old 07-29-2014, 04:19 PM   #3
passinthru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Why don't you go with grub2 instead of syslinux? If you view this usb as a real hard drive, how would you do dual booting on a real hard drive?
If by "real hard drive" you mean installed os, I do not want that. The disk contains live isos extracted on separate partitions. Apologies if I did not make that clear.

As I also hoped to indicate, I have tried grub2 and syslinux, with all the parameters I can munge together, but can not get two live Debian isos to boot no matter what bootloader I use. I provided the information in the op in an (apparently failed) attempt to show the current setup, in which I employ syslinux, and which boots everything as intended but the iso on /dev/sdc8.

Again, for the sake of clarity: if possible, I want to include two or more debian distro isos on the same usb, along with the utilities which I find, and think those to whom I would like to give the usbs will find useful. I am shooting for a Linux demo usb with utilities.

Hope I answered your question. Thanks.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 07:36 PM   #4
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You might consider this then. http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/

I'm not fully sure that grub2 wouldn't do what you want. http://askubuntu.com/questions/32507...veusb-manually

In some of these deals you need to fool with casper files.
 
Old 07-29-2014, 11:11 PM   #5
passinthru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
You might consider this then. http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/

I'm not fully sure that grub2 wouldn't do what you want. http://askubuntu.com/questions/32507...veusb-manually

In some of these deals you need to fool with casper files.
My trouble is not with creating a live usb, or a multi-boot usb. I can create both using either grub or syslinux. On the usb I show in the op, the usb boots Linuxmint Debian (sdc1), Ubuntu (sdc5), and my utilities partition (sdc6, which includes SysRescueCD and PMAGIC 32/64). I can boot another *buntu iso on sdc8, but can not boot another debian distro such as Linuxmint Debian Mate, Solydx or Solydk using either grub2 or syslinux.

I may have been given an answer using easy2boot (see see this topic on the Linuxmint forums). I'm working on it (trying to figure out if and how I can use grub4dos).

My question is simple (or so I think): with a usb that will boot three of the four bootable partitions in my example (see op), and the fourth (sdc8) if it contains a *buntu iso, why will it not boot a Debian iso? Can anyone look at my syslinux.cfg entries, knowing that sdc8 contains an extracted iso with syslinux installed to the partition's mbr, and tell me the parameters necessary to boot sdc8?

Thanks anyway!
 
Old 07-30-2014, 08:29 AM   #6
yancek
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I don't often use syslinux nor do I use Debian. Looking at your syslinux.cfg file, are you trying to boot Solydx and failing? I'm not sure what the append 8 entry is for but I see your Ubuntu entry has an append 5 and that you show Ubuntu as being on sdc5. It it is pointing to the partition then I would expect it to look for Solydx on sdc8 which you don't have. If you are starting from sdc you need to have some way to get to sdb.

Have you been able to boot one of the Debian installs (LMDE or Solydx) directly from an iso with the loopback entry? Or have you extracted them and tried to boot that way?

Since you are putting each distribution on a separate partition, it would seem to me it would be easier to use Grub. Grub Legacy won't boot an iso directly, they would need to be extracted and a manual entry created in the menu.lst or grub.conf file. You seem to be aware of this. Grub2 can boot an iso directly but the distribution iso must also have that capability, this is with the loopback method. You can also boot them extracted if the iso won't boot directly, as long as there are no conflicting directories/files which there should not be if you are using separate partitions for each.

I have a 16GB flash drive with 20 utilities and Live systems on it using Grub Legacy and Grub2 chainloaded and I think either would be more suited to this than syslinux. One of these is Debian. What entries did you use with Grub2?
 
Old 07-30-2014, 09:47 AM   #7
passinthru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
I don't often use syslinux nor do I use Debian. Looking at your syslinux.cfg file, are you trying to boot Solydx and failing?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
I'm not sure what the append 8 entry is for but I see your Ubuntu entry has an append 5 and that you show Ubuntu as being on sdc5. It it is pointing to the partition then I would expect it to look for Solydx on sdc8 which you don't have. If you are starting from sdc you need to have some way to get to sdb.
Solydx is on sdc8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
Have you been able to boot one of the Debian installs (LMDE or Solydx) directly from an iso with the loopback entry? Or have you extracted them and tried to boot that way?
I can do a single Debian live iso either way. (Thanks in large part to you and jefro who mentored me some time back on manually creating a multi-boot usb!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
Since you are putting each distribution on a separate partition, it would seem to me it would be easier to use Grub. Grub Legacy won't boot an iso directly, they would need to be extracted and a manual entry created in the menu.lst or grub.conf file. You seem to be aware of this. Grub2 can boot an iso directly but the distribution iso must also have that capability, this is with the loopback method. You can also boot them extracted if the iso won't boot directly, as long as there are no conflicting directories/files which there should not be if you are using separate partitions for each.

I have a 16GB flash drive with 20 utilities and Live systems on it using Grub Legacy and Grub2 chainloaded and I think either would be more suited to this than syslinux. One of these is Debian. What entries did you use with Grub2?
Have you tried your method with two or more Debian isos?

I can not get two or more Debian isos on the same or separate partitions, using grub2 (looped or extracted) or syslinux to boot both. Something goes sideways and it will boot the first, but when it attempts to boot the second, it uses the live configuration of the first and then freezes. This is not a problem with other distros I have tried, just the isos of different Debian distros.
 
Old 07-30-2014, 11:30 AM   #8
gor0
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You seems to be a humongous Debian's fan!
 
Old 07-30-2014, 12:21 PM   #9
yancek
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Quote:
Solydx is on sdc8.
I don't know how I got sdb8 out of that as re-reading your post clearly shows sdc8?

Quote:
Have you tried your method with two or more Debian isos?
No. I would not expect that to work if both were extracted and on the same partition as there are duplicate directories/files. I haven't tried booting an iso directly from Grub2 for Debian. Have you been able to do that? Last time I tried, a year or more ago I couldn't get it to work. If you can boot the iso directly from Grub2, putting them on separate partitions should work. Or if you extract them and have them on separate partitions, that should also work. It would basically be the same as having two installations on separate partitions.

It might be that it sees the Mint entry which has a 'kernel /live/vmlinuz' entry. I notice there is no partition number under append as you have for Ubuntu. Don't know if that would work.

With Grub Legacy or Grub2 using separate partitions, I don't see any reason why it would not work. I don't have any Debian iso to test on. On the flash I use booting with Grub Legacy, the following entry boot Debian. If I had another install of it on the second partition, all I would need to change is the root line to: root (hd0,1)


Quote:
title Debian-6.0.7
root (hd0,0)
kernel /live/vmlinuz boot=live config quiet
initrd /live/initrd.img
 
Old 07-30-2014, 02:25 PM   #10
passinthru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
No. I would not expect that to work if both were extracted and on the same partition as there are duplicate directories/files. I haven't tried booting an iso directly from Grub2 for Debian. Have you been able to do that? Last time I tried, a year or more ago I couldn't get it to work. If you can boot the iso directly from Grub2, putting them on separate partitions should work. Or if you extract them and have them on separate partitions, that should also work. It would basically be the same as having two installations on separate partitions.
Should work and will work are two different things in my experience with this.

I have tried creating different folders off root in which to extract the different isos, and then creating a menuentry which specified the path; putting the isos in the same directory using the loopback method, and putting either the iso or extracted iso on separate partitions and chainloading to the partition - nothing has worked.

Yes, I have been able to boot Debian distros using the grub2 loopback method. (Here is another who has made it work, using a parameter I had not tried and thought might work on some of those ornery isos for which I can't find the right parameters.) But I have made it work with only one Debian live iso to a usb disk!

Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
It might be that it sees the Mint entry which has a 'kernel /live/vmlinuz' entry. I notice there is no partition number under append as you have for Ubuntu. Don't know if that would work.
I ordinarily create a small (200mb) fat32 partition as the first and boot partition of a multi-boot iso. On this particular test disk, I made the first fat32 partition contain the extracted files of the Linuxmint Debian Cinnamon iso. As the boot partition, I included chainload entries to the other partitions. The Linuxmint Debian iso does not need to be chainloaded since its files are on the same partition. Ubuntu (sdc5), Utilites (sdc6) and Solydx (sdc8) are on separate partitions, chainloaded from syslinux.cfg on sdc1. Linuxmint (sdc1), Ubuntu (sdc5) and Utilities (sdc6) boot; Solydx on sdc8 boots, finds the Solydx splash, and loads Linuxmint! It then freezes and there is nothing I can do but power off the machine.

I'm missing something but just do not know enough to see what it is - or else it simply won't work. I have yet to find anyone who is booting two live Debian isos on the same usb disk.
 
Old 07-30-2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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Grub shouldn't care what you boot. Not sure why you say it won't boot two debian distro's. The only way I'd think it would fail is that you have been pointing some reference to the same location like /root or some other reference by name or locations. If all references describe locations on drive by some exact method then any number of deb installs ought to work. For that matter syslinux shoudn't care but I find it difficult for edits and grub to grub2 transitions.

The most easy way is to just install the distros in native form and stop using live images. Do you have a large enough flash drive for that? It also makes it much easier to properly update system. Casper files only do so much. The cost of a 16g flash is almost nothing and you can fit two or more installs on it.

Last edited by jefro; 07-30-2014 at 04:13 PM.
 
Old 07-30-2014, 04:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
I ordinarily create a small (200mb) fat32 partition as the first and boot partition of a multi-boot iso. On this particular test disk, I made the first fat32 partition contain the extracted files of the Linuxmint Debian Cinnamon iso.
That isn't clear to me. Do you mean that you ordinarily create a 200MB partition but this time you created a larger partition for boot files and also included the extracted Mint on it? I believe the primary directory which contains the kernel and initrd on Debian is the 'live' directory. I would expect it to be the same for Solydx and am pretty sure it is for Mint Debian. I would move the extracted Mint files to a separate partition.

The post you linked to above shows booting LMDE and Linux Mint cinnamon. The base file for the kernel and initrd on LMDE is 'live', on Mint Cinnamon it is 'casper' which is a big difference.

I usually put any iso file I am trying to boot with Grub2 in the root of the partition rather than in a directory or sub-directory. Had problems with that when I first started doing this. The suggestion above is about all I could think of, just a guess and don't really use syslinux so...good luck.
 
Old 07-31-2014, 06:21 AM   #13
passinthru
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Simple question: can I get two live Debian isos to boot on the same usb flash drive using syslinux.

Possible answers:
1) No.
2) Yes.

If "yes", then "how"?
 
Old 07-31-2014, 08:24 AM   #14
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Has LILO been tried?
 
Old 07-31-2014, 03:36 PM   #15
jefro
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Plenty of hits on search for multiboot and syslinux.

I'm assuming one of them ought to work.

http://blog.jak.me/2013/01/03/creati...sing-syslinux/

Slightly different.

http://fomori.org/blog/?p=747

Many more exist.
 
  


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