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Old 11-11-2010, 11:49 PM   #1
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Ubuntu NR: install vs live-persistent

I have an old EeePC 701 4G netbook that I'm about to reconfigure for a friend who needs it to read PDF files, surf the net occasionally and do few other things. I'm going to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix, version 10.4.

Now, the 701 only has four gigabytes of internal storage, and I'm unwilling to spend money on it to expand its memory. When installed UNR takes up about 2.3 gigabytes, which leaves a bit more than a gig available for user data, and that's not much at all.

However, I could copy the live files off the memory stick in the main drive and use the remaining space for a casper-rw partition. Then it'd be only a matter of editing the bootloader in order to have a system that saves changes. This way I could fit the system on only 700 megabytes.

My question is: is there any drawback to running a persistent live off the main drive as the operating system? Something that would make me prefer eating up two thirds of the drive with the system, rather than just a fifth of it?

I imagine upgrades would eventually take up a lot of space, as they'd essentially copy a lot of the system in the live partition, but this is easily solvable by not performing them. I don't think the intended user would miss them, since she'll only really need three or four apps.


Last edited by Changes; 11-11-2010 at 11:52 PM.
Old 11-12-2010, 08:04 AM   #2
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At first, not performing updates is a very bad idea. You will not get security updates, and that is not good on a machine connected to the net.
To you space problem: Besides the upgrade problem there is only one drawback that I can see. Running your OS from a compressed filesystem means that your processor has to decompress files that are accessed on this filesystem (if not in cache).

I personally would recommend that you try to install an OS from ground up. Begin with a minimal install and then install what is needed on the system. No need for a full blown desktop, if most of the apps are never used.
Old 11-12-2010, 08:24 AM   #3
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Why not SliTaz (30mb), Puppy (100mb), etc. since the drive is so tiny and your friend has such limited needs?

The problem with the persistent "casper" system as I understand it (correct me if I'm wrong) is that it will eventually fill up over time.
Old 11-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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+1 to snowpine and tobisgd

there are many problems with the persistent usb and doing upgrades,etc
so, I would recommend either a "frozen" distro like maybe Browserlinux

or mjnpup

no need to update either or any puppy, just get a new version
but, same problem with pupsave filling up
however, you can resize a pupsave but will eventually fill up if you do upgrades

this is a problem with any persistent distro because the compressed fs is read-only and so it fills up the save file/partition with new stuff constantly

If you can compromise by doing a full hdd install, then you can do upgrades, etc easily
there are options with installing to usb/SSD like hdd, see here

the important part being here

I did this once with Absolute 13.0 which uses Icewm and I found it acceptable
especially if you incorporate the techniques in that article
if you do a hdd install of a very lite distro like


the important parts are; use a lite window manager (fluxbox/openbox,etc), use a OS that is small by default (arch/slackware), use appropriate techniques for SSD/usb's

I would recommend a hard drive install of lite distro that she can get comfortable with
Slackware or best maybe a Minimilistic install of SalixOS
advantages of slackware/salixos over any other are stability/long-release cycle/infrequent updates
Salix has three different modes of installation:

1. Full: Everything that is included in the iso is installed. That includes a complete desktop environment and a complete selection of applications that matches the respective environment, always following the "one application per task" rationale.
2. Basic: This installs only a basic desktop environment, with very few extra applications installed on top, such as a web browser and the gslapt package manager. Ideal for advanced users that would like to install a lightweight Xfce, LXDE or KDE system and add their own choice of applications.
3. Core: Only the minimum essentials for a console system to start are included. A graphical environment is not provided. This is ideal if you are an experienced user and want to customize your installation for any specific purpose, such as a web server, file server etc.


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