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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 03-04-2005, 11:18 AM   #1
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Distribution: Slackware-current
Posts: 248

Rep: Reputation: 30
Boot Linux distro off of mp3 player

I checked and didn't see anything that answered my question all of the way, so I am starting a new thread.

Here is my intent. I want to have a portable mp3 player with quite bit of storage space, like an Ipod or Rio Carbon. I know I can achieve this without much effort. Now, I want to take that USB cable or whatever it has on it, and boot a computer off of it. And not just some backup emergency thing. I want a window manager like fluxbox, a few important files, a few key applications like vi, firefox, my music, etc. But I want this thing to still function as it was intended to be as an mp3 player. It does not necessarily have to keep the factory firmware.

Does anyone think this is possible? I have already made a bootable disk that resembles my current desktop, so I know how to do that. Does anyone have one of these mp3 players, or know anything how they are built? Do the mp3 players come with backup software? How are they formatted?

I think one of the problems is that the hard drive aren't made quite like the hard drive in my computer, and I have heard they might run into some sorts of problems regarding heat dissipation. I can't have been the first person to think of this; has anyone done this, or know anyone that has? Which is the best mp3 player to use?
Old 03-04-2005, 04:50 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Fort Myers, FL
Distribution: Mandrake
Posts: 32

Rep: Reputation: 15
Well, if your computer supports booting from USB, then it can be done if the MP3 player is seen as a mass storage device.

I have done something similiar with a USB thumbdrive just because. Probably a good distro to use would be VectorLinux, older versions only needed 300mb and came with a full X environment.

Any reason not to use a LiveCD though?
Old 03-04-2005, 05:10 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Florida
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 148

Rep: Reputation: 15
I have a Rio Forge with 256mb storage. I managed to get zipslack on it with X and EvilWM and all of the essentials, and still had space left to do as I pleased (meaning a place for me to put MP3s to listen to without booting off the flash drive :P ). Only problem I had with it was (and I'm not sure if this would happen on all MP3 players, or just flash-drive based ones, or just Rio Forges) that the MP3 player would not write data as the data was being sent, so I would have periods where the whole drive would go read-only while the Forge "caught up" with the data being transmitted.

I'd recommend zipslack for it, unless you have something against Slackware. You can get a basic install of well under 100mb, and then add packages via pkgtool and

Hope it helps.

Last edited by Adrohak; 03-04-2005 at 05:12 PM.


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