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Old 07-18-2007, 11:35 AM   #1
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How to make a bootable multi-LiveOS USB key?


I can install SystemRescueCD or Puppy on a USB key (cf links below). What I would like to do is to have both distros installed on the same USB key and be able to choose which one to use upon boot.
Is it possible? I didn't find any documentation on the subject, and I don't know Linux enough to figure it out myself.

Thanks in advance for any help/tips.

Unsurprisingly procedures are very similar, so I would imagine that an answer to my question would be valid for (or translate well to) any other pair of Live distros.
Old 07-20-2007, 05:03 AM   #2
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Using the ISO images as the sources as root or equivalent;


Step one; create some mountpoints for both ISO images

mkdir /mnt/puppy /mnt/SRCD

Step two; mount the ISO images and the USB memory device;

mount -t iso9660 systemrescuecd-x86-0.3.7.iso /mnt/SRCD -o loop
mount -t iso9660 puppy-2.14-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso /mnt/puppy -o loop
mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbstick

Be sure to mount the correct USB memory device, for me it is /dev/sdb1

Step three; follow step-02 from the systemrescuecd site

cp /mnt/SRCD/syslinux/syslinux.cfg /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/SRCD/sysrcd.dat /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/SRCD/isolinux/* /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/SRCD/bootdisk/* /mnt/usbstick/

Step four; copy the needed files from the puppy ISO

cp /mnt/puppy/boot.msg /mnt/usbstick/pupboot.msg
cp /mnt/puppy/initrd.gz /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/puppy/pup_214.sfs /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/puppy/vmlinuz /mnt/usbstick/
cp /mnt/puppy/zdrv_214.sfs /mnt/usbstick/

Notice the remaning of the puppy boot.msg file to pupboot.msg this is done so the systemrescuecd boot.msg file is not overwrote and for use a bit later.

Step five; edit the syslinux.cfg file

You need to add some options for puppy to booting. Below is only the parts from the file you need to make changes to;

default rescuecd
append root=/dev/ram0 initrd=rescuecd.igz init=/linuxrc video=ofonly vga=0 looptype=squashfs loop=/sysrcd.dat dokeymap scandelay=10 cdroot=/dev/sd splash=silent
timeout 300
prompt 1
display f1boot.msg
F1 f1boot.msg
F2 f2help.msg
F3 f3kern.msg
F4 f4arun.msg
F5 pupboot.msg
label fb640
  kernel rescuecd
Notice the added F5 line The other part is adding the puppy boot option at the end of the syslinux.cfg file;

label dban
  kernel memdisk
  append initrd=dban.img floppy
label puppy
  kernel vmlinuz
  append root=/dev/ram0 initrd=initrd.gz loglevel=3 PMEDIA=usbcd
Notice the added boot option (the last three lines) for booting puppy Linux

Step six, unmount everything and make the USB device bootable

umount /mnt/puppy
umount /mnt/SRCD
umount /mnt/usbstick
syslinux /dev/sda1

By pressing the F5 key you can display the boot options for puppy Linux, the renamed to pupboot.msg file. So one can press the F5 key then type:

puppy <puppy Linux bot options from the menu>

to boot in puppy Linux. All the other options from the systemrescuecd are still the same and available.


Last edited by Lenard; 07-20-2007 at 05:07 AM.


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