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  1. #1

    Pendrive multidistro AND menu

    I'm writing here because I still not found a solution by myself, maybe someone could help me:
    I tried to make that multidistro pendrive with super grub disk, ubuntu, xubuntu, puppy linux and system rescue cd.
    The first time I used grub as bootloader in a ext2 filesystem, but there was some issue with (x)ubuntu. Never created multiple partitions, I simply moved the content of the various live cds into specific folders, then edited the main menu.lst (from supergrubdisk) to make it point to a submenu.lst, one for each distro. And i fitted all that submenus with absolute directories and the various kernel options, includind an entry pointing to the main menu.
    I had a lot of work to do, and i wasn't able to boot ubuntu.
    Now I would try using extlinux, I should have less work to do.
    I imagined that I could from the main menu launch the ubuntu's or systemrescue's syslinux.conf file slighlty modified to match with the true kernel path of each distro.
    Please, please, could someone explain me HOW make a menu with syslinux?

  2. #2
    I don't know if this is what ya want to do but I am going to throw it out there for ya

    Ubuntu 4 You

    Ubuntu 4 You: 15 in 1 MultiBoot Linux DVD With Links
    I refuse to let fear and fear of others rule my life. It puts my humanity at risk.
    Accepting Death is the only way to stay alive.

  3. #3
    Thanks rokytnji, this is part of what i want to do ^_^
    I've already made a pendrive with a very very long .conf file, with all entries for the various distros and the various kernel's options, but the result was a little bit confusing.
    I'm trying to make a main menu from which launch the others syslinux.confs.
    When i'll finish to make that pendrive working, i'll put an image into rapidshare ^_^

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    3rd rock from sun - Often seen near moon


    LucioBadtaste , Just last week I installed Slax in my pen drive (gET iT i sAY .giis - ext3 File Undelete Tool) and thought about installing multiple distros on it -nice to hear you almost completed it - I would prefer using grub instead of syslinux ,since grub looks more flexible .
    GNU GRUB Manual - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
    All the best
    First they ignore you,Then they laugh at you,Then they fight with you,Then you win. - M.K.Gandhi
    FOSS India Award winning ext3fs Undelete tool Online Linux Terminal

  6. #5
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    I have several linux live system on a 4GB usb key
    I started out with vfat-formatted usb drive and slax
    1. I extracted boot/ and slax/ from the slax*.iso
    placed the slax/ folder as is in the usb drive
    created a boot folder in the usb drive, then copied certain files from the
    original boot (some I renamed, some I edited, some I placed in
    new subfolder)
    e.g., in my usb drive I had
    main.cfg (was slax.cfg)
    slax/: initrd.gz vmlinuz (were in boot, I created the subfolder slax)
    I made the usb drive bootable by using in boot

    Then whenever there's a distro I want to add or update,
    if it's a new one all I have to do is copy certain files/directories to the
    usb drive and add entries in boot/main.cfg
    If it's an update, the entries are already there, all I have to do is
    remove the old files/folders and place the new ones there

    So far I've been able to have
    slax, grml, RIP, pmagic,
    and a few others (Backtrack, wolvix, tinycore, kongoni) that I didn't keep

    RIP is a distro that is updated pretty often (every time there's a new kernel
    version, there'll be a new version of RIP). Updating it in my key is pretty
    easy: I delete boot/rip/* and place certain files from the new RIP (the kernel,
    the root filesystem, the doc) in there

  7. #6
    I have plenty of material dealing with multibooting disks and flash drives at my blog that Roky posted links to.
    The 15 in 1 multiboot DVD was a chore to make. There is no easy way to update it once it is made due to kernel names and conflicts. A few had to have the names changed, both in the actual file name and in their vmlinuz file.
    And even though it was tested on many systems there is no guarantee that every distro will work on every system. That being said.....

    I have found that using uNetbootin is an easy way to boot multiple distros and update them on a flash drive as long as you don't use kernels with the same names. And it is very easy to modify the syslinux menu to add in new distros. I have a 2 distro tutorial on my Ubuntu4You blog.
    I'd suggest making a 'library' of distros installed with uNetbootin then you can add them in as you go just by copying the files to the flash drive.

    There is also a new project out there called Billix which can be found via Google.
    Unfortunately I don't have enough posts here to include the actual URL.

    I haven't tried it yet and I did read there was an error in the docs. You do need to install a boot record to the flash drive.

    You can also find plenty of multiboot info from a Google search using these terms;
    multiboot linux usb

    Grub may be the only option if you have multiple kernels with the same name. Those will need to be booted from a separate partition which will require Grub or you will need to modify the vmlinuz and file names of the kernel.

    This week I will try to make time to try some multiboot flash drives using kernels with the same name such as Ubuntu and Kubuntu.
    I will then post at my blog the details and a possible tutorial on how it's done.
    It depends on my work load.

    Meanwhile take some time to reas up on syslinux, grub, vmlinuz and how to modify kernel names. That is essential when making multiboots with more then 5 distros.

    Good luck!


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