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  1. #1

    OS on my 8gb USB stck


    I use the computer at the public library everyday. I got this 8gb USB flash drive that I am thinking i can put a small OS on the pendrive so I can save passwords, bookmarks, shortcuts, etc directly to the OS as if I was using my own computer. As far as I know, this is done by installing the Linux image on the USB with Live Linux USB creator and configuring a portable virtual machine software to the pendrive. I need advice on a good distro (i'd like to have Chrome for web browsing) and possibly trouble shooting help. I have been fooling with this all weekend. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    I've done actual installs to USB drives with a few different Distros of Linux. Normally I'll use a DVD to boot to the Distro I want Live then plug in the USB stick and do the install making sure I install to sdb1 and not your internal hard drive which is sda1. That way you can save your settings and upgrade the Distro just like it was installed on your computer. If you could bump it up to a 16GB USB stick you'd have a bit more wiggle room for adding software and a 32GB would be even better. I've ran a few different Distros on a 32GB SSD back when they were still pretty expensive. Give it a try with the Distro of your choice and see how it goes. It's not that much different from doing an install onto your actual computer, like I said though, just watch which drive you do the install on and use a DVD so you'll only have to worry about a single USB option to install on.
    No matter where ya' go, there ya' are.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by TNFrank View Post
    I've done actual installs to USB drives with a few different Distros of Linux. Normally I'll use a DVD to boot to the Distro I want Live then plug in the USB stick and do the install making sure I install to sdb1 and not your internal hard drive which is sda1. That way you can save your settings and upgrade the Distro just like it was installed on your computer. If you could bump it up to a 16GB USB stick you'd have a bit more wiggle room for adding software and a 32GB would be even better. I've ran a few different Distros on a 32GB SSD back when they were still pretty expensive. Give it a try with the Distro of your choice and see how it goes. It's not that much different from doing an install onto your actual computer, like I said though, just watch which drive you do the install on and use a DVD so you'll only have to worry about a single USB option to install on.
    The problem I'm having is that I can't get the OS to run "live". I am beginning to wonder if there isn't some security function on the computer at the library that keeps virtual machine from running?

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    The virtual machine should play into it since you're not trying to run the OS in a virtual environment. Depending on how new the computer is there may be a UEFI issue. Some OS'es are a bugger to run Live from a USB stick. I have to burn Kali to a DVD in order for it to boot up, can't get it booted from a USB even using Unetbootin to make a Live USB with it.
    Also, you may need to hit your hot key to get a boot menu to let the computer know where to boot from. For my Dell it's f12 IIRC so when I get the boot screen I just tap my f12 key until I get a boot menu then I select the USB as my boot option.
    Also, you'll probably need to install a boot loader on the USB when you do the install. Just point it at sdb1(or where ever your USB stick is) and let it install the boot loader.
    I've done quite a few actual installs on not only USB sticks but on external hard drives that I have in enclosures. It's just like doing the install on your internal hard drive except you choose the external media for the install point.
    Give it another try and I'm sure you can get it to work.
    No matter where ya' go, there ya' are.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by longturd View Post
    The problem I'm having is that I can't get the OS to run "live". I am beginning to wonder if there isn't some security function on the computer at the library that keeps virtual machine from running?
    this is very well possible.
    but let's assume that it is possible; then you must understand that installing a linux distro to a usb stick is different than creating a usb stick with which you can install linux. especially if you want persistence, i.e. the ability to save files.
    now i have given you some search terms that should get you going.

    i can add that some distros have been designed for this, puppylinux comes to mind and slitaz, if i'm not mistaken.

  7. #6
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFrank View Post
    The virtual machine shouldn't play into it since you're not trying to run the OS in a virtual environment.
    This is what I meant to say.
    Linux doesn't really care what it's installed on, spinning disc hard drive, SSD, or a Flash Drive or USB. As long as you've got the room it'll install and set up a root partition and a swap partition just the same.
    IF you want to run an Ubuntu variant you can use Unetbootin to set up a persistent Live USB stick. You allocate say 2GB to persistence so that any changes you make or anything you install will stay put.
    Like I said, when I've done installs to a USB stick I like to use a DVD to Live Boot to just so there's only one USB device to pick from to do the install. Just keeps things simple for me.
    No matter where ya' go, there ya' are.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by TNFrank View Post
    This is what I meant to say.
    Linux doesn't really care what it's installed on, spinning disc hard drive, SSD, or a Flash Drive or USB. As long as you've got the room it'll install and set up a root partition and a swap partition just the same.
    IF you want to run an Ubuntu variant you can use Unetbootin to set up a persistent Live USB stick. You allocate say 2GB to persistence so that any changes you make or anything you install will stay put.
    Like I said, when I've done installs to a USB stick I like to use a DVD to Live Boot to just so there's only one USB device to pick from to do the install. Just keeps things simple for me.
    PuppyLinux is the program that I ran before on this. A few years ago I used it at the library so i could emulate having my own desktop, bookmarks, email accounts, etc. I believe I have found the instrunctions that I used last time.... I'll post tomorrow if I'm right.
    The guy has a batch file that runs linux in a window even though the the library has virtualization turned off.

  9. #8
    Linux Newbie Rava's Avatar
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    @longturd

    I recommend you use a Linux that is meant to be a live Linux by default, and that is well known to work and run well when started from an USM pendrive, like:

    Porteus Linux
    Slax
    TinyCore

    Porteus and Slax both are Slackware based, TinyCore is not. Porteus and Slax makes it easy to create your own modules (all installed programs, including the core, xwindow, gui, graphics driver are compressed into a single file that then can be put into the running file system as "live" system, and read just like any file system, but it cannot be altered, if youwant to change a module you have to extract it to a folder, make the changes to the extracted files (like update/remove or add programs) and then create the new module using that base folder.

    Here, as example, is what the main modules look like when running current Porteus Live Linux:
    Code:
    000-kernel.xzm
    001-core.xzm
    001-core_alldesktops-150124.xzm
    002-xorg.xzm
    002-xorg_alldesktops-150126.xzm
    003-xfce.xzm
    004-palemoon+flashplayer_en_x86-64.xzm
    004-xfce_fixes-150124.xzm
    004-xfce_fixes-151003.xzm
    010-nVidia-304.123-porteus-v3.1-x86_64-1ftm.xzm
    011-alpine-2.11-x86_64-1.xzm
    020-viewnior-1.4-2.xzm
    021-geany-1.23.1-x86_64-1gv.xzm
    The updates are loaded after the modules they should update, otherwise the update would be overwritten by the original module, which would make including an update senseless.

    I had to include viewnior since that's my favourite image viewer, and geany is no longer part of current XFCe Porteus, or of any other Porteus variant, and alpine is the email reader I prefer, and I had to create my own modules for geany, alpine and viewnior. Also, I changed from Firefox to its slim variant Palemoon, so I had to create that module as well.

    Oh, and Porteus has its own forum at Porteus - Forum
    The same is, of course, true for Slax and TinyCore!


    While TinyCore is amazingly small and fast (due to it not using the standard xorg system for its GUI and a very slim window manager) it has quite complicated rules for creating your own modules (at least when you want to share these modules with others), so when you plan to create own modules for your live Linux, I recommend you better start with Porteus or Slax.

    Both Slax and Porteus are able to save all your changes, or you can also run it in "always fresh" mode, these changes can be saved when you use a Linux filesystem on your USB stick, or when you prefer to use FAT32, then you need to use a container file that keeps the changes for you.

    For more info duckduckgo ("or google") Porteus and/or Slax.

    HTH!
    Cheers!
    yours truly, Rava

  10. #9
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    longturd (great username), don't know which country you're in, but here in my country the security on library computers is fairly firm.
    your should probably find the it guy in the library and talk to them. if you're lucky, they're linux users and understanding/helpful.
    at least you can eliminate the question "is the library computer blocking my pendrive linux".

    i also have the impression that you're not quite clear about the differences between running your own operating system from a usb stick or running a (live) distro inside a virtual machine.
    to make things more confusing, maybe it's even possible to run your usb distro inside a virtual machine on the library computer.
    in any case, some sort of security will most probably be in place, esp. concerning network usage.

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