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Re: OT: your desktop on a stick

Phil Meyer wrote:
Anne Wilson wrote:
Much has been said about the ability for a linux distro to be carried around on a usb stick, making any computer into your familiar desktop. Does anyone actually do this?

I ask because I installed F9 and Mandriva 2008 onto sticks for tests with my EeePC. Today I put the Mandriva stick into the Acer netbook, and watched the messages scroll on, as it detected and set up the webcam, then the mouse, then I got to
"Marking TSC unstable due to: TSC halts in idle
Time: hpet clocksource has been installed.

Then a loonng pause, after which

Wait timeout.  Will continue in the background. [FAILED}
Non-volatile memory driver v1.2

and it has been sitting there for 15 minutes.

I confess I have always wondered about such hardware changes. If this is typical, then this is another dream that is far from reality :-(

Just to satisfy my curiosity, I'll try the F9 stick. I won't bother reporting back if the result is very similar.


Yes, done this a lot.

Current best method is to roll a livecd will my favorite apps, a package containing my login (adds me to sudoers as well).
with my favorite apps

Then convert the iso to a usb bootable livecd on a stick. During this, I add a system overlay, and a /home overlay.

My current thumb drive is a 64GB DataTraveler.

It has two partitions. The first is 20GB, and the remainder is in the other.

Both partitions are formatted as ext3, thus allowing overlays greater than 2GB and also allowing me to use rsync to keep my music up to date on the larger slice.

cut and paste error!

here is the command I used to make the first partition bootable:

# /usr/bin/livecd-iso-to-disk --reset-mbr --overlay-size-mb 4000 --home-size-mb 8000 --unencrypted-home Fedora_Developer.iso /dev/sdb1

Fedora_Developer.iso is my custom roll of F10-x86_64.

I made the label of the second partition "music" so it would always mount as media/music.

Next, I booted from the thumb drive in text mode on my primary machine and logged into the console as root.

# mount /dev/sda3 /mnt
   My home is on there.

# cd /mnt/home/pmeyer

# cp -a .ssh .tcshrc .login .mozilla .thunderbird .g* /home/pmeyer
   As an example, but very close to actual -- YMWV

# ln -s /media/music .

# init 0

Remove the thumb drive. Its all done! (except I rsynced my music collection to the second partition)

Now I can plug the thumb drive into virtually any system and have all my favorite stuff just how I like it!. The only differences between systems are video.

The difference between running a live USB vs an installed USB are many.
1. Live CDs by nature have A LOT more modules installed into the initrd.img, thus allowing them to run on a variety of hardware.

2. Hardware setting are not saved.

3. Space!  About 1/3 in my experience.

The advent of persistent storage for the OS and for /home mean that you can make changes to startup scripts, config files, and whatnot, and your changes are preserved over reboots. All the benefits of Live CDs, with persistent storage! It can't be beat.

The best part of all, is that its installable to disk, as well. What else could you ask for? :)

Good Luck!

I have a bad cold today and my brain is even less functional than usual! :(

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