Boot to USB or Compact Flash...

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Boot to USB or Compact Flash...

Postby serene » Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:16 pm

Regarding booting to an external USB or Compact Flash device...

1. Is it possible to boot to a USB flash drive if your BIOS doesn't support booting to USB ?

2. Can a boot CD with Smart Boot Manager pass off the process to the USB. ?

3. Is it possible to fit an uncompressed Knoppix or Kanotix CD to a 2 megabyte Compact flash or USB ?

4. What parts of the system would be better off on the hard drive.. i.e. Swap and logs ?

Thank you.
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RE: Boot to USB or Compact Flash...

Postby alloydog » Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:26 pm

1. Probably not

2. Most probably, Because once the PC has booted from the CD, it doesn't have to rely on the BIOS.

3. I doubt it. These distributions are still pretty big. There are smaller, such as DSL at IIRC, 54 MB, and BeatrIX at 188 MB.

4. All of it, and none of it! It really depends what you want to do with it.

Question, Do you really mean 2 MB? For this size, you will really need to look at the distributions that do not run a GUI. That is, no X, no desktop and so on.

What is that you want to do, that it requires you boot from either a compact flash or USB device?
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RE: Boot to USB or Compact Flash...

Postby nelz » Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:15 pm

1. No

2. No, SBM doesn't support booting from USB.

3. It should be, although you wouldn't uncompress the image. USB reading is quite slow, so any reasonably powerful machine would probably uncompress faster than it reads, making the compressed image faster. So you should be able to put a full Knoppix onto a 1GB flash disk using the instructions on the DSL forums.

4. don't put swap on the flash disk, you'll kill it. Flash memory has a limited write life, swapping to it could wear it out in a few months. The same goes for logs. If you want a writable system on flash, try using the JFFS2 filesystem, which is made for this.

Take a look at Flash Linux, which is specifically designed for use on flash drives. http://flashlinux.org.uk/
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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re: Boot to USB or Compact Flash...

Postby serene » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:32 am

For AlloyDog & Nelz...

Thank you both.

Sorry I made a mistake, I meant a [ 2 Gig ] not 2 meg external USB or Compact flash.

Serene :D
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Postby ryptyde » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:50 am

I have run Damn Small Linux "DSL" from a usb Lexar JumpDrive and also from a Compact Flash card.My computer does not support booting from usb but there is a "usb boot image" at the DSL site that can be written to a floppy if that will help.

DSL is under 50MBand you can run it in several different ways.You can create an "optional" directory and place any extra packages you need in there.I have placed the "optional" directory on the usb device and also on the hdd of the computer before.

I have always formatted my usb "pendrives" as FAT 16 before installing DSL to them and they work on Linux and Windows computers I've used them on.

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Longevity before burnout...

Postby serene » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:24 pm

Do any of you know the longevity of a USB or Compact flash used as a startup system provided the SWAP and Logs are directed to the hard drive?

What would the symptoms be, or would it simply just stop working when you've exhausted the device?

Thank you.
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RE: Longevity before burnout...

Postby M-Saunders » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:32 pm

You see figures like 10,000 writes before flash memory dies, although that'll vary enormously depending on the quality of the chips.

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RE: Longevity before burnout...

Postby nelz » Fri Aug 12, 2005 7:45 pm

Many chips are good for 100,000 writes nowadays, but a standard filesystem will continually write to the same place, so it's not as much as it sounds. JFFS2 rotates things so each write is to a different place, evening out the wear on the memory.

If you only need it as a startup system, like a live CD, then no writes are involved and it will last forever(ish).
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