[nmglug] Things to do to fill the day

Tom Ashcraft trailerdog234 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 30 10:50:22 PDT 2020

Not sure about working directly from an optical drive to a thumb drive 
as I haven't tried that for maybe two years.  But what I do know for 
sure is that I have several different distros installed to USB sticks, 
each of which boot and run just fine on multiple machines directly from 
the USB stick, no problems with GRUB.

*Usually* I create these in two stages.  First, I download the distro 
iso file, verify checksum (and often signatures) and then dd copy the 
iso to a cheap USB 2.0 drive to create an installation device, aka a 
'bootable USB' or 'live USB'.  Second, I reboot the computer into this 
new 'live USB' and then use the distro's provided installation program 
to install permanently to a better quality USB 3.0 drive--this to create 
the final "live USB with persistence".  During the install from the 
first USB to the second USB there is most often an explicit opportunity 
to specify where GRUB should be installed.  This of course is a new GRUB 
and it should be installed to the second USB along with everything else. 
Also, when booting into a live USB or the new permanent installation on 
the second USB for the first time, the host computer boot order device 
precedence must be reset so that UEFI or BIOS sees the USB before it 
sees the hard drive and boots into that.  Otherwise, you have to 
interrupt the boot process by hitting F12 or whatever each time you want 
to boot into the USB, which is annoying.

Probably you already know most or all of the above possibly better than 
I.  But I take it from your comment below that there is still something 
or other that one of us is missing.  Also, I'm going into it a little 
because the subject happens to be a current fetish of mine and I've been 
trying to develop my knowledge a bit.  So I'll continue.

When making a "live USB with persistence" there are about a million ways 
to install the OS and to configure partitions, home directories, GRUB, 
UEFI/BIOS, etc., -- all of which usually confuse the daylights out of me 
so that I usually opt for whatever appears to be the most painless 
default nuke-n-pave option available and leave it at that.  But there 
are two points about which I always make sure I am absolutely lucid 
because to do otherwise is really dangerous.  The first is that I am 
very certain I am installing everything to the USB stick and not to my 
host computer hard drive so that I don't destroy my existing system.  
The second is that I know whether the new installation is fully 
encrypted so that I don't inadvertently expose any sensitive data or 
personal information to theft.  It is altogether too easy to lose or 
misplace a USB stick.

A couple of months ago Jared of abqlug.com, who was aware of my USB and 
antiX fetishes, asked me if I might try to write an article for the 
website because I suggested to him that I thought using Linux installed 
to USB sticks might be a great way to introduce noobs and wannabes.  
Here it is:


A bit overwrought here and there but gathers in one place a lot of 
information that might otherwise be hard to find in one place when 
someone wants it.  If anyone is so inclined please have a look and tell 
me what you think.


On 7/30/20 6:45 AM, Don Crowder wrote:
> I've got a copy of Slax on a thumb drive and have used various live 
> media distros on a flash drive to install Linux on machines that 
> didn't have optical drives (or had optical drives that didn't work) 
> but if you install from optical media to a thumb drive then GRUB is 
> gonna want to know where that drive went every time you boot up the 
> machine.
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 8:56 PM Tom Ashcraft 
> <trailerdog234 at comcast.net <mailto:trailerdog234 at comcast.net>> wrote:
>     Install to a USB stick.  A 64 GB USB 3.0 SanDisk Ultra Flair is
>     ideal.  $15 at Walmart.  Weighs exactly 5 grams, same as a
>     nickel.  Great form factor and mechanically solid:  3/16" x 7/16"
>     x 1-1/4" and you can keep it stashed in your pocket encrypted with
>     all essential records and files for use on multiple machines. 
>     Great for testing and experimenting, redundancy, extra space,
>     cheap insurance, etc.  Not that I'm a fan of Walmart or that
>     better deals can't be had, but certainly cheaper and less hassle
>     than another computer to worry about.
>     On 7/29/20 1:39 PM, Don Crowder wrote:
>>     Thanks, I ran across it, as GNU/Linux OS, a couple of days ago
>>     and was curious about it but I don't currently have a machine I'm
>>     willing to use for distro-hopping so I did no more than read
>>     about it.
>>     On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:36 AM Brian O'Keefe
>>     <okeefe at cybermesa.com <mailto:okeefe at cybermesa.com>> wrote:
>>         Hello All,
>>         I was poking around and looking at a website specifically re:
>>         Gnu and the Hurd OS. Hurd doesn't really work much at all but
>>         there were 6 OSes listed that were certified FOSS and
>>         approved by Stallman. They each used the linux kernel. I
>>         downloaded PureOS and installed in as a virtual machine (in
>>         the non-FOSS Vbox). After a few tweaks it was up and running
>>         and I really like it. I would migrate to it if I had a clue
>>         how to keep everything. It's fast and clean, the FOSS browser
>>         works perfectly. No issues with sound nor anything else. It's
>>         Debian based so its Gnome GUI is very familiar.
>>         Just thought that I'd let you all know.
>>         Ciao
>>         -- 
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