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GinKen
June 20th, 2009, 11:13 PM
Hi,

After reading what I could find on installing ubuntu on a pendrive, I finally followed instructions at http://beastie.cs.ua.edu/cs150/usb-install.html, as had very clear hints for tweaking the system to reduce the number of disk writes, necessary for life of pendrive. So installed 8.0.4.2 on 8G Kingston DataTraveler, with ext2 as the file system type and mount point as /.

I tried two installs, the first time using the advanced button to make sure that grub would be installed on the USB drive, and the second time installing without grub.

In both cases, the system doesn't boot. The first case, with grub installed on pendrive, grub booted, showing both pendrive Ubuntu boot and the Ubuntu on my laptop as possible booting options. However, choosing any of these just led to errors. Nothing booted, not the pendrive Ubuntu or Ubuntu originally on my laptop. The second case, with no grub installed, nothing happens at all, there is just a blank screen with a blinking line in the top left corner.

Hope someone has experience installing on pendrives. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Gin Ken

Mighty_Joe
June 22nd, 2009, 01:55 PM
I'm the guy who keeps posting those instructions. I've probably installed 9.04 ten times or so and it's always worked (though I've never tried installing 8.04).
Can you try installing 9.04 using the instructions? I'm farily sure you have to install Grub to the USB drive or it will not boot.
Did you notice if the 8.04 installer used the drive's UUID (a long string of numbers or letters) as opposed to the drive name (something like "hd0,0") for the drive in Grub? I believe the UUID is more robust because the drive name can vary depending on which drive is booted first.

GinKen
June 24th, 2009, 09:07 PM
Mighty Joe,

Was it you then who posted the instructions at http://beastie.cs.ua.edu/cs150/usb-install.html ? Nice to meet you. Thanks for replying, and compliments on the instructions. They were clear and helpful. I may take you up on your suggestion of installing 9.0.4, perhaps on another pendrive when I can get my hands on one. I want to avoid writing too much to the drive, as I've already installed system twice on this one. Anyway, let me tell you why I wanted to install 8.0.4.

Wanted to try Nexenta (http://www.nexenta.org/os), which features Ubuntu userland while running on OpenSolaris kernal based on XFS rather than Ubuntu's ext file system, and I wanted to compare Nexenta with Ubuntu. Nexenta uses the Ubuntu 8.0.4 LTS, so felt I should install 8.0.4 to get good comparison. Nexenta does not use grub, and also, at present, will not install on a partition.

Ideally, I'd like the pendrive system to work on various computers, so thought it would be nice if it could boot without grub, as my purpose was not to have other systems to boot from installed on the pendrive. The installer (advanced button) did give the option, not only of where to install grub, but also of not installing grub at all, so I'm wondering why it would do that if grub were absolutely necessary. I have an Ubuntu 8.0.4.2 install on a laptop, so if grub were necessary, wonder if I could just copy it from there and then tweak script.

So I think I'll check around a little more with the present installation, and if I can't get it to work, there's no reason not to install 9.0.4 over it, and will let you know what happens.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Seems this thread didn't get much response.

Gin Ken

Mighty_Joe
June 25th, 2009, 01:26 PM
Was it you then who posted the instructions at http://beastie.cs.ua.edu/cs150/usb-install.html ? Nice to meet you.

I keep posting those instructions to this forum. Dr. John Lusth (http://beastie.cs.ua.edu/~lusth/) of The University of Alabama is the author of the instructions.



Wanted to try Nexenta (http://www.nexenta.org/os), which features Ubuntu userland while running on OpenSolaris kernal based on XFS rather than Ubuntu's ext file system


That's wacky. Have you considered trying it on a virtual machine with VirtualBox (http://www.virtualbox.org/)? VirtualBox is documented to run Solaris and Linux so it may work.



Let me know if you have any other suggestions. Seems this thread didn't get much response.

Maybe we'll get some more bites with this bounce :D

GinKen
June 27th, 2009, 08:43 PM
Thanks. I've had VirtualBox installed for sometime. Ubuntu works on it, as does Nexenta. Problem with Nexenta is that it doesn't have a good desktop environment yet, or maybe I haven't been able to get one working yet. OpenSolaris is fine, but few apps. But I was looking to the flash drive solution to be able to use it on other computers that are not my own, so I don't have to touch them except maybe to tweak the BIOS. More than that, I was hoping for a way to perhaps introduce others or offer other people a Linux or Unix solution that they could use, if only just to get a taste of a computing environment beyond Windows, which is usually all they know. Naturally, for this, I want a system that works as flawlessly as possible. If they liked it, then we could work on dual boot or VirtualBox options. Over time I've worked with a number of systems.
Ubuntu seems a good possibility with all its apps, and that it isn't, that I know of, tied to any large corporation and what they might do (thinking of Oracle takeover), though ZFS is tempting as a file system. Still have to see how it might get along on pendrive.
So that's the background. What I'd like to ask you is, since you seem to have experience, how long do these pendrives last running Ubuntu? Have you had one conk out on you? What are the symptoms when they start to?

Mighty_Joe
June 29th, 2009, 01:17 PM
I had one flash drive give out after a month of using Ubuntu every evening for an hour or 3. I buy the cheapest flash drives I can find (http://microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0280099) (this store is local to me). There were no warning signs. One day it mounted and booted fine, the next day, nothing. I keep all my data on a NAS, so I didn't lose anything of value.
Dr. Lusth mentioned in an email that he had 100 students use flash drives running Ubuntu for a full semester (5 months) in his introductory programming course and they had only 4 failures out of 100.
I don't know about VirtualBox, but VMWare virtual machines are very portable. One can just zip up the directory containing the VM, copy it to another machine and start it up. If VirtualBox VM's aren't that flexible, consider VMWare Player, which is free.

gregdais
June 29th, 2009, 01:35 PM
very usefull and simple!