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Thread: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

  1. #1
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    btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    I've got 4 partitions on USB SSD formated ext4, saucy, ringtail, library. I tried to install saucy onto one of the partitions specifying btrfs. Refused to format. Hung ubiquity. Same result with ringtail. Subsequent ext4 installed fine.

    I poked around internet to find out what restrictions btrfs might have and didn't see anything relevant. I have installed saucy btrfs on SSD installed hard drive alongside ext4 partitions O.K.

    Any pointers on what should/shouldn't work, and what about a mix of ext4 and btrfs which is what I have on the installed drive?

    Thanks.

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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    Where some of my attempts to install Ubuntu on btrfs have failed is at the point that Ubiquity tries to install Grub into the MBR. I recently had ubiquity stop the install because there was not enough space on the partition. Stopped at copying files. There was 10GB and the second attempt worked. You may need either a small boot partition or at least 1MiB of unallocated space before the first partition.

    If you do get saucy installed on btrfs then it will appear in the Grub menu but if you run update-grub and grub-install from the raring partition it will not detect the btrfs installation of Ubuntu. Grub does not detect more than one btrfs Ubuntu install and it does not detect btrfs Ubuntu on another hard disk. This is my recent experience.

    I at present have raring+Ext4 and saucy+btrfs and they are running without problems, except the usual stuff we get with Ubuntu+1. On another hard disk I have a mixture of 12.04, 12.10, 13.04, 13.10. Two are btrfs and the rest are Ext4. Apart from being unable to see the btrfs installs in Grub, I do not have any issues with mixing them up.

    I do not have a lot of confidence in the recent saucy iso images.
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    Grahammechanical, thank. That's just the info I needed. My take, the ubuntu/btrfs implementation is half baked at the moment. This is a U+1 unstable forum. Any clue where Ubuntu is headed on disk formats?

    Thanks much.

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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    I am guessing that the devs are slightly distracted at the moment. Before btrfs becomes the default file system there needs to be a GUI snapshot manager for the ordinary user. I think that for the user of a single machine with one installation of Ubuntu then btrfs will not prove to be much of a problem. Things get tricky for the tester with multiple installs. I also think that btrfs would be great for using the development branch. Have the ability to rollback after an update would be great. A GUI snapshot manager would be useful there as well.

    Ventrical has proved that with btrfs we can revert a distribution upgrade. It is ordinary users that would want to do this but a GUI snapshot manager would be needed for the ordinary user to benefit from it. This where I see things standing. These are not impossible tasks to put right but I cannot see time and effort being used for this at this time. So, I am not confident in seeing btrfs become the default by 14.04.

    Regards.
    Last edited by grahammechanical; June 8th, 2013 at 02:32 PM.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    @grahammechanical

    Ditto. Most of the resources are going into Next, Unity 8 , mir (who knows) Steam (whew!) and a thousands of bugs and interfected depends. I am going to keep checking it out.

    @jerrylamos

    Two earlier attempts at install brtfs on USB stick failed here also. I think it has to do with Copy on Write technolgy and the way it is wired to hdds.

    I'll keep trying though.. Just been busy again ...
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    Just no luck at all getting this task done. Grub will just not load on the btrfs formated USB.

    hmmmm..
    This is not Convergence, This is now Gnome
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    I am still recovering from the emotional trauma of the last collapse of my btrfs pack of cards. I messed up big time. I had the brilliant idea of putting precise on btrfs and then upgrading all the way through to saucy, taking snapshots as I went. I thought that I would then be able bring up any one of the 4 versions for testing without needing to install any other them.

    The upgrade to Quantal broke the desktop. I tried to roll back to precise using a live session. All went fine but I forgot to run update-grub so I got grub rescue. I corrected that using boot repair and failed to notice that it would grub-install into the MBR of both my hard disks. So, I was back to the old 1.99 grub on both disks. What a sorry looking mess but worse of all none of my 3 btrfs installs was in either of the menus. This was especially painful as what I consider as my rolling development release was saucy on btrfs on sdb8 and I could not load it.

    Solution? Boot into raring on sdb1; run grub-install MBR sdb; create a custom grub file (15_custom) using the lines from saucy (sdb8) grub.cfg. Run update-grub. Now I had saucy sdb8 btrfs in a grub menu and could boot into it. I have since run grub-install sdb from saucy sdb8 btrfs and modified 15_custom to show all my btrfs installs.

    If this looks confusing to you. Think of me trying to sort out this mess. Grub os-prober is the culprit.

    In case you do not know, update-grub puts its nose into the files in /etc/grub.d and creates the menu from stuff found there. We can use the 40_custom file to create our own configuration file but we must save it with a new name.

    The entries in 06_custom would go at the top of the menu and 15_custom would come after the line pointing to the kernel on the active partition. So, by calling the file 15_custom I still keep my active partition at the top of the menu.

    I found it more accurate to copy and paste the relevant lines from grub.cfg rather trying to type things in myself.

    Regards.

    @ventrical

    A question. Does a USB memory stick/disk have an MBR? I know it is possible to install grub to the so-called MBR of a external USB drive but where does it go? Is it like installing grub into a partition? Do we need a small non btrfs partition on a USB stick/drive? That's more than one question. Sorry. I think that you are doing relevant research because very large USB drives are becoming common. Sooner or later some person is going to think of the benefits of btrfs for large data collections and want to use it.
    Last edited by grahammechanical; June 24th, 2013 at 06:31 PM.
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    @ventrical

    I found this comment

    *The "preserving /home" feature appears to be incompatible with btfs filesystems, although you shouldn't be using btfs because it's not stable yet. I still didn't lose any data, the installer just refused to continue.
    in this thread

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2157047

    It is about doing a re-install over an existing Ubuntu with combined /home partition and without formatting. I wonder if the real issue is the failure to install Grub into the MBR? Another area to test?

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  9. #9
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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    Does a USB drive have an MBR? How do I tell - here's what parted says
    Code:
    (parted) print all
    Model: ATA Hitachi HTS54502 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 250GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system     Flags
     1      1049kB  14.0GB  14.0GB  primary   ntfs            diag
     2      14.0GB  14.1GB  105MB   primary   ntfs            boot
     3      14.1GB  124GB   110GB   primary   ntfs
     4      124GB   250GB   126GB   extended
     5      124GB   135GB   10.5GB  logical   ext3
     6      135GB   136GB   1049MB  logical   linux-swap(v1)
     7      136GB   146GB   10.5GB  logical   ext4
     8      146GB   147GB   1049MB  logical   ext3
     9      147GB   148GB   1049MB  logical   ext2
    10      148GB   190GB   41.9GB  logical   ext3
    11      190GB   201GB   10.5GB  logical   ext4
    12      201GB   250GB   49.3GB  logical   ext2
    
    
    Model: INTEL SS DSA2M080G2GN (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdb: 80.0GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system  Flags
     1      1049kB  10.5GB  10.5GB  primary   ext4         boot
     2      10.5GB  21.0GB  10.5GB  primary   ext4
     3      21.0GB  31.5GB  10.5GB  primary   ext4
     4      31.5GB  80.0GB  48.6GB  extended
     5      31.5GB  41.9GB  10.5GB  logical   ext4
     6      41.9GB  80.0GB  38.1GB  logical   ext3
    This is a netbook with Windows 7 and a number of ubuntu's on the built in sda. the USB is sdb.

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    Re: btrfs would not install on USB hard drive

    @jerrylamos

    I must have been almost brain-dead when I asked about USB MBR. I think a USB hard disk is a standard hard disk with a USB interface to the motherboard. So, it would have a normal MBR. And as I think about it Solid State Disks (SSD) must also have a place for the boot system (MBR/EFI) otherwise we could not install onto them. I am just not sure about USB memory sticks. And yet it is possible to install Grub onto an USB stick. Just not on btrfs, it seems.

    Please disregard my befuddled musings.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


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