View Poll Results: Select a tool to create USB boot drives to replace the Startup Disk Creator

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41. You may not vote on this poll
  • cp and dd "without safety belt" ('advertize' them as replacements)

    10 24.39%
  • Disks ('advertize' it as a replacement)

    7 17.07%
  • Easy2Boot

    1 2.44%
  • grub-n-iso Boot via grub and the ISO-file

    2 4.88%
  • mintStick

    0 0%
  • mkusb (GUI) and mkusb-nox (text mode for servers)

    10 24.39%
  • MultibootUSB

    1 2.44%
  • Multisystem

    6 14.63%
  • Unetbootin

    14 34.15%
  • Keep the Startup Disk Creator, it is the best alternative

    5 12.20%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

  1. #31
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Walsh View Post

    My original problems centred around not, at the time, being able to get a translation from the French..!
    .
    The website is in French but the interface of multisystem is in English. You can read the website using google translate addon for Firefox or use Chrome.

    But really what you need is http://liveusb.info/dotclear/index.php?pages/install
    the commands hardly need translation

    I was told about multisystem some years ago by the dev of LILI http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ I just started using Ubuntu and was interested in trying out different distros and LILI seemed to be a perfect tool, but it works only on Windows. I wrote him to ask why there was no Linux version, his reply was that there was already something better in Linux, which was multisystem (at that time it had a different name)
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; August 30th, 2015 at 01:56 AM.

  2. #32
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    Bump

    Maybe you have returned from summer holiday now and want to share your opinion. Help us suggest a good tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files (to replace the Startup Disk Creator, or tell us that you like it and want to keep it)!

    If you haven't voted in the poll and/or replied yet, please vote and let us know what you use and why you prefer that tool. It helps if you also tell us what tool you would recommend to a beginner.

  3. #33
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    Quote Originally Posted by sudodus View Post
    Bump

    Maybe you have returned from summer holiday now and want to share your opinion. Help us suggest a good tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files (to replace the Startup Disk Creator, or tell us that you like it and want to keep it)!

    If you haven't voted in the poll and/or replied yet, please vote and let us know what you use and why you prefer that tool. It helps if you also tell us what tool you would recommend to a beginner.
    +1

    I was just going to check and see what was up, but you beat me to it.

  4. #34
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    By the way kansasnoob,

    There is a 'console window' in mkusb. Do you think it scares beginners and those who are used to pure GUI interfaces?

  5. #35
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    Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus

    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    I never could comprehend why not just release a .img file and skip the installer process and eliminate a lot of forum space on people asking why the conversion didn't work on their [OS] [Version] running on [Hardware] with a [name of expensive video card].

    Especially considering that CD/DVD drives on computers are becoming less common. I personally haven't owned one for two years.

    Look, debian.org is even doing it (and that really pisses me off):

    https://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst

    I find it very annoying that they are competing by providing an additional service that Ubuntu won't. Ubuntu is superior in so many ways and I want it to be easier for new users. I have tried a number of those image conversion techniques and found poor results in their effectiveness. The emulator approach is the only one I found failsafe. The last three installations were actually done emulating a CD-ROM in qemu, installing onto a 8GiB image, dd that file onto the hard disk and then grew the ext partition to the whole disk.

    If it's about hard disk space on the webserver, I'm willing to just buy the drive for you because storage can be expensive. I remember very well how expensive 600MiB was back in 1995, but prices have gone down a little since then. But it shouldn't affect the upstream data that much since people would likely download one of the other, depending on need. If it is about storage, I recall seeing a half-terabyte WD passport at walmart on clearance last month.

  6. #36
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    @timothylegg

    Have you checked what is available the this link: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com? There is a netboot version of Ubuntu too I haven't tried all alternatives, but maybe you can find something similar to what Debian can offer.

    Anyway, I see your point. I have even supplied some compressed images of already installed systems. You find some of them at

    http://phillw.net/isos/linux-tools/compressed-images/ and http://phillw.net/isos/linux-tools/uefi-n-bios

    They are easy to install with mkusb.

    I have also created tarballs from installed systems, and they can be installed with the One Button Installer. This method is developed further in ToriOS where it is used instead of the standard debian installer or ubiquity. But there is still a ToriOS ISO file to make it possible to install from a CD drive in old computers, that cannot boot from USB.

    -o-

    But I think the method with ISO files is standard since a long time, and it will probably survive for several more years.
    Last edited by sudodus; September 5th, 2015 at 08:02 AM. Reason: ToriOS

  7. #37
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    I use disks and unetbootin on linux. It would be nice to have a tool that supports multiboot available from the the official repositories but I think any of those two can already replace Startup Disk Creator. The best one I've found is called YUMI for windows (http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/), it easily let me create a bootable usb with Fatdog, Tahrpup and Clonezilla, which are the distributions I use from live session most frequently. Unfortunately the linux version doesn't yet match the windows one. I didn't know about Multisystem, I'll try it.

  8. #38
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    Bump

    How do you create your USB boot drives? Help us suggest a good tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files (to replace the Startup Disk Creator, or tell us that you like it and want to keep it)!

    If you haven't voted in the poll and/or replied yet, please vote and let us know what you use and why you prefer that tool. It helps if you also tell us what tool you would recommend to a beginner.

  9. #39
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    @ kansasnoob, mc4man, ventrical and everybody else willing to check for Startup Disk Creator bugs in various versions of *buntu and report the result:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Deslauriers at Canonical

    On 2015-09-17 11:26 AM, Nio Wiklund wrote:
    > Den 2015-09-17 kl. 16:35, skrev Marc Deslauriers:
    >> Hi!
    >>
    >> On 2015-09-17 10:24 AM, Nio Wiklund wrote:
    >>> Hi subscribers to the ubuntu-quality mailing list,
    > ,,,
    >
    >> Care to elaborate what the many bugs are? I use it every single day for testing
    >> security updates on real hardware and since bug 1279987 got fixed it's been
    >> working great for me.
    >>
    >>>
    > ...
    >
    >> Ideally it would also have both gtk and kde frontends, like usb-creator
    >> currently has.
    >>
    >> Marc.
    >
    > Hi Marc,
    >
    > Elaborating on bugs and strange behaviour:
    >
    > kansasnoob:
    >
    > 1. Aside from SDC being badly borked one of the most annoying design
    > flaws has always been the 10 minute timeout for installing the
    > bootloader. I'm sure I'm not the only one that multi-tasks constantly,
    > and not just at the desk. Watching and waiting for SDC to ask if you
    > want to install the bootloader is about like watching paint dry
    > ............... but if you get distracted for more than 10 minutes after
    > SDC asks about bootloader installation you have to start all over again

    That's a one-line fix. Is there a bug opened for that issue?

    >
    > 2. Bug numbers
    >
    > https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...r/+bug/1325801
    >
    > But the proposed "fix" resulted in this:
    >
    > https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...r/+bug/1446646
    >
    > My final comment on that bug was here:
    >
    > https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...1/comments/146
    >
    > S-D-C is borked - it's useless to create live USB's of either older or
    > newer versions of Ubuntu than the version you're running S-D-C on. And
    > the proposed fix that made it into Vivid and got backported into Utopic
    > resulted in S-D-C being able to only produce live USB's of the same
    > architecture.

    Bug 1325801 is being actively worked on.

    Interesting, I can't reproduce bug 1446646. I can create both amd64 and i386
    bootable usb disks for trusty and vivid on my vivid amd64 laptop.

    Is there something special I need to do to reproduce your issue?

    >
    > mc4man:
    >
    > s-d-c worked ok here on 14.04.1 but fails now on installing bootloader
    > with 14.04.2/3. s-d-c does currently work in 15.10 (trying to create
    > 14.04.3 image)
    >
    > sudodus - alias me, Nio:
    >
    > There is also a bug that makes it impossible to 'erase a disk'. I don't
    > know if it has a bug number, but it is there at least in some of the
    > current versions.

    That's probably a udisks issue. It would help to actually have a bug filed for it.
    >
    > You see, there are too many bugs, that minor bug like the 'erase a disk'
    > was not even reported. Once we thought it would be squashed when a bug

    You've listed 4 bugs, two of which weren't even reported. I don't think that's
    too many to simply fix.

    > was being debugged, but it turned out to be independent of that bug, and
    > I don't know of any bug report directed against it.
    >
    > -o-
    >
    > Concerning front-ends, they can be more or less independent of gtk and kde.
    >
    > mkusb uses bash + zenity + pv, which are available without importing
    > heavy stacks of gtk or kde packages.

    I do hope you're not proposing to replace s-d-c with a bash script that needs
    admin privileges and doesn't use udisks or policykit. That would be a non-starter.

    >
    > Disks belongs to gnome, I don't know if there is any corresponding
    > built-in cloning tool in kde (not counting cp and dd).
    >
    > I don't know about Unetbootin and Multisystem and the other tools, how
    > many packages they will bring. But we can find out.
    >
    > Unetbootin has versions for Windows and Mac OS too, which is an advantage.
    >
    > Best regards
    > Nio
    >

    Marc.
    @ kansasnoob:

    1. "That's a one-line fix. Is there a bug opened for that issue?"

    2. "Bug 1325801 is being actively worked on.

    Interesting, I can't reproduce bug 1446646. I can create both amd64 and i386
    bootable usb disks for trusty and vivid on my vivid amd64 laptop.

    Is there something special I need to do to reproduce your issue?"

    @ mc4man:

    "That's probably a udisks issue. It would help to actually have a bug filed for it."

    @ sudodus (myself) :

    "I do hope you're not proposing to replace s-d-c with a bash script that needs
    admin privileges and doesn't use udisks or policykit. That would be a non-starter."


    -o-

    It is not enough to tell the developers about the problems. We have to file bug reports. Yes, we know.

    He first blames udisks for the problems in the Startup Disk Creator, and then states that a tool that should replace it must use it (udisks). And why is it a non-starter to use sudo -H instead of policykit? (I have seen that there are several problems, that are caused by the complicated policykit in more than one of the Ubuntu flavours.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
    Le 2015-09-17 15:21, Nio Wiklund a écrit :
    > Den 2015-09-17 kl. 19:08, skrev Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre:
    [...]

    > It seems that a fair fraction of those who have bothered to vote in the
    > poll and / or written a detailed reply prefer Unetbootin. And I know
    > that many of them have used it in many situations.
    >
    > There have been problems with it, for example the gfxboot.c32: not a
    > COM32R Image boot bug (corresponding to #1325801 for the SDC). But it
    > was quickly fixed by the developer and a working version was available
    > at the developer's PPA. Unfortunately the version of Unetbootin in the
    > Ubuntu repository is lagging behind.

    Then please file a bug report to have it synced or whatever, as
    appropriate to get a recent version in the archive.

    [...]

    > The remainder, when people want persistence or use the rest of the drive
    > space for carrying data between computers, or who want a multiboot
    > pendrive, can be managed with Unetbootin or Multisystem, but also with
    > some other tools that 'participate' in the poll at the Ubuntu Forums.
    > LXLE replaced the SDC with MultibootUSB in the current release. They
    > have tested several tools before selecting it. ToriOS will soon release
    > its first official version, and it uses mkusb.

    I don't think we want to have different tools for different features.
    The purpose of SDC is to be an application on the default install and on
    the images, so that users can write a new version to USB to try it
    before installing. It's still satisfying this primary purpose.

    FWIW, I'm not opposed to change, but I'd like to see people coming
    forward with something that is proven to work correctly, and that has
    more backing than a small poll on Forums. It's also not only my
    decision, but rather the decision of Ubuntu users and developers in general.

    Already looking after usb-creator, it seems like it's by far simpler to
    just fix the bugs.

    So, request a session at UOS, discuss it there, and see if people are
    willing to do the work to support it *in Ubuntu*, looking at the bugs,
    etc. From there, we used to have a "defaults" session where default
    applications on images were "picked". If I was you I'd at least bring up
    your alternative on ubuntu-devel, see if there is interest.
    --
    Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre

    1. "Then please file a bug report to have it synced or whatever, as
    appropriate to get a recent version in the archive."

    Yes, yes, I'll do that.

    2. "Already looking after usb-creator, it seems like it's by far simpler to
    just fix the bugs."


    If it is so simple, why this never ending stream of bugs that cripple the SDC?

    Quote Originally Posted by from the bug #1325801 report, comments 161-165
    sudodus (nio-wiklund) :

    The poor Startup Disk Creator has been suffering from many bugs for many years now, and in spite of great efforts, our developers have not managed to make it work properly. There are still several bugs and strange features.

    At the Ubuntu Forums we started a discussion about replacing the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator with another tool. See these links,

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2289225

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2291946

    I suggest that we look for a tool that is

    - reliable

    - easy to use for a beginner

    - easy to maintain, for example more likely to work without tweaks (or with few and simple tweaks) between Ubuntu versions.

    Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre (mathieu-tl) :

    How about instead we just fix the bugs, given that it mostly works for people? We however can't do this unless the individual bugs are reported, and it helps a lot like people like Yu Ning provide patches too when it's very specific corner cases. There is no other tool which satisfies all of the "reliable", "easy to use" and "easy to maintain" requirements -- it's not like usb-creator is very hard to maintain, we're just dealing here with corner cases.

    This particular issue here we've been at for a while, and this is simply because while I'm happy to test things and to sponsor things, usb-creator isn't the only thing I look after. Given that this isn't my top priority, I was relying on Yu Ning to complete the fixes. I did not see there was a new branch. Thankfully, we have Timo who also chimed in to help with the SRU.

    As it's been mentioned previously, there are other issues which may affect behavior and make a SRU fail verification, something that we might not have thought of -- the answer to this is to iterate over these fixes, just as we've been doing now.

    Can we please summarize the current state of this?

    - Verification fails on Trusty and Precise.
    - Does it work properly on Vivid? Presumably not because of the requirement for the architecture to be the same?

    Given the same issue, it will also need to be fixed in Wily before the fix can make it to the stable releases. I'm still happy to review and sponsor proposed fixes.
    Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre (mathieu-tl) :

    Yu Ning, please confirm that this works properly as it is in Wily and Vivid -- it seems to me like it mostly should, and we can deal with other issues in separate bugs so as not to confuse the matters worse than it already is.
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
    status: Fix Released → Triaged
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Wily):
    status: Triaged → Fix Released
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Vivid):
    importance: Undecided → Critical
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Utopic):
    assignee: Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre (mathieu-tl) → nobody
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Trusty):
    assignee: Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre (mathieu-tl) → nobody
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Utopic):
    status: Fix Released → Won't Fix
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Vivid):
    status: New → Incomplete
    Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu Wily):
    status: Fix Released → Incomplete

    sudodus (nio-wiklund) :

    'Opinion' from the Ubuntu Forums:

    S-D-C is borked - it's useless to create live USB's of either older or newer versions of Ubuntu than the version you're running S-D-C on. And the proposed fix that made it into Vivid and got backported into Utopic resulted in S-D-C being able to only produce live USB's of the same architecture.

    My comment:

    This is not only a corner case, it is a severe bug. But the main problem is not a few single bugs, red or grey (at the iso qa tracker), but the never ending stream of bugs that is affecting this poor piece of software.

    Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre (mathieu-tl) :

    @ sudodus:
    That's simply false. Sure, there are some gotchas, but it largely works modulo this bug report. You're not answering the question I asked.

    As you may have noticed I've reset the statuses for this bug to
    something I think is closer to reality, and we'll close things as
    appropriate. We also have to consider architecture matching issues
    separately -- those are in bug 1446646.

    Architecture matching is unfortunately an unavoidable issue. Either we
    run the syslinux from the system, and then you'll get the COM32R error
    when you boot an >utopic image written from a Trusty system, or we run
    the syslinux from the image about to be written and we have to match
    architecture or pick in-between and run the system syslinux if an i386
    system tries to write a 64-bit image, and the image syslinux otherwise.
    Some careful application of syslinux parameters or copying additional
    files on the image may help too.

    So I got these results from Marc Deslauriers:
    - Vivid amd64 can write images from Precise and up, amd64 or i386.

    I think we also should strongly suggest that users run usb-creator on a
    recent enough system if they don't want this bug here to happen. I'll
    see how release notes can be updated accordingly.

    In light of all this, this bug should be Triaged/Critical for all
    supported releases -- we'll do another upload to -proposed to re-do the
    changes from Yu Ning (which appear to be fine), along with a fix for bug
    1446646.
    That's simply false. Sure, there are some gotchas, but it largely works modulo this bug report. You're not answering the question I asked.

    I'll try to answer that question ...

    "Architecture matching is unfortunately an unavoidable issue."

    Yes, for the SDC. But it does not create any problems at all for tools which use dd or cp under the hood (like mkusb and Disks). And I think the other tools in our poll can manage this issue. At least Unetbootin from the developer's PPA can manage it.
    Last edited by sudodus; September 18th, 2015 at 08:13 AM. Reason: minor edits to make it easier to read

  10. #40
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    Re: Selecting a tool to create USB boot drives from ISO files

    Now I have tested the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, SDC.

    I made a spreadsheet wíth columns for

    • Host system
    • Live/Installed
    • Mode (BIOS/UEFI)
    • Target system
    • Live-only/Persistent
    • Target pendrive's original status
    • Result (Success/Failure)
    • Error output (if any)
    • Comment
    • Bug number



    and tested with current versions of the Ubuntu family operating systems as hosts and as targets. See the attached ods file.

    I hope these test results will help in the discussion, and also help improve the quality of the software

    1. It supplies substance to the statement that there are several cases where the SDC does not work. I think that we have more problems than some 'corner cases'.

    2. It supplies input for those of us who want to debug the SDC and the program packages, that it depends on (for example udisks).

    Edit: The attached spreadsheet (ods file) is updated with tests on Wily beta 2, bug #1499746.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by sudodus; September 28th, 2015 at 11:55 AM.

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