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Thread: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

  1. #11
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: 2 questions in reference to efficiency, Flash vs Hard drive?

    I am not that experienced with flash drives, one site that gives a lot of buyer reviews is newegg.com. If I am correct, MMC cards and Flash do a sequential read/write and as you fill up the card when you need to change a file, it takes longer. I am not familiar with what brands are good and the manufacturers have so many different models now. That's why I was wondering, if a flash drive is windows ready boost compatible, does it at least give an idea that it runs pretty fast.

  2. #12
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    but what exactly qualifies as a high quality super fast flash drive?
    I don't know, but it does seem to me as if there does could be a difference in quality between flash memory sticks, but maybe it's only my imagination, I haven't done any controlled tests on that subject yet. Others seem to be of the same opinion though.

    EDITED ON 6th Jan 2010: I have since been doing some testing and a lot of reading and some flash memory and Solid State Drive manufacturers spend a lot of money having scientists and engineers researching ways to make flash memory faster, longer lasting and more reliable as well as affordable to the consumer. Flash memory is not all created equal, and prices are no indication of quality either, you need to be prepared to do your own up to date research if you want to be a smart flash memory shopper.

    And would 8GB be necessary or would 4GB be fine? I thought the reqs. for Ubuntu are 4GB minimum.
    I always thought that Ubuntu takes up a minimum of about 1..8 GB of hard disk space, but we should allow an extra 25% on top of that for the file system to have a little 'breathing space'. Linux file systems never need defragmenting, but they do perform best with a little extra unused space in the partition.

    Right now I have Hardy installed in a Toshiba flash memory stick and a Kingstom Data Traveller, both are 4.0 GB in size, 0r 3.84 GiB according to Gnome Partition Editor.
    In both of mine I have an extra Desktop installed, I did that because I didn't know how to get Gnome working at the time I first installed these two sticks. One has the Ubuntu (Gnome) Desktop plus XFCE (Xubuntu), and the other one has Ubuntu (Gnome) Desktop plus IceWM. I believe that adding an extra desktop takes up quite a bit of disk space.
    I will need to uninstall the extra desktops or install again fresh to see how big Hardy Heron is as a default install, but I can tell you that at the moment both of my USB installs have about 2.38 GiB used and 1.24 GiB unused out of a 3.62 GiB / (root) partition. There's a swap area of 219.61 MiB after that.

    I would recommend people use a 4.0 GB stick or larger if a larger one is available. In my town 4.0 GB is the largest they stock in the local electrical store, or I would have a bigger one too.

    UPDATE: The bare-bones Ubuntu Hardy Heron install occupies 1.98 GiB of space in the flash memory stick. You will need more space for adding software and some files, depending on what you're planning on using the stick for.
    Last edited by Herman; January 5th, 2010 at 09:53 PM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  3. #13
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    1) Will I get a longer battery life using the USB device instead of the hard drive?
    I don't know but I would imagine there would be a power savings there. We could test how fast the battery loses power running the hard drive and then running from the flash memory and finally running from the flash memory with the hard drive removed.
    I have a couple of laptop size hard drives in external USB enclosures and those drwa all their power through the USB connection. Some computers haven't got the power in the USB port to spin them up, but will boot a normal sized hard disk an an external USB enclosure that has it's own separate power supply. (Plugged inot a wall socket).
    That suggests that it probably does take some power to spin up a hard disk drive, I imagine a flash memory device would be quite a lot more energy efficient.
    Anyway, I don't think there's any danger of a linux file system filling up your disk sequentially.
    2) Will Ubuntu automatically put the hard drive to sleep since in essence the flash drive will have the swap file? Since most of my files are on-line for access and I listen to the streaming radio, I really do not need to use the hard drive. I also have 3 flash drives 8 gig 4 gig 2 gig.
    I imagine they will just remain asleep unless they are required.
    In future reference of buying a flash drive, if it can handle windows ready boost, does that mean it will have better random read and write speeds?
    I don't know really, I don't know anything about 'Windows Ready Boost', more detailed information about that would be needed before I'd be able to make any guesses about that.
    I do think that certain software companies only exist for the sole purpose of taking people's money away, and they will try to get people to believe a lot of crazy things of it means they can get more it it, (your money). With that in mind I'd be very skeptial about whether 'Windows Ready Boost' really means anything or not. It could even mean they're worse, so extra sales effort is needed to induce people to take them of the vendors hands.
    Testing would be needed to find out for sure.
    If I am correct, MMC cards and Flash do a sequential read/write and as you fill up the card when you need to change a file, it takes longer.
    Linux file systems work in a completely different way. That's why Linux file systems never need defragmenting.
    Check out these two links,
    OneAndOneIs2 - Why doesn't Linux need defragmenting?

    ITworld.com - Fragmentation and Unix file systems

    My analogy for imagining what linux file systems are like is to imagine a grape vine.
    The grape vine's stem is the first superblock and metadata blocks which direct the operating system to the inodes. The inodes are like forks in the grapevine. There are bunches of grapes hanging everywhere along the vine and some bunches have most of the grapes full, (like sectors containing data), and others have some dried up sacks that may fill out if the vine is watered more. Those are like the empty sectors.
    I'm not sure if that;s a fair analogy for how an ext2 or ext3 file system works, that's just how I imagine it since I haven't been educated on it enough to know any better.
    I think NTFS is an attempt by Windows to try to emulate a Linux file system though, that's why NTFS doesn't need defragging as often as FAT32 used to.
    Most USB flash memories come with FAT16.
    FAT16 and FAT32 file systems do work more or less by filling the disk up sequentially, I think.

    Last edited by Herman; May 11th, 2008 at 01:10 AM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  4. #14
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    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    There is a difference for ready boost

    Wiki article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost So there is a difference when looking for random speeds on Flash. Because if you are going to use your swap file on a flash, you want good random access speeds. I remember MS touted the ready boost aspect, but no ones old flash drives would work with it. That is why the manufacturers certify that it is ready boost capable.

    And there is a great difference on speeds of flash drive. My 4 gig transcend flash can read/ at 20 mbs second. Now that is obsolete.
    Last edited by esteckis; May 11th, 2008 at 01:09 AM. Reason: typo as usual.

  5. #15
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    Thanks for that link, that's interesting. It looks to me as if Windows has come up with a scheme for using any free space on the user's USB flash memory stick for an extra page file, (what we call a swap area in Linux).
    That looks like a good idea to me now that I have had a quick read of that, and it seems to make sense and might even be a good idea.

    I think you're probably right, probably if a USB flash memory is 'windows ready boost' compatible, it would be an indication that it at least meets those performance standards.
    Then on the other hand, you would need to read the fine print or google the brand and model of flash memory you're comparing it with in case the other brand is better but just hasn't heard of 'windows ready boost'.
    Another thing to consider is whether or not a faster flash memory will have more life expectancy than normal or if it will 'wear out' quicker, (or whatever flash memory does).
    Or will better quality mean speed and longevity goes hand in hand, maybe due to the use of more refined materials or a superior manufacturing process?
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

  6. #16
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    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    The actual reason for the ready boost under windows is because (from what I hear) is that the loading time when first starting your computer was horrendous under the Vista. Now, having ready boost your read time on your flash is a lot quicker because you do not have to wait for your hard drive to start spinning up.

    Just another note: on the Pedrive Linux link I listed above, they do state that your life span of the flash will be degraded from all the reading and writing going on. On the Pedrive Linux site, they had under the Gutsy on USB, how to have changes stored in Ram and then when you shut down, then it is saved to the flash which helps cut down on all the random reading and writing to the flash drive. They have not posted a way to do it with Hardy Heron yet.

  7. #17
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    To actually installing Hardy to a USB using the normal install you would need at least a 2gb flash drive.

    You can install Hardy in persistent mode on a 1gb drive using the methods shown on these pages:
    http://www.ryancloke.com/ubuntu-804-...ve-usb-how-to/
    http://www.pendrivelinux.com/2008/05...a-the-live-cd/

    I've been using the Hardy on a USB using Ryan's instructions for about 2 weeks now.

    As esteckis says, persistent cuts down on the read/write of a regular install, so it may be better (in addition to saving space)
    @esteckis: pendrivelinux posted their version a day or two ago.

  8. #18
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    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    I love Ubuntu and all but

    download BackTrack3 for USB instead

    http://www.remote-exploit.org/backtrack_download.html
    Thinkpad W510, i7-720QM, Nvidia Quadro FX 880m (nouveau), Intel X25-M G2 80GB (OCZ are better), 1080p Wacom Multi-Touch Screen, Intel Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250, Yubikey OTP

  9. #19
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    I'm not at my comupter right now but I'll try this when I get home. But how do I get a Terminal window. I remember doing a ctrl+alt+del last night and it doesn't seem to respond. I had to press the on/off button.

  10. #20
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    Re: How to install ubuntu on USB drive and carry entire computing system in pocket?

    But how do I get a Terminal window. I remember doing a ctrl+alt+del last night and it doesn't seem to respond. I had to press the on/off button.
    Under normal circumstances we just go 'Applications'-->'Accessories'-->'Terminal'.
    Another way to get a command prompt is to press 'Ctrl'+Alt'+'F1' or any 'F' key between 1 and 6.

    I was just about to tell you that ctrl+alt+del doesn't do anything in Linux, (it didn't the last time I checked), but tried it just now in Hardy Heron to make sure, and when I do it twice the shutdown/reboot screen appears. That must be another new feature. I suppose if the mouse is frozen, but the keyboard still works we can shut down or reboot that way now.

    Anyway, here's a link about the more traditional ways to shut down Linux, Avoiding filesystem damage (Proper Emergency Shutdown Procedures for Linux).
    Last edited by Herman; August 21st, 2010 at 11:38 PM.
    Ubuntu user since 2004 (Warty Warthog)

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