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USB Linux Challenge 29 December, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Uncategorized.
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In all of the advertising frenzy for Christmas something caught my eye. Flash storage has been getting cheaper and cheaper to the point where a 1 gigabyte usb flash drive now costs less than $10. With flash drives so cheap, you could buy a few. This got me thinking. Here’s my idea:

1 Buy a few cheap usb flash drives
2 Put Linux on them
3 Give them out
4. If someone likes what they see, they can have a copy. If not, no harm done.
If you get the drive back, repeat from step 3.

It’s that simple it could just work.

Fundamental Premises:

1. Use cheap hardware . Buy something cheap enough that you don’t care if it is misplaced or broken. Also, don’t put anything personal on the sticks.

2. It will be easier if you are familiar with the tools used to create bootable USB systems. If you feel confident that you will not destroy your own bootloader, it can be faster to use syslinux manually. Once you are happy with one Linux image, copy it to another stick and install syslinux on the stick to make it bootable.

3. Use a distro with more features. If you have sticks that are 1 GB in size, use a large distro. Go for extras like OpenOffice and a nice graphical environment, as well as rescue utilities that will be useful if someone’s computer is broken. Also, maybe stick a some info with a few links on the stick. You’ll need to explain that people need to use a boot menu on a modern computer (usually by pressing F12 at bootup).

4. Make it clear that there’s no hassle. Carry the sticks with you, so that people know that you’re not going to any great effort to give you software. Make it clear that they’re cheap and you don’t mind giving them out.

5. Talking to people is hard, but it’s easy once you get going. If you’ve ever gone doorknocking, you’ll know that after the first few people you talk to, your fear evaporates and you start enjoying yourself in a way. You’re not trying to force anyone to do anything. If they’re not interested, that’s fine.

I’ve sometimes suggested that I could put Linux on other people’s usb sticks. They are understandably reluctant to give away their hardware, that has their data on it that they are afraid to lose. Fear is an emotion, so rational arguments don’t help. By putting your own hardware on the line, it will send a positive message about open source. You believe in it enough to use it on your own hardware. That speaks more powerfully than words.

So, what do you think? Ready to give it a go?

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Comments»

1. Dr. Mike Hughes - 1 January, 2009

I am hearing about putting Linux on a USB drive. Would love to have a copy this way but don’t know where to begin. Help!

Dr. Mike Hughes
mail at mikealrhughes dot com

I have a couple of sticks I can put Linux on either Puppy or Ubuntu.

2. aronzak - 1 January, 2009

First, go here as you already have
https://aronzak.wordpress.com/usb-linux-howto/

3. FelixSistem PuppyLinux on msdos windows x86 or ps2 - 24 June, 2010

CHAT
Hi Puppy SO Team I’m Felix Sandu fan of
puppyCDUSBHDDNETWIFIinstantconnectbrowse
autodhcporndsiwrapper sis163.inf tech wifi netlan
aerial both
1.on laptop amilo 1703 here working fain on
128mb memory usb instaled as cardflash on card
reader but with ubootbin.exe special program
for loading VMLINUZ and initrd.gz
and is working fain on 1gb memory after coding
with ubootbin.exe on my old evolio telephone
dualsim by using cable conected to laptop
i using that to emulate an PDA, Smartphone
into the laptop Amilo 1600mhz 100gb fujitsu
Xturion64 dual procesor
2.and pentium2 ibm
with very old bios ibm can not boot here from cd
or hdd or usb and http://www.ahomebiz.org research SO
I’m using as like hobby your puppylinux 4.31
on my hdd as 2rd backup system but i booting
this operating in folder D:\puppy
and some new tecnic MSDOS X86 386 not mips not debian
not madriva, based on this mixt MSDOS 6.2 and
mswin98 old style (c:\win MSWIN98 second edition
d:\beos vers 5 and d:\boot for linux-live.org
and on d:\puppy folder i booting from msdos
“on freezing linux packet” with an very help
loadlin.exe i don’t use qemu or xwemmu on windows
because demand more resources as mainframe station
x86
the problem is i want to start puppylinux
in new fashioned msdos mixed style with loadlin.exe

from c:\ i boot msdos and windows is not loaded
because norton stop for a while
now i try to launch a sumed “config”
created by attach isolinux.cfg and config
modified from linux-live.org pendrivelinux.com
and a msdos command publin.bat

PUPLIN.BAT DOS 473 Col 0 100%
@ECHO OFF
REM #########################################################################
REM DOS batch file to boot PuppyLinux.org Adapted by felix Sandu Artel.co.nr

REM First, ensure any unwritten disk buffers are flushed slax.org:
@smartdrv /C

REM Start the LOADLIN process:
rem cls
loadlin @config %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
rem loadlin @isolinux.cfg %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9

REM #########################################################################

1Help 2Unwrap 3Quit 4Hex 5 6Edit 7Search 8Win 9 10Quit

this new file “config” is that combined inside:

for a while

after i load this puplin.bat
and
modified config next presented
i obtain an error when linux kernel 4.31
missing pup_431.sfs (sometime i obtain a parallel name
pup-431.sfs, maybe is deleted automated on reboot
i mantain a fresh pup-431.iso for a reason
i use proxy for job and sometime wifi or lan

i rewriting file pup_431.sfs and if is loaded
stable for 3-5 times and no errors i think
i try to succeed best choice to integrate
a backup system fast and dinammically puppy
from msdos to native puppy interface

the next config file modified by me is here:

vmlinuz # first value must be the filename of the Linux-kernel
root=/dev/ram0 # the device which gets mounted as root FS
rw # mount it read-write
default puppy
pup-431.sfs
display boot.msg
prompt 1
timeout 50
F1 boot.msg
F2 help.msg
label puppy
kernel
vmlinuz
append
initrd=initrd.gz # this file gets loaded as ‘initial ramdisk’
pmedia=cd

init=linuxrc # start /linuxrc script from initrd.gz image
load_ramdisk=1 #
prompt_ramdisk=0 # we do not need to be prompted
ramdisk_size=16344 # our initrd.gz is 16344 KB of size when unpacked
max_loop=255 # overide default to allow inserting up to 256 modules

…. points break not present in config of
loadlin.exe from msdos x86 ported
(only MSDOS.SYS, IO.SYS, COMMAND.COM, himem.sys,
CONFIG.SYS, AUTOEXEC.BAT, drvspace.BIN)

my future project to integrate and boot.elf
or swboot01.elf and msdos5-6 emulator on
playstation ps2 70004 to emulate an
puppy on ps2 slimtwo, very protected by sony
3 senzors infrared about RSOD red screen of dead
and using USB advance.elf or other freemsboot.elf
or openboot.elf project on ps2

Felix Sandu
social worker computer tech programming for kids
http://www.ahomebiz.org
laptop.org
felixturists YM
biz2sandiro YM

FelixSistem PuppyLinux on msdos windows x86 or ps2
http://puppylinux.org/news/


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