[NBLUG/talk] Linux on USB
E Frank Ball III
frankb at frankb.us
Wed Dec 28 22:06:31 PST 2011
On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 11:33:49AM -0800, glenn at spontaneousdancing.net wrote:
> I need to have a lightweight, x86-compatible (i586 specifically) GNU/Linux
> distribution. I can't use VGA (so X is useless), and require serial
I've only used serial port consoles on PA-RISC hardware. I don't know
if the average x86 hardware supports this (servers do). Anyway I
installed Debian PA-RISC and used a serial console and it worked fine.
Most distributions these days are 686 or better only, but Debian still
has a 486 kernel version. Debian also has very small RAM requirements
to do an install: "You must have at least 56MB of memory and 650MB of
hard disk space to perform a normal installation."
> The trick is that I need the Linux distro to boot and operate like a
> LiveUSB, in so far as that I can tell my BIOS to boot from USB and
> eventually land in a root shell.
> My current solution is insufficient.
> I looked into modifying an Ubuntu LiveCD and then putting that onto a USB
> stick. See this: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/InstallCDCustomization
> . This is, however, very tedious.
You can install Debian or Ubuntu or probably just about any linux onto a
USB drive. Do a normal installation and select the USB drive as the
hard drive to install onto. Be careful about how/where grub gets
installed. You can do the install on a different machine and then boot
it on your target hardware if it isn't easy to do an installation on the
target machine. Debian can also do a net boot (pxelinux/bootp)
installation. I used it on an old laptop with no CDROM or floppy
that was too old to boot off of USB.
Frank Ball frankb at frankb.us
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