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[OCLUG-Tech] notes on persistent live USB

To follow up on my queries of a few days ago, here are my findings so far. Comments offline unless I've made egregious errors. I'm planning to put them on the wiki assuming no major issues.

I used 1GB USB keys or a 1GB SD card in a USB carrier.

1) Getting persistent live USB.

I found the Ubunutu USB startup disk creator the easiest tool. In fact a tool called
portable_linux did not work for me -- it would not show available USB keys.

I found it best to have a FAT 32 formatted key. I used gparted. I also labelled my partition.

I could then choose the distro (ISO) file and set the size of the capser-rw (persistence) file.

2) Getting the persistent live USB to work at all

a) On Ubuntu Jaunty -- make a Jaunty (9.04) USB
b) On Ubuntu Karmic -- make a Karmic (9.10) USB -- I made Linux Mint Helena version

When I made a Mint USB on Jaunty, I could not get persistence. I suspect grub vs. grub2 woes. Didn't try Jaunty create on Karmic host, but suspect similar possibilities.

3) Setting up real users

I booted by USB, then chose the appropriate Users & Groups. In Jaunty this is under System / Administration. On Mint it is in the Control Panel. I did NOT need to become superuser.

I set up a User and Password. I set the user as "Administrator".

Then opened Login Window. For Jaunty I turned off BOTH automatic and timed logins (under Security). Mint only offered automatic or login screen. I chose the latter.


Jaunty USB displays login screen.

Mint auto boots into "Mint". I have to logout, then I can login as the real User.
This is annoying. If anyone knows a solution (there must be one!), contact me off-list, I'll check that I can get it working, then post solution.

4) Network

I recommend starting with wired connection. Note that some machines e.g., Asus Eee 1005HA need Karmic or later to run even wired connection.

A lot of machines use Broadcom wireless cards. I did System / Hardware drivers in Jaunty or Control Panel / Hardware drivers in Mint and activated these. (You need a network connection, and MUST reboot before the change is effective.)

5) Software etc.

- in USB login as real user (who can be administrator)
- sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list  and uncomment repositories as desired (I prefer them all)
- in terminal do
  sudo apt-get install (your choices: I used mc joe leafpad gnome-commander)

Thats about as far as I"ve got.

I had some glitches with an SD card in a carrier with Buffer write errors on shutdown. May be misbehaving SD card or speed mismatch or .... Doesn't occur with USB keys.

Comments or brickbats?

John Nash