View Full Version : Mint 17.2 64-bit Cinnamon LiveUSB.

08-06-2015, 04:41 PM
A very attractive & responsive 'CD-size' LiveUSB using squashfs for the basic OS,
and overlayfs to implement persistence. Kernel is 3.16, so overlayfs is a kernel
module; overlayfs is built-into 3.18-and-later kernels. Takes about 51 seconds
to go from start to browser-on-line, where Knoppix 7.4.2 takes about 30 seconds;
Mint takes about 8 seconds to shut-down.

Although 2 Gb was used for my initial persistence; only 350 Mb was needed to
include my comfort programs and tweaks. My additions were ttf-mscorefonts,
geany, b43-fwcutter & installer plus Synaptic reload. Although Ubiqity was
'deleted', in principle, it's squashed representation is still present in my
original basic OS read-only squash file.

Since I store my isos on Win7, it's convenient to make my LiveUSBs there. On Win7,
I had better results using Universal USB installer, UUI, than Unetbootin in making
Mint LiveUSBs. For one thing, UUI preserved the Mint boot menu whereas Unetbootin
provided its own somewhat clumsy replacement boot menu. UUI preparation time
with 2 Gb persistence takes about 15 minutes; 1 Gb persistence would shorten
that time somewhat.

For all the attractiveness of the Cinnamon desktop, its OS main menu is slightly
inferior to the Whisker menu one finds with an XFCE desktop. Its main menu lacks
a 'favorites' category and I also found it to be much less easily re-configurable
than XFCE's.

The overlayfs/squashfs combination, in addition to implementing persistence,
lends itself to providing a very interesting capability to 'merge' initial basic
fixed OS squashfs with persistence data. 'Merging' squashed files is an interesting
alternative to conventional 'remastering'. See for example:

Mint 17.2 may be a very useful platform to examine implementations of different
adaptations of overlayfs capabilities to the Linux LiveUSB in anticipation of
overlayfs' inclusion in the linux kernel.

08-07-2015, 11:02 PM
Relative to Cinnamon, XFCE also makes a fine LiveUSB, slightly more to my taste.

It comes in two versions: a CD-Size with 32-bit SMP PAE-able kernel, and a 64-bit,
DVD-size. I chose the 32-bit SMP PAE version to compare with Cinnamon. It uses the
same 3.16.0-38 Ubuntu kernel as Cinnamon.

The XFCE Whisker menu is much more to my liking than that of Cinnamon desktop.
The XFCE desktop needs to add ntp to have its time sync-ed with outside world.
Otherwise there are only minor user-space differences between XFCE & Cinnamon desktops.
GParted is called Partition Mgr on XFCSs Whisker menu. Synaptic is replaced by
mintInstall, aka Software Mgr on XFCEs Whisker menu. Software Mgr on XFCE also does
un-Installs, begrudgingly allowing at least the semblance of removal of Ubiquity.
Ubiquity remains ignored in my initial squashfs, awaiting a remastering process
to make it give up its unused resources.

XFCE takes longer to get to browser-on-line, and longer to shut-down, but this
difference may be due to using an 8 Gb, USB-2 Cruzer for Cinnamon and an 8 Gb SDHC
for XFCE.

It should be noted that these Mint iso products are provided primarily to serve
to create graphical installers for installed versions of Linux. I find with minor
tweaks they serve equally well to define LiveUSBs very adequate to my needs.