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Thread: poor man's install on flash drive (DSL)

  1. #1
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    poor man's install on flash drive (DSL)

    I don't have a flash drive big enough for Knoppix, but do have a 64 meg one. That should be large enough for Damn Small Linux, but only as a poor man's install, not a full install. Can anyone give me the steps I might need to get DSL on a flash drive as a bootable device? My notebook can boot from USB devices, but what do I need to do to get the flash device able to boot damn small linux and so on?

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    I remember reading a couple of posts about this on the dsl forum.
    It sounded like it might be a pita.
    I choose to use feather linux.Worked great.
    http://featherlinux.berlios.de/usb-instructions.htm
    http://featherlinux.berlios.de/about.htm
    DSL seems to have a whole board dedicated to usb booting.
    http://damnsmalllinux.org/cgi-bin/fo...gi?act=SF;f=17

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    I have Feather Linux downloading now. Will give it a shot. It looks like it might be very tight fr a 64 meg device.

    I'm downloading and planning on using the iso. Not clear on what the "boot img" file is or how I would use that with a pen drive. Any insight? There seems to be no link to a FAQ on the site. Should I use the boot img rather than the iso?


    Would still like to have DSL on a USB too (at least until I decide feather works and will do the things I know I can do with DSL. So any more insight on getting DSL ona 64 meg flash gizmo would be welcome. I followed that link but the seemed to be mostly concerned with "normal" installs (if there is any such thing with a live CD) rather than poor man installs.

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    Have Feather and tried to get it booting. It does seem to fit on my "64" meg device (which seems to suffer from the same marketing hype HD makers use and Windows reports as 62.0 megs of space).

    It does not boot though. They seem to know this happens, as the feather website also says "If this doesn't work, try downloading the Debian “mbr” package and using that to install an MBR on the USB drive". Unfortunately, I don't have a Linux running that I can install packages into. Am I out of luck? Is there another way to make this thing bootable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Kuhman
    Have Feather and tried to get it booting. It does seem to fit on my "64" meg device (which seems to suffer from the same marketing hype HD makers use and Windows reports as 62.0 megs of space).

    It does not boot though. They seem to know this happens, as the feather website also says "If this doesn't work, try downloading the Debian “mbr” package and using that to install an MBR on the USB drive". Unfortunately, I don't have a Linux running that I can install packages into. Am I out of luck? Is there another way to make this thing bootable?
    Try syslinux. It should not have problem booting USB devices. You can install it under either linux or DOS(not sure about Windows, may be too). Once it is on the device, it becomes the boot loader but syslinux only support FAT so you need to use the loopback fs trick for your linux, I believe that is what poorman's install is about.

    Alternatively, you can try grub too.

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    I used
    ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/featherlinu...-0.6.1-usb.zip
    I ran syslinux on the usb drive after unzipping the file directly
    onto it.It worked.
    My thumbdrive is a Lexar 128MB.The file,when unzipped,is exactly 62MB.
    I've also used the boot floppy to boot the drive on boxes that won't
    boot usb drives.
    ftp://ftp.berlios.de/pub/featherlinux/bootusb.img
    To write this to a floppy,use rawrite under windows or dd with knoppix.
    dd if=bootusb.img of=/dev/fd0

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyng
    Try syslinux. It should not have problem booting USB ......
    I did. The link that ghaze gave ( hrtp://featherlinux.berlios.de/usb-instructions.htm ) said to use that. Copied the iso to the USB drive. Ran syslinux, giving it the drive letter of the UBS device (which, of course, is the drive letter of the partition itself, not the drive, but about as close as you get with Windows). It put another file in the fat partition (LDLYNUX.SYS) and I hope spmething in the MBR space, but my lapyop just skips over it when booting (yes, boot order is set to check the USB device first)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghaze
    My thumbdrive is a Lexar 128MB.The file,when unzipped,is exactly 62MB.
    Strange, I downloaded an iso file that claims to be the 0.6.1 iso, but my size is 61.6 meg / 63,090 k / 64,604,160 bytes. I'll download from the link you gave and see if the file is any different after unzipping.

    I now understand what the img file is about, but using a floppy to boot isn't a good oprion for me (and the floppy is USB too). Still, I think the notebook should boot from the USB memory and it's just a matter of getting that MBR set up right.

    Anyone know of a live distro that already includes the deb package mbr (since I can't yet download and install a deb package myself)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghaze
    Well, using the zip makes more sense for a USB devuce than the first link that they gave me on the website. But, although the layout of the USB looks much more reasonable, it still does not boot.

    Syslinix runs, makes some changes to the flash gizmo, gives no errors, but it doesn't help me boot the USB device. I would still like to try the mbr deb package they suggest, would be very nice if I could find it on a live distro. Heck, one would think they should put it in the feather distro (would likely have to make space by droppomg something else), since they know some people need to install it to get a bootable USB device made. If it was in Feather I would burn a CD and use that to make the USB device work. But the list of applications shows that it is missing.

    So still looking for some way to get feather to boot from the device without a floppy or to get DSL working as a poor man install from the device.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Kuhman
    Quote Originally Posted by garyng
    Try syslinux. It should not have problem booting USB ......
    I did. The link that ghaze gave ( hrtp://featherlinux.berlios.de/usb-instructions.htm ) said to use that. Copied the iso to the USB drive. Ran syslinux, giving it the drive letter of the UBS device (which, of course, is the drive letter of the partition itself, not the drive, but about as close as you get with Windows). It put another file in the fat partition (LDLYNUX.SYS) and I hope spmething in the MBR space, but my lapyop just skips over it when booting (yes, boot order is set to check the USB device first)
    Strange. The last time I did it, it worked fine for spblinux(spelling?). May be you can give it a try. Not debian based but very nice USB thumb based distro. It used squashfs for its modules.

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