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Setting Up Damn Small Linux On USB Pen Drive


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#1 zenarcher

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 10:49 PM

Okay, I'm experimenting around a bit. Maybe over my head! I've read the forum on the DSL website and I'm as lost as before I read it! Knowing the patience of members on this forum, I thought maybe I'd see if anyone here has had some experience with DSL and USB pen drives. Again, this is far from critical, I'm just playing around right now.

Anyway, I have a Lexar 128M USB Jump Drive, which is readily identified when I plug it into my Linux box with SUSE 9.3. No problem there. I also have a copy of DSL 1.4 on a CD, which I purchased, since I usually mess up doing downloads.

I have one Windows XP box on my network, as well, so can work from that or the Linux box...no problem with that. The Windows box is real old and slow.

It's my understanding that I should be able to install DSL 1.4 on the Lexar USB drive, but I'm not sure how. What I'd like to do is have DSL on the USB drive, so if I am somewhere there is a Windows box, I could plug the USB drive in and bring up DSL Linux to use. With all my own settings, bookmarks in the browser and so forth.

Now, I've read about booting up, as well and going into the Windows box BIOS and setting it to boot from the USB drive. I'm trying to avoid that, as I don't want to mess with the BIOS in someone's computer, other than mine. Also, many of the older boxes may or may not have the boot to USB device in the BIOS. As a "for instance," if I go to my daughter's house, with her Windows box and I want to do something, I'd like to merely be able to plug my USB pen drive into a USB port and boot into Linux, with all my own settings, email addresses, bookmarks and the like...without disturbing the settings in her machine.

Reading further, it appears to me that one can use DSL with QEMU to boot directly from within Windows. Like much else in Linux, I don't know a darned thing about QEMU, now to install or configure it, or even if it will fit with DSL on a 128 USB pen drive. I've looked at the QEMU website and see there is QEMU and QEMU Accelerator, whatever that is...available for download.

So, I thought someone here might have some suggestions, ideas or other possible considerations on how I might set up a Linux system on a 128M USB jump drive, which could be started from within Windows and not mess with the configuration in a host's computer. If someone is familiar with doing this, I'm probably going to require some direct walk-through to figure it out.

If you want to suggest that I find something else to do with my USB pen drive, I understand that, as well!:)

Again, I'm in no hurry and am just experimenting, so any thoughts would be appreciated.

Regards,
zenarcher

#2 danleff

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 01:06 AM

Puppy Linux does this with a floppy boot disk.

Apparently, DSL can do this as well. I suggest that you ask on the DSL forums, so someone can directly give you a valid answer.

But I did find this post about this same issue. Look at the last post from cbagger01.

#3 zenarcher

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 01:30 AM

Thanks much, Danleff, I'll give it a shot.

Regards,
zenarcher

#4 Justbill

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 03:41 AM

Hi zenarcher!
You said earlier that Suse 9.3 see's your jumpdrive. Have you tried to put anything in the jumpdrive from suse yet? I tried, and suse told me the drive was full. I had nothing on the drive, and I was wondering if you had run into this problem? I think, on mine, its recognizing the jumpdrive, but won't put anything on the fat32 partition. I don't know. I can put things on the jumpdrive using win XP, but suse won't let me. Mine is a 256Mb jumpdrive.

Justbill

#5 zenarcher

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 01:27 PM

Hi, Justbill. No, I haven't tried to put anything on the jump drive with SUSE 9.3, so I'm not sure about that problem. When I connected the jump drive, I did have a window open, which showed three folders on the jump drive...with ReadMe files and some sort of Secure Drive application....one folder for using Mac, one for Windows and one for Linux. I don't know if any of those are of value, but I don't see myself ever using anything for Mac, so I deleted the folder for using Mac. I was able to delete the folder just fine, but I don't know yet about adding anything to the drive. I wonder if anyone else has had that experience of not being able to add data, using SUSE 9.3. If I get a chance today, I'll try to put something on the jump drive, even a picture or something...and let you know what happens.

Regards,
zenarcher

#6 danleff

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 03:29 PM

Is SuSE trying to see the drive as a fat32 or fat16 partition? Most jump drives are formatted as fat16.

I just tried it in SuSE 10 beta. It shows in fdisk as fat16.

I wonder if it is mounted incorrectly, hence the "disk full" message.

Look at dmesg and see if you get some output such as mine;

Code:
USB Mass Storage support registered.
  Vendor: USB Card  Model: IntelligentStick  Rev: 2.02
  Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 02
SCSI device sdb: 522432 512-byte hdwr sectors (267 MB)
sdb: Write Protect is off
sdb: Mode Sense: 0b 00 00 08
sdb: assuming drive cache: write through
SCSI device sdb: 522432 512-byte hdwr sectors (267 MB)
sdb: Write Protect is off
sdb: Mode Sense: 0b 00 00 08
sdb: assuming drive cache: write through
 sdb: sdb1
Attached scsi removable disk sdb at scsi2, channel 0, id 0, lun 0


So you would mount it as such;

make a mount point, say /mnt/flash (as root user)

mkdir /mnt/flash

Then;

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/flash

Where in my case the device is sdb1 and my mount point is /mnt/flash.


#7 zenarcher

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 05:51 PM

When I run dmesg, here is what I get. I think this is the info you are looking for:

Device not ready. Make sure there is a disc in the drive.
Vendor: LEXAR Model: JUMPDRIVE SECURE Rev: 3000
Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 00
SCSI device sdg: 252928 512-byte hdwr sectors (129 MB)
sdg: assuming drive cache: write through
SCSI device sdg: 252928 512-byte hdwr sectors (129 MB)
sdg: assuming drive cache: write through
sdg: sdg1
Attached scsi disk sdg at scsi3, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
Attached scsi generic sg6 at scsi3, channel 0, id 0, lun 0, type 0
usb-storage: device scan complete


If I go to YAST>Hardware>Hardware Info>USB Storage-MSC> I see Jumpdrive Secure
Device Name: /dev/sdg
Device_Name2: /dev/sg6
Driver: USB Storage

Not sure where I go from there, or if I've supplied all the information you suggested.

When I plug the device into a USB port, Konqueror opens and I see a folder called, JD Secure. If I click on that, I get two folders...one for Windows and one for Linux. Clicking on either one of them, I get a README file explaining about how to set up a Secure Drive. I don't know if this is something I need to keep or use, or what.

I might also mention that I have USB ports all over this box. There are four of them on the motherboard and another 4 on a PCI card....and I have a 6 way multi-card reader in the system, which is also read.

Regards,
zenarcher

#8 danleff

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 08:23 PM

Ahhh...a JumpDrive Secure drive.

Go to the web page for your stick here and you will get the answers to all your questions.

Your drive is set up as secure for Windows XP or 2000 as admin.

You can read the "Public" folder and no others. Read the readme files to set it up as a secure device in Linux.

Otherwise, you should copy these files to a safe place and you can format the drive for general use if you don't need the secure features.

Again, read the JumpDrive faq page.

#9 zenarcher

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 10:02 PM

Thanks much for the information, Danleff. I'll go check that out. And also, thanks for telling me what to do with those files on it. I didn't see any need for them, myself, in this application. So, I'll just save them somewhere else and get them off the jump drive. I'll let you know how I do, after I've checked that link. I'm guessing that it isn't set up as a secure drive, unless I set it up what way, which I have not.

Okay, I've read the information at the website, Danleff. I don't see any mention of Linux, whatsoever, unless I missed something. Also, I did remove the Windows and Linux folders for Secure off the jump drive, as I don't see a use for them at this time. There is still a DOS file there for autorun and I wonder if I need it, or if I can remove it, as well. Any idea on that?

When I plug the Jump Drive in to a USB port, I get a Jump Drive icon which pops up on my SUSE 9.3 desktop. I'm guessing that's a good thing. Also, since Konqueror opens, I'd guess that the Jump Drive is formatted in a way that Linux can read it. If I'm wrong, please let me know. I'd think I could probably copy all the files off the DSL CD, onto the Jump Drive and should be able to run it, even if as a Live CD.

Regards,
zenarcher
[Edited by zenarcher on 2005-09-11 15:49:13]


#10 danleff

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 10:53 AM

To make a USB bootable DSL pendrive, you need to make the pen drive bootable, not just copy the files off the cd.

See the wiki page here.

Note the instructions;

Quote:
From within the DSL main menu, it is possible to create either a USBZIP or a USBHDD formatted pendrive with DSL installed. Just choose the appropriate install method and follow the prompts.

Most USB pendrives are located at device name "sda" after they are plugged into the USB port.


You also need to be able to boot from usb. See your bios manual for the options available for your system. Again read the wiki instructions.

But, you want to boot off a floppy, so see the wiki page located here for directions about making a bootable floppy to boot off of USB.

What I was referring to about directions for the secure option in Linux, was related to your statement;

Quote:
If I click on that, I get two folders...one for Windows and one for Linux. Clicking on either one of them, I get a README file explaining about how to set up a Secure Drive.
.

The reference to the Lexar site was for information about how the secure drive is set up and why only the public folder is seen by Linux. The drive is apparently only set up for write access from Windows in admin mode.


#11 zenarcher

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Danleff. I don't think I had explained what I was trying to do, as clearly as I should have. Since my idea for using the pen drive with DSL, is that I would be able to take it with me to plug into any computer with a USB port, I'm trying to figure how to get around having to boot from the USB drive, since a lot of older computers don't have a boot from USB option. Likewise, since the pen drive is so small, I'd like to avoid having to carry a floppy disk around with it. More than likely, any computer I'd plug into would be running Windows.

From my reading, there is a way to boot into DSL directely from inside Windows. I believe, from what I've read, they use QEMU, some sort of emulator application. I'm not sure whether QEMU and DSL will both fit on a 128M pen drive. Nor, am I sure exactly how everything has to be set up on the pen drive to do so.

I've posted the question on the DSL forum and I'll let everyone know here, what I find out from that forum. The DSL CD is a bit confusing, but I finally figured how to boot it like a live CD, loading into memory only. It was a matter, once I booted from the CD, to hit F2 and find the correct boot option command to do so. I guess that had me a bit confused, as well. I confuse easily!:)

Ah Ha! I have finally figured out a lot more about the DSL CD! I did some more reading at the DSL forum and ran across something interesting! Easier to install to the pen drive than I could have imagined! Going to the menu, after doing a Live CD load of DSL, I can go to Applications>Tools and there are a dozen choices as to what you want to do. You can do frugal installs, HD installs or whatever. Among those choices is to install to a pen drive. There are also options for making a boot floppy drive and so forth. I haven't tried it yet, until I get a few more details, but it appears I can merely install DSL to the pen drive, right from that group of options. If I merely wanted to make a floppy boot disk, I could do so there, but I'm trying to find more info on installing QEMU, to see if I couldn't do that and merely start DSL, directly from inside a Windows computer. I'll most more as I find out.

Regards,
zenarcher

#12 zenarcher

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 08:36 PM

Here's the response I got from the DSL forum. It looks to be quite simple and literally "idiot proof." After I give it the idiot test, I'll let everyone know, but sure looks easy enough!!! Especially, where I want to be able to just run DSL from inside Windows.

"QEMU is part of the DSL-embedded package.

If you are going to exclusively use DSL from inside a running Windows operating system, then you should download the dsl-embedded version and unzip the contents into your USB pendrive.

Then double-click on the dsl-windows.bat file and you are up and running.

It is also possible to get a "5-way" install up and running, and this lets you boot dsl either natively or via QEMU from inside Windows or another Linux OS. For this method, first download dsl.iso and then burn a DSL cd-r disk. Then boot into DSL and choose Apps -> Tools -> Install to Pendrive -> USBHDD install (I prefer it to USBZIP unless your BIOS only supports USBZIP booting). Then after compeleted, download the 5-way install script from the dsl download site and run it on your pendrive. It will then download and install the embedded version."

Regards,
zenarcher

#13 jamesdudy

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 09:49 AM

Need help to make CF bootable DSL.

Regards
James

#14 danleff

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 05:14 PM

We need more information.

Is your CF card attached to a USB card reader, or is it treated as an IDE disk, say in a mini-itx system?

If in a USB card reader, does your system's bios support booting from USB?

This article may be of some help off the DSL forums.

Also, check out the DSL wiki under the Booting DSL section.

#15 jamesdudy

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:32 PM

Thanks, The CF card is treated as an ide disk in a mini=itx system.

#16 danleff

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 05:55 AM

OK, this depends on the mainboard that you are using. Take a look at the article here, which describes booting from a cf card in a via VIA EPIA MII or MS mainboard system. Look under the What should I use if I want bootable compact flash? section.

#17 jamesdudy

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:31 PM

Sorry, I cant find the article. Is it the url.

#18 danleff

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 04:39 PM

Oops! Try the link here.

#19 jamesdudy

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:20 AM

I think I have it all wrong.

Let me explain from scratch.

I have DSL running on my pc using DSL iso image.
The CF card is attached to CF card reader(USB port). This pc BIOS does not support booting from USB or CF card.
I want to create bootable DSL in CF card.

The bootable CF card is to be transferred to a different pc whose BIOS support booting from CF card.

Regards
james


#20 danleff

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 06:50 PM

I would sugest that you ask this exact question on the DSL forums to get the most expert answer. Let's go over what you have and see is I got it right.

You have a CF card in a USB slot/adapter on the host system. You want to make DSL bootable on the CF card and transfer it to a mini-itx system, which has an adapter connected to the IDE port, a so called CF ide-adapter card.

The reason that I sent you to the Via link, was to show how some mini-itx systems support booting off of such an adapter and some don't. It would be helpful to know exactly what mini-itx system that you have, but you note that it does support booting off a CF card. Good.

The problem is how will you boot the mini-itx once the card is on that system. You need some sort of a bootloader. If you use grub, you really should install DSL to the Mini-itx system's CF card while it is in that system. Otherwise, you will not get a valid installation of Grub, the bootloader.

Whatever system you do the installation from, grub will be set up specific to that system.

If you attempt the installation from the first system and use Grub, then grub will be specific for the USB port, pointing to that.

If you do the installation from the Mini-itx system, then grub will be specific to where it sees the CF card, which should be the IDE port.

If you had two systems that saw the CF card the same and wanted to install on one system, then transfer to another, that would be fine. For example, if you installed to a single hard drive on one system, then transferred that hard drive to another system (set up with the hard drive on the same IDE channel as the one that it was origionally installed on), this would work.

The issue is that Grub is specific for the system that it is installed on and the hard drive (in you case CF card).

In theory, grub would be looking in the wrong place to boot DSL if you move the card to another system, which sees the CF card differently.

Probably someone on the DSL forums has done this and they would be the best source of accurate information about this.




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