Pendrive Install Exercise
Forum: USB booting
Topic: Pendrive Install Exercise
started by: jaygeedsl
Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 09 2008,10:01Pending sorting out a net access problem with DSL embedded in VMwarePlayer, I'm trying to run a native pen drive install following the instructions in chapter 6 of "The Official Damn Small Linux Book".
If it's OK with the moderators I like to use this thread to record my sequential progress following the book.
My Dell Dimension 2400 (Bios A02) doesn't support USB booting so I've created a boot floppy as detailed on p133 of the book. Incidentally the only reference to "bootfloppy-usb.img" was at the Planet Mirror site for a file created in 2006. The other download sites only seem to hold "bootfloppy.img". Maybe it's just terminology?
The chosen USB device is an Integral 2GB pendrive and the USB-HDD is the chosen format.
As the pendrive was previously used for a successful native pen drive installation under WinXP2 using a boot floppy, I deleted all the reported data using Windows Explorer before starting this exercise.
Following the book I booted from the cd with the pen already plugged in, ran "sudo su dmesg" within Xterm and found the pendrive listed as "sda1". One observation: to save possible confusion I unplugged my HP C4380 All-In-One USB printer/copier/scanner as it has it's own embedded USB drive.
I then ran "sudo su cfdisk" to start the installation pre prep but the the only disk displayed was hda. For info I've got 2 HDs; a master hosting WinXP2 and a slave hosting Fedora8.
How should I run cfdisk to create a single table marked as FAT16 as recommended by the book?
Posted by Juanito on Jan. 09 2008,11:08I don't have the dsl book in front of me to check what it says, but there are a couple of things you could think about:
1. Use the usb-hdd installation script from the right-click menu (I believe the latest versions will make a FAT partition and an ext2 partition).
2. If you already used the usb stick for a native installation and deleted the files, then it must already have a FAT16/FAT32 partition - why use cfdisk to do it again?
3. Is the command "sudo cfdisk /dev/sda" maybe?
4. You could also use "sudo sfdisk /dev/sda"
Posted by roberts on Jan. 09 2008,15:20The book is based on DSL 3.x.
DSL 3.x offers two types of pendrive installations, USB-ZIP and USB-HDD.
The boot floppy images described in the book are located in the < DSL 3.x > directory. There you will find the bootfloppy-usb.img as well as all files related to the Book and v3.x.
I didn't write the chapter on pendrives, but I did write the scripts.
Both scripts will automatically prepare the pendrive both partitioning and formating. I have never used any manual prep. One word of caution is to boot your system with the usb pendrive plugged in. Also boot DSL with the install option.
Do not boot DSL and then remove usb devices and plug in usb devices, as the usb detection system in 2.4 kernel hotplug is not perfect and the device may be mis-detected. The sure way is have it plugged in upon boot.
If you are running DSL v4.x, then things have changed. The limitation of the ZIP specificiation does not work well with the vastly larger pendrives of today. With 4.x, only a grub install is available with a small ext2 second partition for DSL and the remaining larger shareable with Windows first partition. The new script in 4.x has been tested on pendrives up to 4GB.
The bootfloppy of 4.x can be used to boot USB pendrives with a fromusb boot option. Therefore no separate boot floppy is needed for usb
Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 09 2008,20:18
I'm replying sequentially quoting the appropriate user name so as not to overlook something.
Point taken about the already-used drive but the chapter 6 author advises that this step saves possible problems and boot-up time.
I should really have read more about cfdisk as advised by the book so I'll try each of your options to see what is displayed.
Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 09 2008,20:51
I had hoped that simply following the book would have given myself and other Linux newbies a simple static frame of reference for what googling suggests is a quite a complicated process with sometimes variable results.
I appreciate that book production lead times mitigate against static data holding true for long but I thought one of the DSL objectives was to be able to overcome that by offering a basic set of tools which could be enhanced as required?
To avoid version problems my intention was (is?) to get a working USB pendrive installation from within Linux - as opposed to Windows - using the book's baseline. Thereafter I hope to explore other DSL USB installations on things like external drives etc. using the experience gained on this project.
Maybe I should simply take a more pragmatic approach and just try to get there somehow.
Posted by roberts on Jan. 10 2008,01:02If you don't want to hear what the author of the install scripts have to say, then fine. But don't make the process seem difficult. Try booting DSL with install boot option with pendrive inserted and try the script.
The whole point of doing a script is to automate the process. The script will partition format and install DSL. Easy.
If your pendrive require something else or more complicated then address that if it is even needed at that time.
Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 10 2008,19:54
My apologies if I've come across as being contentious for the sake of it but I have genuinely found setting up a USB device in a Linux scenario to be difficult for a newbie to the command line environment.
In fact I recently lost my first Fedora8 installation trying to install PCLOS from a live cd onto an external USD hard drive. Literally hours of modem download time wasted. Hence the decision to follow the book line by line on my next USB installation.
Incidentally there's an interesting piece by Klaus Knopper on p64 of Feb 08 (#87) Linux Magazine which touches on Linux and USB devices which is food for thought.
Lastly I would never disregard any expert advice and I shall now follow your previous post's advice for which many thanks.
Posted by jaygeedsl on Jan. 11 2008,18:58I've followed the script as advised and have successfully installed DSL3.3 to an Integral 2Gb USB pendrive booting via a floppy on a Dell Dimension 2400.
This is being posted using the Dillo browser via external serial modem dialup.
Thanks again for the guidance.