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Topic: USB flash boot + USB flash embeded, can we combine the two ?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

Posted: Dec. 15 2004,15:37 QUOTE

You can download the files from:

Note that on my usb pendrive I have put qemu and the dsl images under /dsl
to avoid cluttering the root dir. I have also created a linux script which
boots the kernel directly without booting syslinux from the iso image.

I have also uploaded some init.d scripts which I use to customize the
standard DSL and keep my home directory on the harddisk image. You may
want to add some of them to next DSL, in particular dsl-fix-fbmenu,
dsl-fix-startx, dsl-fix-user and dsl-link-dirs.

Massimo Dal Zotto <>
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tawalker Offline

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Posted: Dec. 21 2004,13:10 QUOTE

Phew - the steps above sound more advanced than my current level of skill :;):

Are there any plans to automate creation of this "dual" option in a future version of DSL? It would be very useful if someone could code a menu option for the DSL desktop (similar to the existing "Install to USB pendrive"), which would install a dual bootable/embedded DSL system on a flash drive.

If the menu item idea is technically not feasible, how would I set up such a system using a Linux PC? (I haven't heard of the Dell bootable USB key utility mentioned above, and I assume it would be a Windows program.) I would really like to have the option of either booting from the pen drive, or falling back on the embedded option if booting is not possible.

Thanks for all your hard work on this system - it's pretty amazing now, and I think it can only get better!

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Posted: Dec. 21 2004,17:44 QUOTE

Quote (cbagger01 @ Dec. 14 2004,23:01)

I DID get DSL to triple boot from an *.iso file on a USB pendrive.

The new arrangement works as follows:

The drive is formatted to a bootable FreeDOS FAT filesystem using the Dell memory key boot utility program.  The FreeDOS kernel and command interpreter files were then manually replaced with FreeDOS 0.95b files to resolve the FAT32 read/write issue.

During bootup, a config.sys menu gives the user the choice to boot directly into FreeDOS command prompt or boot up DSL.

DSL is booted via loadlin.  I used the standard DSL kernel linux24 file that is part of DSL versions 0.8.x/0.9.x  but I needed to create a custom minirt24.gz file that contains not only the loop.o modules, but a bunch of other executables and busybox that is needed to use the "bootfrom" an *.iso file command parameter.  Originally, you can only execute a "bootfrom" for an ISO file if you are already booting from a KNOPPIX livcd compressed image but this customized miniroot avoids this requirement.   I needed to modify the linuxrc to delete the extra programs at the end because these files take up too much room inside the root filesystem.

I also installed dsl-embedded on this thumbdrive and I use the same dsl.iso file for BOTH the embedded qemu bootup from MSWindows and also for the USB loadlin bootfrom

This eliminated 50MB of duplicated space on my thumbdrive.

Finally, the icing on the cake is this:

I create a qemu virtual hard drive image file on the thumbdrive similar to the 60MB harddisk image that is provided inside the dsl-embedded zip file.

But I can also use this "virtual hard drive" image file when I am running DSL natively via a USB bootup.  I create a mountpoint /mnt/qemuhd  and then I mount the first partition  inside my image file using the loop device and the offset parameter.

In this way, I can save user files and myDSL extensions in a place that is accessable by both my dsl-embedded session and my native DSL session.

Files can also be saved to the USB FAT directory if you are the "root" user (it does not work as username "dsl" for some reason), and they can also be accessed during a dsl-embedded session by doing the following:

1) Install samba.dsl into the virtual hard drive image, OR create a remastered dsl.iso that includes this extension.

2) In MS Windows, enable network sharing for your thumb drive. For example, if your thumb drive is E: drive, then enable network file sharing on E:\ drive.

3) After booting dsl-embedded, use samba command line program "smbmount" or the "linneighborhood" gui to mount your //WINCOMPNAME/E  file share.

using the Dell memory key boot utility program

Where can I get this tools?

I'm very interested in your Embebed + Native USB DSL aproach seems the ideal configuration for a USB pendrive!ç

Have you planned to make a distro fo this setup?

Thanks for all your ideas!
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Posted: Dec. 21 2004,17:46 QUOTE

I'm sorry for the horrible "full message quote" of the previous response. A very bad way to begin my posting in this forum  :(  :(  :(

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cbagger01 Offline

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Posted: Dec. 22 2004,00:21 QUOTE

You can get the Dell utility program here:

It is also possible to correctly format your drive for booting via an HP utility program or also in linux if you format and fdisk your drive using the correct geometry and partition size that is expected by the "Bootable USB BIOS".

I haven't cleaned up my approach to a point where it is usable for others with little interaction like Dizzy's system.

I actually like Dizzy's approach better because while having a FreeDOS/DSL boot system is cool, I don't really need the FreeDOS portion for any specific purpose other than to demonstrate the concept to people so it's really just a waste of space.

I also like the fact that Dizzy's approach allows the creation of a USB boot floppy. This is not possible with my approach because my custom minirt24.gz + linux24 is too big to fit on a 1.44MB floppy disk.

However, I do have concerns about using Dizzy's qemu hard drive as a persistent /home directory method because my Firefox browser Cache file writes could eventually wear out the flash drive.  If so, it would be preferrable to have the qemu hard disk image filesystem type set to JFFS2 or other "flash friendly" file system instead of EXT2.

So in my opinion, the best approach would be this:

A DSL / Embedded Pendrive dual boot setup with the standard SYSLINUX boot menu and command options that people already use today.  A custom "DSL / Embedded" USB boot floppy disk for computers that can't natively boot up via a USB drive.  Bootscript customization to allow retrieval of data from the qemu hard disk imagefile using standard DSL methods (IE: restore=  and mydsl= ) and an automatic entry into the /etc/fstab for the qemu hard drive image if possible.  And finally, this custom boot setup must support the booting of a "normal" dsl.iso file so the end user can "upgrade" their DSL / Embedded system by merely replacing the *.iso file on their USB drive with the newest version from the download site and/or create custom myDSL *.iso files.

Of course, it will take time and effort to create such a system and also to create a package+install method so that the system files can be downloaded by novice users and easily "installed" to their newly purchased USB drives of varing sizes and manufacturers.

I would expect that with the holidays, the earliest such a system would be ready for testing is mid or late January and this assumes that someone is willing and able to complete the task like Dizzy or others.  I may give it a try in my spare time but I wouldn't expect anything soon.  For example, it took me nearly a month before I slapped together my crude first attempt.
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16 replies since Nov. 18 2004,21:41 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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