Yenya's World

Fri, 10 Nov 2006

What is on your flashdisk?

From time to time I think about finding out an ultimate Linux distribution suitable for being run from an USB flash disk. I have a 512MB flash disk, which should be big enough for basic tasks such as fsck, ssh, rsync, and maybe mutt and links. Maybe something like Slax?

There is however a drawback: I sometimes need to use my USB key as a raw device: I simply dd(1) a bootable image of something into it. Usually it is a diskboot.img file from Fedora, which I then use for installing/upgrading a computer, or even with the rescue feature of Fedora Core installer as a rescue disk (it requires the rest of the distro being available over the Net, though). Yesterday I even put an image of a DOS floppy to it, and used it to flash a new BIOS to a mainboard.

So needing a raw device too often has prevented me from using a "permanent" live distribution on my USB key. The problem may be solved with partitioning the device and installing a boot loader (can a DOS floppy image be booted when put on a partition, e.g. by GRUB?), but I don't know whether it is worth the trouble (and I may need a raw device for something else later). I also don't know if all BIOSes support booting from a partitioned removable device (as opposed to the raw device as a whole).

What is on your USB key? If some kind of a live distribution, do you also use it as an install disk or for flashing BIOSes as well?

Section: /computers (RSS feed) | Permanent link | 2 writebacks


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