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Full install to USB - why not? - Page 2

post #11 of 18
hmm, seems I was wrong about SSD / flash specific benefits in ext4. However it does appear as if you can run it without journalling:
Quote:
ext2 is still the filesystem of choice for flash-based storage media (such as SD cards, and USB flash drives) since its lack of a journal minimizes the number of writes and flash devices have only a limited number of write cycles. Recent kernels, however, support a journal-less mode of ext4, which would offer the same benefit along with a number of ext4-specific benefits.
(lazy wiki extract: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 )
post #12 of 18
You can disable journaling with ext4 with some commands:

tune2fs -o journal_data_writeback /dev/sd*
tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/sd*

then add the following mount options in fstab:

data=writeback,noatime,nodiratime

It will be less safe without journaling though. Then you can mount temporary directory into ram to avoid writes on your usb stick.

I use my Fedora on a USB stick everyday at work and it work fine. It's a USB 3.0 stick but used on a USB 2.0 port. Yum is very slow though, even with some tweaking.
post #13 of 18
ext4 offers the "discard" option for SSDs that support trim in their firmware, when enabled it will "auto trim" the dead blocks, thus removing the need to run wiper.sh on your own. That said, usb drives I don't think need to be worried about trim .. so ext{2,3,4} without journaling would be a fine choice.
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post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
I don't know about the installers installing specific kernel "drivers", I can't see how they'd do that without re-compiling the kernel (and then, adding new hardware would fail without a re-compile, and that's not true). The initrd could be a problem, but as Lloys suggested I'd like to ditch it and do a static recompile if I get it working. I'm not averse to rebuilding the initrd anyway, it should be ok but it's worth mentioning. I'll think about the ext4 idea, but I think ext2 will suffice (without journalling, I can't see the point). Interested to see more from Patlefort though, as you seem to be running it now!

I'll have to do a bit more research on the initrd for Mint, it could be a stumbling block :s
 
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post #15 of 18
It seems you can buy many different distros already installed on different levels of USB flash drives from OSDisc.com.I am going to have to give one of their flash drive products a check out to see where the problems are.
http://www.osdisc.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi/products/usb/arch/arch-linux-20110819-16gb-usb-flash-drive-pc.html
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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCstudent View Post

It seems you can buy many different distros already installed on different levels of USB flash drives from OSDisc.com.I am going to have to give one of their flash drive products a check out to see where the problems are.
http://www.osdisc.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi/products/usb/arch/arch-linux-20110819-16gb-usb-flash-drive-pc.html

You can, but where's the fun of that
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Haha, that's a good point - Linux is as much for playing with as it is for daily use! smile.gif
 
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post #18 of 18
I think that ext4 have some advantage over ext2 even without journaling, but I'm not a file system expert.

I really haven't done that much, it is very close to a normal installation. I did the initial installation and configuration on VirtualBox first, then copied the image via dd command. There is a few things to know though like was said before and:

  • Of course, I don't use a swap partition.
  • The bios time. Most computers have it set to local time since Windows expect it. Some computers might have it set to UTC time which is what linux expect by default and makes much more sense. When the boot process will try to mount the root filesystem, it might complain that the last mount date is in the future and refuse to mount it. It can be fixed with a e2fsck run. There might be other solutions.
  • The bios boot order. Booting on USB seem to work better if it is set to boot first. If you have problems booting your USB device, you can try a boot manager such as Plop boot manager.
  • On some computers, I get a flashing cursor for 30 sec - 1 minute before it start booting. It wouldn't boot at all on some kernel version.
  • Without journaling, your filesystem is much less safe, so expect problems if it crashes, keep a backup image.
  • Mounting temporary, cache and logs directories. I also mount Chrome's cache directory in ram which is in your user directory. You can disable the disk cache on Firefox in the about:config section with the browser.cache.disk.enable option. I suggest using tmpfs with a size limit instead of ramfs. I've had problems with ramfs since some program was checking for space left and ramfs reported 0 space even though it has no limit. Here's a list of directories:

    /var/log
    /var/cache
    /tmp
    /var/tmp
    /home/elrick/.cache

Edited by patlefort - 2/28/12 at 1:07pm
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