[Nottingham] USB LiveDistros Persistance (or, Going Diskless)

Martin martin at ml1.co.uk
Thu Aug 28 20:10:53 UTC 2008

Martin wrote:
> Good comments folks, thanks.
> I'm not at all worried about performance so no worries about the C3
> being 32-bit i386/i486/i586.

All 96MByte/s memory bandwidth of it! (It's supposed to be 133MHz
SDRAM... I guess the video steals a large chunk of memory bandwidth.)

> Meanwhile, the first fubar (rediscovered, which is why there was an old
> HDD on there in the first place) is:
> The BIOS has no boot option for USB-HDD. :-( You get USB-FDD and USB-ZIP
> but no USB-HDD.
> There's PXE-boot and "LAN boot" but the idea is for this box to run on
> its own and to recover on its own after a power cut.
> Also, I've tried 3 CDROMs and CD-RW drives on it and none boot
> successfully with isolinux. The hardware ports are not found or the boot
> image reports a checksum error. (Recompile for i586?...) Interestingly,
> memtest86 does boot from CD and runs ok.

Well, I plugged in a IDE-CF adapter as Master and a UDMA CF card, and
for a giggle I also plugged in one of the old CDROM drives as slave, and...

All the LiveCDs that had previously failed now magically boot up fine.
Looks like they are compiled for i586 or earlier after all. Ubuntu is
rather slow to start up but that is to be expected. In contrast, DSL was
quite quick.

IDE termination or a BIOS problem for the CDROM-only setup?

Next, looks like I'll be trying a minimal Mandriva install after all for
a first giggle.

Any comments for what to link over onto the expendable USB memory stick
other than /var/log/ ? (I expect the website stuff to stay largely
static.) I guess install with ext2 and "noatime"!

Was the answer to the flashfs question from some time ago that there's
no point? Any non-journal fs is equally good with the recent anti-wear
flash devices...?


Martin Lomas
martin at ml1.co.uk

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