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Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:56 pm

Just to try it out on my old MBP. I've followed the tutorials, made an install Ubuntu USB stick and formatted a second USB stick to install Ububtu Desktop to. The installation seemed to go well but as it ended an "installation failed" window popped up and, as expected, the Ububtu Desktop USB did not show up as an available boot disk.

One possible thing, the USB sticks are Sandisk Cruiser 16GB off Amazon, cheap but not suspiciously so. Either way I'm concerned they might be fakes, anybody any idea how to check?

edit :- It seems all Sandisk USB sticks have the 'secure access' app installed from new, these don't so are presumably fakes. I will double check with Sandisk before returning them.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby James Perrett » Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:21 pm

Could it be a permission issue? Do you need admin rights to make a disk bootable?
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:47 pm

It asks for password but I am the only user/admin anyway so I don't think so. The "installation failed" message came right at the end of the process.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby wireman » Fri Feb 26, 2021 7:59 pm

Perhaps there are some hints in this...

https://askubuntu.com/questions/28495/h ... tu-usb-key
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:08 pm

Thanks wireman, I'll read it thoroughly later. My problem was not getting the Mac to boot from the installer USB stick but that the installer failed to complete the installation to a 'working' stick (setup changes are not persistent on the installer boot). I'm trying a different method (third time lucky maybe) as I type so we'll se if that works.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby merlyn » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:40 pm

Sam Spoons wrote: I've followed the tutorials, made an install Ubuntu USB stick and formatted a second USB stick to install Ububtu Desktop to.

What was the tutorial? What you describe above sounds like a strange way of doing it.

Lots of Linux distributions have a 'live iso' available. This isn't an installer -- it's a bootable image that lets you try it out from the USB stick.

So using an installer to install to another USB is an unnecessary step.

You download a live iso, transfer that to a USB stick, make the USB stick bootable, reboot and choose the USB stick to boot from.

On Linux I would use an app called Unetbootin. I'm sure there would be an equivalent app for Mac. You could try searching 'create bootable usb mac'.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:53 pm

Yeah, I have a bootable USB stick but, reading a couple of websites (including this one https://www.fosslinux.com/10212/how-to-install-a-complete-ubuntu-on-a-usb-flash-drive.htm) suggests that there are advantages to installing a complete Ububtu on a USB over a bootable 'Ububtu Live' USB. I assumed the Unbutu Live USB was basically an install drive. But it does boot into a functioning Ubuntu so I'm not sure what the benefits are (I have the that working satisfactorily). Plan is to install Reaper on it too to see how it works before devoting a spare HDD/SSD to it. If it proves troublesome I can use an internal drive.

FWIW I'm just playing with it at the moment but am thinking it might keep my old Mac Pros useful for a bit longer.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Folderol » Fri Feb 26, 2021 11:11 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Yeah, I have a bootable USB stick but, reading a couple of websites (including this one https://www.fosslinux.com/10212/how-to-install-a-complete-ubuntu-on-a-usb-flash-drive.htm) suggests that there are advantages to installing a complete Ububtu on a USB over a bootable 'Ububtu Live' USB. I assumed the Unbutu Live USB was basically an install drive. But it does boot into a functioning Ubuntu so I'm not sure what the benefits are (I have the that working satisfactorily). Plan is to install Reaper on it too to see how it works before devoting a spare HDD/SSD to it. If it proves troublesome I can use an internal drive.

FWIW I'm just playing with it at the moment but am thinking it might keep my old Mac Pros useful for a bit longer.
As a true install rather than a live image, performance is usually considerably better and you get proper storage of files.
Ubuntu is good for general stuff, but if/when you eventually do a proper install a dedicated audio based distro is much better and gives you most of what you might want already configured. Arch Linux is one, but the downside is its a rolling release so things could change unexpectedly - very rarely badly though. The one I think is better is AVlinux. The guy building and hosting it is a long term Linux-based musician - A pretty fine guitarists a singer too :)
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby merlyn » Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:49 am

Sam Spoons wrote:FWIW I'm just playing with it at the moment but am thinking it might keep my old Mac Pros useful for a bit longer.

Yes, keeping old hardware going is a good use of Linux.

I agree with @Folderol that if you want to try audio on Linux AVLinux is good because it has all the right settings for audio. The developer has written a good manual that he suggests you read before trying it. :

http://bandshed.net/pdf/AVL-MXE-User-Manual.pdf

and here is the download page :

http://www.bandshed.net/avlinux/
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:04 am

I settled on Ubuntu Studio when I switched to Linux 10 years ago, and I appreciate being in the Ubuntu universe for support, especially for non-audio things on my main machine. I've always been able to make a persistent live usb of it when I was testing new hardware, but I've never tried it on a mac. I do remember having to do some work around to boot on a laptop when uefi was new, but it's been a while.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:16 am

Messing about with Ubuntu is taking me back to my Win 95/98 days (not a bad thing I hasten to add), setting up and having to put some effort into getting it running how I want it. Back in the day I used the 'LitePC loader/'98Lite for my studio machine.

I think I might try an AVLinux dual boot on the studio Mac, I have a spare ssd I can install so it would be completely separate from my working El Capitan based system.

Thanks chaps
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby wireman » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:28 am

merlyn wrote:Lots of Linux distributions have a 'live iso' available. This isn't an installer -- it's a bootable image that lets you try it out from the USB stick.

The Ubuntu 'live CD' which you can create from the ISO is both, you either choose to run an installation or just use it to browse the web etc. I presume you could put it on a USB stick but I never tried that and to install another USB stick from something running on a USB stick might get tricky, especially if you pick the wrong device to install to.

I have used USB sticks running Ubuntu from a Windows laptop many times, there are advantages of the proper install, you can save changes, use better graphics drivers and get updates. On Windows7 (not sure about a Mac) there is a possible issue in that the Ubuntu clock uses a different timezone to Windows so you can find your Wndows time has changed when you reboot into it again, but that can be fixed.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby merlyn » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:30 pm

wireman wrote:The Ubuntu 'live CD' which you can create from the ISO is both, you either choose to run an installation or just use it to browse the web etc.

Yes, that's a better description. :) I meant it isn't only an installer, like the Windows installer which boots into the setup process.

It wouldn't have occurred to me to install to a USB stick because it's removable media. One reason an installation to hard drive or SSD has better performance is faster disk speed, so that's what I thought the advantage was.

But if an install to a USB stick improves performance, go for it.
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Feb 27, 2021 1:50 pm

Thanks I'm starting to understand a little of how Linux works (I've dipped a toe in the Linux pond a few times over the years but never really taken it further than that).

I can see the usefulness of f a full install to a USB stick if you want to be able to work on any computer (one of the tutorials mentioned Internet cafe machines) without getting involved in their host OS.

Has anybody run Ubuntu and Reaper as an audio setup? Or can Reaper run as the DAW in AVLinux?
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Re: Linux on a USB stick

Postby merlyn » Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:58 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Or can Reaper run as the DAW in AVLinux?

I would think so. You would simply download Reaper (the Linux version) and install it on AVLinux.

You may have noticed there are a few Ubuntus. I call them *buntu :) There's Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu ...

They're basically the same thing with a different window manager. I would call this 'vanilla Ubuntu' and it's aimed at the majority of users. @Funkyflash5 mentioned Ubuntu Studio above. That's a version of Ubuntu already tweaked so low latency audio works. There are a few system tweaks required to get low latency audio working well, and although they are quite straightforward it is easier to use a distribution that already has these done.

So vanilla Ubuntu can be made to work with e.g. Reaper, but it would be easier to use Ubuntu Studio or AVLinux where the tweaks have already been done. :thumbup:
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