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Thread: [brainstorming] ready-to-use persistent LiveUSB img file

  1. #1
    Senior Member orange's Avatar
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    Default [brainstorming] ready-to-use persistent LiveUSB img file

    Community,

    I have an idea for BT4 final and I'd like to share it to get input and opinions from yours. We already have the ability to create a persistent LiveUSB, but from my perspective (and from experiences with the forums' audience) the procedure is still too difficult for newbies.

    Here's my idea: We could provide an ready-to-use img file that one could dd to the USB stick (dd if=bt4-final.img of=/dev/sdb), completely bootable with the required partitions (there are even dd-like utilities for Windows/Mac available). That would leave the users in the situation that only ONE command is required to create a persistent LiveUSB.

    Ideally we'd need to setup a persistent LiveUSB once and create an img file utilizing dd if=/dev/sdb of=bt4-final.img - that img file could be provided along the usual iso image. The remaining problem I see (and that's the reason I post this here) is the variable size of user's usb stick. The FAT32 partition could be just that large that the ISO can be rsynced to - I usually create a single FAT32 partition, rsync the ISO, install grub and then resize the FAT32 partition to the minimal possible extent. Afterwards I create an ext3 partition for persistent storage.

    So far, so good, now the part I need input from yours: How to create an img file that'll be that intelligent that it dds the FAT32 partition (fixed size) and the ext3 partition (variable size) to the user's usb stick? I hope you understand clearly what i mean? The ext3 partition should be variable in size depending on the actually used usb stick. Could you imagine of any way to achieve this? I'd be willing to take care of this project.

    Thanks in advance for your input,
    orange

    PS: I know that openSUSE's kiwi imaging system is able to create "expandable" partitions that'll be expanded at first boot - so, it's definitely achievable. Questions is, is casper/ubuntu also capable of such a scenario and who knows about it?

  2. #2
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    the way I do this is

    setup my usb as normal, with all the software/updates etc that I want, make it bootable as per usual and then make an image of the entire disk using acronis...

    i then insert a blank usb, fire up acronis and let it write all the partitions, I can also mess with the partition sizes

  3. #3
    Senior Member orange's Avatar
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    Thanks for ya input, but this is not what I'm looking for. I have no issues creating and/or modifying LiveUSB sticks but I'd like to provide a no-brainer liveusb-solution to the community. Most likely I haven't explained it too precise.

    What I'm looking for this a way to create a virtual disc image that already contains the partition information and the bootloader BUT adapts (fully automatically) to the real USB stick geometry and is to be written with just ONE command "dd if=bt4-final.img of=/dev/sdb" (or Win/Mac dd-like equivalent)

    So result would be: A user with a 2GB stick would have 1.5GB FAT32 and 500MB casper-rw. A user with a 4GB stick would end up with 1.5GB FAT32 and 2.5GB casper-rw, 8GB stick = 1.5GB FAT32 and 6.5G casper-rw and so on.

    The only solution I found for this is openSUSE's kiwi oem type image deployment but this is SUSE-only and does not apply to our Ubuntu-based LiveUSB implementation. This is a bit surprising to me though as it seems to be a rather straightforward and obvious usecase.

    ---
    EDIT: JFYI, I asked the openSUSE developer responsible for kiwi how that works and he told me that a script "suse-repart" does all the magic upon first boot. To all interested parties: I uploaded that script here - I'll now try to understand that beast :-)

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    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I actually thing that we are rather sploit by how easy it is to install BackTrack 4 to USB. I still have horrid memories about what is was like to create bootable Linux USB drives a few years ago (I once spent several days getting Helix running off USB with customised time zones, etc), so it surprises me that anyone would even complain about the short and easy process we have now.

    I suppose that if you really want to put the work in on this you should go ahead, but I dont see how anyone who cant manage to install BackTrack onto USB with the current procedure could even manage to use BackTrack if the setup were made easier for them.

    After all, BackTrack is meant to be for users who already have some reasonable level of Linux knowledge...
    Capitalisation is important. It's the difference between "Helping your brother Jack off a horse" and "Helping your brother jack off a horse".

    The Forum Rules, Forum FAQ and the BackTrack Wiki... learn them, love them, live them.

  5. #5
    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lupin View Post
    Hmmm, I actually thing that we are rather sploit by how easy it is to install BackTrack 4 to USB. I still have horrid memories about what is was like to create bootable Linux USB drives a few years ago (I once spent several days getting Helix running off USB with customised time zones, etc), so it surprises me that anyone would even complain about the short and easy process we have now.

    I suppose that if you really want to put the work in on this you should go ahead, but I dont see how anyone who cant manage to install BackTrack onto USB with the current procedure could even manage to use BackTrack if the setup were made easier for them.

    After all, BackTrack is meant to be for users who already have some reasonable level of Linux knowledge...


    Yea, I consider that the "moron filter". If they can't get backtrack to boot/usb install, they need to start out with an easier linux distro. It's bad enough that we get several new threads a week that the install.sh doesn't work.
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

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    Super Moderator Archangel-Amael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Yea, I consider that the "moron filter". If they can't get backtrack to boot/usb install, they need to start out with an easier linux distro. It's bad enough that we get several new threads a week that the install.sh doesn't work.
    Kind of like a "right of passage".
    I felt really proud the first time I installed Red-Hat 2.0, but at the same time I realized I didn't really understand what was going on. I abandoned it very soon thereafter.
    To be successful here you should read all of the following.
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    Failure to do so will probably get your threads deleted or worse.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Yea, I consider that the "moron filter". If they can't get backtrack to boot/usb install, they need to start out with an easier linux distro. It's bad enough that we get several new threads a week that the install.sh doesn't work.
    Exactly. If a "no brainer" USB install for BackTrack is created, then we will have people with no brains using it. And that will lead to more posts like this
    Capitalisation is important. It's the difference between "Helping your brother Jack off a horse" and "Helping your brother jack off a horse".

    The Forum Rules, Forum FAQ and the BackTrack Wiki... learn them, love them, live them.

  8. #8
    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lupin View Post
    Exactly. If a "no brainer" USB install for BackTrack is created, then we will have people with no brains using it. And that will lead to more posts like this
    Exactly......
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

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