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Old 01-27-2009, 08:42 PM
Ron Johnson
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

On 01/27/2009 03:13 PM, Kushal Koolwal wrote:

What is the difference? What difference do you want to achieve with respect to a 'live' debian system?


I would like to use my USB device for reading and writing to the drive just as we do on a regular IDE hard drive.
AFAIK, a live usb system would not allow me to write data persistently just like a live CD.

Also my original question was for a recommendation of FS for installing Debian on a USB flash drive.


If you want it to act like a hard drive, put a "hard drive fs" on
it: ext3.


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Old 01-27-2009, 09:22 PM
Johannes Wiedersich
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

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Ron Johnson wrote:
> On 01/27/2009 03:13 PM, Kushal Koolwal wrote:
>> I would like to use my USB device for reading and writing to the
>> drive just as we do on a regular IDE hard drive.

Ie. you want to write 'data' to it as opposed to install debian to it.

>> AFAIK, a live usb system would not allow me to write data
>> persistently just like a live CD.

How did you get this idea? Read [2].

>> Also my original question was for a recommendation of FS for
>> installing Debian on a USB flash drive.
>
> If you want it to act like a hard drive, put a "hard drive fs" on it:
> ext3.

... or ext2 if you don't want a journal and reduce the r/w load of the
device [1]:

> ext2 is still recommended over journaling file systems on bootable
> USB flash drives and other solid-state drives. ext2 performs fewer
> writes than ext3 since it does not need to write to the journal.

Cheers,

Johannes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_USB
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:29 PM
Nate Bargmann
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

* Johannes Wiedersich <jowied@googlemail.com> [2009 Jan 27 16:25 -0600]:

> ... or ext2 if you don't want a journal and reduce the r/w load of the
> device [1]:
>
> > ext2 is still recommended over journaling file systems on bootable
> > USB flash drives and other solid-state drives. ext2 performs fewer
> > writes than ext3 since it does not need to write to the journal.

IIRC, it's also recommended to use the noatime option to mount to
reduce the writes even more and prolong the life of the flash drive.

While I wouldn't recommend it for daily use due to its model of always
running as the root user, I chose to install Puppy Linux to a flash
drive and it works well.

- Nate >>

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Old 01-27-2009, 09:59 PM
elijah rutschman
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM, Kushal Koolwal
<kushalkoolwal@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Does anybody have any experience with installing Debian (say Lenny) on USB
> flash drives? I would like to install Debian on my PQI 4 GB USB flash drive
> but I am not sure which filesystem to use - ext2, ext3, XFS?

I've done something like this and it worked pretty well with
etch-and-a-half several months ago. I just used ext2 as the
filesystem for simplicity and haven't had any issues thus far. I have
heard that flash storage these days sustains enough write cycles to
outlive the average hard drive. I have no science to back this claim
up, but since flash drives are relatively cheap these days, I haven't
been overly concerned about it.

As for installing to and booting from a usb device, you may have to
add usb_core to the modules loaded by your initrd if your initrd
complains of being unable to find the root device.

Regards,
Elijah


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Old 01-27-2009, 10:03 PM
"Boyd Stephen Smith Jr."
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

On Tuesday 2009 January 27 13:07:55 Kushal Koolwal wrote:
>Does anybody have any experience with installing Debian (say Lenny) on USB
> flash drives?

Not yet. I am interested in carrying around a Debian installation in the
future though.

> I would like to install Debian on my PQI 4 GB USB flash drive
> but I am not sure which filesystem to use - ext2, ext3, XFS?

Probably the best r/w filesystem for flash based devices in JFFS2.

>My primary concern/criteria in selecting a fs would be
> throughput/performance.

JFFS2 should do fairly well there, although I haven't seen any good
benchmarks.

>I am tried searching around the internet but most of the articles talk about
> preparing a LIVE USB flash drive which is *not* what I would like to do. I
> just want a plain Debian system on my USB flash drive just like on any IDE
> Hard Drive.

Live is exactly what you want, but it can't be a direct conversion of a Live
CD, since they generally use a r/o squashfs, for the compression.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:15 PM
Kushal Koolwal
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

>Ie. you want to write 'data' to it as opposed to install debian to it.
Both. Sorry for the confusion. I would like to install Debian on USB Flash drive and also read/write data (store files,etc.) just like a hard drive.

> How did you get this idea? Read [2].
Thanks for the link and clearing my misconception. For some reasons I thought Live CD = Live USB (except it is on USB media).

> IIRC, it's also recommended to use the noatime option to mount to
>reduce the writes even more and prolong the life of the flash drive.
Thanks Nate for this tip.

Finally if anybody has followed any particular tutorial to create a Debian Live USB flash drive, can you point that out? Otherwise I will just do a wild search and pick one of them.

I do blog at http://blogs.koolwal.net/









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Old 01-27-2009, 10:39 PM
Mark Allums
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

elijah rutschman wrote:
> I've done something like this and it worked pretty well with

etch-and-a-half several months ago. I just used ext2 as the
filesystem for simplicity and haven't had any issues thus far. I have
heard that flash storage these days sustains enough write cycles to
outlive the average hard drive. I have no science to back this claim
up, but since flash drives are relatively cheap these days, I haven't
been overly concerned about it.


I have been hearing the same thing about flash, but---how do you know
which kind of flash chips were used in your device? Old, or new?


You may wish to use Compact Flash for speed. It uses the IDE PATA
interface. Someone correct me if I am wrong.


You may wish to use several devices. One for boot/root, one for swap,
and one for /home.


Speaking of device wear, ext3 and other journaled file systems do lots
more reading and writing. ext2 may be moderately less wearing on the
device.


Mark Allums


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Old 01-28-2009, 12:06 AM
Celejar
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

On Tue, 27 Jan 2009 15:15:15 -0800
Kushal Koolwal <kushalkoolwal@hotmail.com> wrote:

...

> Finally if anybody has followed any particular tutorial to create a Debian Live USB flash drive, can you point that out? Otherwise I will just do a wild search and pick one of them.

http://debian-live.alioth.debian.org/
http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive/Howto/USB

Celejar
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:11 AM
Kushal Koolwal
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

> Probably the best r/w filesystem for flash based devices in JFFS2.
I don't recollect an option of formatting the FS as JFFS2 in the Debian Lenny Installation CD?
>Live is exactly what you want, but it can't be a direct conversion of a Live
>CD, since they generally use a r/o squashfs, for the compression.
Exactly! Glad you spoke about squashfs. I really don't want to use those things - squashfs, unionfs and all that.
I really would like to keep it as simple as it can be - just like installing on a PATA Hard disk. And that's what I wanted to
find out here if there is anyone who has installed Debian on USB Flash device (w/o using squashfs) and on what FS did they installed.

Elijah, glad to know that you have tried this before and you had no issues.

I do blog at http://blogs.koolwal.net/
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:32 AM
Mike Castle
 
Default Which FS for USB Flash Drive

On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 11:07 AM, Kushal Koolwal
<kushalkoolwal@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Does anybody have any experience with installing Debian (say Lenny) on USB
> flash drives? I would like to install Debian on my PQI 4 GB USB flash drive
> but I am not sure which filesystem to use - ext2, ext3, XFS?

I just grabbed a 4G USB and did my standard home install on it. I
think I went with ext3, but after reading the rest of this thread, may
change that.

Some issues that I came across:

I got confused during one installation and accidentally installed grub
on my internal harddrive rather than the flash drive. Since this is a
work laptop with an encrypted harddrive, wiping out the boot parittion
made the primary system unbootable and had to reinstall that. Whoops.

With my upgraded laptop, boot order changed from the time I booted
from the install CD to to when I boot from the flash drive. I had to
end up tweaking grub to point to the correct partition.

I have some typical laptop issues that I think are not related to USB:
had to install wired because I have to use non-free firmware to get
wireless working, and since I run with /home mounted via NFS.
Regularly my system tries to load the automount maps before wireless
is up; I end up logging in as root once to reload them before logging
in as my real user.

Something to consider is: do you want swap on your flash drive or
not? Don't you need swap in order to suspend? That could possibly
speed up subsequent boot times. Personally I've not had success with
suspend, but I can't remember right now if I set up swap on the flash
drive or not.

The biggest problem I have is, generally I'm using the flash in my
laptop, and it sticks out quite a bit. I suspect I'll break it before
I wear out the write cycles. If I ever come across the right CF or
whatever media for a decent price, I might go ahead and purchase that,
just so it's more internal the the system.

The second biggest problem is the stupid thing flashes this bright
blue light every once in a while, which is really annoying when the SO
is trying to go to sleep.

So, I'm running a laptop off of USB flash with /home mounted over NFS.
It's not going to win any performance benchmarks, but I'm satisfied
with it.

mrc


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