[Ubuntu-ch] Problems with USB-Sticks and Swiss Remix

Daniel Stoni dsto at stoni.ch
Sun Oct 25 14:14:22 GMT 2009

Hi Theo, please find some comments below.

Theo Schmidt schrieb:
> Wolf Geldmacher schrieb:
>  > Hi Theo,
>  >
>  > I'd like to second Dani's suggestion to do a plain install instead.
>  >
>  > I've just done a plain install of Swiss-Remix 9.04 treating the (8GB) USB
>  > Stick like a hard drive attached to USB. This works and results in a system
>  > that is faster and also updatabe/patchable with a lot less waste of space:
>  > the r/w live-system I previously had on the same stick (and for me the
>  > supplied USB install on the Swiss-Remix DVD "just worked") could not be
>  > brought to the current patch level - it ran out of space way before
>  > finishing.
>  >
>  > One additional remark - when doing it this way make sure that the root FS
>  > is mounted with the "relatime" or "noatime" option in /etc/fstab - otherwise
>  > you might find that you are wearing the memory stick too fast.
> Hi Wolf and Dani,
> Thank you for your suggestions. I've now tried hard (about ten times) to do a 
> plain install, using two different computers and two different Swiss-Remix 9.04 
> DVDs. Unfortunately I've not been able to. At first the installer kept 
> complaining about not being able create file systems. After using gparted 
> manually, it became possible, but the installer broke off half way claiming 
> copying errors, leaving half a system on the stick. After that, no amount of 
> reformatting could induce the installer to regain its former behaviour. Much of 
> the problem seems to be that Ubuntu seems to automatically mount the partitions 
> on the USB-stick and can't unmount them (or keeps remounting them). On one of 
> the rare occasions where it worked the installation wnet about halfway and 
> ubibiquity quit with an unspecified error. With my hardware, it seems impossible 
> to install Swiss Remix onto a stick without resorting to command-line methods or 
> third-party tools.

In practise one must understand that there are different ways how usb
sticks are driven by the BIOS. There is not the level of reliability
comparable to usb disks. The combination of PC and stick does matter.
Occasionally, sticks are recognized as CDROMs instead of as harddisks.
It can depend also on the way how they the sticks are partitioned. Then
I've heard of suspend/resume not working.
>From own testing - with original 9.04 - I can confirm that installation
from CD onto the stick seems shaky (on a 4 year old PC) and,
interesting, very time consuming.

> Another observation:
> I've you don't take care and click the "erweitert" button near the end of the 
> installer wizard, it will put the boot-loader on your hard disk instead of the 
> USB-stick.


> A question:
> Even if I had been successful, would the plain install on a stick have been any 
> use for sending on to my brother-in-law for use on an entirely different 
> computer than the one which installed the system? Presumably plain installations 
> transfer some hardware information to the system. This was the reason I wanted a 
> frugal install, which does the hardware detection with each boot.

OSes have much developed since. One remaining area of concern is
/etc/X11/xorg.conf - in case you find one on the stick you might want to
remove it in order to force video detection. Other recent hardware -
sound or networking equipment in particular - is recognized during boot
process and very few specific settings are made during installation. In
short: The chances are good to find this working. I will do some tests
on my own and collect some stories from the web. I'll let you the results.

Regards, Dani
> Cheers, Theo

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