How I installed Lucid on a USB flash disc - WAS: Please, Ubuntu, do not embarrass me again!

Basil Chupin blchupin at
Thu Jun 10 06:55:52 UTC 2010

On 09/06/10 18:15, Colin Law wrote:
> On 9 June 2010 09:07, Basil Chupin<blchupin at>  wrote:
>> On 07/06/10 22:33, Basil Chupin wrote:
>> ...
>> This afternoon I installed Lucid 10.04 on a USB flash disc/memory stick
>> (from now on called "flash") as I promised I would do (above).
>> To start with, I did not follow any of the earlier instructions I
>> referred to - I just installed Lucid as one would install it on a normal
>> HD-oriented system.
>> But there are qualifications.
>> Firstly, all my computers have HD sitting in cradles. For this
>> installation I removed both the HDs to ensure that I don't something
>> wrong and accidentally wipe out one/both of the HDs with a "production"
>> version of Lucid installed.
>> Next, my BIOS is set to have:
>> first boot device as USB-ZIP;
>> second as CDROM;
>> third as HDD-0;
>> fourth as HDD-1
>> In order to install 10.04 I reset the first boot to "Disabled" because
>> the system will not boot from the an empty flash.
>> Next I inserted the flash, started the computer and inserted the CD with
>> Lucid on it.
>> The CD booted, I chose Install - and installed Lucid as one would
>> normally install Ubuntu on an HD.
> I am not an expert and others may correct me, but I think one of the
> issues with this is that if you did a standard install I think it will
> have formatted the flash as ext3 or 4.

Yes, and I deliberately chose Ext4 even though I had a choice.

>    I understand this is an issue
> with flash as the journaling causes many extra write cycles which will
> wear out the flash.  I think ext2 is considered better for flash.

Any flash has a limited life - all started, when Adam was a boy, with 
NVRAM and your BIOS :-) .

Reading is fine but it is the writing which shortens the life.

But taking it further, the way the latest HDDs are being put together, 
their life is not all that long either even though the specs claim 
whatever they claim. Cram enough data onto a magnetic medium (vertically 
nowadays) and you get leakage. Was already happening some 40 years ago 
when thinner and thinner tapes were used and data leaked between the 
adjacent layers of tape; computer tapes also had to regularly 
"exercised" to avoid loss of data :-) .

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

The flash I got has a 5 year warranty. By next year there will be some 
other new-fangdangled storage medium, and by then we probably will be 
all running an OS which comes installed on an orange so I am not 
especially worried about putting Ubuntu on this flash :-) .

But, you do have a valid point, of course, in what you say about the 
lifespan of a flash when formatting above ext2.


Attorney:   All your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
Witness:    Oral.

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