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Solus Portable Edition (Live USB)
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Description

It would be great to have an additional edition for those who like to take Solus with them on a USB drive. Such an edition should have a modified installer to install directly to USB and ensure maximum hardware compatibility (MATE?) and come with a range of tools needed on the road.

Event Timeline

You can install on a usb drive with the current installer. The only restriction is that it *must* be installed in *legacy* (BIOS) mode and you have to be careful to set the bootloader on the correct disk.

Would be great to either have a dedicated USB option in the installer or a separate ISO in the future which is optimized for mobile use.

Need to elaborate on the value add here, i.e. what tools you'd see envisioned, and why we'd step solus into the workshop toolbox domain

The primary use case I see for myself would be the ability to use Solus when I travel without any laptop. I would then plug in a USB (not sure whether all data should be saved in RAM or whether it should be in persistence mode) at a computer which is not my own and which I do not trust. A portable Solus system should in that case be able to reasonably protect me as a user.

The secondary use case would be a to offer a reasonably secure and easy way for friends, relatives, colleagues, clients and students to communicate with me without having to physically install Solus on their machines and without having to ask them to download and install software on a potentially compromised system and in an environment which very often censors access to certain communication tools. Simply giving them a portable Solus edition seems easier to me. More specifically, such an edition should offer a selection of messengers such as Ring, Ricochet, Wire, Riot, qtox, etc. I also occasionally tutor students and this would make it much easier to get them to use the right communication and educational tools without much hassle.

A third use case would fall into the actual workshop toolbox domain by offering a range of tools to assess things such as network and WiFi security, to get quick information about hardware, to test older laptops for their general health (simple information/diagnosis). Such an edition I could take with me to anyone potentially interested in Solus and who needs my help in migrating from a macOS or Windows environment. It could also have a broader use case in educational environments such as schools or public institutions and be of use for IT consultants. Ideally, it is also somewhat of a showcase edition to spark interest in the exciting things Solus has to offer to those who have never heard about it.

Lastly, a fourth use case, I see in offering something of a recovery edition, that is, to actually repair other computers. It recently happened to me that a Win10 update destroyed partition tables and it would have been great to be able to restore it with tools such as testdisk. Solus to the rescue! :)

Pur it in a vm and install like that.

baimafeima renamed this task from Solus-to-go edition (install to USB) to Solus Portable Edition.Aug 15 2017, 11:32 AM
baimafeima renamed this task from Solus Portable Edition to Solus Portable Edition (Live USB).Sep 6 2017, 10:56 AM

So I can not believe I am actually going to post this, but figured I just help out the guy requesting it since I just made a writable version to help me get Solus installed on my laptop.

I know there are so many other tools that can get this done without writing to the USB over and over again, but it's the way I did it when I was trying to figure it out, so that's the way I know works for certain right now. Get ready for a laugh . . . . . :-D

I actually made a Live USB last night while trying to install Solus 3 on my MacBook Pro 9,1 which would not boot into X because, of course, once again (for the last 17 years) I have hardware issues with whatever hardware I choose to purchase years ago (and then eventually decide to run Linux on it.) :-D

Anyways, I have the nvidia/intel hybrid GPU which would give me the black screen of death when the installer tried to start X. I ended up getting it to work after two days of searching the net and doing every combination I could come up with as none of the info on the net seemed to work (though it did obviously guide me in finding a solution.) If anyone is interested, I will try and write something up on it, though honestly, I did so many things that, while I have an idea of how it was fixed, I am not 100% right now, so I would need to start over to confirm before I start giving out bad info out here on the net.

So I wanted to create a writable Solus USB based on the installer so I could troubleshoot and hopefully get the installer working on the computer. So I ended up editing files on the Asus laptop that booted the installer perfectly, and then moved the USB drive over to the Apple laptop to see if it would boot. I did that probably dozens of times and never had any problems that were show stoppers.

Also, please be aware of how this is probably unsecure since the 'live' user does not require a password, and neither does root. I am not certain that creating a new user and deleting the 'live' user would be would be good enough to call secure since I am not aware of how the rest of the software has been modified for the install usb.

But if you don't care about any of that then here's how I did it. :-D

  • Probably should have a >8G usb based on the file sizes I saw.
  • I will put /dev/sdX for the drive, but replace that with whatever device the usb device ends up being.
  • I did this all from Solus installed on a 2nd laptop.
  • I did this by combining the Solus Help on creating a rescue drive, Solus Help on creating a UEFI, and some article I found about somebody installing an image to their rasberrypi sd card. So hopefully the hardware you are using supports UEFI for this one.

Download the Solus 3 Install ISO from the website.

  1. sudo dd if=solus3-install.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=1M
  2. sudo mkdir /solus-installer
  3. sudo mount /dev/sdX /solus-installer
  4. cp /solus-installer/LiveOS/squashfs.img ~
  5. sudo umount /dev/sdX
  6. sudo dd if=~/squashfs.img of=/dev/sdX bs=1M
  7. sudo mount /dev/sdX /solus-installer
  8. cp /solus-installer/LiveOS/rootfs.img ~
  9. sudo umount /dev/sdX
  10. sudo parted /dev/sdX
  11. (parted) mklabel gpt
  12. (parted) unit MB
  13. (parted) mkpart "" fat32 0% 513MB
  14. (parted) toggle 1 esp
  15. (parted) mkpart "" ext4 514MB 100%
  16. (parted) quit
  17. sudo dd if=~/rootfs.img of=/dev/sdX2 bs=1M
  18. sudo e2fsck -f /dev/sdX2
  19. sudo resize2fs /dev/sdX2
  20. sudo mount /dev/sdX2 /solus-installer
  21. sudo /solus-installer/usr/sbin/mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdb1
  22. sudo mount /dev/sdX1 /solus-installer/boot
  23. sudo mount --bind /proc /solus-installer/proc
  24. sudo mount --bind /dev /solus-installer/dev
  25. sudo mount --bind /sys /solus-installer/sys
  26. sudo chroot /solus-installer
  27. sudo clr-boot-manager update

Reboot and do your thing to get it to boot from the USB and your set. Let me know if I missed something and I'll update. Oh, and when I move it between machines, the first boot gets stuck after the filesystem clean. Just rebooting and trying again fixes the problem.

@ryanwahle Thanks a lot for the massive write-up and tuning into this discussion. I don't know enough about it to actually comment on your suggestions but hopefully more people are interested in such an edition.

JoshStrobl closed this task as Wontfix.Jul 12 2018, 1:46 PM
JoshStrobl claimed this task.
JoshStrobl added a subscriber: JoshStrobl.

At this moment in time, we have no plans or intent on having a portable edition. That doesn't rule out future improvements to the installer to potentially make installing to a USB more viable, but that is not a priority or our target market (bare metal is).