Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

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Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Richard Shaw-6
For a couple of years now I've been trying on and off to come up with a method of running Fedora in a portable manner than is easy to keep up with, update, has decent performance, and doesn't suck :)

A pure live USB method isn't easily updatable so doesn't meet the criteria

A live USB with persistent overlay is updatable but isn't very intelligent since it just burns up space with deltas. This method MIGHT be acceptable if there was an easy way to merge those deltas into the compressed live image.

A real install sucks because even with my 32GB class 10 flash memory hooked up by a USBC/3.0 adapter the performance is terrible and updating pretty much took 6+ hours.

All of that means the wiki[1] is pretty much useless and it doesn't look like it's been updated for the fact that LiveUSB creator is depreciated in favor of Fedora Media Writer. 

I've looked at unionFS but depending on your tech level that may not be considered EASY to implement and I would still like a way to easily merge changes into the compressed image because I/O is causing the performance issues, not CPU horsepower (Intel i5-6300U).

Anybody have some success stories they can share? Ideas? Apps or scripts that could help automate the management of the install?

I know next to nothing about ansible, but could it be used to manage it as a virtual host? (Not in the VM sense, but as a system on a file sense)

If I come up with something that meets the criteria I may be willing to document it in the Fedora wiki for other :)

Thanks,
Richard


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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Tim-163
Allegedly, on or about 4 October 2017, Richard Shaw sent:
> Anybody have some success stories they can share? Ideas?

I did, long ago, use a portable hard drive, with a straight
installation onto it, through a firewire connection into a friend's
Mac.  

A hard drive, or SSD these days, would seem better than flash drives,
they're notorious for quick death.

I don't know how well that kind of thing would work through USB into
any computer, though.  My experience with USB is that it's not good for
continual and prolonged sessions.  It nearly always hiccups.

--
[tim@localhost ~]$ uname -rsvp
Linux 4.12.14-300.fc26.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Sep 20 16:28:07 UTC 2017 x86_64

Boilerplate:  All mail to my mailbox is automatically deleted.
There is no point trying to privately email me, I only get to see
the messages posted to the mailing list.

The mindset of software designers:  You know that feature that you, and
many thousands of other users, found useful?  We removed it, because
we didn't like it.  We also hard-coded the default settings that you
keep customising.
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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Rick Stevens-4
On 10/05/2017 02:29 AM, Tim wrote:
> Allegedly, on or about 4 October 2017, Richard Shaw sent:
>> Anybody have some success stories they can share? Ideas?
>
> I did, long ago, use a portable hard drive, with a straight
> installation onto it, through a firewire connection into a friend's
> Mac.  
>
> A hard drive, or SSD these days, would seem better than flash drives,
> they're notorious for quick death.

SSDs die quickly, too, with little or no warning (had to replace at
least 10 in various Macbooks over the years--glad we had backups!)

> I don't know how well that kind of thing would work through USB into
> any computer, though.  My experience with USB is that it's not good for
> continual and prolonged sessions.  It nearly always hiccups.

Running a system via USB is, well, awful. Firewire, thunderbolt or ESATA
would be far better. There are a lot of ESATA drives out there...not
so many systems that have ESATA ports, unfortunately.

My Dell laptop has ESATA and I always add an ESATA card to my desktops
for just such use or to plug in ye ol' backup drive. My backup routine
is to back up to rotating media on ESATA once a month, then unplug it
and put it somewhere safe. Nightly, in the wee hours, I back up to a
couple of NAS devices. Yes, I'm marginally paranoid about backups.
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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Richard Shaw-6
On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 4:58 PM, Rick Stevens <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 10/05/2017 02:29 AM, Tim wrote:
> Allegedly, on or about 4 October 2017, Richard Shaw sent:
>> Anybody have some success stories they can share? Ideas?
>
> I did, long ago, use a portable hard drive, with a straight
> installation onto it, through a firewire connection into a friend's
> Mac.
>
> A hard drive, or SSD these days, would seem better than flash drives,
> they're notorious for quick death.

SSDs die quickly, too, with little or no warning (had to replace at
least 10 in various Macbooks over the years--glad we had backups!) 

> I don't know how well that kind of thing would work through USB into
> any computer, though.  My experience with USB is that it's not good for
> continual and prolonged sessions.  It nearly always hiccups.

Running a system via USB is, well, awful. Firewire, thunderbolt or ESATA
would be far better. There are a lot of ESATA drives out there...not
so many systems that have ESATA ports, unfortunately.

My last laptop had ESATA but there doesn't seem to be any ESATA SSD's available anymore, it looks like one company made one but they're discontinued. I don't want to deal with an actual HD (SSD or laptop HDD) if I can help it. I don't want something on a cable dangling from the laptop when I have have a system on a stick.

Thanks,
Richard

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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Rick Stevens-4
On 10/05/2017 03:30 PM, Richard Shaw wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 4:58 PM, Rick Stevens <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
>     On 10/05/2017 02:29 AM, Tim wrote:
>     > Allegedly, on or about 4 October 2017, Richard Shaw sent:
>     >> Anybody have some success stories they can share? Ideas?
>     >
>     > I did, long ago, use a portable hard drive, with a straight
>     > installation onto it, through a firewire connection into a friend's
>     > Mac.
>     >
>     > A hard drive, or SSD these days, would seem better than flash drives,
>     > they're notorious for quick death.
>
>     SSDs die quickly, too, with little or no warning (had to replace at
>     least 10 in various Macbooks over the years--glad we had backups!) 
>
>
>     > I don't know how well that kind of thing would work through USB into
>     > any computer, though.  My experience with USB is that it's not
>     good for
>     > continual and prolonged sessions.  It nearly always hiccups.
>
>     Running a system via USB is, well, awful. Firewire, thunderbolt or ESATA
>     would be far better. There are a lot of ESATA drives out there...not
>     so many systems that have ESATA ports, unfortunately.
>
>
> My last laptop had ESATA but there doesn't seem to be any ESATA SSD's
> available anymore, it looks like one company made one but they're
> discontinued.

Newegg lists several ESATA SSDs. Yes, they're (relatively) large boxes
that need a cable.

> I don't want to deal with an actual HD (SSD or laptop HDD)
> if I can help it. I don't want something on a cable dangling from the
> laptop when I have have a system on a stick.

That's what industrial-strength Velcro is for, my son! :-) My laptop
gets the occasional cellular modem stuck to its lid that way. It isn't
pretty, but gets the job done.

Seriously, I'm just saying that running an OS from any USB device that's
on anything older than USB3 is going to suck, speed-wise--and I'm not
sure that USB3 is going to improve things a lot. I've never tried it,
but I've had no reason to do so.

If that risk doesn't bother you, well, have at it! There are some
inexpensive, smaller USB SSDs out there you can try. Most do want USB3,
but will probably run on USB1.1 and USB2.0.
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- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer, AllDigital    [hidden email] -
- AIM/Skype: therps2        ICQ: 226437340           Yahoo: origrps2 -
-                                                                    -
-  Memory is the second thing to go, but I can't remember the first! -
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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Richard Shaw-6
On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 1:35 PM, Rick Stevens <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 10/05/2017 03:30 PM, Richard Shaw wrote:
> My last laptop had ESATA but there doesn't seem to be any ESATA SSD's
> available anymore, it looks like one company made one but they're
> discontinued.

Newegg lists several ESATA SSDs. Yes, they're (relatively) large boxes
that need a cable.

Well, the implication was that my last laptop did have ESATA, my current one does not so USBC/3.0 is the best option I have.

 
> I don't want to deal with an actual HD (SSD or laptop HDD)
> if I can help it. I don't want something on a cable dangling from the
> laptop when I have have a system on a stick.

That's what industrial-strength Velcro is for, my son! :-) My laptop
gets the occasional cellular modem stuck to its lid that way. It isn't
pretty, but gets the job done.

It's a work laptop and actually in the past I would carve out a few GB and dual boot but several years ago they installed McAfee Endpoint Encryption so that's no longer possibel.
 

Seriously, I'm just saying that running an OS from any USB device that's
on anything older than USB3 is going to suck, speed-wise--and I'm not
sure that USB3 is going to improve things a lot. I've never tried it,
but I've had no reason to do so.

You get reasonable performance with a compressed system like the default live image, but I just need an easy way to update it. It's got to be technically possible I just don't want it to be such a PITA that I never update it.

 
If that risk doesn't bother you, well, have at it! There are some
inexpensive, smaller USB SSDs out there you can try. Most do want USB3,
but will probably run on USB1.1 and USB2.0.

Yeah, no plans to do anything less than 3.0.

Thanks,
Richard

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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Tom Horsley-5
Maybe you are using the wrong USB device? My sandisk
"extreme USB 3.0" 64GB stick gets transfer rates
comparable to a hard disk when used in my computer's
USB 3 port. I haven't ever installed fedora on it,
but I copy large ISO images on and off all the time
with surprising speed.
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Re: Portable Fedora that doesn't suck

Fred Roller
I am with Tom.  My 64Gb thumbdrive works Okay.  The BUS is all wrong for the necessary throughput to give you fully comparable performance.  USB (Universal Serial Bus vs. Parallel etc etc) but if you don't mind the performance hit the thumb drive, be it standard install or live install does well enough in basic operations but will be nerfed 'cause the data is driving on country roads.  If you are working around  your work encryption and want the performance then replacing the HD would give you the performance but would be a complete PITA every time you wanted to work on the system not to mention violating some standard policies against such things.  If you are needing a system a decent refirb is an option for cheap.

My 2 bits FWIW,
Fred

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 3:37 PM, Tom Horsley <[hidden email]> wrote:
Maybe you are using the wrong USB device? My sandisk
"extreme USB 3.0" 64GB stick gets transfer rates
comparable to a hard disk when used in my computer's
USB 3 port. I haven't ever installed fedora on it,
but I copy large ISO images on and off all the time
with surprising speed.
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