Live USB with persistent storage?

According to the wiki it should be possible to turn a USB stick into persistent storage as well (so you don’t have to lose everything when you unplug the stick). The problem is, it a) doesn’t give you crystal clear instructions (although I can guess what it means, as I have a bit of knowledge) and b) doesn’t tell you how to make the persistence persistent.

Anyone know how to add:

kiwi_hybridpersistent=yes

to a LiveCD on a USB stick so it always has the persistent OS? It doesn’t seem to be auto-detected (or it didn’t work when I tried it at boot time) because a second boot without the option didn’t keep the settings changes I made (like putting it on a sensible UK keyboard format). I’ve tried editing syslinux.cfg, but the USB stick pretends to be a CD and so isn’t writable. Ditto for editing the ISO by opening it in File Roller or Nautilus and trying to edit the file or overwrite it.

Even worse, I’ve just looked at the USB stick in Gnome System Monitor and gparted. System Monitor thinks it is a CD-sized CD and gparted thinks the device is completely unallocated. If it only has a CD’s worth of read-only space, how does it create the persistent store?

Thanks.

So, if you type in kiwi_hybridpersistent=yes, as a kernel load option before you press the enter key in the Grub OS selection menu, it should find the persistand file and load it or create it outside the protected area and maintain it with settings when used. Without this kernel load command it does not look back. As far as I know, you would have to create your own distro using SuSE Studio and add this in as a default setting from Grub on startup, but I have never tried to do that. All disk sace can not be used on the USB thumb drive, but free space enough to create a separate partition must exist. I am unsure of its required size, but the suggestion seems to be 512 MB of unpartitioned disk space to be free on the Thumb Drive before the settings are saved the first time.

Thank You,

I didn’t try it with the boot option a second time as it seemed a bit pointless - why have a persistent file system that you’ve got to tell it about on each boot? I was trying to get it to persistently use the persistent filesystem instead. It’d be much better if it had a marker (such as a partition label or something) that meant you ran with “kiwi_hybrid” once and then every subsequent boot was persistent.

I’ll see what I can do with SuSE Studio, but it seems like overkill for a simple persistent USB stick. Maybe it’ll get improved in future releases so that users don’t have to do all of this by themselves and can just use a normal ISO.

I will also try to update the wiki when I get a chance, as it needs to be clearer. Unless someone else beats me to it, of course!

I create my live USB’s with a simple dd command from the live CD’s and
with the 12.1 versions I always get a USB with persistent storage
automatically (uses the cow file system) it is alos possible to have
additional software or the nvidia driver installed if the USB is larger
than the ISO, so I wonder if that is not good enough for you.


PC: oS 11.4 (dual boot 12.1) 64 bit | Intel Core i7-2600@3.40GHz | KDE
4.6.0 | GeForce GT 420 | 16GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.7.3 |
nVidia ION | 3GB Ram

That’s basically what I’m looking for, but it didn’t work like that for me. My wife is having issues with her netbook and Ubuntu, so I wanted openSUSE on a persistent USB stick to let her have a short trial of Gnome 3 where her settings persisted between sessions.

I used the 32-bit Gnome Live CD for openSUSE 12.1 and used the “dd_rescue” command from the wiki page I linked to. The USB stick is 2GB, so it should have space for a reasonable persistent storage. I tried creating a folder in the user’s home directory, which didn’t survive a reboot, and I tried altering some of the user’s settings after putting the extra option in at boot time, but it wasn’t automatically picked up on reboot. If I mount the USB stick on my normal desktop install then it shows up as a CD filesystem (iso9660 or whatever it is) and gparted can’t even see a partition table, but the stick does boot and run.

Am 13.12.2011 13:16, schrieb IBBoard:

> I used the 32-bit Gnome Live CD for openSUSE 12.1 and used the
> “dd_rescue” command from the wiki page I linked to.
I do not know if dd_rescue makes the difference, I use myself plain old
dd, I can check this evening (german time) since I did not test contents
of the /home for persistence, but it should also be persistent since all
my settings from my playing around with gnome 3 where persistent on the
USB (language settings, wallpaper settings) and that is in ~.


PC: oS 11.4 (dual boot 12.1) 64 bit | Intel Core i7-2600@3.40GHz | KDE
4.6.0 | GeForce GT 420 | 16GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.7.3 |
nVidia ION | 3GB Ram

I might give dd a try, but I assumed there was a reason why the Wiki suggested dd_rescue (which was a separate package that I needed to install).

Thanks.

Am 13.12.2011 13:31, schrieb Martin Helm:
I do not know if dd_rescue makes the difference, I use myself plain old
> dd, I can check this evening (german time) since I did not test contents
> of the /home for persistence, but it should also be persistent since all
> my settings from my playing around with gnome 3 where persistent on the
> USB (language settings, wallpaper settings) and that is in ~.
>
Sorry I forgot to report back, my 2GB usb created from live gnome 12.1
with dd also keeps the content of home as I expected. If it matters that
was an empty fat formatted media before I overwrote it with dd (I think
it should not matter what it was before, but I just mention it to be
complete).


PC: oS 11.4 (dual boot 12.1) 64 bit | Intel Core i7-2600@3.40GHz | KDE
4.6.0 | GeForce GT 420 | 16GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.7.4 |
nVidia ION | 3GB Ram

martin_helm, you seem to be very correct that your setup seems persistent due to the creation of the “cow file system” which I have never heard of or even know how to actually examine it or why we would use such a thing, but it does work in openSUSE 12.1. For anyone wishing to create a LiveUSB, check out my blog on the subject here:

S.C.L.U. - SuSE Create Live USB - Version 1.01 - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

Thank You,

It has been working for me, as for Martin.

I created the live usb with dd_rescue (direct from the iso). My usb is 4G.

I haven’t done much checking. However, the first time the USB is used, the remainder of the USB is converted to an ext3 file system, with a COW bundle there. And personal KDE settings that I made were respected on future boots (even on a different computer).

Sorry for the lack of reply - I kept trying to follow the link from my notification email every so often, but the openSUSE forums are slightly borked and upset Chromium by sending multiple Location headers. I tweaked the URL today, got redirected to the index instead of the topic (which is as annoying as hell!) then tried again and it worked :slight_smile:

Anyway, back on topic, thanks for the feedback. In the end my wife didn’t want to give it a trial from the USB stick. Ubuntu was annoying her so much that she just told me to do an install and be done with it :slight_smile: She wasn’t entirely convinced by Gnome 3, but I think a few extensions may be able to sort that. Hopefully if I need to put openSUSE on a USB stick again (which assumes I can rationalise buying one :slight_smile: then it’ll all work and I’ll see it working.