[SOLVED] installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Issues related to hardware problems

[SOLVED] installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby Guest » 2011/12/20 18:01:29

Spent some serious time yesterday trying to install Centos6.1 LiveCd to a 2GB memory stick. The only discussion of persistence (overlay) I could find was from June 2, 2009, and referred to v. 5.4.

That discussion suggested the usbstick medium must be formatted vfat and be no larger than 2GB. So I tried installing to a blank 2GB usbstick with 1952MB free. The installation failed with every method tried, including LVM.


There was a crash along the way, and I strove mightily to save the log, with apparent success, to my hard drive. But I couldn't find it afterward. The prompt asked me where to save it, but it wasn't clear whether only a path to a directory or a path including the filename were required. I had to minimize the installer window to find the path, and then wasn't able to reopen the installer window. Centos6.1 doesn't display properly automatically on my system, and I couldn't find a method of adjusting the display in the installer. I also tried installing "to hard drive" from within a loaded system, but that failed too. And after the first failure, I couldn't get it to work again.

I'm running an Intel D865GLC with a 3 GHz cpu, 2GB RAM, and an ATI X1550 256MB video card and two 20 inch CRT monitors, a Viewsonic E90 and a PC adapted Sun Microsystems model GDM20E20 attached via a DualHead2Go.

In every instance of the attempted install, there was "not enough space". Yet the default setting that comes up in the installer is "200MB" of space allotted. I tried "all", "200MB" 1GB, and "max allowed". All failed.

Is there an option to create a persistent image file, as in Knoppix, that Centos can use when booted from the LiveCD or from a USB stick? Or the equivalent of a Puppy's 2fs files. saved to hard dive?
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[SOLVED] installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby pschaff » 2011/12/21 21:36:10

Welcome to the CentOS fora. Please see the recommended reading for new users linked in my signature.

An install of i386 LiveCD to disk with 1GB RAM creates a 2GB swap file by default, and uses 2GB on the root filesystem, so fitting onto 2GB media is likely to be highly problematic. It should be possible to use the install to hard disk option with USB media as the target, eliminating a need for persistent overlay, but I have not tried it. My guess is that one would need at least a 4GB USB drive, and 8 GB is probably a safe bet. LiveDVD probably needs at least 8GB.

For LiveUSB see How to create and use Live USB from Fedora. Have not tested it, but it should apply. CentOS does not ship livecd-tools or liveusb-creator, but Scientific Linux does. Again untested, but I expect their RPMS would work on CentOS.
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby otropogo » 2011/12/21 23:57:11

pschaff wrote:
Welcome to the CentOS fora. Please see the recommended reading for new users linked in my signature.

An install of i386 LiveCD to disk with 1GB RAM creates a 2GB swap file by default, and uses 2GB on the root filesystem, so fitting onto 2GB media is likely to be highly problematic. It should be possible to use the install to hard disk option with USB media as the target, eliminating a need for persistent overlay, but I have not tried it. My guess is that one would need at least a 4GB USB drive, and 8 GB is probably a safe bet. LiveDVD probably needs at least 8GB.


Thanks for your explanation.

For LiveUSB see How to create and use Live USB from Fedora. Have not tested it, but it should apply. CentOS does not ship livecd-tools or liveusb-creator, but Scientific Linux does. Again untested, but I expect their RPMS would work on CentOS.


As it happens, after my failure to install to the 2GB USB stick with Centos, I downloaded the Fedora16 LiveCD iso, and, using the tool you cite above, was able to install it easily without problems to the very same 2GB, with more than 1GB left over. It booted and ran without issue.

I found the installation options for Centos quite confusing, and I'm afraid I still don't understand the problem I encountered fully. But it seems to me that if a 2GB swap file is absolutely necessary, the logical way to deal with this problem where the target device for the installation is too small to accommodate the swap file would be to provide options to use available space on other drives. As it happens, I had great gobs of totally unallocated space available on the computer that I could have formatted to Linux Swap.

Better yet would be the early Knoppix solution to use free space in system DOS partitions as a swap file, which would facilitate using the usb-installed distro on more than one computer.

As it happens, this wasn't an issue with Fedora16 LiveCD. Although I installed it via a desktop machine with lots of unallocated space for a swap partition, that machine won't boot from a usb stick for some reason, so I had to take the usb stick to another machine that had no such space, and it booted and ran fine there.

If Centos requires a swap file to run, how can it be used to boot a system that doesn't have one?
otropogo
 

Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby pschaff » 2011/12/22 00:15:25

otropogo wrote:
...
As it happens, after my failure to install to the 2GB USB stick with Centos, I downloaded the Fedora16 LiveCD iso, and, using the tool you cite above, was able to install it easily without problems to the very same 2GB, with more than 1GB left over. It booted and ran without issue.

The liveusb tool would probably install the CentOS LiveCD to a 2GB stick as well, with space left. That is different than installing to "hard disk" even if the disk is USB.

I found the installation options for Centos quite confusing, and I'm afraid I still don't understand the problem I encountered fully. But it seems to me that if a 2GB swap file is absolutely necessary, the logical way to deal with this problem where the target device for the installation is too small to accommodate the swap file would be to provide options to use available space on other drives. As it happens, I had great gobs of totally unallocated space available on the computer that I could have formatted to Linux Swap.

Not sure what you are trying to do. If you want to install and run from USB then the hard disk swap could be used but that's a pretty strange setup. Nobody said a 2GB swap is necessary, just that it is the default with 1GB RAM. Some people run with no swap.

Better yet would be the early Knoppix solution to use free space in system DOS partitions as a swap file, which would facilitate using the usb-installed distro on more than one computer.

Perhaps but EL-derived distros don't do that.

As it happens, this wasn't an issue with Fedora16 LiveCD. Although I installed it via a desktop machine with lots of unallocated space for a swap partition, that machine won't boot from a usb stick for some reason, so I had to take the usb stick to another machine that had no such space, and it booted and ran fine there.

If Centos requires a swap file to run, how can it be used to boot a system that doesn't have one?

Swap is not required. See above.
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby otropogo » 2011/12/22 05:56:00

pschaff wrote:
otropogo wrote:
...
As it happens, after my failure to install to the 2GB USB stick with Centos, I downloaded the Fedora16 LiveCD iso, and, using the tool you cite above, was able to install it easily without problems to the very same 2GB, with more than 1GB left over. It booted and ran without issue.

The liveusb tool would probably install the CentOS LiveCD to a 2GB stick as well, with space left. That is different than installing to "hard disk" even if the disk is USB..


Now that I think about it, there's actually a 2GB linux swap partition on the desktop machine with which I was trying to install Centos to USB. I tend to forget about it, because none of the currentPuppy Linux's mount or
partition utilities, including Gpart will display it (MUT used to). But I can monitor it in Knoppix, PinguyOS, Mint, and Fedora. In my experience, when installing a linux distro to a machine, it will automatically use any linux swap partition it has access to. I've certainly never experienced a linux distro installing a second swap partition.

So I would say the default swap partition can't explain the installation failure.

I've downloaded Centos LiveCD2 now, and will try to install it using the Fedora installer, and report my results later.
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby otropogo » 2011/12/23 08:14:19

I've just finished installing CentOS 6.2 LiveCd to the 2GB USB stick described previously. I used the Fedora Windows USB installer on my desktop, then booted my laptop from the USB stick, and it seems to work fine. I'm running it now and posting with it. However, what is actually going on remains a mystery, since the reports of the Centos disk utility and file manager make no sense to me. They report 2GB of free space, but the installation itself takes up 558MB. I also installed from thje Centos iso file on the USB Stick, and have not removed it. The system also reports a 4.3 GB drive called "CentOS 6.2 i686" and a 4.3GB file with the same name...

I wanted to test how and where the system saves software installations, but haven't been able to find a packet manager. Will try the update function, but since the distro is newly released, there probably aren't any...
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby pschaff » 2011/12/23 16:55:22

There are updates for 6.2. Arguably the best package manager to use is yum.
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby otropogo » 2011/12/23 18:23:56

Thanks for the tip on YUM. Have followed all of the links (I hope!), and found there's a manual for Centos 4, and a gui called YUM extender the website link for which is dead, and the page last edited in 2006 (so would it be reasonable to conclude it's no longer workable/supported?).

Just from looking at the volumnious materials on using it, I conclude that learning how to properly use YUM is a serious and very time-consuming undertaking.


It seems to me, however, that the add/remove software function included in the Centos LiveCD desktop should be listing at least the installed packages for removal. But I haven't been able to get this function to do anything except display a window with no content.

Your remark about there being updates to Centos6.2 already was proven correct. I was able to get a list of 17 updates yesterday and installed the only one (Xorg server) which I had any clue about. I posted some issues in another thread regarding Centos6.2's apparent inability to access ntfs partitions (attempts to access the PC's ntfs hard drive return the message "unable to mount unknown filesystem "ntfs").
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby pschaff » 2011/12/23 22:37:19

If still running from the CD image on a USB stick your functionality may be limited. Not sure what's going with the Add/Remove software tool - I don't use it - but it should show more than an empty window. The yum tool may take a long time to thoroughly learn, but if using it with the default repos "yum update ..." or "yum install ...:" are pretty simple. If you have more questions please start new topics. It seems to me this one is reaching the end of it's useful life and might be marked [SOLVED].
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Re: installing to USB stick - how much memory needed?

Postby otropogo » 2011/12/24 00:01:40

Ok. Thanks again for your suggestions Phil. Short answer - 2GB is adequate for the Centos6.2 LiveCD

Have now established the space requirements for installation of Centos6.2 LiveCd to USBstick using the Fedora Installer, and it appears that after installation to a 2GB USB stick, approximately 700MB of free space remains available. Although I haven't tried any other USB installers except Puppy's (and unsuccessfully, alas), I've been told that such installations are often difficult and frequently fail. So on that basis, I recommend the Fedora Windows USB installer.
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