Installing Belanos & Flidas on a USB-connected hard drive - revisiting old problems

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amenex
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About two years ago I ran into a problem whose solution was so obvious that I did not even write it down after solving it: The Trisquel_7 Live USB that I made back then wanted the selected partition (/dev/sdc1 in the present case) to be mounted at root (/). Today I attempted to re-guess the solution and first tried GParted, but that did not succeed because the "mount" item in the menu was greyed out. I reverted to the Live USB's console and used "sudo mount /dev/sdc1" to create the "/" mount point.

The Live USB would not recognize the "/" mount point even though that's exactly how it looked in the installation GUI, and I could not change that setting, the Live USB saying that there were other devices mounted at the same place. I had to go back to the console and use "sudo umount /dev/sdc1" to get rid of the "/" in the installation GUI for /dev/sdc.

My intention was to install TQ_7 in the first 22GB partition, along with an adjacent small linux_swap partition, followed by a second 20GB partition for TQ_8, another linux swap partition in an extended logical partition, and finally a data partition in the remainder of the extended partition. I formatted all these ahead of time with GParted. There is no actual data on the external hard drive.

Is my solution to start over, let the Live USB repartition and reformat the entire /dev/sdc hard drive, and hope that the "/" difficulty can be overcome with the GParted that is already on the Live USB if it surfaces again ?

George Langford

amenex
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Still trying to make progress: I reformatted another USB dongle and made it into a Live USB for Flidas ... which process went to completion, using the Trisquel_8 download suggested in the sticky, same as for Belanos that has always worked in the past.

This time the Live USB fails to boot, even though the Live USB creator went all the way through the process of installing the bootloader. I'll try again and peek at the error messages ...
George Langford

pengnuin
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Hello George,
I recommend you take a look at https://etcher.io for creating live USB flash drives. In my experience, it succeeds where other tools fail.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

FYI Etcher is free code software, and it does seem effective and easy to use, but there are some user respect issues with Etcher. See this thread for more details:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/user-respect-issues-etcher

amenex
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pengnuin suggested that I try etcher.io ... after verifying that its reputation is OK I downloaded it ... oops ...and downloaded the correct version for my T420 laptop ... used the instructions from the raspberry.pi website to install it ... and tried burning the same USB stick that failed to boot yesterday ... no hitch, but no boot either. I'll get a couple of new USB sticks this morning and try again.

After reading about the syntax of the mount command, I tried "sudo mount /dev/sdc /" instead of "sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /" but got a bad response from the console, to the effect that the mount failed because there's no valid NTFS ... perhaps because the external USB-connected drive has never had any OS on it and 'cuz I had attempted to streamline the Trisquel_7/_8 installation process by formatting the drive with GParted to have landing places for Trisquel as already described.

George Langford, still trying to learn more about Trisquel than I forget between hassles. Problem is: it works too well while it's working ...

strypey
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Like MagicBanana, I'm a bit confused about what you are trying to do. Are you trying to use bootable USB stick to install Trisquel on an external USB hard drive? If so, why? If not, where am I misunderstanding your goal?

Magic Banana

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I do not understand whether you are talking about a live system (e.g., created with Etcher) from which you access a filesystem (hence the 'mount') or about a regular install but on an external disk.

amenex
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Magic Banana wondered:
" I do not understand whether you are talking about a live system (e.g., created with Etcher) from which you access a filesystem (hence the 'mount') or about a regular install but on an external disk."

Brief answer: either TQ installation procedure _demands_ that the target partition be mounted at root (/).

and strypey also asked:
" Like MagicBanana, I'm a bit confused about what you are trying to do. Are you trying to use bootable USB stick to install Trisquel on an external USB hard drive? If so, why? If not, where am I misunderstanding your goal?"

Originally my goal (when this all started) I was preparing to upgrade the internal HDD of my T420 laptop, but while I was doing something for which I wasn't fully qualified (a.k.a. inept) the Windows partition became inacessible ... R.I.P. and I wanted to get another, larger HDD ... my choice has built-in flash buffer, so it turned out that it was perfectly happy acting as an alternative USB-connected operating system. Both the internal and external drives have had Trisquel_7 operating systems for several years with minimal hassles.

Now comes Trisquel_8 ... but rather than risk disaster using GParted to move a lot of files on the external USB-connected hard drive in order to make room for TQ_8, I grabbed the IOMEGA 1TB drive and proceeded to make it look a lot like the first USB-connected HDD ought to be looking: Both TQ_7 and TQ_8 operating systems, one to use every day, the newer one to try out and also to find new hassles when weather permits.

From all the forum discussions that I've read, the Live USB stick appears to be the standard stepping stone for installing Trisquel to a more permanent storage device. Etcher.io might have presented some obstacles, but the raspberry.pi folks saved me a lot of hassles by providing three simple steps for installing etcher.io on the T420:
"https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/pi-sd-etcher/"

From another thread, it appears that the etcher.io web page could use some additional work, but Google short-circuited the quest for a simple procedure for me.

Between the three HDD's, my T420 now has five Trisquel OS's, all under firm control of grub. I could probably use the HDD that has the solid state buffer in place of the T420's internal HDD, but that can wait ... lots of file shuffling to do.

George Langford

Magic Banana

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Between the three HDD's, my T420 now has five Trisquel OS's

Don't you want just one?! You can upgrade one Trisquel 7 that is on the internal hard drive (faster) with 'do-release-upgrade -d' (no need for a fresh install) and get rid of the remaining systems (not the user data!).

amenex
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Quoting Magic Banana:

I had said: Between the three HDD's, my T420 now has five Trisquel OS's ...

Followed by MB's optimistic reply: "Don't you want just one?! You can upgrade one Trisquel 7 that is on the internal hard drive (faster) with 'do-release-upgrade -d' (no need for a fresh install) and get rid of the remaining systems (not the user data!)."

Maybe too soon ? Trisquel_8 is still young and in need of experience with its many applications. Way back when Ubuntu's recent upgrade debuted, it came to me as a simple choice to be installed right alongside the usual apt-get update/upgrade, and that transition went flawlessly ... but I just keep up with the Ubuntu installation "just in case" on a backup desktop for which Trisquel is the main operating system, so I cannot say whether that transition was trouble-free or troublesome.

Now spring forward to Spring 2018, and Trisquel's cleansing of Ubuntu is ready for trial among the masses (e.g.,me). I'm not ready to make that leap of faith in _my_ ability to get Trisquel_8 working on the T420's heavily burdened internal HDD without trashing all the applications & data that are working just fine. HDD's are quite inexpensive when compared with all the other tasks in my life. I am actually quite pleased with the ease with which I got it all put together in about a day.

My experience with Debian and earlier versions of linux was like that in a Dickens novel by comparision ... careful prior preparation of various special-purpose partitions according to detailed instructions, followed by an out-of-the-blue actual installation bearing no resemblance to the prior instructions ... too many pitfalls that I encountered, many if not most of my own making ... now there is the fully develplace this particular version of linux (Trisquel) at the pinnacle of operating systems that helps me use my T420 laptop with close to zero worries or hassles with software while dealing with the hassles presented by life itself.

The only hassle with the Trisquel installation that I faced was the less-than-obvious requirement to set the target location as root (/), requiring that I guess that location of the partition menu needed to make that adjustment is hidden behind a plus (+) sign in the otherwise uncluttered menu. The only hassle with etcher.io was the utter lack of any installation instructions on its uncluttered homepage ... resolved by the helpful raspberry.pi folks as already described.

I use my T420 a lot ... as evidenced by the absence of several letters on its qwerty keyboard and by the CD tray that pops out just about every time I hit the Enter key.

George Langford

Magic Banana

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If you do not trust the upgrade, do a fresh install on top of one of the system on the internal drive (specify the same partition for / and the same partition for /home but do *not* ask for formatting the latter)... and get rid of all the other systems.

amenex
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Magic Banana suggested thoughtfully:

"If you do not trust the upgrade, do a fresh install on top of one of the system on the internal drive (specify the same partition for / and the same partition for /home but do *not* ask for formatting the latter)... and get rid of all the other systems."

Questions arise:

1. On the internal HDD, there are still some little-used partitions which at one time held MS products: a 12GB ntfs "recovery" partition (flagged "diag") that's clearly no longer needed, a 150MB ntfs partition currently labelled "SYSTEM" that holds 13MB, and a 60GB xfs partition that carries a "boot" flag for no presently apparent reason. Can I just empty the two small ntfs partitions and grow down the 60 GB xfs partition over them, then add a second 7GB linux-swap partition between the enlarged 60GB partition and the present /, linux-swap and /home partitions ?

Then I would want to split the now-63GB partition into a 24 GB partition for Trisquel_8 and then a 41GB partition for data. I would want to be sure not to disturb the uppermost three partitions holding the present Trisquel_7 OS, swap, and data.

2. Is there any risk to keeping TQ_7 alive on the internal HDD ? After all, TQ_8 is not yet the stable version of TQ.

George Langford

Magic Banana

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  1. Yes: delete all the partitions that you do not need anymore and enlarge the partitions adjacent to them (in particular those containing data; the system does *not* require hundreds of GB). Most home users want two partitions on the internal drive(s): one for the system (tens of GB), whose filesystem (Trisquel's default, ext4, is reasonable) is mounted on /, and one for the user data (all the remaining space), whose filesystem (Trisquel's default, XFS, is reasonable) is mounted on /home. An external drive for backups (e.g., using the eponymous tool in the "System Settings") is good, although a backup in a remote location is safer. Maybe one more external drive to easily share data among systems (e.g., with friends), hence a NTFS filesystem if some of those systems may be Windows. By the way: you want to backup the user data before altering the partitions! Everybody should be obsessed with having backups of the user data. In contrast, having several systems (or backups of the system) is not much necessary: even if you totally screw the system up, you can reinstall it in a matter of hours.
  2. You always run the same system, right? If so, why keeping the other systems? It is only a waste of disk space. If you want, for safety, to keep the *one* system you currently use and install Trisquel 8 alongside it, you can. But after some time (which needs not be months), you can delete that older system as well, to regain the disk space it occupies.
amenex
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Magic Banana is clairvoyant as usual ...

"Yes: delete all the partitions that you do not need anymore and enlarge the partitions adjacent to
them (in particular those containing data; the system does *not* require hundreds of GB)."

Already did that ... works great ... plus, it was necessary, because I needed to get two additional
partitions from _somewhere_ ... to get two primary partitions without have to shoehorn in two additional
extended partitions.

"Most home users want two partitions on the internal drive(s): one for the system (tens of GB), whose
filesystem (Trisquel's default, ext4, is reasonable) is mounted on /, and one for the user data (all the
remaining space), whose filesystem (Trisquel's default, XFS, is reasonable) is mounted on /home."

I used ext4 for Trisquel_8's data partition and xfs out of necessity for the extended partition holding
Trisquel_7's data, to avoid having to move a lot of data in the Trisquel_7 Data partition.

"An external drive for backups (e.g., using the eponymous tool in the "System Settings") is good,
although a backup in a remote location is safer. Maybe one more external drive to easily share data
among systems (e.g., with friends), hence a NTFS filesystem if some of those systems may be Windows."

My wireless backup HDD's used too much energy, judging from their always-hot-to-the-touch condition,
so my USB-connected HDDs seem like a good compromise. I can just shut down the laptop, detach the
external HDD and restart ... or I can tear the laptop apart and install the former external HDD in
its place (my original intent) ... but it works so well out of the laptop's box that I haven't yet
gotten around to that.

"By the way: you want to backup the user data before altering the partitions! Everybody should be
obsessed with having backups of the user data."

These external HDDs are already backups ... so I have just avoided moving or changing their data
partitions.

"In contrast, having several systems (or backups of the system) is not much necessary: even if you
totally screw the system up, you can reinstall it in a matter of hours.

When I was installing one of the Trisquel versions to its intended HDD, I managed to mis-hit the
same key while entering the user password in duplicate ... and so my solution was to repeat the
USB-key install ... took fifteen minutes.

"You always run the same system, right? If so, why keeping the other systems? It is only a waste
of disk space.

You're selling Trisquel short. Takes only about twelve GB of space ... I use 20GB +/- to leave
room for applications and upgrades. My most recent addition of Trisquel_8 to this laptop converted
60GB of former Windows HDD space to 23GB of system space and 46 GB of data space.

"If you want, for safety, to keep the *one* system you currently use and install Trisquel 8
alongside it, you can. But after some time (which needs not be months), you can delete that older
system as well, to regain the disk space it occupies."

Presumably Software Updater will be updating whichever version of Trisquel is currently running
the 'puter ... and the other one will be there in case some previously undiscovered flaw in "A"
comes to light and "B" can act as rescuer.

In the midst of our discussion, fledgling Trisquel_8 has become stable Flidas and I can try out the
updgrade distro process on that external HDD on which I've been keeping a parallel download of emails
on its IceDove.

Thank you for your always-constructive comments and observations.

George Langford

amenex
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After receiving a software update on the external HDD's Trisquel_7 right after this exchange, I was thereafter
greeted with an offer to upgrade to Flidas ... I agreed, and followed all the various prompts, answered a few
"simple" questions, was dragged away to a long lunch with friends in an adjacent state, came back five hours
later, answered another question for which the installer was patiently awaiting my answer, and continued from
there to a successful conclusion.

Excellent process ... nothing like previous experiences with debian distro upgrades ... very much like ubuntu's
distro upgrade from a year or two ago, which appeared unannounced but nevertheless went just as smoothly.

George Langford