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Re: Rivendell curiosity
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: Rivendell curiosity
From: dave allen <crtech-mail@reyware.us>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:42:22 -0600
Content-language: en-US
In-reply-to: <CC2891D1-27DF-4CB4-8031-A5DA65B95F10@ieee.org>
References: <CAOkhgWozDHU6V-hTiWiV-CCoSG66JewVVvyxLXQtURAFn_vLmg@mail.gmail.com> <CC2891D1-27DF-4CB4-8031-A5DA65B95F10@ieee.org>
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whoa. time out. i've used https://www.pendrivelinux.com/ lots of times with lots of linux distros to boot and/or install linux from usb drive. no messing around. just do it and run it.

dave allen

On 10/9/2017 9:58 PM, Sherrod Munday wrote:
On Oct 9, 2017, at 11:10, Willie Barnett <wbradiolists@gmail.com> wrote:
Is there a reliable means to get the Rivendell setup to work from a USB thumbdrive, instead of having to burn it to a DVD?
Sorry for the "late to the game" response to this thread (that's already pretty mature by now), but:

I actually have gotten very close within the last week.

As others have reported previously, it can be done but there are some along-the-way hacks currently required.

I actually have a functioning Rivendell machine sitting in the other room that I installed from a USB flash drive burned from the latest RD appliance ISO.  (The only broken part is that I still need to have the USB key attached when I first start the bootup process, but once it's booted it's actually running from the HDD.  I have a fairly good idea of what I still need to change but I didn't have time last week to finalize and test it.)

The short of it is that you have to use something like Rufus or 'dd' to burn the RD Appliance ISO to the USB key, and then edit a few files to change the CentOS config file to look for its kickstart file and installation software repository somewhere other than the default boot device.  And, depending on the computer, sometimes when you hit the special key (e.g. F12 on Dell machines) to select a non-default boot device (i.e. USB instead of HDD that's normally in a higher-precedence order) the BIOS changes what it considers "/dev/sda" and "/dev/sdb".  (Layman's translation for those of you who speak Windows: It's like your USB key becoming C:\ and your local Hard drive that contains the Windows operating system getting remapped to D:\.  But enough about Windows ... )

This device remapping is not always the same on every machine, and if you change the default boot order that device remapping can break things pretty badly.  I've found some auto-detect code out there that lets the kickstart and config files do a pretty good job of figuring out what is a USB (removable) drive and therefore excluding it from the list of installable devices, but I haven't finished grafting that all in.

Part of the reason I've been exploring this is to see if there's a way to have the appliance *not* take over and reformat all Linux partitions automatically (which the "out-of-the-box" RD Appliance is configured to do).  One of the goals here is to allow a dual-boot machine (maybe even with a Windows partition for those of you who don't want to dedicate a machine for full-time usage or dabbling), but the tricky part is to map the partitions (that the CentOS/RD kickstart file installation process creates) correctly in a configuration that would allow Paravel Systems to support a "known" system configuration as Fred mentioned.

Disclaimer: If this is doable, you would need to have an empty partition *already* on your hard drive prior to starting the installation process.  CentOS is *not* one of the Linux distros that includes GParted (a tool for shrinking/resizing NTFS partitions and other disk partition tools) as a standard part of the installation process.  The scope of repartitioning an existing Windows (or other) live operating system and not trashing your system is beyond the scope of this document (or effort on my part ;-).  It's for this reason that the Rivendell appliance assumes (and warns appropriately) that it will wipe the contents of the existing hard drive(s) installed in the computer.  So don't go launching that RD appliance DVD on your work laptop or office file server just quite yet...  :-0

After doing a few hours of research, I'm convinced that creating a USB version of the RD Appliance *can* be done, but I'm learning just how complex all the "behind-the-scenes" stuff actually is that goes on when installing CentOS and then installing an automation system that really cares about the disk partitions and mount points.  It's a bit of a fine art to create something that produces consistent results across a variety of inconsistent and irregular hardware.

Obviously, the point of the Rivendell Appliance is to make it *easy* for someone unfamiliar with Linux to install a Rivendell system that "just works."  Hence, the most reliable method at the moment is still burn the ISO to a DVD and pop it in the drive and boot from it, or take Fred's link and follow the instructions on installing Rivendell after installing CentOS separately from a USB flash drive.

Once I'm finished figuring out how to tweak the USB version from a stock ISO burned onto it, I'm planning to report the step-by-step process.  (That is, if the Creek don't rise... ;-).
Sherrod Munday

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Follow-Ups: RE: Rivendell curiosity
(Mark Murdock <mark@celebrationradio.com>, 10 Oct 2017 15:50:19 -0000)
Re: Rivendell curiosity
(Sherrod Munday <smunday@ieee.org>, 10 Oct 2017 16:26:02 -0000)
References: Rivendell curiosity
(Willie Barnett <wbradiolists@gmail.com>, 9 Oct 2017 15:11:07 -0000)
Re: Rivendell curiosity
(Sherrod Munday <smunday@ieee.org>, 10 Oct 2017 03:58:44 -0000)
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