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openSUSE 11.2 Persistent LiveUSB Setup

November 12th, 2009 by

openSUSE 11.2 is out the door and it looks great – be sure to get your copy while it’s hot! One of the really great features of 11.2 is the opportunity to deploy the live media to USB in no time. Thanks to hybrid iso and clicfs you can carry around your persistent openSUSE 11.2 and use it wherever you are. What does persistence mean? Changes you do to the live media are preserved across reboots and you have a real operating system in a pocket without any restrictions. Isn’t that easy?

The setup is a breeze:

1. Download the 11.2 hybrid live media

2. Byte-copy the hybrid iso to your USB stick /dev/sdX
dd if=openSUSE-11.2-KDE4-LiveCD-i686.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=32kBe aware that dd will erase all vital data from your flash media! Thus double-check that /dev/sdX actually is your USB stick.

3. Utilize fdisk to prepare an empty 0x83 partition for persistence from the remaining space on /dev/sdX, i.e. /dev/sdX2 (you should have at least a 2GB USB stick to be able to do this). The 0x83 partition /dev/sdX2 doesn’t need to be formatted with any filesystem – Kiwi will take care of this on first boot fully automatically.

That’s it! More detailed information about persistent 11.2 LiveUSB setup can be found on the wiki

Have a lot of fun!

Additional Hint: If you happen to have an installed version of openSUSE 11.2 already and prefer a GUI method to deploy the hybrid iso to USB flash media, you also may use kiwi-tools-imagewriter instead of dd.

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6 Responses to “openSUSE 11.2 Persistent LiveUSB Setup”

  1. nick

    Sounds easy but it didn’t turn out to be that way.

    I got the KDE4-LiveCD image and followed the instructions with a 16GB USB stick.
    It boots fine and becomes persistent.
    However, the system locks up during software install.
    Any attempt to install something results in a long list of patches, apparently useless (myspell Hungarian or Russian dictionary? – I live in SF, CA).
    So, it starts downloading 548MB of data and freezes at some point (I tried a few times and is not the same point it stops).
    I have to reset the PC and the next try will fail for DB errors during the package installation (any of them – if I manually skip).
    I gave up after 4 hours.

    The PC used is running 11.1 just fine from the HDD. I also ran 11.1 KDE from the same USB drive.
    I’m thinking the KDE4 LiveCD is buggy so I’m concerned that the DVD install might also have problems.
    I’ll put the 11.1 to 11.2 upgrade on hold for now, until most of the eventual bugs are found and solved.
    I still remember the pain when switching to 11.1 (CD burning only as root, dropped packages, hardware clock forced to UTC, etc).

    • nick

      I tried the hard way – downloaded the install DVD and installed on the USB stick as if it were a normal HDD.
      I made sure to configure the boot loader to install in the MRB of the USB stick and only the USB in the disk list.
      Used one partition (maximum size of the USB stick).
      The installation took about 1hr and approx 3GB.

      No more freeze problems. I installed close to 1GB of extra packages without issues.
      Even from the USB, with nvidia drivers and desktop effects the system seems fairly quick.

      I verified my copy of the KDE LiveCD 686 image vs both MD5 and SHA1 sums and comes up OK.
      In conclusion, I think the best explanation is the original ISO is defective.

      • pac

        Same problem here. KDE4-LiveCD + 8G USB stick.
        I followed the instructions above and was able to boot from the liveusb stick. Small changes to the configuration (http proxy, hostname) are successfully and persistent.
        But whenever I try to write a bigger amount of information to the stick, the PC freezes. First it stops reading/writing to the pen and a few moments latter even the mouse
        stops moving. I have never been able to do a full update. Restricted the update to the generic kernel only, no success. Tryed to execute the upgrade from console after
        going to single-user mode, same result.
        The amount of data that triggers the freeze is variable. Sometimes it just takes 2 or 3 files of 10M written to /tmp.
        Running out of memory is not the problem as the swap partition is never used.
        I tested three different machines (2 desktop, 1 laptop) with the same results. Used partition sizes for /dev/sdb2 of 2G, 4G, 8G, with no luck.
        The md5 of the ISO on the stick is ok.

        Anyone experiencing the same problem?

  2. Ratish

    The 11.2 KDE Live Version is not simply working…it is just taking me in loop.
    (The Genome version works however.) Is this a known problem or is it something just what I am facing?

  3. PBhat

    The method worked like a charm.No glitches did I face.After transferring the iso image to USB stick,I had created second partition,but no file system.I had apprehension persistence may fail.NO,it did not.Great for opensuse.

    One slight defect is,both the partitions of the USB stick appear in ‘places’ in Dolphin,but you cannot display the contents of second partition.Same in ‘sysinfo:’.But the folder created in Documents appears after reboot.Obviously,this folder has gone to the sceond partition.This clue is also got by the llisting of ‘df -h’.

    I think logically second partition gets connected to Documents(What about Music,Pictures?I have not tried yet).In that case,somehow not showing second partition in Dolphin>Places would be better.

    What will happen if I install mp3 supporting packages,as the old package in the Live media will be still around.How the conflict will be handled?

    Thanks for the work.Now I can carry an installation with me.