Looking for Persistent, Portable Linux Distro!

Ray Wonder

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Nov 9, 2018
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Me and my colleagues are developing software, to be run and tested in a Linux OS.

We're not in the office often, so we will usually be handing a flash drive back and forth with our work on it.

So, we want to have a Linux OS (with all of our files, tools, applications, and docs) on a USB drive. We'll be booting to it on our own computers at home and work, to access the information onboard the OS. So, we're looking for something with persistence (to keep our files!) and portability. (not only to be on the USB, but also to be able to RUN FLAWLESSLY ON OUR DIFFERENT COMPUTERS) It should also have some basic programming tools, like a text editor, terminal, etc.

We tried Ubuntu. However, Ubuntu requires GNU Grub to boot properly, and when you try and install persistent Ubuntu onto a drive from a live USB, the Grub does not go with it - meaning that the thing can only boot from the device where it originated. In short, the OS is portable but Grub, the bootloader, doesn't come along for the ride.

Any suggestions for this issue would be great!

I'm gonna be biased and say stick with the original design portable Linux distro.

1st would be Puppy Linux.
2nd would be Antix Linux.

Now this being said one must be willing to get their hands dirty as you are the IT Professional using both of these Linux Distros.

Somewhat of a learning curve with both and may not be for the novice.

I prefer Antix Linux over Puppy Linux both have small foot prints and use very few system resources and both run like a bat out of hell.







Timeshift and a full install, on a stick, are likely your best option. No persistence required, with this option.

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, bearing good tidings)

G'day @Ray Wonder and welcome to linux.org :)

In 48 - 72 hours, I will have all the information here https://www.linux.org/threads/make-my-linux-portable.17878/

... because I have designed the solution for friend Brian @Condobloke

If you are really 15 and born on New Year's Day you may not spend a lot of time in an Office anyway :D, nor have many colleagues, but perhaps you are just coy.

Basically, you and your colleagues will need to have a 32GB stick each, 64 might be even better.

And a 4GB stick to create the larger stick.

You will need to identify and coordinate lowest common denominators between your computer and those of your colleagues. These factors include but are not limited to:
  • Whose computers are CSM (Legacy/BIOS) and whose are UEFI
  • Whether your Linux of choice is 32-bit or 64-bit
The standardised Distro you use need not be one that has Timeshift pre-installed. Currently these include:
  • Linux Mint 18.3 series
  • Linux Mint 19 series
  • Linux Lite 4.0
  • Manjaro 'Strit' a community-based spin developed by a maintainer of Manjaro, Denmark's Dan 'Strit' Johansen. It was actually Strit who first included Timeshift on a Distro

Any distro, with the current exception of openSUSE can have Timeshift installed on it, so that is not a limitation.

With the Linux Lite mentioned above, 3.8 is the last to have 32-bit support, but Timeshift can be installed on it. Linux Lite must be installed under CSM, as its Developer, Jerry Bezencon, will not support UEFI.

If you wish to do some preliminary reading, there is my Timeshift Tute here


and Linux Lite has a very simple and straightforward guide in their Manual here



Chris Turner
I am currently writing an article on how to perform a full install to a USB stick. No persistence or anything. It is truly a full install. I will try to get it on the site as soon as I am done. If you want to e-mail me direct (my e-mail is in my signature below, I can send you part of it that would help.

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