USB Boot problems - 1.5.4
I hadn't updated SRCD since version 1.2.3. I figured it was about time. But I am having a very hard time getting 1.5.4 to work on a USB stick. I am following these official instructions
. I am facing many obstacles:A) Recommended method: scripted installation from SystemRescueCd.
Well, I don't have a CD drive. I need SRCD on a USB stick because I use a netbook. Please save any potential condescending remarks about netbooks. This one is extremely capable. The only thing that doesn't work well on it are heavy games, which I don't need. I even run XP on VMware on it, it works fine, it's not slow, no problems. And I don't have a desktop available, so installation method A is ruled out.B) Quick installation from Linux using dd
Two problems here. First, I tried it and the USB stick won't boot. I don't know why. I just followed the procedure described there, and it failed. Second, the USB stick has 512 MB of space, but the dd method truncates the USB stick so that it seems to have 250 MB when examined by cfdisk, fdisk -l or df -h (mounted). I was hoping to put the extra space to good use with a few documents and maybe standalone executables, not waste it. Installation method B is ruled out.C) Manual installation from Linux using cp
I'll be honest. I didn't follow that procedure exactly the way it is there. I will. But before I do, bear with me. I don't think I missed any relevant step of the procedure except... well, let me explain. I formatted the stick with FAT32, copied everything to the stick with cp then ran 'syslinux /dev/sdb1'. Now it boots, but I only get one line of data (I can't remember what it says) and the second line says 'boot: '. When I press Enter, SRCD tells me that it can't find the 'Linux' kernel or option, something like that. I am typing this from memory.
I just saw the thread titled USB Boot problems - 1.5.2
, and it seems that syslinux has to be syslinux-3.74 or newer. Mine is 2:3.63+dfsg on Ubuntu and Adept Manager informs me that there isn't a newer version available.
Guys, please listen to me. This is the only reason I bothered to register with this forum and write this lenghty message: you are not being reasonable. This is a rescue CD. It is supposed to save us trouble, not give us trouble. My Ubuntu is 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, released on April 23, 2009. You are demanding what I consider pretty much bleeding edge to make SRCD work. A rescue CD is something that should be plenty useful to people of all walks of life, with all kinds of new and old machines. Syslinux as old as at least five year should be as good as any newer one. Look, I have SRCD 1.2.3 installed on another stick, how come that one worked fine? My version of syslinux was just the same, perhaps even older. Please don't create obstacles. This project is supposed to help us overcome them, not hit our heads against them.Unetbootin
Maybe it worked the other time around because *I think* I installed SRCD with Unetbootin. But I ran into problems with it this time, although I downloaded the latest version of Unetbootin.
Unetbootin is supposed to let me choose System Rescue CD in a drop-down box and do everything automatically. However, that option finishes way too fast, and only a small handful of small files are written to the stick. Obviously, the procedure fails. I noticed that Unetbootin tries to download SRCD from two remote locations, an FTP and an HTTP URL. I had enough time to click and copy those URLs, the FTP location is broken. The address changed (someone thought it was a good idea to create a new 'project' directory in the new address). The HTTP address redirects to a new one from my browser, but maybe that is throwing Unetbootin off.
So I used the other Unetbootin option: instead of picking SRCD in the drop-down box, just choose to install a generic ISO image. I had a new outcome: now it boots, but I cannot access the Default boot. I can run all other kernels/boot options, not Default. When I try, SRCD insists on booting with the ntpasswd kernel. I tried many times, same result over and over.
I thought that maybe there was something wrong with the ISO image, but no. The md5sum checksum matches. I also changed one of my VMWare virtual machines to boot off the SRCD ISO image, SRCD worked fine in it. I could see the real menu (this time all blue) and I could boot the Default option, run XFCE etc.
I have no idea if Unetbootin would have been able to configure SRCD correctly if it had been able to download it from the remote location. Either way, I am not fond of that idea because I already have the image on my hard disk. I don't want to download it again. What if I want to make another stick, share it with a friend etc.? Am I supposed to download it over and over despite having the image on my HD? Why can't SRCD be simpler? Why can't I just install it as a generic CD/ISO? Many distro CD images work that way in Unetbootin, others don't, and SRCD 1.5.4. is one of those that don't. Why do some of you developers have to complicate the stuff?
Summing up, I think the whole idea of installing SRCD on a USB stick is pretty disappointing because it's too complicated and error prone. Rescue disks (or sticks) should save us trouble, not make us jump through hoops. I spent about 3 hours on it, I am really sick of trying, I will just wait for another version, which hopefully will be more straightforward and useful.
Thank you for your attention and all the hard work. I just think there is a problem of poor design in the current version that hampers the whole purpose of the project.