[Grml] USB boot success: grml-big-0.5 + grml2hd-0.5.5

Michael Prokop mika at grml.org
Tue Nov 22 08:25:00 CET 2005

* Mark <or2uvma02 at sneakemail.com> [20051122 07:15]:

> Good news:  grml2hd 0.5.5 worked on my test user's USB hard drive.  The
> USB drive booted a system from power up to GRML user login prompt with
> full hardware autodetection.


> Here are some observations.  In general I'm very happy, I just want to
> offer some thoughts on room for improvement in grml2hd.  GRML is
> beautiful, don't get me wrong.

> * The yaird install dialog box mentions SCSI, but not USB or Firewire. 
> It should mention all three explicitly.  I know they are all SCSI to
> Linux, but please help the user.  It's an easy string change.

Thanks, will be fixed.

> * The installer undoes its own work.  It spends lots of time copying, as
> it must, but some of what it copies it later deletes - services like
> apache, mysql.  Note that I kept all the default selections.

You don't have to delete any of the packages. ;-)
And it's the nature of a live-cd that package selection and copying
isn't that flexible.

> * I got lots of error and warning messages during this stage - can't
> stop process, can't delete file, permission denied, things like that;
> several pages of it; very worrisome and confusing.

As long as it does not stop it's nothing to worry about.
"Normal debian way of life." ;-)

> * A better way (?) is to copy only what the user wants, rather than
> asking what to delete after it has all been copied over.  Show the menu
> before the copy, not after.  Should save lots of time and errors.

That's not possible, think about the way grml2hd has to run.
(Copying all files from the[ un]compressed, loopback mounted

> * The chroot jail question is weird and I didn't know how to answer it. 
> There was another question about MySQL that probably shouldn't be there.
>  If the user doesn't want MySQL, just get rid of everything associated.

This derives from the debian package, it's not a grml issue.  And
such questions are important for some people. Just an example: If
you remove postgresql 8.0 who says you would like to remove you
postgresql database(s) as well? See the point? If you still think
this is a bug/problem please run reportbug against Debian's mysql.

In general: if you don't know how to answer a question just stick to
the default. This applies to grml's programs as well as to debian's
debconf (that's where such questions derive from).

> * The video came out bad.  Video for booting from CD-ROM was fine, my
> font and video scale just what I would expect (without any cheatcodes,
> just default CD boot).  However the USB boot produced an ugly (larger)
> font size and/or video scale that was also painfully mashed to the left
> (leftmost character columns not even visible).  This was on the same
> monitor.  I don't understand why the difference.  CD-ROM video defaults
> would have been fine for the USB install.  We're not talking X here,
> just text GRML.  I did create the X config at the install dialog prompt,
> but the ugliness lies in the basic GRML screen, not X per se.

Sorry, I don't have any idea what's going wrong here. Must be initrd
related again.

Do you have an LCD or TFT? Do you have an "auto adjust" button on
your monitor?

> * I used ReiserFS 3.x and it worked fine, though there seemed to be some
> miscellany error messages at boot time about accessing this or that
> (can't remember what).

Sorry, don't know what you mean. :)

> * Just before install, I did a full apt-upgrade on the CD-ROM boot
> system.  It seems there are lots of patches since grml-big-0.5.  I
> mention this only so you know what I actually intalled to the hard
> drive.

Yes. A new devel release (0.5-2) is available for grml-developers
and beta-testers. It includes all the updates of the last few weeks
(and including 2.6.14-grml).

> * The USB bootup process flashed the screen a few times more than the
> CD-ROM boot.  This flashing must have to do with initrd and all that. 
> It was a little bothersome, that's all.  If you can minimize the
> flashing and jumping, it would be nice.  Just keep scrolling the boot
> text, don't flash around so much.

Could you provide a screenshot please? grml-autoconfig is the same
as on live-cd so it must be an initrd related issue. (IMO too much
output is better than the other way around. Helps at debugging. ;-))

> * Some of our older PCs don't have USB boot support in BIOS.  They need
> "helper boot floppies."  It would be nice if the installer could create
> one as an optional step.

Quoting http://wiki.grml.org/doku.php?id=tips ->

|  Boot grml via floppy disk
|  Your computer can not boot from CD-ROM but provides a floppy disk?
|  Take a look at btmgr (http://btmgr.webframe.org/) or sbm
|  (http://linux.simple.be/tools/sbm), they provide support for
|  booting from CD-ROM via a special floppy disk.

The grml-kernel does not fit with all its features on a floppy disk.
So you have to use such a specialized floppy disk.

> I'm eagerly awaiting grml-big 0.6.  I will hold off configuring my user
> systems until 0.6 is released.  How close is it?  Last I heard a few
> more days...

Oh, I'm not yet sure. If you would like to get something like a
stable snapshot join the grml-betatesters (just fill out
http://grml.org/beta-tester/) and you will get access to 0.5-2.

> Thanks for this excellent distro and USB support.

Great you like it. :) Thanks for your feedback!

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