Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Installing linux using E2B

If you use an E2B USB drive to boot from a linux ISO or .imgPTN file, you will often run into a problem if you are trying to install linux onto a system.

Many linux OS installation scripts or GUI's will look for the source linux files on a 'CD-ROM' drive, because they 'think' that we have booted from a CD or DVD.

I have added a new page to the E2B site here, which details how to specify the location of the linux source files.

For instance, if you are booting the E2B USB drive from a notebook, the USB drive will typically be the second drive in the system, so /dev/sda will be the internal notebook hard disk and /dev/sdb will be the USB drive.

If you have booted from an ISO file, E2B will have created a partition #4 which contains the ISO, so you simply need to specify the location of the source files (CD-ROM!) as /dev/sdb4.

A previous blog post for installing Debian is here.

If you have booted from a FAT32 .imgPTN file, then the first partition of the USB drive will typically contain the source files, so you need to specify /dev/sdb1.

A useful trick!

Linux will use the mount command to mount the device that you specify to a directory. Sometimes you need to tell the mount command what type of filesystem is present, so you may need to type
-t vfat /dev/sdb1

instead of /dev/sdb1 if the filesystem is FAT32, or type
-t iso9660 /dev/sdb4
if the filesystem is in ISO format.

For NTFS partitions use -t ntfs.

Finding the correct device name

Most linux install GUI's will allow you to dip into the linux command shell during the install process. So you can use one or more of these commands to find out the linux device names of the USB drive (they may need to be preceded by sudo):

lsblk -f       (most useful one if available!)
parted -l
fdisk -l 
df -h
ls /sys/block
ls /dev/sd*