Running Mint on CF or SD card

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Running Mint on CF or SD card

Postby penguinpete on Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:19 pm

Per this article at Slash Dot http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl ... 58&tid=198 there may be problem with Ubuntu and laptop hard drives.
I currently have Mint installed on my laptop hard drive but I am thinking of installing it on a 16 gb CF or SD card (my computer has ports for both) instead. Is this possible to boot from a CF or SD card? Are there performance issues, are CF or SD cards slower than a hard drive or will they wead our relatively quickly? Is thatre anything special I will need to do to install to a CF or SC card?
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Re: Running Mint on CF or SD card

Postby AK Dave on Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:53 pm

There "may" be a problem but it is entirely hardware dependant. Here's what it all boils down to: some hardware manufacturers set the defaults on their hardware to ridiculous values and don't do their own QA. Windows, by default, seems to ignore these values and substitute its own. Which may or may not be any better. Ubuntu defaults to using whatever settings the hardware manufacturer sets. But can substitute its own.

But it all boils down to how much importance you place on some number generated by smartctl.

This article seems to be somewhat insightful:
http://mjg59.livejournal.com/77672.html
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Re: Running Mint on CF or SD card

Postby AK Dave on Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:04 pm

Installing to CF or SD is a different matter entirely. Many computers do not recognise these cards in BIOS. If your computer does, happy day, set it is primary in BIOS and install. Away you go. But usually the BIOS is unaware of these devices and you need a kernel loaded to find them. Technically, the grub boot process includes loading a kernel to launch the real kernel. So this might work. Or it might not. It might work on one computer, but not yours.

Here's the idea:
You install Mint off of the LiveCD onto the SD/CF card as if it is a hard drive. Insert the card, boot the LiveCD, select Install, and when you get to the partitioner select MANUAL, which launches gparted. In the upper-right quadrant of the dialog, change the drive from sda to whatever your card identifies as (probably sdb). Partition, install, click on through. Now select ADVANCED for the boot manager options. You can install without a boot manager. Or you can put the boot manager somewhere else. You want the boot manager on sda. Put it there.

Now when you reboot, grub on sda will light up and try to redirect the install to sdb (where you put Mint). If it is capable of finding the SD/CF card, you're golden. If not, all hope is NOT lost.

Worst case scenario:
As above, MANUAL partitioning, but you're going to split your partitions across multiple drives as follows:
/boot - sda
/ - either
/home - sdb

Now you're GUARANTEED to have your kernel and initram on sda, the drive that is identifiable in BIOS. It loads, and it pulls everything else from the CF/SD card.
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Re: Running Mint on CF or SD card

Postby penguinpete on Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:17 am

Thanks for the fast reply. Both my laptop and my netbook have SD slots so I am hoping that there will be an option in bios. :D
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Re: Running Mint on CF or SD card

Postby AK Dave on Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:38 pm

Same here: Gateway laptop, Dell netbook, SD slots in both, neither can boot directly off the SD.
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