Live Pen

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Fred Barclay
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Re: Live Pen

Post by Fred Barclay »

tronisus wrote:
I suggest you use the MATE version of Linux Mint and not the Cinnamon version, both because the Cinnamon version keeps crashing and because it is much more resources intensive and not all the computers you'll use the USB pen in might be up to the job.
You'll need the following in order to create the USB pen:

- the ISO "linuxmint-18-mate-64bit.iso", which you can download from this page
I've never tried Refracta but...
I definitely agree that MATE (or Xfce) would be better than Cinnamon if you want to guarantee compatibility between computers, but if you really want guaranteed compatibility wouldn't the 32-bit iso be more appropriate? :)
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Ryan.85
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Re: Live Pen

Post by Ryan.85 »

Thanks tronisus!

I got it working at last, with Mint17.3 cinnamon btw. Now just need to find a way to make an installer out of that iso, though your "live pen" option will certainly be useful in the future, so thanks again.
Citizen229 wrote:Mine is different because I want to modify an install iso and not actually install to a usb.
Same here mate, have no need to save the exact same folders and files at the moment, just need to make a custom iso installer.
tronisus
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Re: Live Pen

Post by tronisus »

Ryan.85 wrote: Now just need to find a way to make an installer out of that iso
The problem is that when you try to use the personalised ISO that you get out of Linux Mint/Refracta combination to install Linux Mint on a new computer you get a standard installation, not a personalised one.

But if you use the Systemback/Ubuntu Mate 16.04 combination not only do you get a personalised pen you also get a pen that allows you to do personalized installations.

I haven't yet found a way to create a personalised Linux Mint pen that also allows for personalised installations. Maybe Systemback can be used with Linux Mint, I haven't tried that so I don't know if it works. I've only tried it with ubuntu 16.04.
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Ryan.85
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Re: Live Pen

Post by Ryan.85 »

I have tried systemback, it creates the iso but it doesn't boot. Pinguyos doesn't even work, so far refracta is the only software that gave some results.

Edit: systemback fails with the following errors - [0.590819] ACPI PCC probe failed. | or [0.723331]... on a different pc (no UEFI)
Citizen229
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Re: Live Pen

Post by Citizen229 »

Mint 18 is based on 16.04. Hmm.... I suppose it would depend on if the Mint installer is similar to ubuntu's installer and lets you do the same.
I DL'd systemback going to play around with it and see if it lets me do what I want it to do, or if I can get it to do what I want it to do.

I guess if I can wipe and reinstall and run systemback to remove programs in bulks it is cutting steps for recovering from critical errors.
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thom_A
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Re: Live Pen

Post by thom_A »

I'm confused about this. What makes it secure? Is it because it's only used for one purpose, like banking? What about the security updates you usually apply in a normal installation?

I also assume the "live pen" can only be used in the same computer the usb stick was setup in.
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Re: Live Pen

Post by tronisus »

thom_A wrote:I'm confused about this. What makes it secure? Is it because it's only used for one purpose, like banking? What about the security updates you usually apply in a normal installation?

I also assume the "live pen" can only be used in the same computer the usb stick was setup in.
Imagine that you have two computers in your office. On one of them you''ve just installed a new operating system (doesn't matter if it's Windows, Linux Mint or whatever) and you haven't done anything else with it. You've had the other computer for a whole year and you've used it extensively everyday for net surfing, playing games, etc (I know you won't believe this but some people even use their computers to access **** sites). Which of these 2 computers do you think is safer if you need to access a bank site? The first one obviously simply because it would be incredible unlucky that in the few minutes that it has been connected to the internet and during which you only accessed the updates of the operating system and little else a dangerous virus had already got into it.

After a whole year of internet surfing the second computer (regardless of how good the anti virus software that you have installed) is almost guaranteed to have some malicious software in it.

See it this way if one computer has been connected to the internet for 1 hour and the other one has been connected 1500 hours the first one is 1500 times less likely to have a virus in it and I'm not even factoring the "quality" of the sites accessed by each one or the fact that the second computer has had lots of usb stuff connected to it (another potential source of viruses)

Now if you create a non persistent (but personalised) pen out of your fresh installation you have a permanently "fresh" installation to use for online banking because in a non persistent pen everything is wiped out every time you reboot the computer (there is no "memory" of each session). If you want to be pernickety you can start each session by updating the system (all updates will be lost when the session ends) but is that really necessary? After all you're only accessing bank sites which are almost assured of being free of viruses, does it really matter if your system is 100% updated?.

Answering your second question the pen can theoretically be used in any computer not necessarily the one it was created in though sometimes this may not be true (I've created pens in UEFI based computers and used them in older BIOS based computers with no problem at all)
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Re: Live Pen

Post by thom_A »

I have tried this before so I'll be able to boot in other computers without disturbing the host's system. You do need the persistence feature to maintain or leave intact personal preferences like bookmarks, etc. But I found that it also saves driver configuration like display cards, so using it in another PC could produce low display resolution. In other words, it's configured in the machine you set it up in.

I would rather just create and install another Linux partition and boot in that partition for online banking. But I rarely do online banking nowadays.
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Re: Live Pen

Post by tronisus »

thom_A wrote: You do need the persistence feature to maintain or leave intact personal preferences like bookmarks, etc.
Not necessarily and that's the whole point of this thread. If you create a PERSONALISED non persistent pen then you can have the best of both worlds.

There are also several other interesting uses for a personalised non persistent pen (especially if you're one of those people who are obsessed about the government spying on you) but I'll leave that to your imagination (the uses vary from legitimate concern with privacy to the darkest corners of the human mind). Don't forget that if you use such a pen in conjunction with a laptop that has no drives at all there are simply no traces of what you did with it. You can also use it on computers that are not yours with no risks of leaving anything on those computers or catching anything from them.
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Re: Live Pen

Post by thom_A »

tronisus wrote:Not necessarily and that's the whole point of this thread. If you create a PERSONALISED non persistent pen then you can have the best of both worlds.

There are also several other interesting uses for a personalised non persistent pen (especially if you're one of those people who are obsessed about the government spying on you) but I'll leave that to your imagination (the uses vary from legitimate concern with privacy to the darkest corners of the human mind). Don't forget that if you use such a pen in conjunction with a laptop that has no drives at all there are simply no traces of what you did with it. You can also use it on computers that are not yours with no risks of leaving anything on those computers or catching anything from them.
Well, I have considered all these concerns and uses in the past when I was just starting out with Linux. For me it was about the need for a Linux OS on a flash drive without disturbing my Windows system. I soon realized it was very limiting and decided to do dual-booting.

You have a point about the need for a personalized pen drive. I can imagine hackers having a hard time injecting unwanted files without the user's permission. But that's all speculation, anyway. Very few know how to detect or figure whether any system has security holes in it or not. However, it's better than taking no precautions at all.

My idea of a personalized usb is one that can be made out of a Linux Mint ISO, for example: Apply persistence once, then stop it after the personalization process is done. (I don't know if this can be done.) And in addition, the personalization should only be on things like bookmarks, usernames, passwords, wallpaper background, icons on favorites and panels, etc. It should stop from saving driver configuration. This is better than having to install the OS on a hard drive, then produce an iso out of it. I don't know. I have to explore this further when I have the time.

To me any Linux Mint ISO is fine in itself because when booted on a usb or CD it detects hardware and applies the appropriate drivers for one-use usb live experience. Meaning, it applies the right display resolution when booted in any machine that is not new. Problem is once you add persistence, it not only saves bookmarks, etc., but the driver configuration. There has to be a way not to.
tronisus
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Re: Live Pen

Post by tronisus »

thom_A wrote: Problem is once you add persistence, it not only saves bookmarks, etc., but the driver configuration. There has to be a way not to.
I don't understand your problem with driver configuration. I've created non persistent Linux pens and used them in several computers and laptops and the graphics look just fine and seem to use all the available resolution on the monitors. I guess that provided you don't touch the open source drivers that are automatically there and don't replace them with proprietary drivers you can use the pen wherever you want and it automatically uses the correct drivers. Not a problem I ever had.
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Re: Live Pen

Post by thom_A »

tronisus wrote:I don't understand your problem with driver configuration. I've created non persistent Linux pens and used them in several computers and laptops and the graphics look just fine and seem to use all the available resolution on the monitors. I guess that provided you don't touch the open source drivers that are automatically there and don't replace them with proprietary drivers you can use the pen wherever you want and it automatically uses the correct drivers. Not a problem I ever had.
You may be right about this. I remember, for my experimentation, using Porteus distro, which is probably the smallest-sized ISO of all lightweights. The download process allows you to pick options like browser, 32/64bit, display card, EFI, DE, even time zone, etc. And I picked nVidia for the display. This time I'll try persistence on Mint Xfce.

http://build.porteus.org/
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Lucap
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Re: Live Pen

Post by Lucap »

viewtopic.php?f=90&t=234241

The above thread might be of interest to someone as an alternative to a live pen for that squeaky clean feel with your HDD installs , you can create a temporary Guest account with all your settings that deletes and resets itself on every reboot.
thom_A
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Re: Live Pen

Post by thom_A »

The "live pen" does make sense for occasional use such as online banking, for emergencies, using other computers that are not yours temporarily, etc. As for security, we have no way of knowing. I mean you can just add another Linux partition and only boot there whenever you need it, then exit after doing your business and boot in the partition you normally use.

BTW, I tried refracta and followed all the instructions posted in this thread and it worked! I used the Mint 18 Xfce ISO. Other flavors like Mate, KDE, Cinnamon may also work, but Xfce is my current favorite at the moment. It's amazing that the ISO that was generated was only 2.5 Gb.
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Re: Live Pen

Post by tronisus »

thom_A wrote: I mean you can just add another Linux partition and only boot there whenever you need it, then exit after doing your business and boot in the partition you normally use.
You can and it's a lot safer than using your normal computer but it's still not the same as using a personalised non persistent pen because when you use a partition it is "persistent" and whatever you do with it "accumulates" over time. You're only thinking about banking but there are tons of other uses we might be talking about: bitcoins / people who live in totalitarian states and want to leave no trace of what they do with their computers / people who live in non-totalitarian states but also don't want to leave any trace of what they do with their computers (lol) / etc.
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