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a question of installing linux operating system on external hard drive

Hi,

I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard drive. =
Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which has Windows 7 =
operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my programming work and all m=
y code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc all are installed at the external=
 hard drive. Then I can unplug it from this desktop and plug into a laptop,=
 I can continue my work left at Desktop. Is this possible?

Desktop hardware and the laptop hardware are different, e.g. video card, wi=
fi card etc. So when the external HD is with the desktop and I have install=
ed Linux video card drivers(to the external HD) for the desktop hardware. W=
hen with the laptop, the previously installed drivers may not work with lap=
top video card or other hard ware. How to solve this problem?

Thank you.
0
newbie2
8/22/2014 3:11:27 PM
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At Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:11:27 -0700 (PDT) newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:

> 
> Hi,
> 
> I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard drive. =
> Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which has Windows 7 =
> operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my programming work and all m=
> y code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc all are installed at the external=
>  hard drive. Then I can unplug it from this desktop and plug into a laptop,=
>  I can continue my work left at Desktop. Is this possible?
> 
> Desktop hardware and the laptop hardware are different, e.g. video card, wi=
> fi card etc. So when the external HD is with the desktop and I have install=
> ed Linux video card drivers(to the external HD) for the desktop hardware. W=
> hen with the laptop, the previously installed drivers may not work with lap=
> top video card or other hard ware. How to solve this problem?

In the case of the video card the drivers are handled 'on the fly'. Unless you 
have some 'special' video card (eg some nVidia cards) and/or are fussy about 
things like 3D acceleration, there is the basic VESA driver which works with 
just about any video card and provides basic 2D graphical functionallity.

For network cards you might as well create an installation that believes you 
have a 'union' of network cards: eg some logical machine that has all of the 
network cards in your desktop and laptop.  All of the drivers should actually 
be there as loadable kernel modules.  The system will load drivers as needed 
and as cards are detected.  If all of the network interfaces are set up with 
DHCP, it is really all the same at a certain level.

All of the other hardware is going to be pretty vanila.  With an external 
(presumably USB) hard drive, there is nothing special there: USB is USB and 
the same drivers will be used on both your laptop and desktop.  I am not sure 
about sound cards, but again, the system should figure that out 'on the fly'. 
Keyboard and pointer devices are also non-issues.

> 
> Thank you.
>                          

-- 
Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Custom Software Services
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Linux Administration Services
heller@deepsoft.com       -- Webhosting Services
                            
0
Robert
8/22/2014 3:37:53 PM
newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Hi,

> I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard
> drive. Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which
> has Windows 7 operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my
> programming work and all my code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc
> all are installed at the external hard drive. Then I can unplug it
> from this desktop and plug into a laptop, I can continue my work left
> at Desktop. Is this possible?

To do what you seem to be implying, you need to be able to boot from
the external hard drive.

Provided you can boot both from the external hard drive, then you can
"move" your linux install between different physical machines this way.
0
Rich
8/22/2014 5:17:59 PM
Thank you all for the replies. Very helpful.

Robert:
Indeed my desktop uses nVidia cards. I have installed Ubuntu as dual boot O=
S on it. Fixing this nVidia (I didn't know what's the cause at that time) c=
aused me 12 bloody hours.

One more question, will it be slow if I use Linux from external USB device?=
 I am willing to invest some money to get a fast device. Any recommendation=
s? I don't like external HD, because it needs to have power on and its fan =
is annoying. USB jump drive does not need extra power line and is quiet, bu=
t if I want to install everything(Ubuntu, JAVA EE stuff and my code) on it,=
 the USB drive(16 GB?) maybe too small.
0
newbie2
8/22/2014 6:06:23 PM
newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Hi,
>
>I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an
>external hard drive. Ideally, I hope that when I plug
>this HD to my desktop which has Windows 7 operating
>system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my programming work
>and all my code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc all
>are installed at the external hard drive. Then I can
>unplug it from this desktop and plug into a laptop, I
>can continue my work left at Desktop. Is this possible?
>
>Desktop hardware and the laptop hardware are different,
>e.g. video card, wifi card etc. So when the external HD
>is with the desktop and I have installed Linux video
>card drivers(to the external HD) for the desktop
>hardware. When with the laptop, the previously installed
>drivers may not work with laptop video card or other
>hard ware. How to solve this problem?

I'm not particularly familiar with Ubunto, so I cannot
list in detail all the specifics necessary to accomplish
this.  But it is actually fairly easy.

You simply need to have two separate root filesystems on
your external hard disk.  I've done that using Slackware
and Lilo.  I think Ubuntu uses Grub, but it certainly
will be able to do the same thing.

If you separate the various filesystem onto different
partitions, you can have the same /boot, /usr, /var, and
/home partitions for the laptop and the desktop system.
I'd use maybe a 1GB /root for the laptop and another for
the desktop.  Then a /usr partition large enough to hold
whatever that distribution has that you want to install.

I'm not sure if there would be variations in /var
between two different systems like that.  There might
be!  So just to avoid that as a problem you might have a
different partition to mount as /var for each system
too.

The /boot and /home partitions can be the same.

-- 
Floyd L. Davidson                         http://www.apaflo.com/
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)                      floyd@apaflo.com
0
floyd
8/22/2014 6:08:24 PM
newbie2 wrote on 22. August 2014:
>
> I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard
> drive. Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which has
> Windows 7 operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my programming
> work and all my code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc all are
> installed at the external hard drive. Then I can unplug it from this
> desktop and plug into a laptop, I can continue my work left at
> Desktop. Is this possible?

I do have an Ubuntu installation on a jump drive, installed to be
"persistent". Every time I boot from it it takes off where I shut it
down. You could also have chosen to start fresh every time (you lose your
work unless you saved it to your Windows partition or elsewhere before
shut down).

Because USB sticks tend to die after a few years (at least mine use to do
this ;-) an external HD, usually plugged in via USB, will do a better job.

You plug in the drive, insert the installation media of your favorite
Linux distribution and then select the external drive for installation
(be careful not to accidentally wipe the Windows partition). You should
also set boot priority to first use USB. That's about all there is to
know.
-- 
Andreas

I wish my grass was emo. Then it would cut itself.
0
Andreas
8/22/2014 7:20:06 PM
On Friday, August 22, 2014 3:20:06 PM UTC-4, Andreas Kohlbach wrote:
> newbie2 wrote on 22. August 2014:
> 
> >
> 
> > I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard
> 
> > drive. Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which has
> 
> > Windows 7 operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my programming
> 
> > work and all my code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc all are
> 
> > installed at the external hard drive. Then I can unplug it from this
> 
> > desktop and plug into a laptop, I can continue my work left at
> 
> > Desktop. Is this possible?
> 
> 
> 
> I do have an Ubuntu installation on a jump drive, installed to be
> 
> "persistent". Every time I boot from it it takes off where I shut it
> 
> down. You could also have chosen to start fresh every time (you lose your
> 
> work unless you saved it to your Windows partition or elsewhere before
> 
> shut down).
> 
> 
> 
> Because USB sticks tend to die after a few years (at least mine use to do
> 
> this ;-) an external HD, usually plugged in via USB, will do a better job.
> 
> 
> 
> You plug in the drive, insert the installation media of your favorite
> 
> Linux distribution and then select the external drive for installation
> 
> (be careful not to accidentally wipe the Windows partition). You should
> 
> also set boot priority to first use USB. That's about all there is to
> 
> know.
> 
> -- 
> 
> Andreas
> 
> 
> 
> I wish my grass was emo. Then it would cut itself.

Thank you. Do you feel it is slow and painful to use?
0
newbie2
8/22/2014 7:28:19 PM
At Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:06:23 -0700 (PDT) newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:

> 
> Thank you all for the replies. Very helpful.
> 
> Robert:
> Indeed my desktop uses nVidia cards. I have installed Ubuntu as dual boot O=
> S on it. Fixing this nVidia (I didn't know what's the cause at that time) c=
> aused me 12 bloody hours.

I have a nVidia POJ chipset on my desktop, but since I am running CentOS 5 &
XEN, I cannot use the nVidia driver, so I just use the VESA driver. *I* have
no need (or use) for 3D acceleration, so that is fine by me. (I only have the
nVidia because it is on the motherboard and the the motherboard was low cost
and supported a low cost AMD processor.) For base level 2D graphics, the
nVidia driver is not really needed and the XOrg supplied generic driver works
just fine.  I'd just as soon avoid nVidia's drivers (and would avoid nVidia's 
video cards whenever possible -- yes, I know all you people out there with 3D 
animation graphics probably think I am stupid, but so what.)  (I actually like 
the Intel video chipsets, esp. since they are 100% fully supported with 
100% open-source drivers.)

> 
> One more question, will it be slow if I use Linux from external USB device?=
>  I am willing to invest some money to get a fast device. Any recommendation=
> s? I don't like external HD, because it needs to have power on and its fan =
> is annoying. USB jump drive does not need extra power line and is quiet, bu=
> t if I want to install everything(Ubuntu, JAVA EE stuff and my code) on it,=
>  the USB drive(16 GB?) maybe too small.

Thumb drives have wear issues and can be very slow.  Probably not recomended 
for a production development system's system drive.



>                                                          

-- 
Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Custom Software Services
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Linux Administration Services
heller@deepsoft.com       -- Webhosting Services
                                        
0
Robert
8/22/2014 7:30:13 PM
newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:

> One more question, will it be slow if I use Linux from external USB
> device?

Disk operations (reading/writing files) will be no faster than the
interface over which the drive is connected.

Once the data is in RAM, there will be no speed difference.

> I am willing to invest some money to get a fast device. Any
> recommendations?

No.  That depends 100% on what ports your desktop and laptop contain.

> USB jump drive does not need extra power line and is quiet,

Linux will install, and provided your machines can boot from USB thumb
drives, is happy to boot and operate from a USB thumb drive.

> but if I want to install everything(Ubuntu, JAVA EE stuff and my
> code) on it, the USB drive(16 GB?) maybe too small.

USB thumb drives in sizes larger than 16GB are available.  That depends
totally upon what you want to pay for the thumb drive.

A 100% full install everything of Slackware (which gives you all the
standard complement of Unix program development tools as well) is only
about 4G.  So if Ubuntu wants 16G+ for that, you should instead avoid
Ubuntu due to it being overly bloated.

0
Rich
8/22/2014 7:34:39 PM
newbie2 wrote on 22. August 2014:
>
> On Friday, August 22, 2014 3:20:06 PM UTC-4, Andreas Kohlbach wrote:
>> 
>> I do have an Ubuntu installation on a jump drive, installed to be
>> 
>> "persistent". Every time I boot from it it takes off where I shut it
>> 
>> down. You could also have chosen to start fresh every time (you lose your
>> 
>> work unless you saved it to your Windows partition or elsewhere before
>> 
>> shut down).
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Because USB sticks tend to die after a few years (at least mine use to do
>> 
>> this ;-) an external HD, usually plugged in via USB, will do a better job.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> You plug in the drive, insert the installation media of your favorite
>> 
>> Linux distribution and then select the external drive for installation
>> 
>> (be careful not to accidentally wipe the Windows partition). You should
>> 
>> also set boot priority to first use USB. That's about all there is to
>> 
>> know.
>
> Thank you. Do you feel it is slow and painful to use?

Indeed. I should had mentioned it.

But that's only for the jump drive. On an external HD it should be much
better.
-- 
Andreas

I wish my grass was emo. Then it would cut itself.
0
Andreas
8/22/2014 7:41:20 PM
newbie2 <xsli2@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Thank you all for the replies. Very helpful.
> 
> Robert:
> Indeed my desktop uses nVidia cards. I have installed Ubuntu as dual
> boot OS on it. Fixing this nVidia (I didn't know what's the cause at
> that time) caused me 12 bloody hours.
> 
> One more question, will it be slow if I use Linux from external USB
> device? I am willing to invest some money to get a fast device. Any
> recommendations? I don't like external HD, because it needs to have
> power on and its fan is annoying. USB jump drive does not need extra
> power line and is quiet, but if I want to install everything(Ubuntu,
> JAVA EE stuff and my code) on it, the USB drive(16 GB?) maybe too
> small.

Get a 2.5" external HD, they're usually low power, can be powered from
the USB bus, and don't have a fan. They're also considerably smaller &
lighter than a 3.5" external HD.

Get a USB3 device if either of your computers has USB3 ports.

0
Jerry
8/22/2014 8:16:06 PM
On 08/22/2014 08:41 PM, newbie2 wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> I am very interested in installing Linux Ubuntu on an external hard
> drive. Ideally, I hope that when I plug this HD to my desktop which
> has Windows 7 operating system, then I can use Ubuntu to do my 
> programming work and all my code, database mysql, Eclipse, Java etc
> all are installed at the external hard drive. Then I can unplug it 
> from this desktop and plug into a laptop, I can continue my work 
> left at Desktop. Is this possible?
> 
> Desktop hardware and the laptop hardware are different, e.g. video
> card, wifi card etc. So when the external HD is with the desktop and
> I have installed Linux video card drivers(to the external HD) for 
> the desktop hardware. When with the laptop, the previously installed
> drivers may not work with laptop video card or other hard ware. How 
> to solve this problem?

If you're not religiously tied to Ubuntu, better try Porteus which a
Live CD/USB/SD-Card distribution based on Slackware. The changes and, or
user's data can permanently or on-demand saved to a designated ext[2-4]
or POSIX compliant partitions or an image file on FAT/NTFS partitions.

-- 
Balwinder S "bdheeman" Dheeman (http://bdheeman.BlogSpot.in/)

"Working together, works! The proof is GNU/Linux and F/LOSS Projects;
Do you too voluntarily work on or contribute to making any difference?"
0
Balwinder
8/24/2014 12:36:55 PM
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