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

Mark or2uvma02 at sneakemail.com
Tue Nov 22 06:44:40 CET 2005

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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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).

* 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

* 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.

* 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.

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...

Thanks for this excellent distro and USB support.


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