Install from a USB Pen

Ken Smith kensmith at cse.Buffalo.EDU
Mon Jul 20 19:03:15 UTC 2009

On Sat, 2009-07-18 at 11:41 +0800, Fbsd1 wrote:

> Took 3 times longer to download the 8.0-BETA1-i386-memstick.img that to 
> download the 8.0-BETA1-i386-disc1.iso. I suggest you look into another 
> method of creating the memstick.img so it downloads faster. dd does no 
> compression of the data.

You're comparing apples to oranges here to some extent.  disc1 isn't
compressed either.  The reason the memstick is larger is that it
contains more stuff than disc1.  That extra stuff is usually referred to
as "livefs" and having that allows the memstick to be used in "Fixit"
mode - you can boot off the memstick and enter into sysinstall's "Fixit"
menu item which in turn you can use to get to a usable shell that has
all the normal FreeBSD base system utilities available.  That
functionality can be useful for recovering a machine from mistakes.

The CDROM media has a separate livefs.  We needed to separate them out
because of size issues on the CDROM media - the contents of disc1 plus
the contents needed from the livefs disc to make it work in Fixit mode
are too big for our target CDROM media size (700Mb).  The DVD media
contains both so DVDs can be used for this 'Fixit' mode as well.

If you're going to use download time as any sort of evaluation of the
memstick's merit you need to compare the speed of downloading it versus
the speed of downloading both disc1 and livefs.  Though I'm not quite
sure why that's any measure of the memstick's merit.

I think I've settled on the memstick images containing what was provided
with BETA2, which will be the installation bits from disc1, the livefs
bits, and just the packages that make up the documentation.  Put a
slightly different way it's the contents of the DVD minus all packages
except for the documentation packages.  That's my best guess on the
trade-off of size versus functionality that would benefit the most

> Using a 8gb memstick as the target to install 8.0 on took 2 times longer 
> than disc1 cd installing to same 8gb memstick.

This shouldn't come as too big a surprise, for *typical* machines things
slow down a bit if you're using the same I/O subsystem for both reads
and writes.  I'm guessing your CD isn't USB.  Even if it is, you're
again comparing apples to oranges to a large degree here.  If a speed
comparison is important to you here then compare the speed of installing
from the memstick we provide versus one you create with your script from
disc1.  I'd be surprised if installing from the one you created using
your script was faster than the memstick we provide.

> Here is a script i have used in the past to convert the disc1.iso to 
> bootable memstick. Maybe its better to add this script to the place 
> where 8.0-BETA1-i386-disc1.iso is located in place of the memstick.img.
> That way the 3 times larger memstick.img is not needed any more.

Per above the 3 times larger memstick.img we're providing has more
functionality than what you would get by running your script.  For some
people your script also causes something of a chicken-and-egg issue.  It
may not be particularly convenient to run your script if you don't
already have FreeBSD installed on a machine.  I don't see the harm in us
providing one pre-built memstick image for peoples' convenience.

                                                Ken Smith
- From there to here, from here to      |       kensmith at
  there, funny things are everywhere.   |
                      - Theodore Geisel |

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