Tiny Core Linux

Off-Topic => Off-Topic - Tiny Tux's Corner => Topic started by: PDP-8 on July 16, 2020, 02:54:43 PM

Title: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 16, 2020, 02:54:43 PM
For those who play with multibooters - I found a new one (GPL Linux / Windows) that has an interesting twist - Ventoy:


The twist is that it boots iso's directly and doesn't create a spaghetti-mess of a filesystem on the boot stick.

Thus, after creating the boot-stick itself, you just copy iso's to the stick, and it figures out the rest.  So you don't go through the normal routing of installing  / uninstalling distros from the stick.  You merely copy or delete the desired iso themselves.  Kind of in tune with Robert's dislike of "splatter disks".

Seems really well documented, and if something goes wrong, it doesn't just leave you hanging - menu timeouts and the ability to halt gracefully is quite a feature! :)

I had no problem booting TinyCorePure64 iso with it on my uefi-only machines.  Of course, you have to treat that like a live-cd, so the normal techniques of managing your tce directory and external filesystem management are as per normal.

Others such as antiX and MXlinux came up with no problem.  Some others, not so much.  So it depends.

Like all 3rd-party booters, if something breaks, you get to keep both parts. :)

Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 16, 2020, 03:58:34 PM
I should also mention that Ventoy has the ability to boot Secure-Boot systems, for those that can't disable that for some reason or don't want to.  It's all in the docs.

Most think that TC is only for your collection of vintage computers.  Not so.  I find it a personal challenge to shoe-horn TC into modern gear, and overcome any obstacle.  It, like dCore/PiCore is just too much fun.

Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: aus9 on July 16, 2020, 07:50:27 PM

You seem to be researching boot loaders for iso or bootable images?

Have you seen

I was actually looking for a link for "poor man's install" and this was one of the hits
Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 16, 2020, 09:51:26 PM
My interests are skewed a bit because I'm not interested in the traditional install - not even frugal if I can help it.  Doubly weird because I like a clean garage, and have dumped all my vintage antique computers - starting with MicroVax, for modern, yet modest new gear.

I like running solely with usb sticks for boot and for data.  Similar to how I loved running live from CD.   And sure, with Juanito's excellent instructions, I've built many uefi-only sticks with additional tools,  manual partitioning, formatting, grub'ing and so forth, simply because the existing iso does not support uefi-only.  New stick - rinse and repeat.  Pull out the notes each time because it's not finger-memory.

Ok, that's cool.  So now with modern uefi-only machines that I use, and inherent slacker character, I look for the easier way to remember on how to get TC up and running within a minute.  Multibooters help me achieve that, even if I'm only booting up TC all by itself. :)

The really cool thing about Ventoy, is that it can relieve the devs from having to think about providing secure-boot shims or any of that nonsense in the iso.  They can concentrate on what they do best, and leave all that modern boot stuff to other devs that concentrate mostly on that aspect.  Ie, I can boot TC on a fully locked down Secure-Boot system if I want.  (Not that I want to, I usually disable it, but it's possible).

Or I hate to say it, the multibooter front-end can unjam a possible release-blocker due to political / personal reasons, and the user can decide.  Nothing insinuated here with TC, it's just a matter of insurance for the future.

I kind of look at TC like I would as an embedded device maker, with out of the norm requirements, but come he** or high-water, I'm going to get that iso to run! :)

Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: nick65go on July 16, 2020, 11:13:28 PM
If UEFI is booting with secure-boot ON, and you can boot an OS which has NOT signed kernel (Windows, linux) neither its modules (drivers), then this boot-loader is basically cheating the trust loading chain.

Any method to bypass FORCED secure-boot (a bullshit trend designed by Intel (EFI), agreed by Microsoft and their friends) is good for future USER freedom. Corporations (who do not like free/coreboot) can keep tune-up their junk trusted boot chaining. And Russian /Chinese can keep break it, rinse and repeat.
Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 17, 2020, 12:06:54 AM
Heh, WE know that secure-boot is a misnomer!

This was more along the practical line of receiving a modern cast-off machine, and not being able to find the docs to get into the bios itself, or perhaps the bios is password locked to disable secure boot in the first place.

This way, I could get into the box booting with Ventoy, and happily run TC on it after registering keys whatever.

Fortunately, I'm not doing that now.  Tested the unix script, 1.0.15 and also the windows tool, and they both work fine.  Will probably reformat the main partition that holds the iso's from exFAT to ext4 or something - which is totally possible and even recommended for unix-only access.

Flexibility in choices - I like that.

Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: nick65go on July 17, 2020, 01:01:09 AM
I would like the idea to bypass UEFI "secure-boot" anywhere. (ARM processor not so easy)
Unfortunatly it is not possible all the time. My company laptop has password protected UEFI. Even if I remove the booting device (sealed SDD, Bitlock encrypted) the UEFI settings are set to boot from HDD only (not USB, neither CDROM).
Except for the convenience to have a pre-made software (like VenTOY), the process basically involve booting from an already signed boot-loader (grub2 from Fedora/Ubuntu, mostly) or a signed shim, and then use another software to register MOK database keys to make UEFI happy. I think ArchLinux distro use this method.
thanks for sharing the info :)
Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 17, 2020, 01:19:33 AM
Been in similar situations.  Solution:

Bring along your RPI running piCore, (or perhaps some non-rpi board using Armbian), and snag the nearest hdmi monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. :)
Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 20, 2020, 01:36:28 AM
Just a heads up about Ventoy:

Be sure to disable "auto-mounting" before you try to use the ventoy script.  Otherwise, the system will auto-mount half-way through the process and fail during the ventoy stick creation.

Also, like Juanito's setup of where the efi/boot partition is the *second* or last one, do not try to put your iso's on that.  The first partition is the one you want.  Note that it is UNlabeled, so if you are using a gui file manager, don't get excited about seeing the secondary Ventoy partition name show up.  That's Not the partition you want to try and put your iso's to.

The unlabeld partition will usually show up in gui-file managers as a generic /dev/sdX1, (where X is a/b/c/d whatever)

Also too, note that exFAT for this first partition is the default, and depending on your system, once created, the system may not take kindly to exFAT. :)

The easiest solution is to fire up gparted, and simply reformat that 1st unlabeled partition (the BIG one - easy to see), with the filesystem of your choice.  Of course ext2/3/4 is the natural choice for Linux boxes.  But you can reformat to whatever you like.  And then put the iso's onto that.  Perhaps give it a label to make it easier in the future.

That first partition where you stuff your isos, can also be conveniently used as persistence too.
Title: Re: VENTOY multibooter
Post by: PDP-8 on July 23, 2020, 03:21:25 PM
AHA!  The latest, ver 1.0.16 allows for one to put their own customized grub2 config file in.  See the notes about that.

Wow, looks like I'll be playing with that later to totally tweak my TC on boot without having to manually edit from the grub menu...