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Author Topic: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?  (Read 212 times)

Offline PDP-8

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Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« on: July 10, 2019, 09:35:56 PM »
From the mind of a true slacker comes a suggestion:

Why are we making this so, um -involved- an operation?

Yes, I have a whole lot of fun doing it manually.  Or with 3rd party burners / multibooters etc.  To be sure, I can get TC running with enough energy.

The question really is this:
Why are we (other distros too) making usb installation any harder than it was to pull the CD from the back of the DSL book, pop it into your computer, and reboot?

Back then, nobody was really expected to mount the cd, copy the files to another filesystem, start renaming directories, modifying configuration files, and then using their own cd burning tool to re-burn another cd.

To the point - maybe it would just be easier for both users *and devs supporting them* to distribute a usb-specific iso or image.  One where cde is already renamed to tce, waitusb=5 is standard etc etc.  OH, and the bootloader is already applied so no need to rename isolinux.bin to syslinux.bin and so forth.

Then compress the image for distribution.

OR, follow piCore's way of doing it and perhaps autoexpanding the remaining partition to the user's stick size.

Guru's can still just download the distribution files, apply a bootloader and do all the other tweaks necessary.  It's fun, but sometimes ....

I have nothing but admiration for all three teams of *core.  And have no desire to change their ways.

But I'm just a guy with younger friends who have no idea of what zip-drives and the click of death are, or even what boot floppies (can you sayToms root-boot?  I can because that's where I learned vi) are.  CDroms are even unfamiliar to some.

All they know is smart-phones, tablets, and modern computers - which most don't support what our beloved old hardware was.

I do my best to educate them that TinyCore is not "just for old computers" or gray-beards hanging on to the hardware of the past.  I show them TC running on modern uefi-only machines, but sadly - when they see what they have to go through to boot on their own when I'm not there to assist - it's back to watching cat-videos.

Although I enjoy a challenge, my thinking is that all the hard work that has been done for over decade can live on and inspire younger users if that initial hurdle isn't such a big one.  Make it as simple as booting a cd back when *WE* were doing it that way.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 09:38:11 PM by PDP-8 »
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline NewUser

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 12:26:11 AM »
Maybe I'm confused. I have 'burned' every TC iso to USB using core2usb, and if one were to start with CorePlus, TCInstall GUI is right there on Wbar.

Or maybe I'm way off.

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 05:02:53 AM »
Hello NewUser

The thing is core2usb does not function on any new version of Windows.   The utility worked for a short time back when it was first published on a version of windows from that era, but since then has not allowed us to select a USB drive no matter what combination of option we choose.

In any case both core2usb and tce-install uses the long outdated and slow as molasses MBR technique, which may might not even be supported on any modern pc. 

As new hardware is manufactured with EFI support the days of legacy compatibility mode are numbered, if not already dead.

Point is this, core2usb has been unusable for years.  Any USB stick created with core2usb or tce-install will not boot any modern PC 

Creating a usb/efi compatible image however is a great idea



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Offline thane

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 11:43:30 AM »
I'm interested to read this because I run Tiny Core on an AMD PC from 2010. I was thinking of upgrading to more modern hardware, but if that makes using TC a big hassle I'll hold off. What I've got works fine, just not sure how long it will last!

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 11:55:39 AM »
@Thane,  it's really easy    an EFI install is extremely easy especially for an experienced TC'er

A manual EFI install is so easy a Neanderthal could do it  :P
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 12:01:00 PM by coreplayer2 »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 01:52:25 PM »
Older hardware is not usually a problem.

What I'm talking about are the modern machines that are UEFI-ONLY, most of which these days don't even have hard drives - no spinning rust - no cdroms - no floppy.  The choices are just either some form of mmc and/or ssd.  The ONLY thing you can do is disable secure boot.

My younger friend did try on some older hardware, and when I told him we're going to use hdparm to spin down the drive, he asked "is that a sandwich?  Does it come with chicken?"

Using a more up to date syslinux or grub on the distribution iso's would help a lot.  It avoids the catch-22 of "first get tinycore64 up and running on your usb stick.  Then use the tools to burn the usb stick".

All I'm lovingly criticizing is that we need to keep abreast of how the "modern kids" install an iso.  On modern boxes.  To introduce them to the simplicity and brilliance that is TinyCore.  Once introduced, THEN we can turn them into gurus.

Otherwise, I'm afraid all that hard work for the last decade and more will only be enjoyed by 20 guys running old hardware and fading out like blue jeans.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 01:53:57 PM by PDP-8 »
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 04:17:14 PM »
Already fading from osdisc.[com], a popular retailer that provides distros already burnt on cd and usb sticks.

If you are a modern UEFI-ONLY computer owner, don't waste your time there.  They are only up to ver 8.21, 32-bit only.

But us neanderthals know this. :) :)
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 04:55:29 PM »
And they thought we were extinct


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Offline PDP-8

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 06:19:26 PM »
Heh, every decade or so we go through this based on the storage technology:

USB sticks?  Ok, first bring up your cdrom based installer, then ....

CD-Roms?  I thought El-Torito was a restaurant.  To get your burner to work, first install from your stack of 22 Slackware floppies ....

Floppies?  Ok, here's your paper tape bootloader.  From there, mount your 9-track mag tape and ....

Paper-Tape bootloader?  Ok, first drill some holes in the front of your computer, and add toggle switches.  Then, key in the bootloader in octal, then ....

PDP-11's ?  Those are mere toys!  (The raspberry pi's of today).  Ok to get that to work, we're going to cross-compile from GECOS on a GE-635 mainframe.  Then ....

It never ends does it.  The hope is not to get stuck in between the transitions...

But some classics never die.  Like the DD command syntax most use practically right out of the IBM 360 JCL job control language:

dd if=/mydistro.iso of=/dev/sda

when most of us unix types should be using redirection..

dd < mydistro.iso > /dev/sda

So if you end up burning something like this using IF / OF pairs, put on your Sonny & Cher album, some bell-bottoms, and burn away! :)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 06:35:14 PM by PDP-8 »
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline Pats

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 07:11:47 PM »
Just other side :
Had TC been so easy (including installation) ,  I would not have learned so many minute details of Linux in perticular and Unix in general !

Same about old and new Hardware , and old and new generation ! :)

Offline Leee

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 09:06:15 PM »
Hey guys - what's it like to have a new computer?  And what's this UEFI thing?  "Unidentified Extraterrestrial Flying... something-or-other"?

 ;)
coors
core

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Modernizing USB installs - the PiCore way?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2019, 11:17:25 PM »
Heh, well there are levels and I wouldn't call making your own bootloaders really anything about learning Linux truly.

For example, to get Crux running on my G5 power-pc Imac about 14 years ago, I had to delve into Apple's unfriendly so-called "Open Firmware".  Yah, tweaked to NOT open!

But I didn't learn anything about Linux from it really - it was a mere technical exercise long since forgotten.

Yet I can still retain my vi editor learning from 1995, and even work my way around the ED editor ok.  Way different level than getting what the latest hardware is to boot.

UEFI - it's headed to uefi-only where legacy/compatability modes are totally unknown to younger folks.  Where usb / mmc / and ssd's are the only options.

And unless one can demonstrate some sort of out-of-the-box functionality, albeit not absolutely perfect, being able to construct your own functioning bootloader as a rite-of-passage is passe'.

I'm just paranoid that we don't become totally irellevant. 
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth