Science and technology

Keep a number of Linux distros on a USB with this open supply instrument

Giving buddies and neighbors a bootable USB drive containing your favourite Linux distribution is a good way to introduce neophyte Linux customers to the expertise all of us get pleasure from. There are nonetheless numerous of us who’ve by no means heard of Linux, and placing your favourite distribution on a bootable USB drive is a good way to interrupt the ice.

A couple of years in the past, I used to be instructing an introductory pc class to a bunch of center schoolers. We used previous laptops, and I launched the scholars to Fedora, Ubuntu, and Pop!_OS. When the category was over, I gave every scholar a replica of their favourite distribution to take dwelling and set up on a pc of their alternative. They had been desperate to strive their new abilities at dwelling.

Put a number of distros on one drive

Recently, a good friend launched me to Ventoy, which (in response to its GitHub repository) is “an open source tool to create bootable a USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files.” Instead of making separate drives for every Linux distribution I wish to share, I can create a single drive with all my favourite Linux distributions on the drive!

As you may anticipate, a USB drive’s dimension will decide what number of distributions you may match onto it. On a 16GB drive, I positioned Elementary 5.1, Linux Mint Cinnamon 5.1, and Linux Mint XFCE 5.1… and nonetheless have 9.9GB free.

Get Ventoy

Ventoy is open supply with a GPL v3 license and obtainable for Windows and Linux. There is great documentation to obtain and set up Ventoy on Microsoft Windows. The Linux set up occurs from the command line, so it may be slightly complicated when you’re not acquainted with that course of. Yet, it is simpler than it might sound.

First, download Ventoy. I downloaded the archive file to my desktop.

Next, extract the ventoy-x.y.z-linux.tar.gz archive (however exchange x.y.z along with your obtain’s model quantity) utilizing the tar command (to maintain issues easy, I exploit the * character as an infinite wildcard within the command):

$ tar -xvf ventoy*z

This command extracts all the mandatory recordsdata right into a folder named ventoy-x.y.z on my desktop.

You also can use your Linux distribution’s archive supervisor to perform the identical activity. After the obtain and extraction are full, you’re prepared to put in Ventoy to your USB drive.

Install Ventoy and Linux on a USB

Insert your USB drive into your pc. Change listing into the Ventoy folder, and search for a shell script named You want to find out your USB drive’s appropriate mount level for this script to work correctly. You can discover it by issuing the mount command on the command line or with the GNOME Disks command, which supplies a graphical interface. The latter reveals that my USB drive is mounted at /dev/sda. On your pc, the situation may very well be /dev/sdb or /dev/sdc or one thing comparable.

The subsequent step is to execute the Ventoy shell script. Because it is designed to repeat knowledge onto a drive indiscriminately, I am utilizing a faux location (/dev/sdx) to foil copy/paste errors, so exchange the trailing x with the letter of the particular drive you wish to overwrite.

Let me reiterate: This shell script is designed to repeat knowledge to a drive, destroying all knowledge on that drive. If there’s knowledge you care about on the drive, again it up earlier than attempting this! If you are undecided about your drive’s location, confirm it till you are completely positive earlier than you proceed!

Once you are positive of your drive’s location, run the script:

$ sudo sh -i /dev/sdX

This codecs the drive and installs Ventoy to your USB. Now you may copy and paste all of the Linux distributions that can match on the drive. If you boot the newly created drive in your pc, you will see a menu with the distributions you’ve got copied to your USB drive.

Build a conveyable powerhouse

Ventoy is your key to carrying a multiboot drive in your keychain, so you will by no means be with out the distributions you depend on. You can have a full-featured desktop, a light-weight distro, a console-only upkeep utility, and anything you need.

I by no means go away the home and not using a Linux distro anymore, and neither do you have to. Grab Ventoy, a USB drive, and a handful of ISOs. You will not be sorry.

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