This is a live install of PCLinuxOS on a partition of a HDD, done in a similar manner to that used for a flash stick. When installed properly, it can be used as an emergency OS if something prevents the main OS from booting. It can also be used to allow an untrusted person use your PC temporarily. You get the idea.
I have been working on a small script to facilitate a user do this installation.
The new script would be a 'companion' to the LiveUSB Creator script which is presently in the repository. It, hopefully, will be the second of a trio of such scripts, the third one is still in the planning stage.
Unfortunately it seems that there are so many different methods of normal installation and boot manager configurations that it may not be possible to do all I would like with the script without it becoming way too nagging. We'll see how it comes out.
Ideally, IMO, there should be one version of the boot manager (in our case Grub Legacy) which is a stand-alone installation, and is thus not subject to the vagaries of an OS for its continued operation. True, if the OS gets borked there may be nothing to boot, but if grub is independent then at least it will function which will allow it to boot the poormans live install if present.
Again in an ideal situation, this stand-alone version of Grub would reside on its own partition, and that partition would equally be placed first on the HDD …. or at least immediately after the first Windows partition if one should exist. Doing this means the partition is unlikely to be interfered with by any subsequent repartitioning.
Yes I recognise we do not live in an ideal world, but for those who might have the opportunity, I certainly recommend that such a partition should be in place. The size of that partition is determined by what you would intend to place in it. If it was only for grub itself then a couple of MBs is enough. If you want to also include a live OS then it would need to be big enough to hold the OS file, and then if you wanted persistence it would need to be bigger again.
I hope the above gives some idea of the approach I presently intend to take with this script.
I hope it will have the following features ….
Give the user a list of drives in the PC, to select one
Then give the user a list of partitions on that selected drive to select the location of the poormans install.
Grub should also be installed to the same partition if it does not already exist.
Grub will be written to the boot sector of that partition, and will then include a boot option for the poormans OS.
If the selected partition does not contain the Grub that is controlling booting, it will be necessary to add a boot stanza to call the poormans grub when required. This is not an ideal situation, but is likely the best compromise. Adding a simple new entry to the menu.lst file of the controlling Grub will allow the poormans OS to be bootable at start up. This MAY be possible from within the script, but it has to be tested first to see how much hassle it might cause for those not needing the facility. Again it will be a compromise I think.
The situation presently is that various subsections of the script are being tested to try to ensure there are no unexpected events.
After that, if and when all sections are working they will be stitched together to make the script, and then it will need to be tested as a complete entity.
After some time testing and bug fixing, it should be in a state to be released into the testing section of the repository. How this is done has not yet been decided. I may decide to include it as a second part of the present LiveUSB Creator, so that installing that package gives you both the live installer for removable devices and also for fixed drives. The jury is out on that one.
If I think of anything further to add to this post I will come back and do so.
In the meantime I am inviting comments and suggestions for what you would like to get from this, and if those suggestions are relevant to the purpose of the script, and – more importantly – are possible to do, then I will endeavour to include them.
As well as getting feedback from potential users, the other purpose of this thread is to try to keep me focussed on this. I had started it many months ago and got sidelined and distracted, forgetting about my intentions.
Hopefully that can now change and in a month or less we might have something to test that is close to complete.
Over to you folks ….... what have ye to say ….. or ask ….?
Is it even worth the effort?