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First Steps - How To Boot from USB
written October 30, 2023 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: USB; Booting; Intro; How To;    #51

If you wish to boot from a USB, have powered off your computer, put in the USB, and turned it on, and it starts up and goes to your normal desktop, then your system is not currently configured to boot from USB first. If you wish to boot from a Linux based USB drive, have no idea what a computer's BIOS is, do not know how to configure your system at a low level, then this blog post is for you.
It may be worthwhile to review this blog entry also:
What NOT to do with a Bootable USB Drive or Collection
You can refer to anecdotal configuration options for different systems at our Reference pages here:
Boot From USB
That reference information assumes you know all about the following...

Top level view: The hardware in a computer has a very limited set of what it can do, and is designed to run a full operating system (like Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, etc.). If you power up a motherboard with no hard drive or other media, all you might see is a cryptic message that says something like "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK". Because you can boot from various media, the BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) has a Boot Order - which media to look at first. If it finds an operating system, like a well trained dog, it will always boot the first operating system it finds.

To alleviate this issue, some human will need to configure the settings in the computer to change the boot order. Instead of Boot from Hard drive, Boot from CD/DVD, Boot from Network, etc., the option to Boot from USB must be enabled AND be first (or first among available options). For security purposes, the boot from USB is most likely not going to be first, so knowing how to get into your system configuration options is a requirement.

The good news is that this really isn't that big a deal, and is about on par with putting gas in your car. If you've always had full service, and never put gas in your car, you may be a bit confused if you pull up to a self-serve station. Where is the gas intake? On an old VW bug, the door is front right, and the release is by the glove box. An Acura is back left, and has the gas door release integrated with the trunk release. A Ford has a push to release door on the back right. Some cars have it behind the rear license plate, etc. Similarly, different manufacturer's have different approaches to get to the system configuration. Some require an Esc key during startup, some have F1, or F9, or Del key. Typically there is a brief message that is shown at the very beginning, and you need to watch like a hawk as the system starts from a powered off state, once you turn it on with the power switch. Worst case, you need to check with the manufacturer.

Once you get into the BIOS (a legacy term for the system configuration where you can set the boot order). Today it might be called settings, or configuration, or options, etc. Some systems have a menu option "Select Boot Device" or something like that. On these systems, you can simply select the USB option, and it will faithfully boot that operating system, i.e. your Linux Distro on USB. On others, you have to find something like "Boot order". Some of these system configuration options can be a bit quirky and not necessarily intuitive, so you may need to read the options. Some use F5/F6, or arrow keys, etc. to re-arrange boot options. Once you have put the USB first, refer to any instructions on how to "Save" this - some use an F10 key, some require you to select a "Save these options/confirm", etc. You can always restart, go back into the BIOS, and verify your changes are the now current settings.

It is also very easy to confirm you've configured your system correctly. You will boot from the USB, and NOT go to your normal desktop.

For the vast majority of systems, the above general information is all that is needed to boot from a USB vs. the hard drive. To be clear, however, there are various other settings that may be required. Things like legacy vs. UEFI, or CSM (a compatibility mode), etc. are just enough to confuse new users. This is why checking with the manufacturer, or doing an internet search for your model or motherboard manufacturer, and search for "how to boot USB on Gigabyte" or "how to boot USB on Dell Inspiron" may be the quickest & easiest way to guide you to the solution.

So in summary, configuring your computer is much like putting fuel in your car. Without this critical component, the car is a useless hunk of metal & plastic. Being unable to control your computer, limits what is available to you on modern day systems. So being familiar with configuring your system unlocks its potential, and being in control is much better state of mind than being intimidated by the depth & complexity of modern day computers. Note that there are computers that come pre-installed with Linux, but with a bit of configuration, the "Live" media approach lets you run Linux without affecting the existing operating system on your hard drive. This provides many benefits, and makes your computer even more flexible. It can provide security, anonymity, additional tools, and a myriad of other options available in the vast ecosystem of Linux.

A few notes and happenings…
written September 12, 2023 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: USB; Notes; What's happening;    #50

USB Promo - we are getting to the end of our inventory. We will remove promo info once we get to the last few.

Contact E-Mail - probably the worst situation is when we have a legitimate question from our contact page, and the e-mail bounces. Some can get fixed (like @yahool.com or @gmai.com), but others seem good, but don't get delivered. So we have no way of contacting the person, they think we didn't respond, and it is a lose-lose situation.

Facebook.com - we've created a new page, LinuxCollections.com What's New to address a complete lack of customer service from Facebook. So anyone who liked our original page, please also Like our new page. All boosted ads will come from the What's New page. This is the New/Old Facebook links on home page. We will keep both going for the foreseeable future.

The By Request page. We have had some requests that never got orders, so this will not be a high priority, although we may still try and help out legitimate requests going forward.

Discs and USB media - it is still quite a mix, where some days will have only disc orders go out, and others will be only USB orders being shipped, and sometimes both. No real rhyme or reason, and of course, there are pros and cons to both media, so we will keep the status quo.

Videos, other suggestions, etc. Let us know what you might like to see, or if there are other offerings you'd like with your distros.

Debian 12 Bookworm now available!
written June 16, 2023 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; Debian; Bookworm; Debian 12;    #49

A few notes on the recent Debian 12.0.0 "Bookworm" release. The 64-bit is now 21 DVDs, the i386 (i686 required) is now 20 DVDs, and the source is 19 DVDs. Because of the additional data, the USB Complete Collection no longer fits on a 128GB USB drive. So the move to 256GB means we match the Debian USB Developer Collection, and in fact, while everything fits, we will just put the source files on both items (basically we will use 1 master image). However, even at 256GB, there isn't much room. Not sure how this will play out as point releases roll out. So we anticipate at some point in the near future, the Developer Collection will need to roll to a larger drive. So effectively for this release, there is no difference between the 2 items, but once the source ISO no longer fit, it will be like the past, where the source files are only available on the Developer collection.

For the official Debian release notes, see the news here: Debian 12 bookworm released

For Debian 12 Bookworm, you can see:
Debian 12.0.0 USB Complete Collection
Debian 12.0.0 USB Developer Collection
Debian 12.0.0 AMD64

Updates & Info
written May 11, 2023 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; Debian; Ubuntu; Kubuntu; OpenMandriva    #48

We've updated the Ubuntu releases to the current 23.03 release, and 2 more of the Ubuntu flavors (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) now no longer fit on a single DVD-R in addition to Ubuntu Studio. We've updated these to be USB only. Because we do automated production & multiple orders, switching to a dual layer for a small number of releases makes no sense. Plus the USB options make more sense in many ways (faster/more flexibility/etc.).

Debian 11.7.0 is now available, and we've also added OpenMandriva 23.03 Rome. Mandriva has a long history, starting from Linux-Mandrake. The community came together to release OpenMandriva, a successor to the Mandriva releases. We've had some interest, so have added OpenMandriva to our catalog & added a dedicated page for the release.

Random Notes, What's Happening…
written February 8, 2023 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; UEFI; Debian    #47

USB Promo - we've been able to source 100 additional FREE USB drives, so this promotion will continue for the time being!

We've added the final releases for the 7.x and 10.x Debian releases (7.11.0 and 10.13.0). In general, most people want the most recent release, but for various customers doing certain maintenance tasks or preserving a specific running system, having the final final release of the major point release has been requested. It is somewhat counterintuitive, because for a period of time, the previous release keeps incrementing as well as the current release. Many people don't realize this (and we didn't for quite a few years), so once the final release is done, we will go out and add it to the catalog. At this point, it seems like there will be no more backfilling of the Debian catalog, but we will continue to grab the final release of the major versions going forward.

LinuxMint has joined Ubuntu regarding UEFI boot-ups - if booting on a non-UEFI system (and possibly a system without internet access), the recent LinuxMint releases (20+) will take an incredibly long time to get to the desktop. We recently tested a LinuxMint 19.3 USB for a recent order, and it booted super-fast to the desktop, so this is definitely something they've done in their later releases. If you take the same 21.1 on a UEFI system, it will boot to the desktop quickly - same USB on a non-UEFI system, and it takes quite a while. It is unfortunate that this isn't handled better by these distros. There could be a clearer indication of what the distro expects in terms of hardware, or better support for non-UEFI systems. It sure seems like the typical lazy developer approach of it works for me, ship it! Hopefully customers will be working with newer systems when using these distros…

Facebook Posts - we used to regularly "Boost" posts at Facebook to reach new potential customers. Currently due to changes at Facebook, somehow we've been blocked from continuing this practice, but continue to post on their platform - we just can't pay to boost the posts to reach new customers. Our request for review has been going since July 2022, and the 48 hours to respond has stretched to over 7 months! We actually spoke with a Facebook employee about this (hard to believe, I know), but their solution was to just be patient. It is truly amazing that even with thousands of employees, a simple paying customer request can't be answered.

Debian Complete Collection USB now has hardware .deb packages
written January 5, 2023 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; Debian Complete Collection USB; Drivers; Hardware    #46

We've had a couple of requests to include some non-free hardware drivers with the USB. These drivers do not meet the Debian project's requirements to be open source and unencumbered with proprietary licenses, so they are not part of the full Debian release, but for many systems, getting these drivers are helpful and in some cases important. So as a convenience, we've added a folder under the USB/boot folder called hardware, and below is the README.txt included with the USB as of Debian 11.6.0.

The following .deb packages are included with this release of Debian.


The ideal approach would be to use apt (or apt-get) to install from the repositories (Note - need to add non-free to /etc/apt/source.list & run apt update). For those that do not have internet, and are running from the ISOs/packages included with this USB, these are provided as a convenience.

Note that these may not be the most up-to-date, and are not necessarily updated with each point release/minor update to these Debian USBs.

For other packages not included, refer to this list (note bullseye release):


These packages downloaded from this location:


Installing .deb files - 3 options DPKG, APT, GDEBI

Example with firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb


dpkg -i firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb

Fix any dependencies

apt-get install -f

dpkg -r firmware-misc-nonfree [Remove Package]
dpkg --purge firmware-misc-nonfree [Remove Package with Configuration Files]


Use local path to bypass repositories

apt install ./firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb
apt-get install ./firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb

apt-get remove firmware-misc-nonfree
apt-get purge firmware-misc-nonfree

apt remove firmware-misc-nonfree
apt purge firmware-misc-nonfree


gdebi firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb

For GUI, use gdebi-gtk


Once installed, the .deb files are located at:


It is not the best approach to use individual .deb files vs. using repositories and the debian package system. However, in instances where that is not an option, the notes here and the included .deb files can be helpful.

USB Promo / Ubuntu 22.10 updates and notes
written October 27, 2022 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Ubuntu; Ubuntu Studio; USB Promo    #45

We've updated our LinuxCollections.com Logo to add a USB symbol, and to celebrate, we are doing a Free USB Promotion - the next 100 orders for Collections and any USB orders will receive a Free 4GB USB Drive! Adding any collection or any USB option will add the Free USB to your Order pad. Free is good! Tell a friend!

With the release of Ubuntu 22.10, the Ubuntu Studio release no longer fits on a single DVD, so this option is only available on USB (or as part of our Ubuntu Complete Collection). This is a very cool Ubuntu release that has ready-to-go graphic, audio, and video tools for anyone interested in this type of creative environment. With this release, it also turns out the collection no longer fits on a 32GB drive, so we've moved the full set of Ubuntu flavors to a 64GB USB.

Partitions, setup and configuration of the Debian Complete Collection USB
written September 28, 2022 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; USB Partitions; GRUB;    #44

We had a few questions on problems booting a Debian USB Complete Collection USB while working with a multi-boot laptop. The following is a bit more information that may help someone trying to configure another layer of booting prior to the USB. Note that the USB is meant to be the boot device, i.e. instead of booting to a hard drive, you would select the boot device to be the USB, NOT the hard drive. Be sure to refer to this first, and for other links on how to configure a system to boot from USB: What NOT to do with a Bootable USB Drive or Collection. The following info is for people that are trying to work with a different boot option and want more details on what is going on with the USB, its partitions, and its configuration. For the average person, you want to make sure you are booting from the USB, and all will be fine.

If you can't boot the USB due to your mutli-boot setup, then you can't view the details embedded in the grub menu. GRUB (for GRand Unified Boot loader) is the first code that runs when the USB boots. It does some simple things, and displays a menu, providing all the choices that can be loaded from the USB. As part of the grub menu, there are details on the partitions on the USB. Here is that info for reference:

==> Notes on Partitions (Volumes on this USB)
   There are 4 primary partitions
   1) EFI Boot partition (Do Not Use)
   2) USB_Boot (100+ GiB) partition - Boot and ISOs (Do Not Use)
   3) DebianInst partition - install DVD and ISO (Do Not Use)
   4) USB_Storage (2+ GiB) partition - user data/compatible format (DOS/FAT)

So the EFI partition is a FAT32 type format, while the second (USB_Boot) is ext4, and the third (DebianInst) & fourth (USB_Storage) are vfat.

When creating the USB, there is a basic grub setup for i386 and x86_64 EFI on the drive/first partition. This uses a grub menu to select/boot the other items - reference grub.cfg. So assuming the USB is /dev/sdb, grub-install is run with the indicated details. The grub-install for i386 is on /dev/sdb, with the boot-directory option pointing to /dev/sdb2/boot/grub. For the x86_64-efi grub install, the efi-directory is /dev/sdb1 with the same /dev/sdb2/boot/grub for the grub config. You will find grub.cfg in the /dev/sdb2/boot/grub location (e.g. /media/user/USB_Boot/boot/grub/grub.cfg). Theoretically, if you are booting to some other grub or menu setup, you can refer to the menu options in grub.cfg to run what you want to run.

This is a side point, but if you want to access the ISOs or use the ISOs to make bootable media, this blog item might be helpful: How to create a separate bootable USB for specific Live version from Debian USB Complete Collection

Some notes on Debian and Firmware
written April 7, 2022 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; Ubuntu; Firmware; non-free;    #43

There are hardware companies that do provide firmware drivers & kernel modules, but because they are not released under a "free" license, the Debian project tags them as non-free (and in fact, they may only be available as compiled binaries, i.e. no source available). So this means after you've installed Debian, you may see some warnings, notices, or errors when starting your system (or in /var/log/messages and /var/log/syslog). To resolve these and get the firmware specific software installed, here are some quick notes on the basic steps.

Note that we covered WiFi specific items previously here: Notes on WiFi Drivers - this also provides some other backgrounds notes and details.

For details on updating the /etc/apt/sources.list, see this item: Debian sources.list notes - be sure all entries match your current distribution, e.g. Stretch, Buster, Bullseye, etc.

Since the Debian releases do not include "non-free" items, and LinuxCollections.com only provides the actual releases from Debian, you will need to do some configuration changes to add these to your system.

If you have a running system, you can add non-free items by making sure non-free is in the /etc/apt/sources.list (e.g. main contrib non-free), then get to the superuser prompt, run "apt update", and use something like:

apt install firmware-misc-nonfree

apt install firmware-realtek

For full list of non-free firmware for Bullseye (links for other releases at top right of page), see:


Read only USB (physical write protect switch)
written January 12, 2022 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: USB; Physical write protect switch; Read Only    #42
We have had several requests for a "Read only" USB option, so have added a few items to our catalog - the Kanguru brand USB drives have a physical write protect switch, so we have added an 8GB option (available on any distro that has a USB option), and a 32GB add-on. These USB drives feature a small slide switch on the side of the USB, and when in the locked position, the USB cannot be written to. It will be seen as "Read only" media. If needed, you can slide to the unlocked position, and then it acts just like any other USB. These do cost more than a regular USB, so the increased price reflects the additional cost required to obtain these. This is another customer requested option that we are glad to offer - if you need something we don't have, please let us know.

Raspberry Pi: Reducing file system to fit on smaller SD Card
written December 22, 2021 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; Raspberry Pi; Raspbian; resize2fs    #41
For various projects, we have done some things on a Raspberry Pi. There are now multiple "flavors" of OSes for the RPi, but this example uses raspbian, a customized version of Debian for the Pi.

These are just loose notes on resizing an SD card to a smaller size for a Raspberry Pi. If moving from a smaller card to a larger card, you just need to manage the partitions - you may still want to use resize2fs, but you don't have to worry about size, like you do if shrinking the file system. There are various options, and your best bet is to review Raspberry Pi Forums, as you may find something more relevant to what your actual situation is. However, there were several commands that are interesting, and documenting the general approach and indicating how to use these commands may be useful for future reference.

So this was a RPi 3 with a 8GB SD card, with no extra 8GB SD card anywhere to be found, but several 2GB cards were available. The files in use for the root filesystem was 1.6GB, so just enough room to make it all work.

Note these examples are working with a standalone PC, not working with the RPi itself - again, if that is all you have, the RPi Forums are a great resource.

Here is an approach that can work if you were using the exact same SD card (i.e. cloning the existing system):

NOTE: All commands done as root (superuser or user with sufficient privileges)

Create the image from the SD Card:

dd if=/dev/8gbsd of=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img
-or could be something like-
dd if=/dev/sdb of=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img

Restore an image to disk:

dd if=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img of=/dev/8gbsd
dd if=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img of=/dev/sdb

Now if you try and use a 2GB card, e.g.

dd if=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img of=/dev/2gbsd
dd if=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img of=/dev/sdb

You will find there will be some warnings during the dd and that the 2GB SD card won't boot (kernel panic or file system issue)

So what to do?

You need some common / readily available utilities - GPartEd (GNOME Partition Editor), fdisk, e2fsck, resize2fs, e4defrag

If not installed/available, these are debian packages for reference:

e2fsprogs (e4defrag resize2fs e2fsck), fdisk package (fdisk), gparted package (gparted)

You need a scratch disk or USB flash drive or other media to do your resize work (theoretically you could use the 8GB card, but this was a working system, and there was no intention of modifying the original working system on the 8GB SD Card - so image it, and then put the working 8GB SD card aside)

For this example, a 16GB USB flash drive was used.

Partition as Linux (fdisk), and then format ext4 (mkfs.ext4)

Make sure it is not mounted, and then duplicate ext4 partition from 8GB card (both SD card and USB inserted, e.g. /dev/sdb and /dev/sdc)

dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=/dev/sdc1 (grab partition 2 from SD card and drop onto the USB drive)

Test USB drive

mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt
ls /mnt

You should see duplicated root file system on USB drive

Now prep the drive - you can delete any files you know aren't needed, then defragment the drive to optimize the layout of the file system, e.g.

/sbin/e4defrag /dev/sdc1

Then do file system check / prep for resize

/sbin/e2fsck -f /dev/sdc1

Now unmount the partition for resize step

umount /dev/sdc1

Finally, use the resize2fs utility to resize the file system

You can use this to see details on minimum size needed:

/sbin/resize2fs -P /dev/sdc1

The -M option minimizes the file system at optimum size:

/sbin/resize2fs -M /dev/sdc1

If this isn't small enough, you need to make sure you can still fit the files onto the 2GB card. If the usage is 1.6 GB used, you can try. If it is 2.6GB, there is no way the 2GB card will work. You can go back to the Test step, mount the USB, and try and delete files, then repeat the steps.

You can force the size with the -f option - note that if the existing files are too large to fit in your specified size, you can run into corrupted files, or it simply won't work.

/sbin/resize2fs -f /dev/sdc1 1820M

So now you've got a reduced ext4 partition that can fit on the 2GB card, but the 2GB card needs to be structured so it will boot on the RPi.

Start with gparted, and document what partitions are on the 8 GB card, note start point, size, and number of sectors per partition.

Now drop the 8GB image onto the 2GB - this will ensure the beginning part of the drive will match the layout of the boot partition.

dd if=/home/user/pi_images/8gbsd_image.img of=/dev/sdb

You can use gparted or fdisk, but you want to reduce the second partition so it will fit on the 2GB SD card. With fdisk, you'd delete partition 2, make a new one, and then select/verify the correct start sector and fit the maximum size for the new second partition. When asked about ext4 signature, you do not want to delete.

Again, you can use gparted to view & compare the 8GB vs. the 2GB - the beginning should be the same, and the second ext4 partition should fit on the card.

Now, you can put the reduced root partition from your USB drive:

dd if=/dev/sdc1 of=/dev/sdb2 (grab the USB drive and drop onto partition 2 from SD card)

Now, if the sizes are all good, and no errors or warnings, you can remove the USB drive, and try and mount partition 2/ext4 root file system:

mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt
ls /mnt

If all looks good, unmount the drive:

umount /dev/sdb2

Now put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and Boot Away!

Here are a few other notes regarding layout on SD card (for reference):

Clone MBR + BootSector to a new drive:

dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc bs=512 count=2

To restore the MBR from a backup image you want to copy only the first 446 bytes:

dd if=mbrbackup.img of=/dev/sdc bs=446 count=1

Clone only MBR from source disk to a new drive:

dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc bs=446 count=1

Some notes on Live Linux distros
written December 10, 2021 by TimeTraveler
Category: SupportNote Tags: Debian; Fedora; Ubuntu; Most Popular; USB Collections    #40

When you boot into a Live Linux distro, you are loading a complete, fully functional operating system on your system without affecting the existing installed operating system on the hard drive. This flexibility is truly awesome for certain purposes, such as inspecting a system without having to use the installed OS, grabbing a file without the need for logging into a system (which is why the physical control of the system is an important security issue, and partially why UEFI came to be), and the ability to check out a Linux distro without going through a whole install process. To someone who just uses their computer for work and doesn't have any technical know how or need, this particular capability isn't all that important, but for those technically inclined, it adds an important resource to your toolset, and also is just plain cool.

The LinuxCollections.com USB collections provide all sorts of options - all the Fedora flavors, all the Ubuntu flavors, all the Debian flavors, and the most popular collection. Not only can you explore the different desktops, you can see dedicated versions like Ubuntu Studio (for musicians/graphic artists/etc.), or Fedora Python Classroom, Fedora Robotics, and many others.

When you get booted into the OS, we sometimes get questions about where the ISO files are, or what is the root user (superuser) password. To address these specific items, we list the details below.

Where to find the ISO files, mounted location of the booted USB partition on these distro families:

  • Debian = /run/live/findiso
  • Fedora = /run/initramfs/isoscan
  • Linux-Lite = /isodevice
  • Linuxmint = /isodevice
  • Manjaro = /run/miso/img-dev
  • MX Linux = /live/iso-dev
  • openSuSE = /run/initramfs/isoscan
  • Ubuntu = /isodevice
On most live distros, it is suggested you use sudo to run a superuser/administrator command, e.g. sudo /sbin/fdisk /dev/sda
If you quickly want to get to the root prompt, on just about all live distros you can use sudo su, which is the su command (SuperUser) - normally you would be asked for the root password, but just about all treat it as an authorized command for the current user because of the sudo configuration. So by typing sudo su you get dropped into the root prompt as the root user. At this point, you can use passwd if you want to establish your own (known) password.

Note that some distros do require a root password or a sudo password - on MX Linux, the demo user's password is "demo", and the root user's password is "root". Some other root passwords are blank (empty/none), i.e. just hit return, or "live". On Debian the live user name is user with password "live"

All USB Collections updated!
written November 10, 2021 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; Fedora; Ubuntu; Most Popular; USB Collections    #39
With the release of Ubuntu 21.10 and Fedora 35, we've been able to update ALL our USB Collections. Debian seems to release every 2-3 months, while Ubuntu is on a 6 month cycle.

The Most Popular USB Collection-64 bit includes Ubuntu, Kubuntu, LinuxMint, Manjaro, MX Linux, openSUSE, Linux-lite, and Fedora, all on one 32GB USB Flash Drive for only $24.95! For versions and details, see Most Popular Collection

The Ubuntu USB Complete Collection-64 bit includes all flavors of Ubuntu, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Server, Budgie, MATE, plus Ubuntu Studio, all on a 32GB USB Flash Drive for only $24.95! For versions and details, see Ubuntu USB Collection

The Fedora USB Complete Collection-64 bit includes all flavors of Fedora, including Workstation, Server, all the Spins (Cinnamon/KDE/XFCE/MATE/etc.), plus the Labs (Astronomy/Python Classroom/Security Lab/Jam/Robotics/etc.) all on a 64GB USB Flash Drive for only $34.95! For versions and details, see Fedora USB Collection

For most recent Debian USB Collections, see Debian USB Complete Collection-64 bit and the 256GB monster with all the source also! Debian USB Developer Collection-64 bit


LinuxCollections.com media production has been green for years
written September 20, 2021 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Media Production    #38
We have tried to focus on Linux and our services, but it came up in a conversation, and we figured we should put it down for any interested parties. With a 36 panel solar array / approx. 10kW generation, we have been producing all our media and doing all our operations from a grid-free / solar electric powered office, generating all necessary power without any impact on the environment. We will note that there were impacts on the environment to produce/refine metals/assemble/transport/install the panels, which some people conveniently ignore, but for the past several years and going forward, LinuxCollections.com can be considered "green" for anyone so inclined to ask.

Debian 11.0.0 Release
written August 26, 2021 by TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Debian; Debian 11; Release;    #37
Debian 11 now available! Released August 14, 2021, this is code named "Bullseye". Available on 18 DVDs for AMD64 (64-bit) and i386 (32-bit), as well as the 8 live versions on DVD with Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, Standard (shell), and Xfce. We have assembled these into a single 128GB USB with the AMD64 release and all 8 live version (1 USB = 26 DVDs) - this Debian Complete Collection on USB is only $39.95. There is also the Developer version on a 256GB USB with an additional 17 DVDs of the source code (so 1 USB = 43 DVDs) and this is only $49.95. Although a major release that moves up the Linux kernel to 5.10.0-8, any of the examples for Debian 10 will work as outlined elsewhere on this blog. All USB scripts updated to reflect the change to Bullseye.

Debian 10.10.0 USB Developer Collection
written July 8, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; Updates; Debian;    #36

We have just released the Debian 10.10.0 USB Developer Collection which uses a 256GB USB Flash Drive and includes all 14 DVD ISOs with the Debian Source! So this is a step up from the Debian USB Complete Collection that ALSO includes all the source packages. This USB has 38 DVDs worth of Debian, and has all 8 live versions (Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, Standard, Xfce), as well as the full install and the 16 DVD ISOs for Debian 10.10.0 AMD64 (64-bit).

So what can you do with the source? Well, this is what GNU/Linux and Debian is all about. Even if you aren't an experienced developer, you can do things that can personalize your computing experience. Note that people all over the world create Debian whether as translators, documenters, developers, testers, bug-fixers, etc., etc. As both a fun example, and a functional example, we modify the BASH shell to show you what is involved, how relatively easy it is, and to show off that maybe a user-abusive interface is more in line with how computers should interact with us humans.

This walks through steps to modify bash (shell) on a Debian 10.10.0 / amd64 install.

To watch step-by-step on the LinuxCollections.com How To Video, see Debian Developer Collection on USB

This shows off how to configure/modify/install modified source for use on your system. This is not a disciplined approach for patches or serious development, more of a quick way to have some fun.

Example shows off how to build a more "user-abusive" command prompt…

Example starts with a full install with KDE Desktop and the Debian USB Developer Collection (LinuxCollections.com #51010)

[ ] = comments that cover relevant steps for full example (but not detailed)
( ) = comments about previous command, or options

[Install Debian 10.10.0 with KDE desktop]
[Insert Debian USB Developer Collection, and mount USB_Boot partition]
[Get to root Shell/Terminal/Command prompt (Konsole/use root password entered during install)]
#cd /media/user/USB_Boot/boot/mountusb
(change to mounted folder so you can run mountusb shell script)
(This mounts all ISO as sources, and updates /etc/apt/sources.list to reference ALL packages on all 30 DVDs)
(change to home directory as a working folder)
#apt-get -y install build-essential fakeroot devscripts
(default Yes answer, and install necessary packages to allow building)
#apt-get source bash
(Installs bash source, any error has to do with "loosely handling" code, safe to ignore for this example)
(if desired, install preferred editor, e.g. apt-get install vim (or use nano))
#cd bash-5.0
(change directory to installed source)
#vim execute_cmd.c
(search for "command not found" and modify to your desired error, e.g. "Get it right, Dipbrain!", then save the file)
#apt-get -y build-dep bash
(make sure any build dependencies required by bash are installed, default Yes to install)
#debuild -b -uc -us
(debuild is a front end to build debian packages, uses dkpg-buildpackage, etc. ("man debuild" for more details), the -b is a binary build, -uc unsigned changes, do not sign modifications/changes, -us unsigned source, do not sign source package (example is for fun/personal use))
#cd ..
(up one folder where newly built .deb package is located)
(add /sbin to root path for ldconfig/install tools)
#dpkg -i bash_5.0-4_amd64.deb
(debian package install with our newly build .deb package)

Now run a new terminal window (so new bash process is created, i.e. the bash we just built), and type a bad command…

You too can create a user abusive operating system that tells it like it is…

For other details and examples, see wiki entry: Debian Building Tutorial

Notes on WiFi Drivers
written May 12, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: Tags: WiFi; Wireless; Drivers; Firmware;    #35

This talks about WiFi options for Debian, but can be helpful for Debian based distros, and a guide for any other non-Debian distros.

First, some background. WiFi or Wireless networks use radio frequencies to communicate data. These occupy specific bands in the radio spectrum, and these bands are controlled in the U.S. by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), and other governmental agencies in other countries. Because of the potential to disrupt other radio frequency devices, there can be concerns with the drivers that can control the hardware. If it was all open source, theoretically on some devices, a skilled programmer could create something that is non-compliant within the FCC regulations. So therefore, companies that produce phones and wireless devices aren't super agreeable to let the average person dink around with the drivers that could turn a little-ole tablet into a radio scrambler. Which means that often the Linux based wireless drivers are proprietary (i.e. not open source), or non-existent for some devices (the company wrote the Windows drivers, got approved, and moved on to a new device).

So if you have a laptop or other device with WiFi capability, just installed Linux, and can't get the WiFi to work, then this info may be for you. There is one guy that comments on our Facebook posts and has complained that his laptop never works with Linux, and it is very possible that some low-cost laptops sold with Windows using certain chipsets will never have working WiFi with Linux (see above). Luckily, the majority don't fall into that category, but be aware that this could be a losing battle - time for a better laptop…

For basic notes on what to do, there is a good spot on Debian's Wiki - check out Debian Wireless Fidelity. If you get a note/details on the missing firmware, you can look at Firmware-iwlwifi file list for Intel WiFi adapters. For more details on these, you can look at Intel WiFi Wiki. Note that most (or all) of these will need you to have non-free option to your sources list (for notes on sources.list, see this blog entry: Debian sources.list example)

What prompted this blog entry was a customer installing Debian on an HP laptop - this was his success story submitted by him: Found firmware drivers here: Unofficial non-free firmware for Buster. Downloaded firmware, unzipped to USB stick which I just left plugged in while going through new install/restart process and software found the right driver immediately when going through install and set up WiFi no problem immediately, and said it was downloading some updates during installation.

As a final note, it is important to understand because these drivers are non-free, the default Debian install will not include these, so some extra work is required. It is hard to figure out which entity is the source of this annoyance. Is it the government for imposing regulations on radio frequency communication? Hard to blame them, since some regulation is needed somewhere. Is it the hardware manufacturer for not open sourcing drivers? As outlined, there are possibly overriding concerns that drive this decision. Is it Debian for not including these drivers in their install? Hard to blame them, since these are not open source, and do not meet Debian's guidelines. Since there is a solution, perhaps it is best to appreciate that simple fact, and realize it is the result of disparate people each selecting the best option available within the scope of their individual situation.

Cloned Drives and UUIDs
written April 28, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: Tags: UUID; lsblk; fstab;    #34

Let's say you did a hard disk clone and it won't boot. This outlines specific steps to fix a cloned hard drive on /dev/sda that did not boot after cloning. The main issue was a different UUID for the hard drive. If you have the option during cloning to preserve the UUID, all this would not be necessary. So this is a duplicated drive that does not have the UUID of the original. When the system tried to boot, it did not, and this was shown:

Gave up waiting for root device

ALERT! /dev/disk/by-uuid/[UUID] does not exist!

So this is a problem with /etc/fstab and/or GRUB - here are some steps to resolve the problem:

NOTE: All examples assume single hard drive device as /dev/sda and booting rescue from USB or Disc

Get to a Shell with root/superuser prompt
Plug in handy Debian Complete Collection on USB (or suitable boot media with shell access)
Select Live Standard (Shell prompt)
Type sudo su[Enter] to get to root/superuser prompt

Figure out new UUIDs (main boot partition/swap/etc.)
You can use blkid (/sbin/blkid[Enter]) to view current UUID for drives
To save off for use in editing, you can do something like this:
lsblk -l -o +UUID | grep sda1 | cut -b 80-115 > newuuid.txt[Enter]
(List 36 characters for UUID into file)
Now we want to actually make changes to the boot drive (not our USB drive), so mount the root partition (be sure you know correct partition/layout of drive for this step!)
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt[Enter]
cd /mnt/etc[Enter]
nano fstab[Enter]
In nano, use insert key, then enter /home/user/newuuid.txt to insert text for new hard drive UUID - edit as appropriate to replace/update the UUID. Note old UUID that you are updating/replacing, as this may be used in grub.cfg, and also need an update.

You will also need to do a similar process for the swap partition

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=c3447a5c-d4d9-4327-af71-393723761edd / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=75eef9cf-24c1-4b1a-9a3e-8a3c625bd62a none swap sw 0 0
/dev/sr0 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0

At this point, you should remove USB / DVD boot media, and reboot system to boot hard drive. You should at least get to the grub menu (startup menu)

Ideally you will be able to boot the default item or get into the advanced options (if available) and get a rescue mode/option to boot

If this does not work, or there is still boot issue (and you can't use rescue option to boot to hard drive), then, you will have to get to same spot as updating fstab and then update a grub.cfg menu item (change root UUID from original/old UUID to new hard drive UUID (e.g. what was saved in newuuid.txt)) e.g. nano /boot/grub/grub.cfg[Enter] - you will want to find the old/original UUID and replace with new current hard drive UUID - you can do the whole file, but easiest to do the main boot option or use edit option from grub menu. The reason we suggest editing grub.cfg is because you can use newuuid.txt vs. recording/manually entering new UUID.

echo 'Loading Linux 4.19.0-14-amd64 ...'
linux /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-14-amd64 root=UUID=c3447a5c-d4d9-4327-af71-393723761edd ro quiet

If you still can't get booted on the actual hard drive (never see GRUB errors or just reboot without starting GRUB), then you may have to do some work to run / fix grub - here is one (simple) approach:
After booting to the rescue prompt:
$>sudo su
#>mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
#>cd /mnt
(Now map rescue system to critical mount points proc/sys/dev on /mnt to prep for chroot)
#>mount -t proc /proc proc/
(if that fails, try rbind), e.g. mount --rbind /proc proc/
#>mount --rbind /sys sys/
#>mount --rbind /dev dev/
(Now chroot to make this root folder)
#>chroot /mnt
(Now fall into fix below, e.g. run update-grub then grub-install /dev/sda)

Once booted, you will want to formally update grub/fix all references to hard drive
get to root/superuser prompt and run
grub-install /dev/sda[Enter]

Then reboot, and your system now is reconfigured for cloned drive!

Delay/Warning: Gave up waiting for suspend/resume device

This can happen if the original drive had a device configured for suspend/resume with a UUID - now that the UUID has changed, it will cause a delay are reboot. Here are some quick notes on where to find / how to resolve this situation.

Once you have your correct UUID, as root/superuser, go to /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/ and edit the file resume. Use RESUME=UUID=75eef9cf-24c1-4b1a-9a3e-8a3c625bd62a (where UUID matches correct device). Alternatively, use RESUME=none if this capability is not needed/wanted.
Make sure your root user has /sbin in the path, e.g. PATH=$PATH:/sbin, then run update-initramfs -u to update correct files. Now reboot and this should remove & resolve delay, warning display.

Debian Buster (10) sources.list example
written March 2, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: SupportNote Tags: Debian; Buster; sources.list; apt; apt-get    #33

So let's say your at the point that you've installed Debian onto a hard drive, and you want to get updates from the internet. Depending on the exact sequence at install, your /etc/apt/sources.list will reference the installation media. Below are some basic examples for modifying your sources.list with notes on why & what. For more details on what goes in sources.list, you can use man sources.list.

The sequence of updating sources.list is to comment out existing entries (unless you also want to use these), and then add the appropriate "new" sources. Once the files sources.list is updated and saved, you run apt-get update to query the sources and get package information. (Watch for any errors or issues during this process). Once you have performed this step, you can then check for upgrade information: apt-get upgrade. These all need to be performed as superuser (login as root or use sudo).

From then on, to check for updates you just need to run:
apt-get update[Enter]
apt-get upgrade[Enter]

The following entries for sources.list use ONLY the Debian sources (main)
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main

The following entries for sources.list use Debian sources PLUS contributions and non-free options (main, contrib, non-free) This configuration may be required for certain packages and to access proprietary add-ons.
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main contrib non-free

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main contrib non-free

This is an alternate way if you wish to specify server location (example is country code us for United States, list of available servers at debian.org)
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ buster main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ buster main contrib non-free

This is an alternate entry for security (e.g. security updates only)
deb http://security.debian.org/ buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ buster/updates main contrib non-free

Debian 10.8.0 USB Complete Collection
written February 15, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; Updates; Debian;    #32

We have just released the Debian 10.8.0 USB Complete Collection and have done a few updates. A customer asked for the Text based install option, so we have added an Advanced Options submenu that provides the additional options that you would find if booting direct from the DVD. We had originally decided that keeping it simple would be the best (i.e. one option to install), but do recognize that there are special situations where the advanced options are necessary. So we have put these additional options as selections in the Advanced Options submenu. We have also updated the version of GRUB used to master the boot options for the USB itself. Enjoy!

Random Notes, What's New 2021
written January 22, 2021 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: New; Hardware;    #31

LinuxCollections.com is now using Stripe.com to process credit card payments. With the growth of alternative payment options, it made sense to make the transition to a more full service solution for our customers. For repeat customers, please note that the payment approach is slightly different, and you will be taken to stripe.com's servers for processing your secured payment details.

Facebook Posts - we regularly "Boost" posts at Facebook to reach new potential customers. Some Facebook users complain that this is spam, and we should stop spamming their news feed. It seems useless to point out that this is not under the control of LinuxCollections.com, but it is Facebook that determines where these boosted posts go. The disconnect that these Facebook users display seems to match their approach, as some of these pictures and responses are tasteless. We'd just like to state for the record that Facebook is an advertising company that makes its money off of advertisers, and if they don't like the advertising, they may wish to rethink their relationship with Facebook. But we imagine those thoughts would not compute.

Hardware - some of the issues with Linux are due to lack of drivers for certain pieces of hardware (e.g. wireless adapters, printers, etc.) If you run into this, your best bet is to reach out to the hardware manufacturer. Even if they can't help you, by doing this they will know that they may be losing business due to lack of Linux support. The squeaky wheel gets the grease - if enough people talk about Linux, the hardware manufacturers will pay attention.

Chromebooks - there are enough different chromebooks where the manufacturers don't provide the drivers, so it is hard for a general purpose distro to support an arbitrary chromebook. Plus hardware configurations can change rapidly, so the manufacturer is busy just keeping up. The effort to compile all sorts of different drivers, test on all sorts of different chromebooks, and release this is a lot to ask for a "Free" distribution. Always be aware of a market's dynamics when trying to understand what is available and what is not. There are some specific distros out there, but (so far) there has not been enough demand to make an effort to offer these.


Archive Year: 2020

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USB Promo / Ubuntu 22.10 updates and notes
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Partitions, setup and configuration of the Debian Complete Collection USB
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Read only USB (physical write protect switch)
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Some notes on Live Linux distros
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All USB Collections updated!
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Tags: Debian; Fedora; Ubuntu; Most Popular; USB Collections

LinuxCollections.com media production has been green for years
September 20, 2021
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: Media Production

Debian 11.0.0 Release
August 26, 2021
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: Debian; Debian 11; Release;

Debian 10.10.0 USB Developer Collection
July 8, 2021
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: New; Updates; Debian;

Notes on WiFi Drivers
May 12, 2021
Time Traveler
Tags: WiFi; Wireless; Drivers; Firmware;

Cloned Drives and UUIDs
April 28, 2021
Time Traveler
Tags: UUID; lsblk; fstab;

Debian Buster (10) sources.list example
March 2, 2021
Time Traveler
Category: SupportNote
Tags: Debian; Buster; sources.list; apt; apt-get

Debian 10.8.0 USB Complete Collection
February 15, 2021
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: New; Updates; Debian;

Random Notes, What's New 2021
January 22, 2021
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: New; Hardware;


Archive Year: 2020


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