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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"

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