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USB Collection Updates - Most Popular, Fedora, Ubuntu
written May 1, 2024 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: USB Collection Updates;Most Popular;Fedora;Ubuntu    #54
 

With the release of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS and Fedora 40, we've updated all the Collection USBs that contain these distros.

Both the Ubuntu & Fedora require 64GB USBs to hold the ever-growing size of the releases. In a bold and almost unbelievable move, we have lowered the price on these USBs down to $29.95. How is that for an inflation fighter?! The Most Popular fits on a 32GB USB, but we have had to drop a few distros since it was originally released, and is available at only $24.95

For the current distros on the Most Popular Collection USB, see the Catalog #51006

For the full listing of the distros on the Fedora USB Collection, see the Catalog #51011

For the full listing of the distros on the Ubuntu USB Collection, see the Catalog #51012

Testimonials, Feedback, Input & Updates
written March 27, 2024 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: Testimonials; Feedback; Input; Updates;    #53
 

We received 2 unsolicited praiseworthy e-mails in the last few weeks, and figured we would share it on the blog. Thank you to all LinuxCollections.com Customers!


March 14, 2024

Great purchase process...

A phone number with a human (who actually answered the call and patiently answered my pre-sales questions) was also an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

well done!
GW

March 26, 2024

This was my third order from LinuxCollections.com & it was the fastest shipping time yet = seven business days from California to Nova Scotia, with no damages to the cardboard box or the contents.

Awesome job, keep up the great work, & THANK YOU for providing this important service to all of those who use it now & in the future!
RT

It is funny how the world changes. The issue with advertising on Facebook has never been resolved, even with a physical snail mail letter sent to a company with thousands of employees. No one could even bother to respond. This is why the LinuxCollections.com What's New page is the preferred Facebook page. Similarly, the Amazon Pay issue seemingly ended with an e-mail saying we will no longer respond to this issue, even though it was not made clear what we could do to satisfy their requirements. Just for kicks, we also wrote them a physical letter. Again, no response at all. We have left the Amazon Pay option on the site in the hopes that one of the thousands of people who work at Amazon will someday look at the letter, and at least take the effort to explain what the exact issue is. Specifically, they say we are in violation of their policies, and point to dozens of items, not clearly identifying what we can do to satisfy their interpretation. We sort of believe it has to do with accepting Debian donations, but are not really sure. It is both frustrating and sad that even common courtesy, and reasonable customer service is lost on these large organizations. But the only constant is change, and perhaps things will change for the better as time marches on.

Also, it still is amusing to us when people on Facebook take the effort to point out people can do what we do at home. It is possible some people may not realize this, but most or all of our customers know this. We like to say to people it is like a restaurant or car wash - sure people can make the food they want to eat at home, or wash their car themselves, but it is also nice to get the convenience of having the work done for you. Also, we have some customers that don't have reliable internet, or want large quantities of discs, etc., etc. Also downloading all of Debian takes awhile, and it sure makes sense to get it all on the Debian USB Complete Collection at a reasonable price, with no headache or frustration and just a few clicks on our website.

Happy New Year 2024!
written January 2, 2024 by Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry Tags: USB; Notes; Price; Amazon Pay; What's happening;    #52
 

The Free USB Promo is over - thanks to all our hundreds of customers who received a Free USB! Note: The last few Free USBs may not be reflected in your order as a line item.

To reflect changes in the world at large, we have bumped up our prices just a bit starting in 2024.

Amazon Pay has suspended support for the site because we accept Debian donations. We are working with them to see if we can find a solution. We have been doing this for years, but somehow either due to changes in their policies (or actual enforcement), this has raised an issue from their point of view. Hopefully this can get resolved. Please use PayPal or a credit card.

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.

firmware-amd-graphics_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-intel-sound_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-intelwimax_20210818-1~bpo11+1_all.deb
firmware-linux_20210315-3_all.deb
firmware-linux_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-linux-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb
firmware-linux-nonfree_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb
firmware-misc-nonfree_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-realtek_20210315-3_all.deb
firmware-realtek_20221214-2_all.deb
firmware-samsung_20210315-3_all.deb
firmware-samsung_20221214-2_all.deb

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):

https://packages.debian.org/source/bullseye/firmware-nonfree

These packages downloaded from this location:

http://http.us.debian.org/debian/pool/non-free/f/firmware-nonfree/

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

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

DPKG

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]


APT

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

gdebi firmware-misc-nonfree_20210315-3_all.deb

For GUI, use gdebi-gtk

Notes:

Once installed, the .deb files are located at:

/var/cache/apt/archives

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:

https://packages.debian.org/source/bullseye/firmware-nonfree

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.

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Archive Year: 2020

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Blog Information

USB Collection Updates - Most Popular, Fedora, Ubuntu
May 1, 2024
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: USB Collection Updates;Most Popular;Fedora;Ubuntu
 

Testimonials, Feedback, Input & Updates
March 27, 2024
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: Testimonials; Feedback; Input; Updates;
 

Happy New Year 2024!
January 2, 2024
Time Traveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: USB; Notes; Price; Amazon Pay; What's happening;
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read only USB (physical write protect switch)
January 12, 2022
TimeTraveler
Category: BlogEntry
Tags: USB; Physical write protect switch; Read Only
 


Archives

Archive Year: 2021

Archive Year: 2020

 
 

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