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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Puppy on the EEEPC?
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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 21:36    Post subject:  Puppy on the EEEPC?
Subject description: Is it suitable for the eeepc?
 

Well, I wanted to ask all you Puppy fans if Puppy would be suitable to run on one of Asus's new EEEPC (for those of you who maybe have not heard of it, it's a mini laptop with a 7 inch screen and solid state drive that's coming out for $260 in its cheapest version).

Thing is this:

The EEE PC (the cheap version) has a 2Gigas solid state (flash) drive (thus no real hard drive) and 256 megas of RAM. It comes with Linux preinstalled (a customized Xandros version which I will erase as soon as I buy one) so all hardware is Linux compatible. The problem is that since the "hard drive" is really flash based, it's the same as any flash memory: limited amount of writes before it stops working...

I know that Puppy can be installed to a USB memory, but I don't know if Puppy is designed to try to keep writes to a minimum in order to preserve flash memory... plus, in this case, the idea would be to install Puppy to the solid state drive, but having puppy keep writings to a minimum, but at the same time being able to install puppy packages and stuff... So I'm guessing swap file is out of the question, for example, and I would also guess it should run with the NOATIME option... but this is just what I have read, I'm a regular linux user but I'm far from being a Linux expert...

So, I guess my question is: EEE PCs are probably going to become very popular, and Puppy sounds like a really good option.... How could I use Puppy in one of this, keeping writings to a minimum in order to preserve the solid state drive?
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Pizzasgood


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 6270
Location: Knoxville, TN, USA

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 21:59    Post subject:  

Quote:
but I don't know if Puppy is designed to try to keep writes to a minimum in order to preserve flash memory

It is, when it knows it's running on flash (or when it mistakenly thinks it is, as I experienced once). Essentially, when Puppy detects that it's booting from flash media (you can assist that by specifying with the pmedia= boot option), it mounts the filesystem, but it only union's it as read-only. It then sets up a ramdisk that gets unioned on to of it. So whenever you make any changes or download something, it goes into that ramdisk. Then, when you shut down, anything remaining in the ramdisk gets copied back to the drive.

Obviously, there could be issues if you have a crash mid-session. So Puppy also copies back periodically (I think every 30 minutes). You can also force a write, if for example, you just finished your term paper Wink On older versions, you had to do that manually, but on newer ones I think there's an icon. Otherwise, making your own icon is trivial. I don't remember the exact commands, but it involves snapmerge. You could read through the /usr/sbin/savepuppyd scrip to get the exact commands, or search the forum.

One other issue we used to have is that since all your changes go into ram, the ram would eventually fill up. Puppy didn't flush the data to the disk, just copy it. I think true flushing was achieved in the latest version (3.00) though.

A good page about how Puppy works is the how Puppy works page:
http://www.puppyos.com/development/howpuppyworks.html

I don't think it has been updated for Puppy 3.00 yet though, but you get the general idea from it.

And yeah, swap would be a no-no.

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SirDuncan


Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Posts: 836
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 22:21    Post subject:  

I have been considering getting one of those as a note taking machine (my T40 isn't very heavy, but carrying it around all day starts to wear on you, and I don't really need all that power to take notes and look at my professor's Flash animations). I was thinking the cheap one had an eight gig drive and the expensive one had a sixteen gig one. That was the last I heard, perhaps they had to change things to keep costs down.

Anyway, it should run Puppy just fine. We may have to force Puppy to treat it as a flash drive, as suggested by Pizzasgood, but Puppy does limit writes. I've run it on my one gig flash drive quite a bit, and it doesn't seem to slow down from memory filling up. I did run 2.17 from the drive a little bit, but not enough to know if there was a difference.

If you get one before I do (assuming I do get one), you'll have to let me know how it works for you.

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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 22:27    Post subject:  

SirDuncan wrote:
I was thinking the cheap one had an eight gig drive and the expensive one had a sixteen gig one. That was the last I heard, perhaps they had to change things to keep costs down.


Unfortunately not... I've been following it since I first heard of it, and just like you said, to keep costs down they've changed specifications quite a bit basically

$260 you get 256 of RAM and 2G solid state drive (and no web cam)
$299 same but with webcam
$399 512 of RAM and 4G solid state drive

Another question: So, as in "version for dummies", how would I make a Puppy install into the solid state drive, in such a way that it runs thinking it's a flash drive (to keep writes at a minimum) and without a SWAP space? I mean, would I format that partition as ext3, or as ext2, or FAT, or what?
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4752
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 22:36    Post subject: flash  

When you use the Universal Installer (an easy-to-follow GUI), make sure that you choose the flash option (whether USB or IDE) and install to a partition. Your syslinux.cfg will then have something like PMEDIA=usbflash, or PMEDIA=ideflash. Accept most of the default choices offered by the installer.

We are curious if the flash disk in the eee is seen as USB flash or IDE flash.

EDIT: rojoc, the original format of the flash drive should be FAT16, and you should keep it that way (don't reformat it to FAT32).

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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 23:05    Post subject: Re: flash  

raffy wrote:
EDIT: rojoc, the original format of the flash drive should be FAT16, and you should keep it that way (don't reformat it to FAT32).


Well... actually I won't have it until another month or so (I'm just so eager to get it I want to know what I'll do as soon as I get it. However, another question (sorry for asking so much Smile ):

The lappy comes with a custom Xandros, which if I am not mistaken runs over an ext2 filesystem... should I then re-format the drive to FAT 16, or should I just format it under ext2? Cause I would guess that having it over ext2 or ext3 would be better, wouldn't it? I mean, ext3 does have journalising, and isn't FAT 16 supposed to only accept filenames of up to 8 characters?
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SirDuncan


Joined: 09 Dec 2006
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 23:11    Post subject:  

If it is already in ext2/3 I would leave it as such. These are better for Linux in general. If it is in fat16/32, I would leave it in that since Puppy can run a frugal install from them and youo don't have to worry about screwing something up.
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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 23:18    Post subject:  

SirDuncan wrote:
If it is already in ext2/3 I would leave it as such. These are better for Linux in general. If it is in fat16/32, I would leave it in that since Puppy can run a frugal install from them and youo don't have to worry about screwing something up.


Well, I am quite capable of booting with a live CD, erasing and reformatting the partition to ext3 which I would be more comfortable with, and then booting the Puppy CD to install it. However, once installed, would Puppy still work saving everything (user files, applications, etc) into one file, or would it work like a "normal" linux system saving everything on the partition under the typical *nix structure?
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SirDuncan


Joined: 09 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 23:29    Post subject:  

The installer asks whether to do a frugal install (just copies a few files and runs like it is a live CD) or a full HD install (regular, full file structure setup like you get with most OSes). So as long as it is in ext2/3 then you can choose your installation method. If it's fat16/32 then you must do a frugal.
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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed 10 Oct 2007, 23:39    Post subject:  

SirDuncan wrote:
The installer asks whether to do a frugal install (just copies a few files and runs like it is a live CD) or a full HD install (regular, full file structure setup like you get with most OSes). So as long as it is in ext2/3 then you can choose your installation method. If it's fat16/32 then you must do a frugal.


Hummmm... Really sorry to bother you with all these questions of mine... but ... another one....sorry....

In that case, which would be better? Would both of them perform equally? In my particular case in which I need to keep writing at a minimum would one be better than the other? (I'm kind of guessing that since Frugal install works with few files it would write less, but I don't know if with a Frugal install I can install new applications and such or if once I reboot I loose any installed applications).

Oh, and really, thank you very much for all the help, I don't know much about Puppy since I've only used it as a rescue system, and I really appreciate the help!
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
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Location: Manila

PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct 2007, 00:22    Post subject: flash install  

Flash install is very similar to frugal, with the exception that the frugal install does instant writes, as far as I know. Since you want to keep writes infrequent, go for the flash install.

Yes, both setups use a pup_save file.

FAT16 or FAT32 is at times confusing in implementation*, but when in Puppy, you can format flash to FAT by using "mkdosfs /dev/sda1" in console, or use Gparted for GUI.

* Maybe "Don't format it in WinXP" should be the proper advise.

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macadavy

Joined: 12 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct 2007, 04:01    Post subject:  

Puppy 2.17 and up offers the option of encrypting your pup_save file.
If you choose 'heavy' encryption (a wise precaution if you're using flash media) it writes only at shutdown, unless you choose to save manually (e.g. that all-important term paper PG referred to Wink ). An icon 'Pup save' appears on the desktop for this purpose. HTH

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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct 2007, 09:47    Post subject:  

macadavy wrote:
Puppy 2.17 and up offers the option of encrypting your pup_save file.
If you choose 'heavy' encryption (a wise precaution if you're using flash media) it writes only at shutdown, unless you choose to save manually (e.g. that all-important term paper PG referred to Wink ). An icon 'Pup save' appears on the desktop for this purpose. HTH


So, to recapitulate everything learned so far and see if I am correct...

In my particular context (Installing Puppy in a solid state drive) I should:

1. Have the flash partition in either ext2,ext3,fat16 or fat32 (Which is preferred? I can format my partition in any of these, remember I am going to erase everything from that drive anyway, I can format in whichever filesystem is best)
2. Choose the "Flash install" option
3. Choose the option to have the pup_save file encrypted

That should then give me a working Puppy keeping writes to the minimum, and in which I could install applications (via Puppy packages), etc.

Is this info right, or anything else I need to know?
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raffy

Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 4752
Location: Manila

PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct 2007, 10:17    Post subject: which  

Quote:
Which is preferred? I can format my partition in any of these

The key word here is "syslinux", which will be used to boot your installation - I guess it is associated with FAT. If you do the format from within Puppy, especially with "mkdosfs" in console, there is actually only one choice.

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rozojc

Joined: 10 Oct 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu 11 Oct 2007, 10:37    Post subject: Re: which  

raffy wrote:
Quote:
Which is preferred? I can format my partition in any of these

The key word here is "syslinux", which will be used to boot your installation - I guess it is associated with FAT. If you do the format from within Puppy, especially with "mkdosfs" in console, there is actually only one choice.


Hmmm, I feel I still don't get one thing...

I am going to make a flash installation of Puppy in a solid state drive... You are telling me that the best option is to have that drive contain only one partition, and that that partition should be FAT32?

I think my question is: Can I just have one partition in EXT3 (which I prefer for journalising reasons), and make a Flash install of Puppy into that partition?

My problem is not making the partition or "how to make" a partition, I am capable of partitioning my hard drive in any way I want, but I just want to do it in whichever way I will get the most out of Puppy...
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