Crossposting it here after advice on the askUbuntu site; my hard drive just died, my network connection is very slow (typing it over Tor under Tails probably doesn't help), so I want to be 100% sure I'm downloading the right image (latest desktop xubuntu x64 installer), and thus I'm asking it in advance here rather than test some myself.

For 'Yesterday', I need a fully functional linux distro to run from a usb stick until I get a replacement drive from support. By fully functional I mean:

  • root access (in particular package manager) (mandatory)
  • persistence of everything, especially installed software on the said usb (mandatory),
  • full access to hardware on which it is being run (mandatory),
  • system-agnostic, i.e. can boot on any modern machine and autoconfigure network, etc., '''regardless''' of the settings of the machine on which persistance was enabled (highly desirable)
  • encrypted partitions (at least /home) support (highly desirable)
  • debian/ubuntu based (preferable - no time to relearn yaml or RedHat architecture)

This is a somewhat different use-case from both a 'try-before-you-buy' live-usb, and normal-user oriented, browser-centric 'safe' distributions, persistence or not. What I need is probably closer to a 'normal' installation for developers, but completely hardware independent. I'm not sure if in fact full '''installation''' of xubuntu on that usb wouldn't be the best solution, as I don't know what is actually persisted in the live mode, and to what degree booted system can adapt to architecture changes between restarts. As I said, I'm typing this from Tails which is great for carrying around and occasional browsing, but a huge overkill for any prolonged work, with a high risk of losing something between sessions.

Any advice here (especially suggesting better suited distros/installers) would be highly appreciated!

closed as off-topic by jasonwryan, GAD3R, Thomas Dickey, Eric Renouf, Anthon Sep 20 '16 at 13:37

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question has been posted on multiple sites. Cross-posting is strongly discouraged; see the help center and community FAQ for more information." – jasonwryan, GAD3R, Thomas Dickey, Eric Renouf, Anthon

  • cross posted askubuntu.com/questions/827181/… – Anthon Sep 20 '16 at 13:36
  • Hmm, so it was judged off-topic on ask Ubuntu and referred here, but here it's off topic because it was already asked somewhere, where correct answer would be off-topic? Great, I'll never mention it again. Job well done. – Turin Sep 21 '16 at 12:08
  • You just need to follow the rules of the site where you post, if you did not do that, you did not prepare as you should. If you post here, don't post on another site as well it is clearly stated in the on-topic part of the help. You should just have deleted the post on the Ubuntu site to prevent this from happening. – Anthon Sep 21 '16 at 12:14

You can create persistent installs on flash drives. The bottom line is just treat your usb drive like a hard drive. Refer to Live Usb Pen Drive Persistent - Ubuntu Wiki for more detailed information.

You should use the i386 (32-bit) image as it will be usable on the majority of processors due to backward compatibility (x86, x86_amd64). If you really need support for other architectures, you'll probably have to create a separate system partition for each and install each separately. But unless you have a really ancient Macintosh or IBM, most of the other architectures supported are for machines that you almost certainly won't be using a desktop on.

  • Thanks, so I should be allright. I probably should have said different hardware configurations rather than different architectures, as I don't expect to use it on anything other than x86. Will see how it goes, with some mount -bind I hope I'll get what I indended. – Turin Sep 20 '16 at 13:44
  • @Turin The Debian installer has an option to install only drivers needed or all drivers (select the latter, which is the default (same for Ubuntu I presume)). In general, Linux is fairly independent of the hardware configuration. The main problem you might encounter is if the machine in question requires proprietary firmware for some component to work, which you will then have to install (if available). This is usually the network card. You can compensate for this by carrying with you a tiny usb wifi adapter that you know works with your installation. – Paul Nordin Sep 20 '16 at 19:30

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