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I am a windows user. Right now I am studying a master's in robotics so I need to program in ROS; unfortunately, ROS only runs fine with Linux so I was thinking about doing a partition in my hard disk however I only have 20GB left. Thus, I was thinking about buying an external SSD like the SanDisk Extreme 1TB to install Linux (Ubuntu 18 LTS) but I don't know If I am making the best decision. Can someone help me out?

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  • Linux will happily install to and run from that drive, but getting the EFI (BIOS) to boot it could be a problem. If all computers you intend to boot it from support legacy/MBR booting I would recommend using that instead of EFI, the easiest way would be to boot the installer in legacy mode.
    – Oskar Skog
    Sep 26 '20 at 20:28
  • EFI has a list of known boot loaders stored in NVRAM (configuration flash memory), if you move the drive to a different computer (or if the EFI is being silly with external drives, not sure if this is a problem on any computer) it won't boot anymore as the EFI (BIOS) can't find any boot loader. // This issue can be avoided by somehow installing the bootloader (GRUB) in a special way that is intended for removable devices/installation disks. There are probably some good tutorial for this somewhere, or maybe even a distro made specifically for this.
    – Oskar Skog
    Sep 26 '20 at 20:32
  • Thanks Oskar. So the only problem will be when I try to boot it from another laptop; I didn't understand the solution you suggest This issue can be avoided by somehow installing the bootloader (GRUB) in a special way that is intended for removable devices/installation disks. There are probably some good tutorial for this somewhere, or maybe even a distro made specifically for this Sep 27 '20 at 12:37
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Its only Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer.

I tried both Debian and Fedora just to see how they handle grub and they installed to my sdb.

But any selection in Ubiquity only works with BIOS installs. You need to partition in advance with gpt & include an ESP - efi system partition on external drive.

Not sure how much space your ROS may need, but Ubuntu installs into 25 or 30GB / (root) and rest of space as /home or data (partitions). So 1TiB is generous.

Posted work around to manually unmount & mount correct ESP during install #23 & #26

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/1396379

Others suggest disconnecting all other drives physically or logically in UEFI settings, so install drive is first drive. Or removing boot flag/esp flag from first drive, so only ESP is install drive. (I have not had that work, but others have.) Or if you have ESP on second or external drive, you can just reinstall grub, either manually or using Boot-Repair's advanced mode & full reinstall to correct drive.

UEFI/gpt partitioning in Advance, new versions do not need swap partition:

http://askubuntu.com/questions/743095/how-to-prepare-a-disk-on-an-efi-based-pc-for-ubuntu &

https://askubuntu.com/questions/343268/how-to-use-manual-partitioning-during-installation

Shows live installer with screen shots. Both BIOS purple accessibility screen & UEFI black grub menu screen

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI

Also shows Windows 10 screens or similar to Windows 8

https://askubuntu.com/questions/221835/installing-ubuntu-on-a-pre-installed-windows-10-with-uefi

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