Color me “not impressed” with Raspbian from a USB stick.
To see how it might be useful, I’ve done an install. ( 4 different OSs on one stick. Arch, Debian, Puppy, and the PXE boot loader).
This is the listing for the /boot partition on the SC card:
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ ls /boot bcm2708-rpi-b.dtb cmdline.txt kernel_rpi2_aufs.img start.elf bcm2708-rpi-b-plus.dtb config.txt LICENSE.berryboot start_x.elf bcm2709-rpi-2-b.dtb fixup_cd.dat overlays uEnv.txt berryboot.img fixup.dat shared.tgz bootcode.bin fixup_x.dat start_cd.elf
Not much on the card. Just the stuff hauled over from the BBoot loader area and a boot kernel image.
Here’s the df so you can see the “disk” used:
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ df Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on dev 431696 0 431696 0% /dev none 15464360 1857056 12798708 13% / tmpfs 441376 0 441376 0% /dev/shm tmpfs 441376 11556 429820 3% /run tmpfs 5120 4 5116 1% /run/lock tmpfs 441376 0 441376 0% /sys/fs/cgroup /dev/mmcblk0p1 3860600 35380 3825220 1% /boot tmpfs 88276 0 88276 0% /run/user/1000 /dev/sda1 15464360 1857056 12798708 13% /media/pi/berryboot
The / (root) partition and /media/pi/berryboot are both the same thing and they are the USB stick. I used a 16 GB PNY stick that I bought about a year ago.
First off, attempting to install “encrypted” failed on the disk format. No idea why. Unclicking the ‘encrypted’ box and all went fine.
So no real benefit to the user desiring privacy, IMHO.
Next up, in ‘typical’ web browser use, it has occasional significant pauses.
The USB stick seems to be VERY much slower than my Class 10 SD cards. I’ve not seen speed ratings on most USB Sticks ( my Monster brand does brag and is very fast ;-) so I might try an install to one of theirs “someday”…) and we’ve already identified that PNY “has issues” on lots of writes. So it might just be the particular stick I’m using.
But the long and short of it is that the thing is a bit annoying to use. Not quite painful, but you are reminded that it is lurking nearby…
Notice that /boot takes only 35.4 MB of space. This means that if you have some old 512 MB or even 128 MB SD cards you can use them for the boot part that stays on the R.Pi and give them a new life. I’m going to re-do this test “someday” with a fast Class 10 SD card in the USB adapter (replacing the stick) and see if that makes a difference. And see if it will encrypt.
Also note that I put 4 OSs into 1.8 GB of space used on the stick. It doesn’t take a giant stick to make this go. I may go looking for another Monster stick and see if I can get their fast one (80 MB / sec?) in an 8 GB size. It’s a USB 3.0, so likely a lot faster than this 2.0 from a so-so maker… even in a 2.0 port.
So I’ve not completely written off the USB stick booting (and maybe even a real USB disk booting… once I have one where the mandatory whole disk formatting doesn’t cause me grief…), but I’m just not feeling the love or seeing much benefit from it at the moment.
With that, I’m going to shutdown this one and go back to my regular chip. (Yes, I’m posting this from the USB install Raspbian).