If you use Linux for ethical reasons then that may be a reason to be consious of our limited and dwindling resources, if you are interested in saving the environment you can refrain from burning a CD or DVD to install your favorite linux distribution. The vast majority of Linux distributions come out with newer versions on a prescheduled timeframe called a release cycle, The exception being Linux distributions that are semi-rolling or rolling release. If you are like me you enjoy experiencing all that the Linux world has to offer, Choosing a single distrubtion as your main distribution but still dabbling in other distributions as well either through a dual/multi boot or via virtualization if your system is powerful enough. If you are using virtualization then you can simply mount the image upon install. However if you are configuring your to boot with multiple operating systems or simply testing one and reinstalling over the previous partition then this can eat up a lot of CD's or DVD's and waste a lot of money and resources. You mean to tell me there is an alternative that is both more environmental and saves me money? Yes, The solution is using a USB flash drive in combination with the dd command. There are a couple of ways to find the name of the device file associated with your USB flash drive, device file names are dynamically created in the order they are connected. Your hard drives show up first, followed by the USB flash drive. I personally have 2 hard drives and 1 USB flash drive so my USB Flash drive shows up as /dev/sdc.
Option 1 - fdisk
$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders, total 234441648 sectors Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x000d60b7 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sda1 63 83971754 41985846 83 Linux /dev/sda2 83971755 105418529 10723387+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris /dev/sda3 105418530 234436544 64509007+ 5 Extended /dev/sda5 * 105418593 148424534 21502971 83 Linux /dev/sda6 148424598 191430539 21502971 83 Linux /dev/sda7 191430603 234436544 21502971 83 Linux
Disk /dev/sdb: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121601 cylinders, total 1953525168 sectors Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x0004f221
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sdb1 63 417523711 208761824+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT /dev/sdb2 417523712 1441523711 512000000 7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT /dev/sdb3 1441525758 1543925759 51200001 5 Extended /dev/sdb4 1543925760 1953523711 204798976 83 Linux /dev/sdb5 1441525760 1457909759 8192000 82 Linux swap / Solaris /dev/sdb6 1457911808 1498861567 20474880 83 Linux
Disk /dev/sdc: 8103 MB, 8103395328 bytes 47 heads, 21 sectors/track, 16035 cylinders, total 15826944 sectors Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x0005e84f
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sdc1 2048 15826943 7912448 b W95 FAT32 Option 2 - ls + verification.
$ ls /dev/sd*
/dev/sda /dev/sda1 /dev/sda2 /dev/sda3 /dev/sda5 /dev/sda6 /dev/sda7 /dev/sdb /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdb2 /dev/sdb3 /dev/sdb4 /dev/sdb5 /dev/sdb6 /dev/sdc /dev/sdc1 $ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/usb; sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/usb; df -h | grep sdc; ls /mnt/usb /dev/sdc1 7.6G 4.0K 7.6G 1% /mnt/usb clean!* files_that_dont_matter* $ sudo umount /mnt/usb This way may take a little more typing to do the verification that the drive is of the correct size and that you are not erasing important data, If you happen to see a directory structure that looks in any way important to you, either you are targetting the incorrect device or you need to back up your data before running dd. Of course if you are sure the proper device is /dev/sdc after looking you can skip the second and third commands.
The dd command works on the bit level so should be run on the base device and not a partition of the device. I choose /dev/null as my device because at this particular time I had no particular reason to write a CD or DVD image. Depending on the speed of the USB flash drive (mine is slow) and the size of the image it could take a while to perform the write operation.
Warning - make sure the USB flash drive is not mounted prior to running the dd command or damage to your equipment may result, Running DD on the wrong device will cause the device to be erased and written over with the ISO.
3254272+0 records in 3254272+0 records out 1666187264 bytes (1.7 GB) copied, 0.94725 s, 1.8 GB/s At this point you should have a fully operational USB drive that shows up exactly like a CD or DVD would. The only other configuration you may have to perform is to access the BIOS and allow the USB drive to boot before the CD/DVD drive and hard drives. Once that is set when you boot your computer you should see the USB act as if it were a CD or DVD. Congratulations, You have done your best to save the environment and successfully installed your Linux distribution.