SPB-Linux 2: mounting USB memory stick

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Update 2007-12: SPBLinux 2.2 is on it's way:

Why should I use SPBLinux? There is knoppix, slax, puppy linux, damn small linux ... (insert your favourite live distro here)
  • If you want to customize your own live system, SPBLinux might be of interest
    • it is completely modular; only addons found in the folders given as boot parameter are loaded
    • many properties of SPBLinux can be set as boot parameter (and the boot menu is editable)
    • each addon can be changed from SPBLinux itself with the command changeaddon
    • compilation of programs is done in a chroot gentoo environment (mostly emerge cool_program is sufficient to compile a program for SPBLinux); the gentoo stage3 prepared for SPBLinux 2.2 is available here.
    • scripts to build the SPBLinux kernel and external modules are found here.

A prerelease of SPBLinux 2.2pre10 (non pae) is made available on the Sourceforge download page.

  • detailed screenshot; for additional information read the release notes at the download section
  • the general layout of SPBLinux 2.2 is like version 2.1 but all programs are updated.
  • kernel plus lzma compression, squashfs and aufs; boot splash graphic.
  • hardware: pentium mmx or better cpu, 256 MB RAM (64 MB in textmode)
  • firefox 3.0.1, xfce 4.4.2
  • with syslinux based boot menu. When kernel and initrd ramdisk are loaded booting can continue from:
    • local devices (cdrom, harddisk, usb storage device) or from network (tftp, ftp, http, nfs, cifs, nbd, vboxsf (virtualbox shared folder))
    • if the boot device is writable the boot menu section "fastboot" can be used: instead of loading all addons file after file, SPBLinux gets started from 2 files (which are created on the first fastboot run)
  • new command  loadaddon which allows to load addons when SPBLinux is already running (e.g. loadaddon gimp)
  • SPBLinux is prepared to run as paravirtualized guest in xen 3.1 (which usually needs the pae kernel version)
  • More resources at spblinux.de/2.2 (additional modules, kernel patches...)

Documentation: (most of it is valid for version 2.1 and 2.2) version 2.0 is still here.; some more documentation can be found at the wiki pages.

Key features of SPBLinux 2.1:

  • loads from USB storage or other boot devices
  • runs in RAM; after bootup no access to boot device required
  • modular:
    • basic system fits on two 1.4 MB floppy disks (Linux 2.6 with midnight commander)
    • all other components are added as addons: bz2 (and sqf) files in subfolders of folder spblinux on the boot device
    • choice which addon subfolders are loaded is at boot time (grub menu and/or grub edit); command loadaddon allows to load addons manually when SPBLinux is running.
  • SPBLinux can be built and modified inside SPBLinux
    • the command changebz2 your_addon.bz2 opens the addon with midnight commander
    • if the gentoo chroot environment is installed, programs can be emerged and compiled
    • more information is in the SPBLinux Wiki
  • targeted users:
    • users who want to create their own customized system
  • support and documentation:
    • read the release notes in the download section (click on the book symbol) and the readme files inside the zip archives
    • SPBLinux Wiki
    • the basic concept of SPBLinux is explained at the SPBLinux 2.0 site
    • development of SPBLinux follows the needs of its users; if you need a hint how to add a feature to SPBLinux, feel free to use the email address at the bottom of this page
  • installation on fat formatted USB devices
    • run SPBLinux and use the scrip makebootable
    • to get a running copy of SPBLinux, you can download the iso image in spb2.1-install-cd_b13.zip

SPBLinux is not intended as out of the box solution; in this case you might want to try Puppy Linux (http://www.puppylinux.org) which started to use USB boot devices some years ago, at the same time when SPBLinux did.

How does SPBLinux 2.1 look like?  

  • with XFCE: see the screenshots section of sourceforge
  • just with X: click on the picture in the middle on the top of this page (or here).

Releases: (back to top)

 SPBLinux 2.1b14 development:

  • SPBLinux runs smoothly and fast inside coLinux:
    • standard disclaimer: coLinux and the X server XMing are beta software and might crash your pc
    • Scribus 1.23 compiled for Linux runs as as window of Windows XP (screenshot)
      (the package scribus-spb2-colinux-xp.zip contains all required components)
      • english (default) and german user interface preconfigured
      • access from SPBLinux to Windows by a shared folder
    • user who want to make their own customized version of SPBLinux/coLinux can start with minimal-spb2-colinux-xp.zip
      • SPBLinux, only textmode: screenshot; (if graphical programs are wanted the scribus package should be used as starting point)
      • ssh daemon running (default root password is root)
      • optional, access from SPBLinux to Windows by a shared folder

SPBLinux 2.1b13 preliminary release:
here (sourceforge download section);
included are (see also the release notes inside files download section):

  • updated iso image of bootable install cd
    - now with kernel
    - choice in bootmenu between Xorg and XDirectFB X11 server (support for intel centrino 855GM graphics,
      including 1400x1050 patch; just type e inside the bootmenu and change the resolution)
    - with qtparted to create and resize partitions (fat, ntfs, reiserfs)
    - with extended makebootable script (including option to install SPBLinux to a harddisk partition)
    - with k3b, the excellent cd/dvd burning program of KDE
         - boot with the install cd, create a new SPBLinux iso image in ram, test it with qemu and burn it (only one cd drive needed)
    - with qemu pc emulator
  • some additional addons
    - xfce 4.2
    - mozilla firefox 1.04
    - intel centrino wlan drivers
    - adobe acrobat, macromedia flash player firefox plugin
  • using the makebootable script SPBLinux, started from the install cd, can be copied to a USB storage device
    (see readme file inside spb2.1-install-cd_addons.zip file)
  • a new gentoo stage2 in the development section

Details about configurable options are listed in /etc/spb.conf (these options are set either as kernel bootparameter spbconf=... (grub bootmenu files) or in the spblinux/spbcfgX (X=0,1...9) files), e.g.

  • keys=ge   (sets the keyboard layout to german; currently supported: us, ge, sg, ru, pt, tr)
  • x:desktop=1 and x:startprog=   ( brings back the xfce desktop of SPBLinux2.1b12; if xfce addon is loaded)
  • x:desktop=0 and x:startprog=idesk and x:startsu=1   ( which is the default setting of the install cd, loads idesk as root superuser (idesk displays icons); if idesk addon is loaded)

SPBLinux 2.1b12:
see the
screenshots section of sourceforge and the release notes; download is here (sourceforge download section);
new are:

  • iso image of bootable install cd , 2004-01-02
    - with qtparted to create and resize partitions (fat, ntfs, reiserfs)
    - with extended makebootable script (including option to install SPBLinux to a harddisk partition)
  • mozilla firefox 1.0 and mozilla thunderbird 1.0, 2004-12-28
  • xfce 4.2rc2 (desktop, panel and filemanager plus Terminal from xfce goodies),
  • kernel 2.6.9
  • improved makebootable script (added options to use grub shell instead of installing in two steps)
  • ...

This version has been compiled inside SPBLinux using chroot into Gentoo (on a 512 MB pentium III machine).

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New: compile programs:  on the download page is a gentoo based stage2 with gcc:
Just cd into it and compile programs. (new 2004-26-07: 2 files, stage2 and stage2patch1 have to be downloaded)

New: asterisk with hfc cards:  on the download page is a bootable iso image with asterisk which is configured for 2 cards: one in nt mode, the second in te mode;
(mainly useful for people with 2 hfc cards (that is, use your isdn phone as isdn AND VoIP phone)).

vfd the virtual floppy disk mounter for windows xp has been added to the windows tools section together with SPBLinux boot floppy disk image (usb and cdrom).

SPBLinux version 2.1 beta 11 is available for download: minor bugfixes of 2.1 beta 10:

Version 2.1 beta 10:

Changes after 2.1b9:

The version 2.1 beta 9 is available for testing: new are:

Changes with beta 8:

Changes with beta 7:

Changes after beta 6:

Version 2.1 beta 6:

Changed files: usbboot, usbboot2 and usbboot3; new file: usbboot4. (doc_all.bz2 is removed; you can use the version of spblinux 2.0)

New in beta 5: "fastboot": the filesystem of SPB-Linux is written into two files which are directly loaded, when booting: e.g. Mozilla is up and running in 1 minute on a pentium II 266MHz machine booting from harddisk (just use the bootmenu entry fastboot). - Modules for more than 1 network card are loaded.

Changed files from beta 4to beta 5: only usbboot.zip (includes the post beta4 fixes).

New in beta 4: Mozilla Firebird and the compressed filesystem squashfs (mozilla will run with 128 MB); WLAN support; bugfix in script makeboot which makes usb devices bootable; the script did sometimes stop with error: busy cannot umount.

Download: (back to top)

At the moment you can download:

Version 2.1 beta 10 / beta 11 at sourceforge (release notes and changelog)

Download of version 2.1 b8 and later is at sourceforge

Version 2.1 beta 7: (back to top)