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#1 2018-10-26 06:54:09

incantator
Member
Registered: 2018-10-19
Posts: 10

Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

I've always wanted to learn Linux, so after using Ubuntu and Linux Mint for about a couple of weeks, I was able to install Arch Linux on my work office using VMware Workstation. I'm having some troubles afterwards:

1. I had to do many extra work in VM in order to make things work, e.g. configuring git to properly use SSH. When a problem occurs, I'm not even sure whether the problem is related to VM or Linux, which complicates things for a beginner like me.
2. I have to install Linux separately in my home machine, and it becomes a bit cumbersome to maintain two VMs, again, as a beginner.
3. I also heard somewhere that VM support for Arch Linux is not that great.

That is why I'm thinking of installing Linux on a USB drive. Currently I have a 128GB Patriot Supersonic Rage 2 which supposedly have 400MB/sec read and 200MB/s write speed. My office computer has i7-8700K in it and my home machine has Ryzen 2600X, so I think Linux on USB would be faster than a VM since I can utilize all the cores and RAMs. However, I'm not sure whether I have to go through many additional procedures and precautions while installing Arch on a USB stick.

Or maybe I should buy another SSD to install Linux? Dual boot seems not a good idea for me since I want it to be of less hassle as much as possible. Any idea would be greatly appreciated!

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#2 2018-10-26 13:30:59

Lone_Wolf
Member
From: Netherlands, Europe
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 6,423

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

Configuring a usb install to work on different hardware can be troublesome.

Your intel system wil need to load microcode early while the ryzen system can't even handle that code.
You'll probably need 2 separate bootloader setups and either use fallback image or have dedicated mkinitcpio configurations.

differences in graphics hardware may also pose  a problem.

Not sure what to advise you, need to think about it.

Last edited by Lone_Wolf (2018-10-26 13:31:22)


Multi-init booting with apg Openrc and systemd coexisting
Automounting : not needed, i prefer pmount
Aur helpers : makepkg + my own local repo === rarely need them

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#3 2018-10-26 14:16:18

YCH
Member
Registered: 2014-01-28
Posts: 27

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

Yes much better than vmware only if u have USB 3.1 port and fast external SSD.

I have two usb stick/ssd,

1. Sandisk extreme usb 3.0 64GB
https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme- … B00DZPUOUI

usb 3.0. it's write speed(190MB/s) unacceptable for daily use. System hangs repeatedly for disk flush.

2. Samsung T3 256GB
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Porta … B01AVF6WN2

It's usb 3.1. write speed up to 450MB/s. It's great. no problem compared to my laptop's internal NVMe SSD. Sure it's little bit slower(sluggish)  when doing disk intensive jobs.

My setup was linux on T3, windows on internal SSD.

Last edited by YCH (2018-10-26 14:17:22)


YCH

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#4 2018-10-26 23:52:00

incantator
Member
Registered: 2018-10-19
Posts: 10

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

Lone_Wolf wrote:

Configuring a usb install to work on different hardware can be troublesome.

Your intel system wil need to load microcode early while the ryzen system can't even handle that code.
You'll probably need 2 separate bootloader setups and either use fallback image or have dedicated mkinitcpio configurations.

differences in graphics hardware may also pose  a problem.

Not sure what to advise you, need to think about it.

Argh.... I forgot the microcode.... and indeed my office computer uses NVIDIA card and mine is an AMD one.


YCH wrote:

Yes much better than vmware only if u have USB 3.1 port and fast external SSD.

I have two usb stick/ssd,

1. Sandisk extreme usb 3.0 64GB
https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme- … B00DZPUOUI

usb 3.0. it's write speed(190MB/s) unacceptable for daily use. System hangs repeatedly for disk flush.

2. Samsung T3 256GB
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-T3-Porta … B01AVF6WN2

It's usb 3.1. write speed up to 450MB/s. It's great. no problem compared to my laptop's internal NVMe SSD. Sure it's little bit slower(sluggish)  when doing disk intensive jobs.

My setup was linux on T3, windows on internal SSD.

Good to hear that the speed is less of a problem!


I think it might be way too cumbersome to have two different configurations... Maybe I'll use the VM on the USB stick for now, and buy another SSD and install Arch Linux there and start using it. I think it is a better idea than delving into dual boot.

I'd like to hear any other ideas as well!

Last edited by incantator (2018-10-26 23:52:25)

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#5 2018-10-27 10:53:26

YCH
Member
Registered: 2014-01-28
Posts: 27

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

I think expect special case, almost all hw specific kernel things are handled on boot time by loading proper kernel module. Dont worry about that. Also Xorg settings.

Just install then see. It'll be fine.


YCH

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#6 2018-11-27 00:00:26

Texas
Member
From: Dallas, Texas
Registered: 2010-09-10
Posts: 130

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

I have run Arch as a guest in VMWare Workstation off and on for years.... never had any problems.  I am currently in an Arch VM as I type this.
Just follow wiki instructions...VMware/Installing Arch as a guest

What problems are you seeing?  I would guess your git issues are network related.  Can you browse to other websites?

I have run Arch from external USB3 SSD with no problems.  Probably on same machine, not multiple machines like you want.  I have done that with Ubuntu / Mint in the past.

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#7 2018-11-27 01:32:10

incantator
Member
Registered: 2018-10-19
Posts: 10

Re: Arch Linux VM vs. on a USB drive... which would you recommend?

@Texas Good for you, but unfortunately I always had some problem with Arch guest and Windows host. Especially with the mouse and the audio... mouse I couldn't make the forward and the backward buttons work. I've solved the git problem, it's just that I always have to do something more when I'm using a VM, and as a beginner that kind of frightens me.

Thankfully I got a hold of an SSD so I'm gonna install Arch Linux when it comes smile Cross me fingers!

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