Ubuntu from a USB key on a Samsung Q1 Ultra

Man I love Linux.  Uh-lot.

I am setting up these extremely sweet Samsung Q1 Ultra machines for a D-RATS demo.  These uber-slick ultra-portable tablet PCs are pretty amazingly small.  The biggest problem is that they run Vista.  I’ve read all the stuff out there about being extremely horrible, but this was my first hands-on experience.  I thought “Sure, it’s horrible, but it’s Windows so horrible is the name of the game.”  I had no idea of the level of suckiness I was in for.

To make a long story short, the Prolific USB-to-Serial adapters, which are in just about everything, don’t work well in Vista.  Prolific seems to be ignoring Vista in favor of pushing support for the new version to the resellers.  However, most of the resellers that Prolific recommends to people seeking Vista support don’t have updated drivers.  Thus, a significant amount of serial activity with these devices in Vista leaves you with a locked machine that won’t even shutdown.  It’s pathetic.  Luckily Keyspan, continuing with their reputation of high-quality everything, has Vista drivers and their devices work well. 

For the demo, however, I thought it might be nice to have a backup plan.  I don’t want to alter these machines, of course, since they’re not mine, so I can’t install another OS to the hard drive, even for a dual-boot.  This, however, doesn’t stop me from booting something like a live CD.  Luckily, the ubuntu live environment is transferrable to a USB key with a few steps .  The result is a wonderful thing: Ubuntu booting completely from a USB key.  I can copy a few of the libraries I need to the key and install them from a script on boot to run D-RATS:


The tablet stylus doesn’t work out of the box, and I won’t spend the time to fix it since this is just a backup plan.  However, the on-board pointing stick or a USB mouse would suffice.  The sad part is, it boots to this environment just a hair slower than Vista boots from the hard drive.

Category(s): Linux

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