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We covered how to create an Ubuntu live USB from Windows, Linux and MacOSX and how to actually install Ubuntu on an USB stick from Windows and in this post, we'll talk about about an application for installing Ubuntu on any removable media such as pen, thumb, SD, MMC or even phones with USB Mass Storage support FROM Ubuntu (actually it works for other Linux distributions too) - meaning that the program used for installing Ubuntu onto the USB must be run from within Ubuntu (Want to install it from Windows? See the links above).

By installing Ubuntu on an USB memory stick or any other removable media, Ubuntu will remember the changes you make across reboots, and boot other operating systems so you can run your favorite Linux distribution with your favorite settings, anywhere in the world. We can easly achieve this using Portable Linux.


Portable Linux features:
  1. Save disk space and use your removable drive as usual: The live removable drives created by this program let you use the remaining disk space on your removable drive to store and transport files between Windows, Mac and Linux computers, as usual. Since it uses a Live CD, you save valuable disk space on your removable drive.
  2. Remember your customizations: What's more, if your distribution supports persistence, the files and settings you edit on your live Linux distribution are persisted across reboots.
  3. Install any distribution, on any distribution: Unlike the competition, it runs on any Linux distribution. On top of that, you can install not just Ubuntu, but any distribution that uses Casper as its LiveCD technology. So if you have Fedora and want to create a live removable drive with Debian, no problem, Portable Linux can do it.
  4. Rescue systems and run other OSes: Since it uses GRUB (the GRand Unified Bootloader), you can:
    • easily add memtest86+ and MS-DOS to it (handy for those BIOS updates),
    • boot a Linux or Windows machine with a damaged MBR (master boot record), then subsequently repair it,
    • boot any operating system installed in any of the disks in your computer; and even
    • boot your Linux operating system using the root partition on your hard disk.
  5. Access all your files saved on the USB drive: Finally, you can access the area used to store your files just fine from within your Linux distribution. In that manner, you can create your live Linux distro, install a couple of codecs and applications on it, put a bunch of MP3s or movies in it, and you've got a complete multimedia center on your pocket!


Download Portable Linux (.deb and .rpm files available). Alternatively, you could add the Portable Linux PPA. Please note that even though it says there are packages only for Ubuntu Hardy, Intrepid and Jaunty, I've tested the Jaunty .deb on Karmic Koala and it works just fine.


This tutorial won't be a long tutorial like the links in the beginning of the post because after installing Portable Linux, all you have to do is go to Applications > System Tools > Portable Linux and select the ISO and portable media:

portable linux

Then follow the instructions and you are basically done.
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