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Question about frugal installs

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gbhollr
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Question about frugal installs

#1

Post by gbhollr » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:49 pm

Just today, I tried testing a frugal install of MX Linux in a virtual machine.
So what I got down pat so far is that when doing a frugal install, you install the operating system in a previously existing partition (even if its already
installed with an OS like Linux or Windows) and you can decide whether to keep changes in the home and/or root filesystem between reboots (something like that).

What if I wanted to replace my frugal installed OS with a completely new and/or upgraded one?
How can I do that?

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dolphin_oracle
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#2

Post by dolphin_oracle » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:52 pm

each frugal install lives inside its own folder on the host partition, so you can have multiples installed if you want.

But if I understand you correctly, I would just delete the old folder, then do a new frugal install.
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#3

Post by BitJam » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:33 pm

gbhollr wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:49 pm
you can decide whether to keep changes in the home and/or root filesystem between reboots (something like that).
You can enable or disable home persistence and/or root persistence on every boot although I would not recommend this because it can lead to confusion. If you choose dynamic (normal) root persistence then you can choose whether changes are kept or not while you are running or during shutdown.

You can also save changes with a live-remaster which, in a sense, is a more permanent change since it adds all of your changes to the squashfs compressed linuxfs file. But even these changes can be undone with the "rollback" boot option.

We've found that the various forms of persistence combined with remaster with rollback give you an extremely flexible environment for doing system development.
What if I wanted to replace my frugal installed OS with a completely new and/or upgraded one?
How can I do that?
It is mostly as dolphin oracle said but there is an important note. We key the frugal install off of the kernel version so frugal installs with different kernels can live side by side on the same partition but if you try to frugal install using the same kernel and partition of an existing frugal install then we will boot into the existing one instead of creating a new one.

As dolphin_oracle said, if you want to nuke a frugal install then you just need to rm -r one directory.

Oh yes, we also create a /Live-usb-storaqe/ directory that gives you direct access to the space on the partition the system is installed on. This is shared between frugal installs. If you want to remove all traces then you should also rm -r this directory.
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#4

Post by gbhollr » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:40 am

Much of this is going over my head.

So with root persistence, I can save changes made to the file system such as the apps I installed and uninstall, right?
So how is live-remastering any different? Is that creating an entirely new ISO I would have to place into my USB stick (which already has an older ISO?)

I sometimes managed to wipe my USB drives of any pre-installed ISOs for new ones but, more often that not, I break them beyond repair.

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Re: Question about frugal installs

#5

Post by fehlix » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:25 am

gbhollr wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:40 am
So with root persistence, I can save changes made to the file system such as the apps I installed and uninstall, right?
Yes.
gbhollr wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:40 am
So how is live-remastering any different? Is that creating an entirely new ISO I would have to place into my USB stick (which already has an older ISO?)
The changes saved within the underlying rootfs -file will be merged in to the read-only linuxfs-file by doing a "remaster". E.g. old packges will be replaced by newer one's and removed packages will be removed from the linuxfs.
Afterwards the rootfs-file is empty and ready to hold new system updates saved into.
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#6

Post by BitJam » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:03 pm

To re-iterate what fehlix just said:
gbhollr wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:40 am
So with root persistence, I can save changes made to the file system such as the apps I installed and uninstall, right?
Yes.
So how is live-remastering any different?
Good question. They both do the same thing but in different ways. A remaster recreates the entire compressed linuxfs file which contains the original file system plus all your changes together. This is time consuming and can take between 2 minutes and 10 minutes or more depending on the compression method and your system. When you make a snapshot a similar process happens but with the remaster we skip the iso-file step and update your live-usb directly. It's like a streamlined combination of snapshot with live-usb-maker all in one step.

Root persistence only saves the changes between what is in the linuxfs file and what is on your system. These changes are stored in the rootfs file. Using root persistence is generally much faster than recompressing the entire file system. As you make more and more changes the contents in the rootfs file will grow and grow and it is eventually a good idea to do a remaster, combining all of your changes into the big linuxfs file and resetting the rootfs file so it is nearly empty.

If you are climbing up a cliff, root persistence is like putting a piton (or cam hook) into the rock to secure your position. Eventually you may want a more secure position, perhaps on a ledge, where you can rest or sleep overnight. This is like a remaster. You will usually do many root persistence saves (usually during shutdown) and then eventually you will do a remaster. You can repeat this pattern indefinitely.
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gbhollr
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#7

Post by gbhollr » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:19 pm

Upon further testing, I found that the frugal installation indeed saves changes between reboots when I'm using the "frugal_root" option.
However, whenever I boot with the "frugal_home" option, all the changes made before are gone but they're back when I boot using
the "frugal_root" option. What's going on?

And what's the difference between "frugal_root" and "frugal_persist"?
I do get that root boots up the system faster by diverting some data to the RAM whereas
"frugal_static" doesn't.

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Re: Question about frugal installs

#8

Post by fehlix » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:42 pm

gbhollr wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:19 pm
Upon further testing, I found that the frugal installation indeed saves changes between reboots when I'm using the "frugal_root" option.
However, whenever I boot with the "frugal_home" option, all the changes made before are gone but they're back when I boot using
the "frugal_root" option. What's going on?

And what's the difference between "frugal_root" and "frugal_persist"?
A fairly good description of those persist option is available
here https://mxlinux.org/wiki/system/boot-parameters/

and also within the Help file
https://gitlab.com/antiX-Linux/antiX-Gfxboot/blob/master/Help/antiX/en.html wrote:F5: Persistence Options

off ............. No Persistence/No frugal
persist_all ..... Fast. Saves root and home (uses RAM, saves at shutdown)
persist_root .... Fast. Only saves root (uses RAM, saves at shutdown)
persist_static .. Slow. Saves root and home (no RAM use, saves constantly)
persist_home .... Only home persistence

frugal_persist .. Frugal with both root and home persistence
frugal_root ..... Frugal with only root persistence
frugal_static ... Frugal with home and static root persistence
frugal_home ..... Frugal with only home persistence
frugal_only ..... Only Frugal, no persistence

Frugal

Copy files from the install media (LiveCD/USB) to an internal hard
drive partition and finish booting from that. Think of this as a
to-disk analogy of toram boot parameter.

Root Persist

Save all the changes to the file-system in RAM and then transfer these
changes to disk right before you shutdown or reboot. Fast, but space is
limited by how much RAM you have.

Static Root

Saves all your file-system changes directly to a file. This can be slow
but it requires no extra RAM and no changes need to be transfered when
you shutdown.

Home Persist

Only save changes to files and directories under /home. This will
include all of your bookmarks and personal settings. Changes are stored
immediately and speed is almost never an issue.
But note: root is here not meant as system only but rather system plus user changes.
So if no extra homefs is chosen, "root" persist does also contains user changes.
If that's to confusing for you, I must admit I struggled myself a bit to fully understand the concept behind, that root includes home but not if homefs is chosen to save user changes.
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Re: Question about frugal installs

#9

Post by cornelyus7 » Wed May 22, 2019 5:48 pm

fehlix wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:42 pm
gbhollr wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:19 pm
Upon further testing, I found that the frugal installation indeed saves changes between reboots when I'm using the "frugal_root" option.
However, whenever I boot with the "frugal_home" option, all the changes made before are gone but they're back when I boot using
the "frugal_root" option. What's going on?

And what's the difference between "frugal_root" and "frugal_persist"?
A fairly good description of those persist option is available
here https://mxlinux.org/wiki/system/boot-parameters/

and also within the Help file
https://gitlab.com/antiX-Linux/antiX-Gfxboot/blob/master/Help/antiX/en.html wrote:F5: Persistence Options

off ............. No Persistence/No frugal
persist_all ..... Fast. Saves root and home (uses RAM, saves at shutdown)
persist_root .... Fast. Only saves root (uses RAM, saves at shutdown)
persist_static .. Slow. Saves root and home (no RAM use, saves constantly)
persist_home .... Only home persistence

frugal_persist .. Frugal with both root and home persistence
frugal_root ..... Frugal with only root persistence
frugal_static ... Frugal with home and static root persistence
frugal_home ..... Frugal with only home persistence
frugal_only ..... Only Frugal, no persistence

Frugal

Copy files from the install media (LiveCD/USB) to an internal hard
drive partition and finish booting from that. Think of this as a
to-disk analogy of toram boot parameter.

Root Persist

Save all the changes to the file-system in RAM and then transfer these
changes to disk right before you shutdown or reboot. Fast, but space is
limited by how much RAM you have.

Static Root

Saves all your file-system changes directly to a file. This can be slow
but it requires no extra RAM and no changes need to be transfered when
you shutdown.

Home Persist

Only save changes to files and directories under /home. This will
include all of your bookmarks and personal settings. Changes are stored
immediately and speed is almost never an issue.
But note: root is here not meant as system only but rather system plus user changes.
So if no extra homefs is chosen, "root" persist does also contains user changes.
If that's to confusing for you, I must admit I struggled myself a bit to fully understand the concept behind, that root includes home but not if homefs is chosen to save user changes.
:puppy:
Sorry to barge-in.. what's the difference between frugal_persist and frugal_static?
Because I have been using mxlinux as persist_static for personal use on a usb3 pen, but wanted to also use on my work desktop.. In order not to mess with my current environment, I burned a snapshot to an older usb pen, created a partition ext4 on the desktop disk and made a custom frugal_static (like persist_static on first pen) "install" .. should it be frugal_persist instead?

Also that last phrase got me confused..when is" homefs is chosen to save user changes."?

Finally, also read that is good practice when having persist_static after installations and big updates to do a remaster, in order to "empty rootfs".. is it good practice also to frugal installations?

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