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Frugal installation


A frugal install goes onto an existing partition and can co-exist with other frugal installs, with installed Linux or installed Windows. The major benefit is you get to take advantage of the speed and size of an internal drive, up to literally ten times faster! If you are starting out with a usb-3 live-usb in a usb-3 port then the speedup will be less dramatic, but from a live-dvd then prepare to have your mind blown.

Advantages of frugal installations:

  • Space is saved: installation to hard drive typically is 4 times the size of the ISO, whereas with frugal it is the size of the ISO.
  • Frugal from hard drive is faster than from a LiveMedium.
  • Great for testing (once set up).

For most users frugal_static may be the best way to go. For the sizes of the persistence files, with static persistence then 10 GiB each should be more than ample. If you use the Live-usb-storage/ directories (which don’t even require persistence) for storing big things then 1 GiB home should be fine. The size of the root persistence depends on how much you want to be able to add to the system before you do a remaster. When you remaster, the root persistence gets combined into the compressed linuxfs file so the amount of root persistence used gets reset to close to zero.


There are two modes of operation that are triggered by the same frugal boot parameter: install mode and boot mode. Normally the frugal device is a partition with the label MX-Frugal. If such a device is not found then you will be given a list of partitions to choose from. Once you have selected a device, you will be given an option to have it be given the MX-Frugal label. If an MX frugal install has not already been done on the device you selected then a frugal install will be performed.

The next time you boot with the frugal option, it will automatically boot from the MX-Frugal device into the frugal system that was installed. Again, if a frugal install is not found on that device, you will be given the option to automatically create one. If persistence is requested and the persistence files are not found then we will offer to create them after we do the install. If you want to force a persistence file to be created in a later boot, select that form of persistence with an exclamation point: frugal=root!.


You will see a number of terms when you select a frugal install that need to be defined.

Table 13: Frugal installation terms

frugalEnable frugal mode. Either boot into the existing frugal system or create a new one if it does not already exist.
frugal=A contraction of frugal persist=*. It is common to add persist options when enabling frugal mode so you can add the persist options directly to the frugal boot parameter. Examples: frugal=root or frugal=home.
fdevThe name of the frugal device.
flabThe partition label of the frugal device.
fuuidThe UUID of the frugal partition.


Can I have Frugal on SSD directory and changes on a USB (formatted ext4) like antix ?

Yes you can. MX uses the antiX live system so almost anything you can do with antiX live you can also do with MX live. Although to put changes on a different device requires extra boot parameters since the default is to save the changes on the frugal device (the ssd).

I am little confused about GRUB2 entry for MX Frugal. Can I get an example of GRUB2 entry for Frugal install?

Starting with antiX-17, we now make a small “grub.entry” file in the frugal directory that contains the recommended Grub2 entry to boot into the frugal install. FWIW, that file is created using this template:

menuentry “$DISTRO_PRETTY_NAME Frugal Install” {
search –no-floppy –set=root –fs-uuid $uuid
linux /$bdir/vmlinuz bdir=$bdir buuid=$uuid $(gather_frugal_cmdline)
initrd /$bdir/initrd.gz

v. 20200924

8 thoughts on “Frugal installation”

  1. Dear Team, the “MORE: here.” hyperlink at the base of the “” webpage now gets redirected to an “third-party” website that is not “topic related” and not helpful for obtaining futher info in relation to “frugal-installation”. Please can this discrepancy be corrected 🙂 PS:- thanks for a *great distro*, I have been running MX since MX-15 on my 16 year old Toshiba laptop PC and it is still a pleasure to use it (and the distro itself) as a result … 🙂 Keep up the good work !

  2. Worked for a huge RX chain help desk that was raking in $$ hand over fist in 1990’s-2000s. Learned a ton of hardware and software, like how to get a pharmacy district manager to lick a lexmark printer fuser clean of wrapped labels or when they are deep shade of red with purple smoke coming from their ears: “whatever you do don’t go out back and gently broom that 3 feet of powdery white snow out of that 10 foot VSAT dish so you can your million $ store back up in a quick moment! Its a liability. I’ll call you back in 7 minutes, Bye.” -click “And isn’t that much power coming out of a 15 meter microwave dish dangerous? Resp: Anywhere near the Data Ctr is DANGEROUS.” Picture crossing knees, crouching while trying to cover section just below the waste(}Please pass that lead covering garment”. And then they brought in “Steve” from SCO and he cert’d us in Santa Cruz Unix! Never was comfy with Ubuntu, don’t get me wrong its rock solid stable and oddly the same color orange as Steve’s hair.. But I’ve had the need for some Debian for my NAS’s so I looked and rejected some sort of Puppy-shit-on paper-linux-crap, spagetti-flavored-mint-milk-toast-linux and just all manner of dumb, stupid, lame-o who are these porn surfing, teddy bear loving morons anhow BS… and then I found Mx18… Picture pink fairy in the clouds with magic wand and smiling -PING! I’m really liking it a lot and the frugal thing has my eyebrows jumping. Thank goodness it isn’t called something like: “I’m a wussie who moved out of my mom’s basement and into the camper in the driveway-linux!” or some such (zzzzzZZZZZZ crackle crackle ZZZzzzzzz coming from the direction of that 15 meter VSAT dish by the data ctr) and the smell of ozone carried by the breeze…

  3. ” A frugal install goes onto an existing partition and can co-exist with other frugal installs, with installed Linux or installed Windows. The major benefit is you get to take advantage of the speed and size of an internal drive, up to literally ten times faster! ”

    … just to clarify
    Is a frugal essentially an iso file stored on HDD ?
    An iso on USB boots by pressing certain F keys when the system powers up.
    Does a frugal boots by way of a grub menu selection ??
    After a frugal boots and I make changes (e.g. install new apps ) what precisely must I do to ensure the changes are a permanent part of the frugal ?
    Every time I select ‘persistence’, I get a huge confusing sub-menu and I can’t figure out what to choose.


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