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dexter11
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I heard there is also a linux distro, which completely installs from windows into a loop mounted filesystem???

It sounds OK in theory, Mandrake used to have this anyway but Im not sure how useful it is... my experience at least was that you don't really appreciate linux until you make a commitment to using it more or less full time .. and for a quick taste then the live CD's work fine???

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It sounds OK in theory, Mandrake used to have this anyway but Im not sure how useful it is... my experience at least was that you don't really appreciate linux until you make a commitment to using it more or less full time .. and for a quick taste then the live CD's work fine???

yes. Not sure which distro it was, but it very smartly used linux's weak ntfs support. Looks like this is doing the same.

 

At the time, and it still is the case, kernel based ntfs has poor support, only supporting basic write functions. What this did, was created a fixed length file on the ntfs partition that had a filesystem, ext3, reiser, whatever in it - Just like a partition.

 

On boot, it mounts the ntfs, and then from that, mounts the loopback filesystem. This is perfectly safe and has zero risk of NTFS damage as it's well within the limitations of the linux NTFS driver.

 

It's just like mounting an ISO or CD image, same concept. Except this time it boots from it.

 

On boot, this is all managed by initrd/initramfs, which are now pretty much the norm on most linux distro's. Rather than have the kernel mount the root filesystem, these have it mounted using mount in userspace. This allows for much more elaborate setups, such as more complex encrypted systems, root from ntfs, samba, ssh, fuse -- practically anything. It also allows distro's to make slimmer kernels.

 

Looks like this one even more craftily, uses the Windows Bootloader to chainload to a modified grub, rather than overwriting it with grub -- also eliminating another source of problems -- bootloaders.

 

James

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Yep that's pretty much what kanotix does/did.... using the fuse userspace utils to mount the compressed filesystem ... and it works great except my experience from supporting people is until people actually install and commit to linux their experience is not the same...

In the case of a liveCD there is the advantage you don't need to install and hence people use it in that capacity, for instance as a repair/rescue CD...

 

anyway, I don't think its a BAD idea... I just think its probably less important as a tool for introducing people to linux than at first glance. In the end it eliminates the need to burn a CD but you still need to do an install... and although Debian installer is far more friendly now its still a installer... and the hard part really was never burning the CD ... leastwise if you can't follow the simple instructions to burn an ISO then your chance of installing a working system is probably not so high... of course many people mess up burning simply because they are in a rush and don't READ the instructions and although this skips over it its the same thing, if your installing linux you pretty much are going to need to do some reading...

 

just my 2c... perhaps it will find uses which are beyond this, I don't think knoppix was expected to be used in so many creative and inventive ways (and to be honest I would have probably been saying the same back then and have been wrong) so perhaps I'll be proven wrong and this will help a whole load of people make the switch :D

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