Try a live Distro without burning on CD or running in VM

I keep trying a lot of distributions and mostly I try them once and get the configurations and put them on my box :), this works best for me so that I dont have to keep re-configuring my system again and again. So, burning the disc for one time use is overhead and wastes a lot of time for me.

Why burn a disc when GRUB is there to help. So today we will try to use the installed grub run a extracted iso image. Lets go step by step:

1) Extract the iso is a seperate partition (preferable ext2, ext3) on the root directory of the partition. Lets assume this is /dev/sda5 for the purpose of illustration.

2) Now we will edit the grub to boot this installation. I recently did this for NimbleX so, will illustrate with example from the same. Got to the extracted foler and then go to boot/grub directory. Open menu.lst from that directory and check the entry there. Add the same entry in your current boot partition:

title NimbleX 2008 – Boot in KDM
root (hd1,11)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-nx08 ramdisk_size=7120 root=/dev/ram0 rw vga=791 splash=silent quiet autoexec=xconf;kdm
initrd /boot/initrd-nx08.gz

Once this is done, the we need to change the root partition according to our setup. So, change this to (hd0,4). How this is calculated is that for the hd part, simple rule of thumb is calculate from a=0 and put the value there. Now for the value after \”,\” substract one for the integer in your device name and put the number there.

So, you are done now. Reboot and select the new entry in the GRUB and enjoy. 🙂

Do let me know if this helped you or any other comment.

Access the disk image created by Qemu using guestfish in Fedora.

If you are used to using Qemu for doing some experiments with different distro\’s then you would also understand the problem of having to do ftp/ssh to copy the files from virtual machine to local machine. Also you have to run the machine to do that. How would you like to have a application that can help you copy the files to and from the  image without having to run the VM. That\’s exactly what the guestfish does. How to do it, quick demo here:

sudo yum install guestfish

Now once installed you can run guestfish by typing guestfish. Extensive help is available with help command so I am just giving pointers here to get you started:

First add the drive image with

add-drive <image name>

Start a qemu sub-process inside guestfish


Now mount the drive using

mount /dev/sda1 /

you can list the devices using


Now you can use upload, download, ls, mkdir, cat et. al. See help for more details.