I am trying to find a portable version of Linux that I can use on a flash drive without reformatting it. I have tried Damn Small Linux (DSL), but I always get an error that the file system cannot be found. I would refer a version that is 100MB or less, but I can probably work with an installation of up to 250MB.
Does this fit the bill ?
I’m wondering why the “no formatting” requirement ?
Typically you can’t (“safely”) run Linux off a USB key using a standard filesystem … it’ll wear the key out took quickly. Whereas SSD’s use in-build wear levelling technology, keys don’t so once you’ve written a block a few thousand times (depending on the type of key) , the block goes dead … with ext3/4 for example, some blocks are re-written constantly, which means the key will acquire bad-blocks pretty quickly.
FlashLinux (for example) has to format the drive to create a JFFS2 filesystem, which is designed to run on Flash Keys and does contain wear levelling, hence extending the life of the key to a useful interval …
Would it be possible to partition the drive where one partition has a FAT32 file system and the other has a JFFS2 (or similar file system)? I don’t have any spare flash drives and would like to be able to keep my data where it can still be accessed by Windows and Mac operating systems. I can back-up and reformat my flash drive completely if necessary.
Sure, FlashLinux for example will “automagically” see any other partitions assuming they’re a format it can handle … which includes ExtFS and FAT …