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Here is the (hypothetical) situation: I have one low-performance, high-mobility device (laptop) and one high-performance, low-mobility device (desktop workstation). The two are used as frequently as each other, depending on the situation. I would like the operating system on both machines to be totally in sync - not just in terms of files, but also installed programs, preferences, e.t.c.

I know that it is possible to run Linux from an external hard-drive. Would it thus be possible to install Linux on such a device, and have high-performance when it is plugged into the desktop? I can understand that the transfer speed over USB would be significantly lower than for an internal hard drive, but would the high-performance I am after be possible through a faster connection (e.g. Thunderbolt at max 10Gbps, for a hypothetical example)?

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closed as off topic by Linker3000, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Nifle, 8088, Sathya Nov 4 '11 at 5:22

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is possible (at least for me) to run Linux on a portable hard disk and have a 'portable' operating system. I am currently running Fedora 15 on a 100GB Maxtor portable hard disk, and I have successfully booted the OS on 4 different PCs (notice I mentioned PCs - I have not been able to get it to boot on a MacBook. I think it has to do with the boot loader.). Overall, it feels rather snappy over a USB 2.0 connection.

If the drive is USB 3.0 compatible, and you have a USB 3.0 port, then I am rather certain that you will see high transfer rates. However, I am not familiar with the Thunderbolt technology and have not used it before, so I am unable to comment on it.

If you have time, why not try it? All you need is a portable hard disk and a live CD of your favorite distribution. :)

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