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I am trying to install Ubuntu on a 2 GB USB flash drive for my job.

I don't want to install Linux on my personal desktop, but it seems that Ubuntu requires me to that to in order to copy some specific files I need to create the USB livecd.

My job require Ubuntu and no other distribution. How can I create a Ubuntu liveCD to use from a USB flash drive, knowing that I only have a Mac running OS X Leopard on my personal desktop?

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Your job requires Ubuntu but you don't want to install it? – innaM Jul 16 '09 at 20:31
actually it's more complicated: We have windows machine only at my work location, and no way to install a linux distro in the box (it's forbidden). But we need linux right now ... the only way is to use an usb key (to store my work on it too). – yves Baumes Jul 16 '09 at 21:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use UNetbootin to create a Live USB drive for any many Linux Distribution, including Ubuntu.

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Thank for this reply. I will try this. While this app runs only on windows or linux, I will try to recompile it myself on my mac (can't find any mac port , neither on fink commander). If it doesn't work, people on the internet reports it work well through Wine. – yves Baumes Jul 16 '09 at 21:08

The ubuntu ISO is a live system, you can install it on any USB drive of sufficient size.

To install it from a Windows system you can use uSbuntu Live Creator. The article LiveUsbPendrivePersistent explains how you do it from an ubuntu system. There are GUI methodes, no need for command line hackery.

I personally use the following script to install ubuntu on a USB drive. You will have to modify it to suit your needs.

echo "CAUTION: Check path and devices before you run this script!"
echo "If you don't it can delete your harddisk"
echo "Before you run this script "
echo "- make a fat32 partition (/dev/sdb1) but leave 700 MB unpartitioned"
echo "- make a 700 MB partition (/dev/sdb2)"
echo "- mark /dev/sdb2 as bootable"
echo "- ignore any warnings about symlinks"

sudo syslinux -sf /dev/sdb2

sudo mount /path/to/ubuntu-8.04.2-desktop-i386.iso -t iso9660 -o loop /mnt

cp -rfv /mnt/casper /mnt/disctree /mnt/dists /mnt/install /mnt/pics /mnt/pool /mnt/preseed /mnt/.disk /media/disk-1
cp -rfv /mnt/isolinux /media/disk-1/syslinux
mv /media/disk-1/syslinux/isolinux.cfg /media/disk-1/syslinux/syslinux.cfg
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Why not install Ubuntu using your Mac's bootcamp software? That way you could boot into either OS X or Ubuntu. There is a thread at the Ubuntu forums that covers doing exactly that.

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Unless your Mac is fairly old, you could run Ubuntu inside a Virtual Machine using VirtualBox.

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