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(Multi-) Booting T60 from USB (using exclusively F/LOSS)

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TRS-80
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(Multi-) Booting T60 from USB (using exclusively F/LOSS)

#1 Post by TRS-80 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 2:41 pm

I first ran into this when trying to update my BIOS recently. At that time, I ended up just burning Lenovo's Update software to a CD (which did work) because that seemed to be the conventional wisdom, and I could not figure out any other way at that time. But even then, I couldn't help but think there must be a better way.

Now today I was trying to run Memtest86+ to check some new (to me) RAM sticks which just came in, and I began again, to have a much more difficult time than I would expect, trying to get that to work.

Now, I have had an interest in tinkering with multiboot USBs (and GNU/Linux in general) over the last few years, and so I have looked into this a bit here and there in the past. And again today I went down the rabbit hole a little bit. So I figured I would share my thoughts and what I have learned so far. I expect this for the time being to be something like an ongoing research thread. Therefore feel free to chime in with your experiences, as well.

So, first of all, back to Memtest86+, where I began this morning. They have a new version, 5.31b, which was released 2020-12-04. So I thought I would give that a try.
* I first tried dd straight to a USB stick. That was not recognized as bootable by T60.
* Because of my recent experience with Lenovo BIOS Update only working via CD, my next step was to try and simply burn the image to a CD (especially since I have some CD media here now). Well, that was not recognized as bootable, either.
* Now it is possible that something is wrong with the latest version. So I tried dd the previous version, 5.01 (from 2013-09-27) to an USB stick. That was not recognized, either. I have not tried burning v5.01 to a CD yet (maybe I should, but I have my doubts, and I don't want to just keep wasting discs; anyway let's call this potential path forward #1).

So then I start going down the USB/multiboot rabbit hole again. Some more projects in this area have come and gone in the meantime (mainly MultiBootUSB) but I did come across a reference to a new project called Ventoy which looks quite nice -- in particular it has a lot of good documentation, and I really like the quite simple structure of the resulting USB stick, as well as the plug-in options for extending the format. Anyway I try that and the T60 again does not recognize the USB stick as bootable. The project seems nice, so I had some high hopes here, but they were dashed nonetheless. Now, maybe there is some issue here with Ventoy (I dunno). Perhaps I can lodge an issue (either at their GitHub and/or forums) so let's call that path forward #2. Before giving up here (for now), I did quickly try some things I read about like changing some partition boot flags, but alas, no joy.

At this point, I ask myself, well what does work? For me, the only thing I seem to be able to consistently boot is a Debian Live USB stick. So I examine that in gparted, and lo and behold they are actually using ISO9660 filesystem. Some further poking around (on the mounted USB stick), looks like they are using ISOLINUX, more specifically an Isohybrid, which, unlike regular ISOLINUX which is limited to optical media, also allows using things like USB sticks. Now I still have more to research here, but let's call this way forward #3.

One final thing, for completeness sake. Back when I was still using Windows, I was (more or less) successfully using YUMI Multiboot tool. Now, that is a Windows only tool, so I won't use it any more, but my point is that maybe investigating whatever method(s) they were using could be another research path. So we call that path forward #4. Anyway, if they can get it to work on Windows, certainly there should be some tool(s) on GNU/Linux, which in my experience is almost always more flexible and powerful, especially when it comes to system utilities like this.

I guess, what would be ideal in my mind, would be some multiboot USB stick where we could put all these different things like BIOS update, Memtest86+, and likely some others, and have them all available on a single USB stick. Without having to waste an entire USB stick for one single thing (which is how Debian Live does it, unfortunately).

Oh yes, that reminds me of another way. Creating your own customized Debian Live USB. Which is possible, but does not help us with things like Memtest86+, BIOS update, or other similar things which boot directly. Therefore not really considering that as a path forward.

And finally, a couple notes from inside Lenovo stock BIOS. When you have something that appears as a valid, bootable device, it seems to appear in "Boot priority order" (Startup -> Boot) prepended with +, e.g., +USB HDD. Invalid devices are prepended by -, e.g., -USB HDD. In neither case does the name of the device seem to show up here in this menu for me. However, when pressing (upon boot) blue ThinkVantage button -> F12 to choose a temporary startup device, then with a valid device (my Debian Live USB, in this case) the boot menu shows -USB HDD but it does show the name of the device (Kingston DataTraveller 2.0).

At this point, not sure which path forward will be the best idea, but leaning towards #2, followed by perhaps #3. If anyone else has some feedback in the meantime, it would be welcomed. I have spent most of today trying to shave this particular yak (and many hours/days previously) and so I figure, the least I can do is publish what I learned so far... :D

EDIT: It occurs to me that replacing stock BIOS with Libre/Coreboot (or another) may be another way to solve the issue. So I will call this potential path forward #5.

Cheers,
TRS-80
Last edited by TRS-80 on Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#2 Post by devinfriday » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:13 pm

What about easy2boot?

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#3 Post by TRS-80 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:47 pm

devinfriday wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:13 pm
What about easy2boot?
According to their Licensing page, it seems they are basically a utility which is built on top of at least some Free Software (i.e., GPL licensed) tools, whilst they themselves don't feel the need to share and share alike, which personally I find a bit obnoxious. In fact, I will happily go out of my way not to use nor recommend such software. Because, even just as a "user" of a particular piece of software, I tend to get involved with a project, perhaps contribute to bug reports, documentation, testing, maybe even some code, etc... and I am just not going to bother going to the effort of doing any of that towards any project who want to take all the benefits of F/LOSS for themselves (IMO quite selfishly) whilst not reciprocating those same benefits to everyone else (which is all that GPL really is about, when you get right down to it).

Anyway, having said all of that, I do appreciate the recommendation. I suppose there are a lot of bits of software out there like that, I just have gotten so accustomed to immediately dismissing them out of hand that I don't even think of that as a criteria any longer, but perhaps I should be more explicit about that when posting publicly.

I did also learn they are based on grub4dos (which is apparently GPL licensed), so perhaps another lead to follow up on there...
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#4 Post by atagunov » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:33 pm

Now that's what I call a thorough bit of research. I personally don't feel a need to keep T60 running, if anything my interests start with T60 Frankenpads, but a really nice piece of research it is none the less - and if I have trouble with T61 boards I will certainly lean on your experience, TRS-80.

BTW another question worthy of an answer is - how much is the usable RAM limit lifted on a T60 with Core/Libreboot?..
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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#5 Post by TRS-80 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:17 pm

atagunov wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:33 pm
Now that's what I call a thorough bit of research.
Well, I'm glad someone appreciates it. :D
atagunov wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:33 pm
I personally don't feel a need to keep T60 running, if anything my interests start with T60 Frankenpads, but a really nice piece of research it is none the less - and if I have trouble with T61 boards I will certainly lean on your experience, TRS-80.
Well, my interests end with T60. :lol:

Not that I am some high level wizard like RBS, George, and others around here. Just trying to share what I learned so far.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:33 pm
BTW another question worthy of an answer is - how much is the usable RAM limit lifted on a T60 with Core/Libreboot?..
I have yet to be succesful in flashing Libreboot (awaiting CMOS battery delivery[0]) but at least when changing from 3GB of sticks (2 + 1) to 4 GB worth (2 + 2) the increase was present, but negligble (according to free utility in Linux).

When I get there, I will try and remember to post back, probably in my Libre Frankie thread.

Cheers,
TRS-80

[0] Athough I realized in the meantime I could in fact hook up any 3V supply, even using one of the old connectors.
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:57 am

If you have a machine with W7 or newer, how about Rufus?
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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#7 Post by TRS-80 » Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:44 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:57 am
If you have a machine with W7 or newer, how about Rufus?
GPL v3, now we are talking! :D I enjoyed reading his philosophy on donations, in fact. This is much closer to the hacker ethos for me.

Unfortunately, the only Win environment I have here would be via Virtual Machine, which I could fire up, but... Ideally, I would like to find some native (GNU/Linux) tool.

Another thing I forgot to mention earlier. Rufus you hear mentioned a fair amount. Also things like Unetbootin. There may be one or two more in this category. These tools apparently do some "magic" at times to make them work (as opposed to more low level tools like straight dd, etc.). Now some times (maybe most times) that is probably fine. But other times (I have found one particular thread about Unetbootin on Debian mailing list) this added stuff can actually cause problems by being too clever. Just something else to be aware of.

An update on "path forward #2" (Ventoy). I created an account on their forums, as of last night I was still awaiting account approval which is apparently a manual process there. My plan is to make a thread bringing up T60 support, as I searched the forums and only found newer ThinkPads being discussed. One other thing I don't think I mentioned, the main developer uses a ThinkPad (although I think maybe a newer one) so perhaps he will be sympathetic to my/our cause. :)

EDIT: My account is live there, I was able to make this post just now: ThinkPad T60 support
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#8 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:36 pm

I don't think I've ever had any issues booting from USB on my Z61t (which is the same board as the T60).

All the Linux live USBs I've ever tried out worked fine, plus things like Hiren's Boot CD and Easy2Boot. Those latter two do use Grub4DOS, which is probably what I would use if I wanted to make a custom USB boot drive.

The way to update the BIOS from USB is to make a bootable DOS drive with something like FreeDOS and then copy the files to it. That has always worked fine in my experience. If you make a Grub4DOS boot drive, just include the option to boot to a FreeDOS command prompt and then you can run the BIOS update executable from there.

I've never tried making a bootable stand alone image of MemTest86+ since most Linux live USBs include it as an option in their boot menu and I can just use one of those. It should be no problem to add MemTest86+ to a Grub4DOS menu, though.
atagunov wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:33 pm
BTW another question worthy of an answer is - how much is the usable RAM limit lifted on a T60 with Core/Libreboot?..
At a minimum you get 3.25GB. You can get more by disabling unneeded IO registers in the memory map. If your system doesn't have Radeon graphics, you can free up an extra 128MB, for example. You can also disable the cardbus slots for another 256MB. You might be able to disable some other system resources like the main mPCIe slot or the audio if you don't think you'll need them, but there are core chipset IO registers that can't be removed, so you'll always end up short of the full 4GB. I think the max might be around 3.75GB.

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#9 Post by TRS-80 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:23 pm

Well, I decided to try the approach of using a live boot tool. I saw that Ultimate Boot CD includes Memtest86+ so I decided to give it a try. It even had a release as recently as August of last year which made me think it was still actively being maintained. I have learned since then that this does not appear to be the case. It gives instructions about how to Customize an image, adding things, or writing it to a USB stick (instead of CD) but I learned that the script that is supposed to do that (ubcd2usb in linux dir) is not actually present! I have created an account on their forums, and await my post being approved by a moderator, but I have to be honest it's a bit like tumbleweeds over there. In the end, I found this salient quote from the founder in the announcement post for the latest version:
The project is pretty much in hibernation now, but I continue to receive emails from some of you. So this is a maintenance release that basically lets me clear the backlog of fixes.
Then I tried the manual instructions (which are given in readme.txt in the folder where the script is supposed to be) but of course that did not work, either.

At some point today, while doing research, I did find a quite enlightening post from the creator of Rufus on Super User, where he explains some of the differences and reasons for all the different boot loaders, etc. He seems like a smart guy, shame he got into Windows development for whatever reason, Rufus seems like a really nice tool. I did find it quite telling the little blurb he has under his GitHub profile this very moment:
A Free Software Developer, with more decades of experience than we care to admit — It is through this lens that we see Stallman's foresight being vindicated...
My mind runs wild with speculation as to the turn of events in one's life that leads to developing a nice piece of GPL software for Windows. Which just seems like such an odd combination to me.

Anyway, moving on to "creating a bootable USB drive with FreeDOS." Have you ever actually tried to do that? Much less succeeded? It seemed vaguely familiar to me when you mentioned it. Upon looking into it again today, I was reminded that it seems incredibly complicated, requiring either using a VM or other convoluted workarounds, for reasons I cannot quite fathom.

At this point, I think I will look for an actually maintained live / rescue distro. Well, actually, after dickering with this for literally days on end, I am running out of time (as well as patience). So, I don't know what comes next. Just throw the memory in and use it, I guess. Not ideal, but...
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#10 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 am

You can make a FreeDOS boot drive easily with UNetbootin (or Rufus). I just checked and this is what every tutorial I see tells you to do. Not sure why found a more complicated one. I happen to know you can also just DD the FreeDOS USB setup image to your USB drive since it's a bootable FreeDOS image itself, but then you'll need to delete the contents of the AUTOEXEC.BAT script and use (G)Parted to extend the size of the partition. Like I said last time, you could also just make the USB drive Grub4DOS bootable and then set up a menu entry for FreeDOS.

In fact, whatever Linux distro you're on probably uses the GRUB2 bootloader, right? Well, you can just add FreeDOS and MemTest86+ to your existing GRUB2 menu and skip the whole USB thing altogether. MemTest86+ is usually in the GRUB menu already anyway, sometimes hidden under an Advanced submenu.

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#11 Post by TRS-80 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:06 pm

Thanks for the reply, Sweater Fish Deluxe. I appreciate the help.
Sweater Fish Deluxe wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 am
You can make a FreeDOS boot drive easily with UNetbootin (or Rufus). [...] Like I said last time, you could also just make the USB drive Grub4DOS bootable and then set up a menu entry for FreeDOS.
It just seems wasteful to me to use a whole USB stick just for Memtest86+ which is quite a small program. So I was trying to get some multiboot solution to work. Which has been more of a long term goal for me since a long time now (needing to run Memtest86+ is just the current proximate cause). However, if this foe proves to be beyond me (which so far it has, and for a few years now) then I guess I will just have to fall back (yet again) to one of the other options you mention, at least for the time being.

I have said it many times already in this thread, but apparently I must repeat, that Rufus is a Windows only tool, and I do not have any Windows environment easily available to me (I have stopped using it altogether some years ago now).

I also read some bugs on Debian mailing list about UNetbootin which turned me off to it, in addition to the fact that I don't prefer GUI based programs. Not only that, but the top result when searching for them is unetbootin.org which is apparently some spam or malware site, as it is listed in more than one of the hosts blocklists which come with uMatrix. Upon further investigation just now, their GitHub (which seems legit enough to me) says that their web page is actually https://unetbootin.github.io/. Well, all of those things put together had put me off the tool quite a lot, but perhaps I need to take another look as so far I am not having success elsewhere.
Sweater Fish Deluxe wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 am
In fact, whatever Linux distro you're on probably uses the GRUB2 bootloader, right? Well, you can just add FreeDOS and MemTest86+ to your existing GRUB2 menu and skip the whole USB thing altogether. MemTest86+ is usually in the GRUB menu already anyway, sometimes hidden under an Advanced submenu.
I will also double check the Debian GRUB boot menu. I have been in the advanced menus before, but don't recall seeing Memtest86+ in there (but I could be wrong). All of my T60 that are up and running do have Debian installed already on an HDD (more likely, SSD, actually), so this is actually quite a viable option perhaps (at least in the short term).
Sweater Fish Deluxe wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 am
I happen to know you can also just DD the FreeDOS USB setup image to your USB drive since it's a bootable FreeDOS image itself, but then you'll need to delete the contents of the AUTOEXEC.BAT script and use (G)Parted to extend the size of the partition.
My understanding is that their USB image is designed to install to an HDD, and not run as a live OS. But perhaps doing these latter instructions you outline converts it from an installer to a live OS.
Sweater Fish Deluxe wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:51 am
I just checked and this is what every tutorial I see tells you to do. Not sure why found a more complicated one.
I have observed that, in general, most people are dumb as rocks (and only even more so when it comes to technology, especially nowadays). Therefore popularity is not a particularly valid metric for me. In fact, in many cases my spidey sense tells me it is an indication to go the opposite direction. Facebook, the Kardashians, Twitter, and Raspberri Pi are all very popular (apparently). That does not make any of them either good, or useful.

It is no surprise to me that GUI based tools are popular. Everyone is in a hurry nowadays and doesn't care about actually learning how anything works. My approach is more difficult (well, at least certainly more time consuming) but I am actually learning quite a lot. When I started, I had the luxury of a bit of time, but even that is starting to run out. So I may need to cut it short and just take "the easy way" at least for now. But as I said I have been trying to figure this out for some years already (on and off).

----------

First thing today, I had written up the following (in Emacs). That was before logging in and seeing I had a reply (above) which I have now responded to. So the following are the results of my continued research from last night and this morning. And apologies that this is going to get very long now.

----------

So, late last night, I decided to try one more system repair disk. In this case, SystemRescue, which, near as I can tell, is a GNU/Linux (Arch?) based rescue CD that appears current and maintained. They include Memtest86+ (and many others) and seem to boot using ISOLINUX (just like Debian Live / install discs, which are the only ones that work for me so far). So I had some hopes.

It took me no time at all to download, check the SHA hash, and burn it to a USB stick. Nice and straightforward (which at this point, was nice for a change).

Unfortunately, it was not recognized as bootable, either.

The Missus was summoning me to bed, so I had to call it a night. But as I lay there in bed, I couldn't help but wonder the differences between this USB stick, and the Debian one, as they both use ISOLINUX.

So, first thing this morning, I decided to compare the relevant directories. Note below that "RESCUE701" is the USB stick with SystemRescue and "d-live 10.6.0 xf i386" is the one with Debian Live / install on it.

I noticed that the Debian one had a lot more files. I also noted that Debian does not include the isohdpfx.bin file, which I thought was for Isohybrid (i.e., booting ISO from block device like USB stick).

Code: Select all

/media/user/RESCUE701/boot/grub:
total used in directory 48 available 0 B
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user  2048 Nov 22 03:10 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user  2048 Nov 22 03:10 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  4987 Nov 22 03:10 font.pf2
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  2434 Nov 22 03:10 grubsrcd.cfg
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user 36864 Nov 11 03:42 i386-efi

/media/user/d-live 10.6.0 xf i386/boot/grub:
total used in directory 2392 available 0 B
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user    2048 Sep 26 07:45 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user    2048 Sep 26 07:44 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user 2392064 Sep 20 19:11 efi.img
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user    5004 Jul 30  2020 font.pf2
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user   14447 Sep 26 07:45 grub.cfg
drwxrwxr-x 1 user user   32768 Sep 20 19:11 i386-efi
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user      26 Sep 26 07:45 loopback.cfg


/media/user/RESCUE701/isolinux:
total used in directory 164 available 0 B
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user   2048 Nov 22 03:10 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user   2048 Nov 22 03:10 ..
-r--r--r-- 1 user user   2048 Nov 22 03:15 boot.cat
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user    432 Nov 22 03:10 isohdpfx.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  40960 Nov 22 03:10 isolinux.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user    137 Nov 22 03:10 isolinux.cfg
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 119668 Nov 22 03:10 ldlinux.c32

/media/user/d-live 10.6.0 xf i386/isolinux:
total used in directory 688 available 0 B
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user   2048 Sep 26 07:45 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 user user   2048 Sep 26 07:45 ..
-r--r--r-- 1 user user   2048 Sep 26 07:45 boot.cat
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 165164 Sep 26 07:45 hdt.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  38912 Sep 26 07:45 isolinux.bin
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    157 Sep 20 19:11 isolinux.cfg
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 119296 Sep 26 07:45 ldlinux.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 169996 Sep 26 07:45 libcom32.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  67460 Sep 26 07:45 libgpl.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  23668 Sep 26 07:45 libmenu.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  22724 Sep 26 07:45 libutil.c32
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  26536 Sep 26 07:45 memdisk
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  15353 Sep 26 07:45 menu.cfg
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  18326 Sep 20 19:11 splash.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    733 Sep 26 07:45 stdmenu.cfg
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user  26772 Sep 26 07:45 vesamenu.c32
There was also a file on the Debian CD, which appears to maybe be the command that generated the ISO (I re-formatted it for readability)?

Code: Select all

# /.disk/mkisofs

xorriso -outdev debian-live-10.6.0-i386-xfce.iso \
        -volid d-live 10.6.0 xf i386 \
        -padding 0 \
        -compliance no_emul_toc \
        -map /w/work/free/xfce/tmp/tmppRGCOr / \
        -chmod 0755 / \
        -- \
        -boot_image isolinux dir=/isolinux \
        -boot_image isolinux system_area=/usr/lib/ISOLINUX/isohdpfx.bin \
        -boot_image any next \
        -boot_image any efi_path=boot/grub/efi.img \
        -boot_image isolinux partition_entry=gpt_basdat
So, apparently xorriso (according to its home page):
xorriso copies file objects from POSIX compliant filesystems into Rock Ridge enhanced ISO 9660 filesystems and allows session-wise manipulation of such filesystems. It can load the management information of existing ISO images and it writes the session results to optical media or to filesystem objects.
Vice versa xorriso is able to copy file objects out of ISO 9660 filesystems.
Not sure what any of this means yet (if anything) just posting my research as I go along.

I am starting to wonder if I shouldn't just flash Libreboot, as it is entirely possible that doing so might make all of these problems "just go away."
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#12 Post by Sweater Fish Deluxe » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:52 pm

TRS-80 wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:06 pm
I have observed that, in general, most people are dumb as rocks (and only even more so when it comes to technology, especially nowadays). Therefore popularity is not a particularly valid metric for me. In fact, in many cases my spidey sense tells me it is an indication to go the opposite direction. Facebook, the Kardashians, Twitter, and Raspberri Pi are all very popular (apparently). That does not make any of them either good, or useful.
If you're doing all this and talking about installing Coreboot just to get Memtest86+ working when there's so many easy ways, then I have to question your spidey sense. Smart people may know how to do things in more complicated ways that a dumb person wouldn't be able to follow, but a wise person knows when the extra work is just not worth it and prefers to use an easier way that's functionally the same.

TRS-80
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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#13 Post by TRS-80 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:56 pm

I do not disagree with your over-arching point.

However, having a multi-boot USB stick, as compared to a single use tool, are most certainly not "functionally the same." This thread has always been about that larger goal, as I said Memtest86+ is just the current, proximate cause (or "short-term" goal, if you will).

I am also not "talking about installing Coreboot just to get Memtest86+ working", rather I have been planning all along to install Libreboot, anyway. Maybe it's not obvious from the contents of this thread alone, but I did have a separate thread Libre Frankie? wherein that whole saga played out. Current status there is that I failed due to old and dead BIOS/CMOS batteries, which apparently is a very big no-no when doing that process.

Maybe dumb was too strong a word. In a hurry, maybe is better? Taking the easy way? The world is full of that, and I care not for it (in the general sense). One of my favorite quotes of all time, in fact being:
For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn't give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

TRS-80
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Re: Booting T60 from USB

#14 Post by TRS-80 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:27 pm

Success! :banana:

Well, in the "short term goal" anyway... :D

Sweater Fish,

Your comments about GRUB got me looking into Debian. In the time I have been using it (which is only a few years) I cannot say I ever recall seeing it in any GRUB menu (even advanced one). So I can speculate that maybe this is something that used to be included (by default), but is not any longer.

However, Memtest86+ is after all Free Software. So there are no license reasons it would not be available in Debian. Lo and behold, a quick search of the Debian repositories for memtest revealed that they not only package Memtest86+, but also Memtest86 v4.3.7 (which I understand was the last F/LOSS version).

So I boot into the existing Debian distro on the SSD and do a quick "sudo apt install memtest86+" and it apparently takes care of making all the GRUB entries, etc. So I reboot, and there it is in the GRUB menu, and now as we speak, Memtest86+ is humming away on this T60 next to me.

That part of it was right there in front of me the whole time, but I did not put it together (I suppose because of my focus on the larger goal). Anyway, thanks to Sweater Fish Deluxe for the hints! :beer:

So, to summarize: the proximate cause (running Memtest86+) have been solved, but not the larger goal of general multi-boot via USB on T60. And I do not think I have much more time to pour into that at the moment.
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

TRS-80
Sophomore Member
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:00 pm
Location: Eastern, USA
Contact:

Re: Booting T60 from USB

#15 Post by TRS-80 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:17 pm

I realized something through the course of this thread. I have been exclusively using F/LOSS for a few years now, and for me this criteria is always a given. Therefore I don't think I ever did explicitly state it. I guess it is easy for me to forget, here in my little F/LOSS bubble, that there is a whole world out there who still either don't know or don't care at all about it, and therefore will not hesitate to recommend proprietary tools.

Also I perhaps did not state the importance of the goal of trying to find some multi-boot solution. Ideally, I would like to be able to add and remove different software later on after the initial writing as needed.

So, in order to be more clear on the above criteria, I have decided to change the title of the thread, from "Booting T60 from USB" to "(Multi-) Booting T60 from USB (using exclusively F/LOSS)."
All good things are Wild and Free.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

(2021) Actively on the lookout for for 15" T60 FlexView / Hydis LED displays and parts, for my own usage. Kindly PM me your demands if you are willing to part with anything. :D

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