How to Run Slax OS from Live CD or DVD

Project Description

This is a small project, which is a part of a bigger project: installing Anuko Time Tracker from https://www.anuko.com on USB. Here, we only need to document how to run Slax OS from Live CD or DVD and experiment with it a bit.

Environment


Downloading Slax OS

We can do it from https://www.slax.org - there are download links on the bottom of the page together with their MD5 checksums. Scroll to very bottom to see them below items for sale.

Slax OS download links and checksums

Slax OS download links and checksums



So, in my case of 64-bit hardware, download the slax-64bit-9.7.0.iso file. The link location for me was:

http://ftp.linux.cz/pub/linux/slax/Slax-9.x/slax-64bit-9.7.0.iso

Check md5 of the File

On Ubuntu, we can do it as so:

$ md5sum slax-64bit-9.7.0.iso 
1c99c5eda44e3856f62034fadc4f113c  slax-64bit-9.7.0.iso
We see that the checksum matches, so it was downloaded without errors or tampering with.

Burn Slax OS ISO on a DVD

Now we can use a disk burning program such as Brasero to burn the image onto the media.

Burning Slax ISO image on DVD

Burning Slax ISO image on DVD



A result of the above operation is a bootable Slax OS 9.7.0 DVD.

Slax OS 9.7.0 DVD

Slax OS 9.7.0 DVD



Running Slax OS from DVD

Let's boot from this media and see what happens. Soon after booting, it shows up a boot logo screen below, when you can press the Esc key during approximately 2 seconds only to see the following boot options.

Slax OS boot options

Slax OS boot options



The first default option Run Slax (Persistent changes) will not actually persist anything because the DVD is mounted as read-only (/dev/sr0). Screen output that follows actually displays a message that Persistent changes not writable or not used.

Slax OS persistent changes not writeable

Slax OS persistent changes not writeable



After boot process finishes, we see Slax OS desktop as on the picture below and we can use the OS.

Slax OS 9.7.0 desktop after boot

Slax OS 9.7.0 desktop after boot



Exploring Boot Options

Let's see what is the meaning of available boot options.

Persistent Changes

This option does not persist data between reboots when we run the OS from DVD. The OS keeps changes only in memory. However, if we were to install Slax on SSD instead then we should be able to persist data, but this is another project.

Fresh Start

This option means starting the OS without persistent changes accumulated earlier, but in our case of running off a read-only DVD, it is basically the same as the first, and without persistent changes.

Copy to RAM

This option is a bit different as the entire DVD content is copied to RAM and then you run everything from RAM only. You can actually remove the DVD at this point from the drive and continue to use the OS.

Where is My Data

You may wonder how DVD content looks like. A simplest way to see the directory structure is probably boot using the Copy to RAM option, in which case the DVD ROM is mounted at /media/sr0. It is an elegant and simple directory structure with slax directory and readme.txt file at root. We can actually copy and paste this folder onto a USB or an SSD if we want to run Slax with persistent changes from there instead (which is another project to be covered elsewhere soon).

Content of DVD-ROM mounted at /media/sr0

Content of DVD-ROM mounted at /media/sr0



You may notice that the media contains an empty slax/changes directory. This is where persistent changes to the OS file system are kept. But our media is read-only, and our changes are mapped to /run/initramfs/memory/changes instead. For example, if you create a text file on Desktop called test.txt, if will appear as /run/initramfs/memory/changes/home/guest/Desktop/test.txt.

When booting using the default "Persistent changes" option, I also noticed a Failed to mount Disk sr0 error message as on the screenshot below.

Failed to mount Disk sr0 during boot

Failed to mount Disk sr0 during boot


Trying to mount /dev/sr0 after boot also fails because the device is already mounted on /run/initramfs/memory/data/. So, you can access disk content at this location, and the changes are at /run/initramfs/memory/changes/ as well.