BYOS and BYOOS

It started being fed up with strange behaviour of MS Word at the office. I don’t need to say more because most of us know what I’m talking about ;-) As an alternative I got into LaTeX, a really great environment to make text. Since I am a flex worker, I use several different computers and besides personal user-space is limited.

This is where I discovered MikTex portable. A complete LaTeX environment run from a USB stick. This way I could use LaTeX wherever I wanted without annoying my colleagues and IT department. XP (yes we still use that) for some strange reason makes personal settings on preferred programs affect all users on the system. After MikTex I learned that there is a lot of portable software, including the complete LibreOffice. I only wonder why all portable software I found is Windows only. Apparently Linux and Mac users are more happy with the given solutions on their systems…

Unfortunately a standard USB 2.0 was too slow. Rendering the PDF directly from the Tex document took ages and locked the system. So I bought a 32Gb V3 USB Drive from Verbatim to speed things up. Nice detail on the Verbatim USB is that it explicitly mentions Linux compatibility besides the other platforms! With this USB and portable software I am running the software I need to do the job the way it suits me best. Why bring your own device BYOD when all I need is good software? So Bring Your Own Software is a well working alternative.

Having 32Gb in my pocket I thought why not bring my own operating system as well — BYOOS (not that it is always possible to boot from a USB, but it is also just fun to make it). So I installed Fedora 17 LXDE Live version as well. Now the problem with all files and software on one partition is that the Live system cannot read data from the rest of the same partition. Making two partitions solves this. The filemanager of my portable Fedora correctly mounts the second partition and lets me use and edit files.

All well, but not for the obsolete XP boxes at the office. XP does not recognize the second partition on your USB drive. It only mounts the first one and there is no way the file explorer gives access to the second partition holding my data. Back to the Palimpsest aka ‘Disk’ on my main Fedora machine. First partition with 27Gb for data, second bootable partition with 4Gb for the Live Linux which I installed with 1.5Gb persistent memory so changes are kept with the Live Fedora.

Now this works! I can access my data whenever I like, use my favourite software and demonstrate the beauty of Linux when I want. Life is Great :-)

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