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BURG (Grub 2 variant) -- Wintec Filemate SolidGO (ExpressCard eSATA) -- HP Elitebook 2740p

Lubuntu, or any other modern Linux, has no problem recognizing this eSATA ExpressCard, but unfortunately the HP BIOS will not allow booting from this SSD eSATA drive. The BIOS also does not `recognize' the drive, and so will not pass on the relevant drive information to Grub/Grub2/Burg. However, the Linux kernels can recognize the eSATA drive, so the Kernel just needs to be loaded from a drive which is recognized by the HP BIOS (such as the supplied internal hard-drive), and the the rest of the system can be booted from a partition on the Wintec Filemate eSATA SSD. Here is a portion of my /etc/burg.d/40_custom

menuentry 'Ubuntu SSD, with Linux 2.6.35-24-generic-pae' -class ubuntu -class gnu-linux -class gnu -class os -group group_main { 

insmod ext2 

set root='(hd0,6)' 

search -no-floppy -fs-uuid -set e9cabe73-19e1-48fe-a19a-a8038b4c5c5c 

echo 'Loading Linux 2.6.35-24-generic-pae ...' linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-24-generic-pae root=UUID=85a17ed5-c189-43be-9c35-8ac6e47392ee ro  quiet splash 

echo 'Loading initial ramdisk ...' initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-24-generic-pae }

I created this entry basically by modifying the standard Ubuntu entry in /boot/burg/burg.cfg which had been auto-generated by /etc/burg.d/10_linux. The only line which was changed was the `linux' line, where I changed the root specification to a Linux partition which is still on the internal hard-disk. I could have used a label like (hd1,2), but decided to stay with the format created by the auto-generator. UUIDs of the partitions are available with `sudo /sbin/blkid', or alternatively `ls -l /dev/devk/by-uuid' (ls only works if the partition is mounted).

I did not change the `search' command. As far as I can tell, that command sets the `root' parititon for Grub2/Burg, (not for the Linux kernel), and appears to be redundant with the preceding `set root' command.

Unfortunately the `insmod ata' command did not work for me in Burg/Grub2. Grub2 would be unable to find ANY drives after I gave that command, either the internal hard-drive or the Filemate SSD. That situation was not fixed by issuing the `rmmod ata' command! That is why the kernel (and initrd) still needs to be kept on the internal hard-drive, rather than the Filemate SSD.

For this reason, also, I disabled /etc/burg.d/30_os-prober after it was run initially (chmod a-x /etc/burg.d/30_os-prober). The os-prober sees the Linux installations on the Filemate SSD, and creates /boot/burg/burg.cfg entries which try to load the kernel and initrd from the SSD, and so cannot be used. Incidentally, the os-prober relies on packages (just 'os-prober'?) which are not automatically installed.

I used Burg rather than Grub2 because there is a graphical configuration tool available for Burg, although it is rather quirky and possibly buggy. The Burg and Burg GUI repositories are...

# Burg repositories

deb maverick main 

deb-src maverick main 

deb maverick main non-free 

Burg also has many pretty boat-loader graphical themes, too! Although many assume that there will only be one Ubuntu or SuSE boot, and do not have enough space for the very long operating system names generated automatically by programs like /etc/burg.d/10_linux.

I needed to alter the /etc/fstab on the SSD Lubuntu installation. Ubuntu uses UUIDs for its /etc/fstab. By the way, 'blkid' can only be executed as root (e.g. sudo blkid), and does not need any arguments if you don't mind seeing the blkid of all partitions.

# /etc/fstab: static file system information. 

# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier 

# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name 

# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5). 

# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass> proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0 

# / was on /dev/sda6 during installation, moved to sdb2 UUID=85a17ed5-c189-43be-9c35-8ac6e47392ee /               ext3    noatime,errors=remount-ro 0       1 

# /home was on /dev/sda8 during installation UUID=4409a4d6-bd97-47a8-a50f-3f47e1b2eb76 /home           ext3    defaults        0       2 

# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation UUID=bd9c4cc1-35aa-475c-9a84-90c357b7effe none            swap    sw              0       0 

Was it worth copying a Lubuntu/Ubuntu installation from the hard-drive to the SSD? I think the boot-times speak for themselves.

Starting from boot-loader Booting from hard-drive Booting from Solid-state-drive
Time to desktop 23 seconds 13 seconds
Time to loading Google page 31 seconds 18 seconds
from Firefox/Chromium    

Actually, Firefox, and particularly Chromium, start in just a second or two, but the network is not ready to connect to the web until the 18-second mark!

next up previous Link to 'computer' page
Next: Windows 7 Recovery (/Rescue) Up: System software Previous: System software
David Fong 2011-01-25