Running SilverBlue from 8G USB stick?


Just because I am intrigued about the tech, I am about to install SB from scratch on my workstation (currently running F28 XFCE) but I was wondering about the nature of SB / Project Atomic etc - does this tech make it more practical to boot SB from a USB stick and have the more heavily used stuff installed on the SATA drive?

I am thinking of a USB stick that could either act as a LiveUSB if plugged into a new computer or recognise my workstation and load anything it might need from there if it is plugged in - including where /home is etc.

Basically this is just an exercise but I was wondering . . if this idea is not practical, then I will just do a conventional install from the LiveUSB and see how SB suits my particular situation.



AFAIK the hard part here would be a proper live version of Silverblue. Off the top of my head, the cleanest way to handle this would probably be using systemd mount units to either mount a your partition if present or a tmpfs to /sysroot/home.

That being said, you’ll still have to run upgrades on the USB, which won’t be particularly fast…

@refi64 ,

Right - I thought it probably wasn’t viable . .


Good day,

Besides triple boot Silverblue (with Haiku and Windows), due to this pandemic and having to work from home, I made myself a Silverblue USB, with Silverblue 32. It’s a 128 GB, not a 8 GB as the topic, and I have another 64 GB with Silverblue 31 not yet updated, both USB 3.0.

Using Silverblue out of an USB stick for daily tasks has proven quite reliable. Of course, not as fast loading software as from the SATA HD, but usable for office stuff, and faster than a mechanical USB 2.0 disk.

Nonetheless, I had issues installing Silverblue 32. It is a clean install, and I was surprised as I didn’t have any issue installing Silverblue 31 on the other USB key. To install from a Live USB I could only pick Automatic Partitioning, or Manual Partition, and manual, the full manual way Blivet GUI, IIRC. It seemed that the installer messed itself due to both USB keys, the Live One and the Destination one were sharing an USB port. Not such issue when installing Silverblue 31.

I ended up with total manual install to avoid swap, as could not achieve the same with Custom mode, due to the USB key mess.

Not sure why, but after installing was complete, computer BIOS boot settings had changed. I had it set to boot from USB UEFI key first, then go to UEFI hard drive. After installing Silverblue 32 on the USB key, BIOS boot settings changed to first boot from UEFI HD, then UEFI USB.
I change back the boot settings, and everything is fine until Silverblue 32 on the USB key updates. Each update changes BIOS settings again.

Also, Silverblue 32 on the USB key gets stalled at times needing hard reboot, this on Wayland. I’m going to check with XOrg to see if it’s related to Wayland or not.

As this is an office USB key, no strange software was installed, and all Flatpaks, simple and basic: LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Gimp, Inkscape, PDF tricks and not much more.

Where it shows a bit of delay is when copying files from the USB key (Silverblue 32) to another USB key.

Other than that, it has proven quite reliable and usable. I should have done the test sooner, so I could have started earlier with this method to isolate “activities”.

By the way, Box is triple booting 3 HDs ( HD1: Silverblue, HD2: Haiku, HD3: Windows), each HD has its own EFI partition, so they can be booted from BIOS directly too.


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