Clonezilla does it. Arch Linux does it. A lot of other distros do it. But Ubuntu still doesn’t offer an image you can flash to a USB hard drive to make a clean installation with.
It’s true, there is a Startup Disk Creator tool that will write out an Ubuntu system to a USB connection, but you still have to get Ubuntu running to get to that point. For example, in my case I downloaded the ISO, burned it to a CDRW, booted into a live system, and then I could access the disk creator.
unetbootin is an option — and really, it’s more than just an option. That’s a fantastic program and good to have on hand no matter what system you’re using. With that you can usually spit any ISO onto a USB drive and it will start up like a CDROM. Usually.
But what would be nice is if some kind soul made a bootable USB drive, wrote out the image to a file with dd, and uploaded it. Then everyone could share in the quick download and dd it to a drive and just boot. …
Why is everybody looking at me?
Okay, here is the Ubuntu 10.04 desktop ISO for i386, flashed out to a 1Gb USB drive with the Startup Disk Creator, and written back with dd. The image has been tested on my end, but of course that’s no guarantee it’ll work as planned. But there are no customizations in place, no freaky wallpaper or third-party repositories.
Write this to a USB drive by inserting the USB stick, then checking the drive assignment with
fdisk -l. Once you know the drive label, you can type
dd if=ubuntu-10.04-desktop-i386.img of=/dev/sdX
Make sure you change the X to the letter for your USB drive. And remember that anything you have on that drive is going to be overwritten. Permanently. Forever. The end.
I might be able to do this for the x86_64 architecture too, but I won’t be able to test the results, since I don’t have a machine that will boot the stick after it is written. If you decide to do the same thing and share it, please test and tell us where to get it. Cheers, all.