Back in October I bought myself a new shiny SSD to finally make the first step of leaving behind Windows.

After enquiring about which Distro to use, I settled on Fedora after being fed up with using Ubuntu in the past and feeling not close to technically skilled enough to use Arch.

The original plan was to have the SSD hold multiple Linux OS as well as a common storage that can be accessed from Windows as well as these distros.

Since I wanted to be able to dual boot multiple OS (Fedora & Tails) I choose Ventoy … Well chose is a strong word. It’s the only software for dual booting that still seems to be maintained.

While reading up on Ventoy I hit my fist snag. Ventoy does not support persistence in Tails. “Okay whatever I can deal with that later as long as I am able to store some file on common folder I’m fine” However dear reader who knows about partitioning, you will know that we are running out of space on the partition table with Ventoy, Tails and Fedora each taking up space. Once again I thought “okay whatever, I can figure that out later” and moved on to Fedora.

Now, running Fedora without persistence through Ventoy is no issue, but as soon you want persistence it gets tricky. See, Fedora cannot just with run persistence off Ventoy. It needs a boot option edited. How this is accomplished? No one even in the Ventoy Forum could tell me. and I felt waaay in over my head when I started reading up on Grub and how to edit the Bootloader files I find somewhere while digging through the ISO with 7zip. So I started reading up what this “selinux” option even is and found out that, I should probably not disable it. to begin with.

“Oookay” I thought slightly desperate, “I guess Ventoy is off the table” Luckily, a few weeks later, I found out about Whonix. Thus, a new play formed in my head: Ditch Ventoy and Tails, part the SSD to make it usable as a normal file storage and keep the other partition with persistent Fedora with Whonix. “Okay, that seems already waaay easier. I installed Ubuntu before from a VM to USB Sticks for school, I can do the same with Fedora. I’m basically already on the finishing straight”

Well no. Turns out, running a VM comes with its own snags. Like how VMware really is only working great if you buy a licence or the fact that Virtualbx automatically set’s the USB Standard of each VM to USB 2.0 meaning you will need to reboot the live OS to make the SSD running under 3.0 visible for installation. There goes another 20 minutes down the drain.

After fiddling around with the partition manager in Fedora and reading up on the documentation surrounding this issue (and finding out that it is more than 15(!) Version behind the current setup (it was a nice read tho)) another slap happened, to my already failing believe that this project would work out. Partitioning the SSD with a home, boot, swap and EFI System Partition, can leave enough space on the Disk but no extra space on the partition table.
“Well, guess I have to mount a LVM Partiton somewhere” I thought and moved on in the hope to at least get Fedora finally running on the SSD. But alas, my BIOS just decided to throw the most generic error ever.

Upon searching the web I found about this bug which apparently has been open since Fedora 37. So on the chance of me having said issue because of this bug, I got Fedora 36 and repeated the steps of creating a VM (don’t forget about that USB2 issue, or you will lose 20 minutes again) and installing it on the SSD. Presumably because I have an unmaintained version of Fedora which is 3 version behind the current one, installing Fedora on the SSD took more than an hour. (opposed to the 30 minutes it took me with 38.)

And after all that hassle? Still nothing. I still get that Bios Error and I still can’t run Fedora, and I have to say I’m sick and tired of it. I’m not a complete idiot (in most ways of life) but I cannot for the love of me figure out how I will ever get this to work. Or how the average user (who, let’s assume for the sake of my argument, is also not a complete idiot) is supposed to make this work. The hoops I jumped through, the hours of time wasted waiting for a status bar to update, the time spent googling and reading up on seemingly obscure issues, no average user wants to do this. It’s utopian to assume “oh users will just switch if Microsoft just does this or that stupid thing”. Whatever will happen, these users will not come in troves to Linux. This experience, which I can only describe as “running blind through a mirror maze” is masochistic. And I can’t do it any more. Maybe six months down the road, when brain damage finally has me forgotten the headache this journey has caused, I will pick this project up again. For now, I just really needed to write this rant, or I fear this day spent troubleshooting was for nothing.

Edit: Thank you to everybody for reading through my, I gotta say now, quite ignorant, post. Also thank you to most posters. Most comments were quite helpful and kind.

A few things that I might not have explained the best way.

The goal of the project was threefold:

•Have a removable drive with Linux on to slowly ease myself into this new OS while still having Windows as a fallback on the laptop

•Have it also work as a normal storage drive in the windows environment. (preferably without seeing any Linux folders in Window explorer)

•Have some kind of secure privacy option available to browse Anna’s archive for ebooks.

  • NaN
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    93 months ago

    An EFI system partition on the SSD can be shared by multiple distributions. A single grub instance on that EFI system partition can boot multiple distributions. Ventoy is really not meant for what you’re trying to use it for.