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I want to install Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 on a USB pen drive which has a microswitch to make the USB pen drive hardware-protected read-only. My plan is to use the USB pen drive read-only in combination with several other USB pen drives with UnionFS (for every not trustable app there is a new USB pen drive). However, I want also to use the USB pen drive in read-write mode (without another USB pen drive attached) to update Ubuntu.

How can I achieve this?

I made two attempts, which failed:

  1. installed Ubuntu on USB pen drive; It didn't booted in hardware-protected read-only mode.

  2. made Live-USB with Ubuntu Startup Disc Creator on USB pen drive with 4GB persistence; I couldn't update Ubuntu.

  • Ubuntu will not work on a read only device. – mikewhatever Jul 18 '17 at 15:03
  • Live-USB works on a read only device – user3734670 Jul 18 '17 at 15:09
  • You can have persistent live systems with the partitions for persistence, the casper-rw partition on the other drives. As far as I know, you can only have one active casper-rw partition. It is possible to add a home-rw partition, where the /home directory will be stored (for persistence). But if you want to install in two steps, safe updates & upgrades and installing not trustable application programs, I have no good method except to backup the safe updates & upgrades, and restore it to the other drive, where you install not trustable application programs. – sudodus Jul 18 '17 at 15:18
  • You can use mkusb to make a persistent live system, that works well with casper-rw partitions. See these links, help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb and help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/persistent and help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/sp – sudodus Jul 18 '17 at 15:23
  • Another alternative is to extend your alternative 1. installed Ubuntu on USB pen drive: Keep it up to date in one pendrive and create a compressed image, for example with Clonezilla. Create cloned copies (from the image) and install your not trustable apps into the cloned copies. I think the backup of this system will be slower than that of a persistent live system, but there will be more degrees of freedom and you will get a more stable system. – sudodus Jul 18 '17 at 17:07

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