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I have a small 32 GB hard drive on my Chromebook to which I recently installed Linux. I need to install MatLab 2017a on it, but the entire suite is upwards of 25 GB in size. I only have ~21 GB left on the onboard storage. Is it possible to download and install the entire MatLab file onto an SD card, mount the SD card, and then run MatLab on my Linux set up?

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It should definitely be possible. I have a similar setup (HP Chromebook 14) with a tiny 16 GB hard drive. I run Unity3D on it, which is installed on my 32 GB microSD card. You may run into permission problems though. I had to format mine to ext4 format as well as mount it with the "exec" mount flag to get programs running. Personally, I haven't used MatLab, but if there is a Linux build available, it should be a straightforward process.

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I don't think it's possible to install a program to an SD card and use it from the SD card but I know you can install an OS to and SD card and run it from there. I'm running a full installation Ubuntu Budgie from a 320GB external HDD through a Parrot Chromebook with a 16GB HDD so I can install whatever Linux-compatible software on it and run it as I would if it was installed to my local HDD,

What I recommend doing is partitioning you micro SD card with a swap partition of 3GB, an ext4 partition of 3GB and another ext4 partition with the rest of your SD card's space. Once you've done that, make a bootable of whatever Linux OS (I know, for fact, that you can do this with Ubuntu-based distros) you want, plug BOTH the bootable and SD card into your computer at the same time, boot from your bootable and, when you get to the installation menu, select "Something else" I think is what it's called.

You want your swap to be swap, your small ext4 partition to be the bootloader and the other option (I can't remember what it is), and the biggest partition to be root.

Once you've defined those, proceed as you normally would and the Linux OS will be fully installed to the micro SD card and you can boot from it as you would your local HDD.

Note: this isn't live persistence; it's a full installation of the entire OS so it will behave as if it were your local HDD and local installation.

Once it's installed, you'll be able to install MatLab on it and use it without interfering with your local OS.

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As far as I know, you might be able to do it. Follow it in the steps below:

  1. Obtain the source code of your application. This will be.much easier with that.

  2. Format your SD card to ext2, ext3, or ext4.

  3. Take the source code (which should be in some sort of archive file.) And decompress it to the SD card.

  4. Find the file that launches the entire app and you be able to launch that to get the app to run.

Hope this works!

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  • Unfortunately MATLAB's source code isn't available to the public. Besides that I think the basic idea here is good, but if you start from source code then for most programs you have to compile it before you can run the program. Often it's not necessary to actually install the compiled program, though. That is, many programs will run fine from inside their source code directory after being compiled, and you don't need to use the make install or similar step that would copy their files to directories under the configured prefix. – Eliah Kagan Sep 3 '17 at 15:30
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There is article on MATLAB at help.ubuntu.com:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MATLAB
It is bit outdated, but I would imagine it is possible.
You can then create symlinks for scripts it uses if it does not do it during installation.
So if new MATLAB version you are using have same installation process as old ones, it should not be an issue.
There are less useful article on Mathworks.com itself:
https://www.mathworks.com/help/matlab/matlab_env/start-matlab-on-linux-platforms.html
But it has instructions on how to launch it and also says this:

matlabroot is the name of the folder in which you installed MATLAB.

Which leads me to believe that it is possible to select alternative installation directory.
Assuming you properly format SD-card to ext4 and mount it properly, it should be possible to do.
I do not know about 2017 version, but 2016 did had option to select installation directory so you should be able to do it.

I don't have any experience with MATLAB so can't really give you step-to-step guide, but from what I see it is definitely possible.

If you do not have any technical limitation or limited traffic that stops you from just trying to do it, I would suggest that you try to install it on ext4 formatted SD-card first and come back with more presented issues after that, if you encounter any.

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