Posts Create Live Persistent Ubuntu 20.04 USB thumbdrive on Mac OS with Mac Linux USB Loader

Create Live Persistent Ubuntu 20.04 USB thumbdrive on Mac OS with Mac Linux USB Loader

I have had this mania recently to want to have my linux running on just any single computer I touch and without putting a mess on that computer.

Ubuntu USB Live just lets you do that. And with persistence attached to the USB thumbdrive you can persist any data you want: files, config, software installed.

A lot of the UI tools available will fail to make USB stick bootable on Intel Macs. That is because a lot of distribution do not have EFI bootable support.

The easiest solution to create a live persistent USB on Mac OS seems to be by using Mac Linux USB Loader, or the free version that you will have to build from github.

  1. On your Mac start Volume Disk Utility and Create 3 FAT32 partition on your thumbdrive.
    • The first partition labelled MACUBUNTU1 can be fairly small, ie 10GB. Do not use space in the label.
    • The second partition labelled MACUBUNTU2 and MACUBUNTU3 can use the rest of your thumbdrive (ie 55GB and 55GB if you have a 120GB thumbdrive).
  2. Launch Mac Linux USB Loader and click Persistence Manager to Create a persistence file on the first partition MACUBUNTU1. The persistence file should be 4GB and should be named casper-rw (or writable if you are fine with a 4GB only persistence)
  3. In Mac Linux USB Loader, create the bootable in Create Live USB
    • Choose Ubuntu latest iso
    • Make sure to untick Skip the boot selection menu
    • Tick This ISO lacks an EFI-enabled kernel
  4. At this stage you have a perfectly working Ubuntu USB Live stick. But it only has 4GB persistence.
  5. In order to fix this, we will resize casper-rw.
    • From a Linux session, with gparted, reformat MACUBUNTU2 into an ext4 partition.
    • Copy the existing casper-rw into the new partition (replace below /dev/sdXY with the correct partition): sudo dd if=/media/ubuntu/MACUBUNTU1/casper-rw of=/dev/sdXY status=progress
    • Extend the partition to its full size by using either resize2fs or do a Check with gparted.
  6. Here you go, you now have a bootable Ubuntu stick that you can use on MAC. To boot it, Press option and start your Mac. Then when prompted choose option 2 (advanced) 5 (persistence) and 0 to start!