Ubuntu 8.10 is shipping next week with a horde of updated packages including the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, X.Org 7.4, Pidgin 2.5, GIMP 2.6, and many other packages that have experienced significant milestones since the April release of Ubuntu 8.04. On top of these updated packages from the community, Canonical has been working on a few desktop Linux innovations of their own. For instance, arriving late into the Intrepid Ibex release cycle is a USB start-up disk creator. In this article we are providing a quick look at this utility to easily spin your own USB disk images.
Last month we looked at the much-improved version of BulletProofX, which provides several end-user options when the X Server fails to start properly instead of just dropping them to a terminal. On top of this Canonical improvement in Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex" there is the USB startup disk creator as well as a System Cleanser application. While the System Cleanser isn't the focus of this article, the system-cleaner-gtk program will simply show the user what Debian packages have been installed following the installation of Ubuntu. The focus of this USB start-up disk creator is to take a Linux CD or ISO image and convert it to run off a USB disk drive. This application, which is named usb-creator, is also able to setup the USB drive to offer persistent storage capabilities.
The usb-creator program is written by Canonical and is licensed under the GNU GPLv3. The current version of this program is v0.1.9 and it's written in the Python programming language. When launching the GTK interface there are the options to select a disc image, USB disk to use, and whether to reserve additional space for providing a persistent environment. When selecting a disc image the user can either specify one of their CD/DVD drives containing Ubuntu or manually specify an ISO file from their hard drive. When selecting an image, the OS version is shown along with its file-size.