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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Full vs Frugal install: which is best with Windows?
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wausauwriter

Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr 2012, 16:50    Post subject:  Full vs Frugal install: which is best with Windows?  

So, I have been testing puppy for a while from a usb drive and everything I have tried seems to work great on my machine (an old Windoze XP box with 526M memory) and now I want to keep puppy (actually MacPup) around as my main OS but not destroy my Windoze (just in case). I have a partition on a second drive where MacPup can live quite well by itself (I could reformat that partition as Linux) and in all of this I have managed to figure out a boot manager or two. But I still can't decide if I should frugal install or full.

Let me say that I will be using some "heavyweight" software as I use them in my business and am comfortable with them, things like LibreOffice and the GIMP. And I have always been one that installs lots of software as I try it out to see what works best.

I am leaning toward a full install as it would seem that with a lot of software installed the .sfs file would get large and slow booting down. I also worry about installing things and not saving the .sfs and having the system go down (like if the kids reboot it!) and losing my updates.

I am leaning toward a "full" but being that "frugal" is recommended I am hesitating.

So...full or frugal and why?
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 13981
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr 2012, 17:58    Post subject:  

This is a constant question for Puppy installs.
I suggest you just do the full install on the partition. Use it for awhile and see how it works for you.
Full install:
The big advantage of a full install is not having to worry about save file filling up and needing to be re-sized.
The entire partition is always available for storage.
This could be an issue with heavy data writing programs, that need a lot of storage space.
Only limit is size of partition.
Suggest you use ext 3 or 4 for the format of partition.
Quote:
This is the absolute simplest configuration. There is no ramdisk, the partition itself is mounted directly on the top "layer". In fact, if there are no ".sfs" extensions to load then Puppy will not use unionfs at all, so there are no layers.

absolute simplest configuration to me says a lot. Less to go wrong. I seem to have less issues with full installs.

How Puppy works:
http://puppylinux.com/development/howpuppyworks.html

A frugal install works differently depending on the device it is installed on. So to compare, you need to look at what it will be installed on.

A linux swap partition is good to have. It will help to assist memory usage.

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wausauwriter

Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr 2012, 22:40    Post subject: Thanks!  

I thought those factors would be important and that is why I was leaning that way, but I wanted someone with more experience to speak up, so I appreciate your wisdom very much!
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ICPUG

Joined: 24 Jul 2005
Posts: 1309
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 08:04    Post subject:  

Only the benefits of full install have been given here.

A proper decision cannot be made until they are compared against the drawbacks of a full install.

As I do not do full install I am not the best source for those comments although I believe updating a full install is trickier than updating a frugal.

Running multiple pups is also a little trickier as you have to keep creating more partitions.
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Jim1911

Joined: 19 May 2008
Posts: 2460
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 08:52    Post subject:  

While trying additional software, a frugal installation is always best because all you have to do to restore the installation to pristine condition is to delete the save file and copy the backup that was faithfully made prior to checking out the new software. Sure beats trashing the full hd installation which is very easy to do.

Even if you decide on a full hd installation, a new frugal installation can be placed in it's own directory to be used when checking out new software. Also, you can do your own benefit comparision. Personally, I quit using full installations of puppy after trying both.
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darkcity


Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2549
Location: near here

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 09:13    Post subject:  

also see
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/FrugalOrFullInstallation

Twisted Evil

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Sylvander

Joined: 15 Dec 2008
Posts: 4439
Location: West Lothian, Scotland, UK

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 09:39    Post subject:  

Jim1911 wrote:
Personally, I quit using full installations of puppy after trying both.

same here. Very Happy
I have SEVEN "live" installs at the present time. Cool
i.e. pupsave+SFS filepair for each, held in their own suitably named folder on an ext3 partition on a dedicated Puppy internal HDD.
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James C


Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 6735
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 12:50    Post subject:  

For what it's worth, I use frugal installs for testing and full installs for those I'll actually be keeping for a while. No worries about saving outside the save file or running out of space or etc..Could just try one of each type and see which you prefer.
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sfeeley

Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 814

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 12:51    Post subject:  

My two cents is that frugal installs are a bit better in most cases.

-They run as fast as a full install on all but the slowest computers (less ram than yours)

-backups are a breeze. Just copy one file. Its hard to overestimate the effect that this has. A borked computer can be fixed in minutes. You can stop worrying about installing faulty software since its so easy to roll back. And if you have kids, etc (as you mentioned) virtually anything they manage to do can be reset in moments.

-you mention a fear of filling up your save file with large programs like gimp and libreoffice. With a frugal install, these are don't go in your savefile. Rather they are separate sfs files that sit outside your savefile. They can be loaded or unloaded as needed on-the-fly (with newer puppies). And a nice feature is that they can be replaced with updated versions, easily.

-savefiles can be resized as needed


My own opinion would be to start with a frugal install, for all of the reasons above. And if for some reason you decide this doesn't work for you, switch to a full.
Neither option is "wrong" so don't worry about it too much.
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wausauwriter

Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 13:11    Post subject: Iknew there had to another side :-)  

Thanks to everyone who chimed in here. The only thing I am unsure about is the programs going in the .sfs file. Perhaps I thought about it wrong, but I thought "everything" went into the .sfs file so that your whole system (including installed software) was portable. Maybe I have misunderstood in some way.

Would it not also be possible to do a full install and create system backups to CD or thumbdrive by mastering an .iso from the system on a regular basis? Which seems like a nice compromise (if you are organized!) Very Happy
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rcrsn51


Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13129
Location: Stratford, Ontario

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 13:33    Post subject: Re: Iknew there had to another side :-)  

wausauwriter wrote:
The only thing I am unsure about is the programs going in the .sfs file.

I think that you are confusing your system pup_xxx.sfs file with your pup_save.2fs file. Read here for some general info.

Quote:
Would it not also be possible to do a full install and create system backups to CD or thumbdrive by mastering an .iso from the system on a regular basis?

It would be easier to do a more conventional backup using a tool like here.
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sfeeley

Joined: 14 Feb 2010
Posts: 814

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 15:37    Post subject:  

Quote:
The only thing I am unsure about is the programs going in the .sfs file. Perhaps I thought about it wrong, but I thought "everything" went into the .sfs file so that your whole system (including installed software) was portable.


there are a couple of sfs files that are used.

A layman's view from a non-programmer:
The best way to think about them is like layered transparencies--each apparently changing what the one beneath it looks like, but not actually affecting anything. (It used to be that anatomy books used these a lot)

1) the sfs for the main operating system. for Lucid puppy it is lupu_528.sfs. This along with vmlinuz and initrd.gz are the "base" and doesn't really get touched.

2) your save file. (you can modify the name), but generally something like lupusave-somethingyouwrite.2sfs. This saves your settings. If you install .pet files, the modifications are in here. If you want, you could put data in here. This layer, superimposed on the the above lupu_528.sfs makes the puppy you are working on look like you're puppy. It carries all apparent changes. This is the one that you backup periodically, since it carries all the modifications you make.

3) program sfs's. These are generally for big programs--ones that might be bigger than you want to put into your savefile as a pet, or which you might not want to always have loaded up. Again this is superimposed on layer 1 and 2, so that if for example you have a libreoffice.sfs it will look like this is installed. (you generally don't need to back these up either, since changes you make are stored in your savefile).

All three parts get stored near each other on your drive--perhaps in the same folder. In this sense they are portable, since they can reside on a flash stick, cd, whereever-- and they don't really interfere with other operating systems.

Another nifty thing: You may want to experiment and have different save files, each with the different settings: say one for you, another for your wife, and a third for the kids. If so, the puppy sfs (1) and program sfs (3) can be shared by multiple save files (2) since its only the save fles that ever change. This saves space and spares headaches of having to manage multiple full installs. (if you have multiple save files, puppy will ask which to use at boot)

In a full install, the "mixing" described above is real---not apparent. Therefore to make backups effectively, you would be saving the equivalent of #1 + #2 + #3.
There are advantages to a full install--especially for extremely low-ram machines. And some people worry about the size of their savefile. But many puppy users feel that these are overcome by the simplicity and robustness of the frugal system.

But as I said earlier--its one of those things that puppy users like to debate because there really is no right or wrong answer.
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duke93535


Joined: 05 May 2005
Posts: 194
Location: California , High Desert

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 17:11    Post subject:  

At one time, years ago I would of said the full install was much more stable and less resource hungry. Today with the improvements to the layered file system used in Puppy’s frugal installs, this simply isn’t true anymore.

Of late I have seen the frugal installs load a little quicker than the fulls.

The only time I would recommend a full install is on an older machine with lower ram. If you have less than 256 Mb of ram, try the full install. When you have 256 Mb or more, go with the frugal.

I stall have two installs, one frugal and one full install of the same Puppy. The full install uses about half the ram memory of the frugal.

If you make a bad mistake in a full install, it’s harder to repair. The frugal install has the original files in the /initrd/pup_ro2. If you learn to play with the read & write layer (/initrd/pup_rw directory) you normally can repair a frugal install easily by removing .wh (white out) files, in case of an accidentally removed file.
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Burn_IT


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 3702
Location: Tamworth UK

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 18:15    Post subject:  

I like Frugal because I have several versions of Puppy and I like to keep a copy of them all on a USB stick along with Hiren's tools and a lot of Portable Aps.

The other reason I use frugal is because I do a lot of Windows support and I have Puppy 5.28 on a 120Gb USB drive (from an iPod in a Star USB case).
Puppy runs Virtualbox and I run XP under that thus giving me a full portable XP along with all my tools and MS Office 2003 inc. Outlook.
I just plug it into a client machine with a couple of Gb of memory and away I go. If I'm worried about catching something nasty I only have two files to restore :- Pupsave and my Virtual Drive.

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wausauwriter

Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 19 Apr 2012, 22:04    Post subject: Further reading  

Thanks for the info on the various .sfs files, I did do some reading on those today and think I understand them better. I was originally thinking about them incorrectly.

And I also think now the preponderance of the evidence (opinion?) is toward the frugal install. I do think that is the way to go, especially at first, as it seems going from a frugal to a full is fairly easy (if I am reading correctly) but going from a full to a frugal is more difficult. So if for no other reason go with the option that is easiest to change later if it doesn't "work like it says on the tin," as they say across the pond.
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