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Testing Etcher in EasyOS

May 23, 2020 — BarryK

Etcher is a GUI tool for writing OS images to USB-stick or SD-card. It is multi-platform, runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS, 32-bit and 64-bit.

Recently, Puppy Forum member 'mikeslr' posted that it "Destroyed one USB-Stick trying to use Etcher":

I have never used Etcher myself. I recommended it, as it is very popular with the RaspberryPi guys:

So, I had better test it!

Running EasyOS 2.2.16, I downloaded it, a massive 97.4MB zip file, clicked on it, which runs Xarchive, chose to uncompress it, and got a single executable. Ran it in a terminal:

# ./balenaEtcher-1.5.91-x64.AppImage

And got an error that 'lsblk' is missing. This is a utility in the 'util-linux' package. I have fixed this, so this utility will be in the next release of Easy. However, for now, download the util-linux DEB and get /bin/lsblk out of it:

Usage is straightforward. It automatically detected my plugged-in USB-stick, and I chose my latest 'easy-2.2.99-amd64.img.gz' file, then clicked "Flash" button.

Etcher uncompressed the file, I think in /tmp/etcher. You will need to check that you have enough space in /tmp. The file expands to 1.3GB and /tmp is a tmpfs, size 3.6GB. so OK.

I think that this is a major weakness in the design. Some pups might not have enough space. My EasyDD does not uncompress the .img.gz file beforehand, it pipes the compressed file to the flash drive, without having an intermediate huge uncompressed file. Pity Etcher doesn't do that.

Apart from that gripe, it works fine. 

Tags: easy