the tragedy of Fedora Live USB conversion and what we can do about it

František Zatloukal zatloukal.frantisek at
Thu Jul 31 10:31:39 UTC 2014

What about offering liveusb-creator at the first place instead of ISO?

2014-07-31 11:04 GMT+02:00 Kamil Paral <kparal at>:

> It's a well-known fact in our circles that third-party USB conversion
> tools (like UNetbootin or Universal USB Installer) can't create Fedora Live
> USB correctly. Unfortunately, it is not well known among our users (I see
> it very often on test list, IRC, or local website/forums) and
> even journalists. This is an article that was published yesterday
> showcasing difficulties of Fedora installation process (translated from
> Czech by google translate):
> The purpose of that article is to highlight the fact that Linux has made a
> lot of progress in the last years, but the results are still a bit like a
> Russian roulette. Fedora, in this case, is shown as the negative example.
> The website itself is not known for high quality articles here in CZ, but
> they are quite popular and have a large reader base. They are mainly
> Windows-focused, but with the recent advancement of Linux on all fronts
> (mainly in gaming), they're clearly willing to provide more Linux coverage
> - and they picked Fedora as their second option right after Ubuntu, which
> is great. Provided they're able to install it in the first place...
> The result of Live USB boot attempt is often this (from the article):
> I wonder, is there something we can do to improve the situation?
> * We have no control over third-party USB conversion tools.
> * Even if we file bug reports, they are often ignored (Adam Williamson
> said he tried to communicate with UNetbootin, unsuccessfully).
> * Third-party USB installers fail for many distributions, like OpenSUSE <
>> or Arch <
> >.
> * Still, they are hugely popular, because Ubuntu and its derivatives
> dominate the market and those tools usually work fine for them.
> * The users simply don't know that those tools shouldn't be used, and some
> others should be used instead.
> I don't known the technical details about USB conversion process, but
> maybe we could collectively think of some changes that would improve the
> current state at least a bit?
> Some ideas:
> 1. First and foremost, we should obviously consider whether we can make
> some compose changes that would make the image more compatible with
> third-party USB installers. That's very technical, but I hope relevant
> people could provide some comments here.
> 2. Second, we could make USB conversion instructions more visible on our
> pages. If you look at, there's a big Download
> Now! button, which gives you the ISO, but you'll never encounter any
> suggestions what to do with it. That's only available at
> in the right column
> (which is nice and quite visible, I think). Could we provide the same
> information on the front page?
> 3. Third, if everything goes wrong and you end up in a dracut shell, could
> we at least advise our users what went wrong and what to do with it?
> Because the current output is very scary and very hard to decipher by a
> general user:
> So what if we detected that we failed to find a partition having
> "Fedora-Live" in its name (thus most probably an incorrectly created
> LiveUSB), and in that case printed out something like this?
> *******************************************************************************
> * It seems Fedora Live image could not have been accessed. This often
> happens *
> * when Live USB media is incorrectly created by a third-party USB
> installer.  *
> * Please refer to official documentation on for proper
>      *
> * instructions.
>     *
> *******************************************************************************
> (native speakers will surely make it sound better)
> This would help our users a lot to understand what's wrong and how to fix
> it. Also, it would be much easier to google out the problem. If we included
> the same text on our LiveUSB instructions page <
>>, it could
> receive a very good position in online search results.
> So, what do you think? From my experience, the inability to boot USB is
> very common and I'd even say it's one of the major problems why new users
> walk away from Fedora. Because, understand, they don't even know something
> is wrong on their end. That scary dracut error looks like a problem in
> Fedora, and therefore often their conclusion is "Fedora is so broken it
> can't even boot". If we try to mitigate the problem at least with clear
> explanations, we will not only discourage less users, but also decrease the
> number of negative reviews by journalists.
> --
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*František Zatloukal*

*E-mail:* Zatloukal.Frantisek at
*Mobil:* +420 607 480 053
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