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  1. #1
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    Making your software environment fully portable




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Making your software environment fully portable


    By Fred Langa

    It's possible to run all your software operating system, applications, utilities, everything from a single flash drive or DVD. But a completely self-contained software environment also comes with some major drawbacks that you need to be aware of.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/making-your-software-environment-fully-portable/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    An alternative I use is PortableApps (http://portableapps.com). It is completely free, and has a whole library of "portable-ized apps", including web browsers, office suites (LibreOffice, OpenOffice), image editors (GIMP to name one), etc.

    Yes, running the software from a flash drive is slow. And, there is an issue with the capacity of most flash drives. However, I run PortableApps from a USB-powered external hard drive (currently a 160GB hard drive). LibreOffice is installed on there, as well as portable versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, Chrome, etc. Utilities, media-players, games, you name it.

    If it's open source, chances are, there's a PortableApps version. Well worth investigating, and actively updated.
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    I too use "Portable Apps".
    I use a 32 Gig USB device for about 70% of my personal computing and all personal e-mail. It is very handy and with a USB3 connection not much slower than a HDD.
    I also keep an 8 Gig Ubuntu USB boot disk for much of my other 30%.
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    Before I was gifted the laptops I now have, I called Portable Apps a "poor man's laptop". ;-)
    -=> Carroll McAllister <=-

    Coming to you "almost live" from Searcy, Arkansas

  5. #5
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    Confused about speed?
    "SATA 3 data bus for a conventional drive offers a throughput of about 600 megabits per second." Wrong by a factor of 10. It should be 6Gbps.
    "the current real-world fastest USB 3 device reaches only 124 Mbps." Wrong by a factor of 8, you are confusing bits and bytes. The EverythingUSB.com figure is 124 MBps.
    This type of errors is not what I expect from Fred. What is going on?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessie6 View Post
    Confused about speed?
    "SATA 3 data bus for a conventional drive offers a throughput of about 600 megabits per second." Wrong by a factor of 10. It should be 6Gbps.
    "the current real-world fastest USB 3 device reaches only 124 Mbps." Wrong by a factor of 8, you are confusing bits and bytes. The EverythingUSB.com figure is 124 MBps.
    And it's worth noting that while USB 2.0 transfer speeds are still considerably slower than the maximum transfer rates achievable by today's rotating magnetic drives (and even USB 3.0 is somewhat slower), this speed difference may be largely or even more than compensated for by the fact that RANDOM accesses on flash drives are well over 10 times FASTER than random accesses on a rotating drive - so with many applications from the standpoint of execution speeds even USB 2.0 flash drives may be quite competitive with rotating magnetic disks.

    The errors continued during the discussion of DVD and Blu-Ray transfer speeds - e.g., on a typical drive a DVD can be read at around 10 MBytes/sec from its innermost tracks to around 20 MBytes/sec on its outermost tracks - roughly 7 - 14 times the 11 Mbits/sec he quoted (though in this case the Wikipedia article that he used for the speed figures was to blame).

    As for the alleged inability of portable applications such as browsers, word-processors, and email to field clicks on their normal file targets in other applications (my impression is that some of the integrated portable packages support this ability directly, but I've never used one), my own experience is that if you have such a portable application (in my case Firefox) RUNNING when you click a link in another application the running instance of portable Firefox will be what's called (even if you have another copy of Firefox normally installed on the system which would otherwise be started up to field the request).

    There is, of course, a fairly ideal platform for a portable application suite: an external SATA solid-state disk which can be attached by both eSATA and USB 3.0 according to the connectivity of the computer you wish to use it with (if you want it to be portable you might have to use the USB connector to provide power even if you used eSATA for the data transfer: powered eSATA is, I believe, available, but it may be unlikely to be found on most machines). But it's still rather pricey compared with, say a $10 - $20 32 GB USB flash drive if you don't need more space than that.

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