Creating bootable images in a GUI

A Kinder dd

© Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

© Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Article from Issue 233/2020

Kindd offers a GUI alternative to the ubiquitous dd command-line tool, offering a risk-free option for transferring bootable images to USB sticks.

When it comes to managing Linux computers, two frequently used commands, rm (remove) and dd (disk dump), require special attention. These two very powerful tools are potentially destructive. If they are not used carefully, data can be very quickly lost. While rm has an integrated emergency brake for the root partition, dd overwrites specified partitions without asking, causing some users to interpret dd's name as an acronym for "destroy data."

To prevent specifying the wrong partition (and the resulting data loss), graphical user interface (GUI) tools can be helpful for creating bootable distribution images on external media, such as USB sticks or SD cards. In addition to some distribution-specific solutions, these tools include UNetbootin [1], which is not supported by all distributions; Rufus [2], which is only available for Windows; and Etcher [3], which has gained in popularity recently. Because these applications only offer external devices as options for where to write the data, users are prevented from accidentally overwriting partitions.

The basically excellent Etcher can be used on almost all distributions due to its packaging as an AppImage. However, since it was developed with the Electron framework [4], it needs many dependencies, which inflate the AppImage's size to about 100MB.


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