I've tried to install Solus on a flash drive and it went not as I would have liked it.
Let me tell you the story so far, why I did what I did and how it went. I'm hoping somebody here has got an idea of what's going wrong and how to fix it.
For a few years now, I've been a full-time Windows 10 user. I quit trying to bend Ubuntu or Debian to my needs, I've grown tired of having to fix my system after upgrades or major window manager changes/switches. I formatted my hard drives and got rid of the dual-boot. That was long before Windows 10 was released.
I'm not very experienced with Linux, and have been using proprietary software for so long, and also don't want to give up my video game library, so Windows 10 is there to stay in my life, but maybe I can use something else for when I'm just using Blender anyway?
Now, I need a change. I want to see something new, I want to experience a fresh desktop for a change. Solus looked promising.
At first, I tried to install Solus in a virtual machine. Nothing fancy, just to toy around and get a first impression, which was great. So I decided to buy a new 32 GiB flash drive and install Solus on that.
The reason for this is quite simple: I do not trust Linux or Windows 10 to keep the boot loader working. I was glad the Solus Installer has the option to both install the system and the boot loader on an external drive. Should work out of the box, right?
My first try didn't work as good. I had to burn the Live DVD, and install Solus on an older machine, since most of my devices lack an optical drive now. I can only boot in legacy mode and also only write a legacy boot loader to my flash drive, but that worked out fine. I moved to my actual desktop machine and it booted just fine. I spent three hours of installing software and updates and set my system up until I was confident that I'd be glad to boot to Solus the next day, since it was already past midnight.
But the next day, I couldn't boot anymore. I got the blinking cursor and nothing else for some minutes. A friend helped and tried to edit some grub settings, so we could see what seemed to be the problem: Multiple errors about "Reset SpeedDrive USB" something something. They supposed it might have to do with broken USB drivers, so I started anew a few days later.
This second time, I had found some information about how to use the LTS kernel. I'm not sure what I'm missing, but it was worth a shot. So, again, installed Solus on my flash drive on the legacy machine, switched back to my main desktop, and did not install any updates but tried to install the LTS kernel first. It booted just fine, and did so after each update I did. But I noticed that the system would sometimes freeze partially, with some programs not starting while others still did respond a bit, until everything was frozen, except for the mouse cursor.
Also, as I installed more updates, I had more and more trouble booting from the flash drive. Sometimes it would just not boot, sometimes it would show me the login screen, accept my password and then stay black, and sometimes it boots just fine, but as soon as I start Firefox, the system halts again, but not always. I tried to boot into the 4.20 kernel for a change, but that didn't work at all. I suppose the reason I'm running into these issues could be an I/O problem, but again, I do not understand what's going on, nor if what I'm doing is a good idea at all. I checked the drive for errors, but it's in best shape.
At the moment, I'm out of ideas to try, but maybe somebody knows what I've been doing wrong? Looking for answers, I did not find anybody else that would try a similar setup (or at least got to the internet to tell about it).
I can tell you more details and give it another try, if you want. I just wanted to get this out there so I maybe can fulfil my dream of a portable Linux on a stick.
Have a good day!