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Earlier today I created a new tag , which appears to have spurred some chat discussion. I've created this post so people can share their thoughts about the tag.

Tag Excerpt:

For questions about booting to ram.

Tag Description:

This tag is topic tag intended for questions about booting Ubuntu to/from software generated ram-drives. This tag is NOT intended for questions about physical hardware ram based ssds like gigabyte i-ram, or hyperdrive.

I created , because it's a subject I've been interested in for years; I believe others are as well. Since I have not found any existing tags covering the topic, and I have found/written questions to for it, I feel it's worthy of existence.


EDIT #1 - Reply To Mateo:

Rather than try to type my reply to https://meta.askubuntu.com/a/10463 in the small comment boxes I've written it here. This will give me more room to address the issues, and allow easy viewing for others.

This seem like it would apply to a small set of questions

It's hard to tell since since searching for them yields many unrelated results. All I can say for sure is that having a tag might make these questions easier for experts to find them.

I see better tags already in use such as and

is wide topic, and I think is fine as a sub-topic. The point of tags is to add useful information that helps classify a post in a manner that sums up what it's about; adds relevant information.

will not likely ever be appropriate because configurations like booting to ram with Ubuntu are done post installation, and the clearly states it's only for questions about installing Ubuntu, not post installation questions.See description quote below.

Description For :

Questions about installing Ubuntu in any supported architecture. Post-installation questions should not be under this tag.

Also some rambooting questions are about live-environments which don't involve installing Ubuntu.

could be used, but none of the questions I found and tagged with were using it which suggests that experts on this topic don't equate the two things. According to my understanding it's also bad practice to use 2 tags to create a word, in this case ramboot = being a commonly used term for booting to ram. I know that's not how you were using it, but other users might see that and think it's okay to couple tags to create words. In this instance I think that is a better choice than just as it's more clear in describing the question. For example a question with is clearly about performing a ramboot, but a question tagged and could be about many things such as ram errors preventing the OS from booting.

The is currently very open-endedly described, and varies from how anyone I know uses the term in real life, even so would work as a sub-topic. Live installations run an OS from a read-only-media/media-being -treated-as-read-only and cache accessed files in ram; this is not the same thing as booting to ram. A live environment is a type of installation; booting to ram is a type of configuration, and it's not limited to live environments. Also I doubt anyone looking to ask a question about booting to ram will think to tag it . None of the ones I've tagged with thus far were.

It is a strange wording as well, It isn't really accurate to what you are doing

Boot-to-ram is a commonly used description for this process. I chose it because it has a balance of common-usage/accuracy. I'm by no means hung on it; if people have a better term to use. The terms and descriptions I'm familiar with are are below, but most are phrases and therefore won't work well for tags.

Terms:

  • frugal install/frugal installation = An operating system installation on a hard drive that ONLY boots to ram.

  • frugal-media = A cd/dvd containing an operating system that ramboots. It's kind of like a live-cd except the media is no longer needed after boot and it's not an installation media. Distros like Puppy Linux, and Slax use frugal-media.

  • ramboot

  • boot to ram = While this description is not entirely accurate people sometimes prefer to use it over "boot from ram" because it's taken on the meaning that the operating system isn't in ram when the computer turns on, but will be copied there. Also In the linux world one of the ways of booting to ram is using the "toram" argument in one's grub entry.

  • boot from ram =

  • run os from ram

  • run os from ramdrive

  • diskless boot = Booting to ram on a computer that has no other storage devices. This is typically achieved by booting from a network connection. Another computer hosts an OS image, and at before boot it's copied over to the host's ram.

  • bootable ramdrive = Most operating systems allow the creation of ram based storage devices (sometimes third party software is required) , very few easily allow creation of bootable ones. Often people will put bootable in front to distinguish which type of drive they intend to create.

  • bootable ramdisk

I think that ramboot, boot-to-ram, and boot-from-ram are the best options as they are the most commonly used descriptions in questions about rambooting, and aren't limited to any given installation type. This doesn't mean they are brilliant.

perhaps a better alternative would be that would be about making and using ram-drives in general

This suggestion would work though I would point out that is a topic tag for an system configuration style and while it in my experience does involve some kind of virtual disk being created theoretically there could be methods that use some form of caching instead. would also cause overlap with the existing as ram-drives are a type of ssds. While I would prefer to keep the tag named your proposal to name it and make it a bit broader is valid and I could get behind it once my ego has deflated a bit :P. People should way in on this.

we don't usually narrow down tags based on intent aka not [14.04-on-cd] or [boot-to-single-user-mode] or [grub-on-gpt]

Just because it's not usually done doesn't mean it can't work for some tags. is an unfair example since it's version specific, however would be more fair, and equates to . is unfair because it's not really a topic, but a feature of linux. Booting to ram is a topic which can generate questions involving many different methods, programs, and problems. does make a good case, and as mentioned above I agree that using would work, but then again so does . Many tags would work by a few different names, that's one of the reasons why synonym tags are needed so often.


EDIT #2 - Reply To Braiam:

Rather than try to type my reply to https://meta.askubuntu.com/a/10463 in the small comment boxes I've written it here. This will give me more room to address the issues, and allow easy viewing for others.

you don't seem to be discriminating the live environment booting and a real boot to RAM

The topic is booting Ubuntu from ram, while it can be subdivided into "booting to ram on a standard installation", "booting to ram with a live environment", and "booting to ram with hardware ramdrives" I don't see why getting more specific would be helpful given one of the concerns people have raised is a potential un-abundance of questions. It all falls under the same topic after all.

As you can see, for me, the main difference between a live environment and booting to RAM is whenever or not a support media available is needed

Yes. The same is true of a live environment and a normal installation.

copy all the content to the RAM, afterwards the media can be disconnected.

Generally yes but I should point out that some setups may allow writing back to the source for sync purposes. You are still running the OS from ram, as long as you aren't actively reading from the source anymore. Also some methods may not allow disconnection of the source media (even if it's not being used) because the software involved may not suppport removal (eg: some Casper setups). However I understand what you're getting at here which is that the source is used to load the OS into ram and run it from there.

as you can see, live environment can be considered like that. [Refering to excerpt which states "For questions about booting to ram".]

This goes back to difference between frugal-media and live-media. Booting to ram is a type of configuration that can be applied to both standard installations, and live installations. The goal is the same, and the methods used sometimes are too (eg: the live-boot package method). The fact that a live environment uses more ram (swap) than a standard install does not make it the same thing as running ones operating system from ram. For example on my Windows machine I have a program installed that can re-direct changes to ram, but that doesn't mean Windows is running from ram; it means larger pieces than normal may be because write-backs are forbidden. Both standard installations, and live environments use a combination of memory & source installation to run. The difference being that live-environments are forced to use more memory, because they can't write back to the source (they do however continue read from it) they are forced to live off caching. In a boot to ram configuration the source is used for getting the OS into the system's ram and then the OS is run from there not the source.

through boot is related, this is a special case of booting, so the boot tag should be excluded

Your suggestion makes sense to me. What would you propose questions like this be tagged? Obviously it will vary from question to question depending on circumstance, but I would like to discuss this with everyone so that the exising questions tagged with the tag can demonstrate good tagging examples to aid future askers in their tagging.

  • "as long as you aren't actively reading from the source anymore" for me a real boot-to-RAM don't read any source. It has everything it needs in the RAM. – Braiam Jul 6 '14 at 16:15
  • @Braiam I agree. My statement around quote was bent on clarifying that for some methods the source may still be used for things other than reading (eg: syncing back changes to the source for next boot.). Regarding read operations, in the quote I say "actively" to aid classifying the type of read operation. Given the varying methods people use I was just trying to use careful wording as not to accidentally exclude something. But yes the operating system should no longer need anything from the source. – please delete me Jul 6 '14 at 17:10
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    btw, I kind of like ramboot. – Braiam Jul 6 '14 at 17:43
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    @Braim It was my second choice. I used to use it in my grub menu when booting to ram. As I replied to Mateo I'm not opposed to a name change if people like something better than boot-to-ram. – please delete me Jul 7 '14 at 4:21
  • And you know that is a luck that you actually ping me at all. My name is B-R-A-I-A-M... not braim.. :( – Braiam Jul 7 '14 at 4:28
  • @Braiam The ping you got is probably from the other post I just pinged you in. Sorry about the name, it trips me up every time. – please delete me Jul 7 '14 at 4:32
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    I'm also interested in this topic. Considering the mass quantities of RAM available in systems these days, I would expect ramdisk usage for any number of tasks to increase. – Elder Geek Jul 7 '14 at 15:38
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This seem like it would only apply to a small set of questions, probally only the 5-6 questions you already tagged, which I see better tags already in use such as and

It is a strange wording as well, It isn't really accurate to what you are doing as you need to boot to your harddisk/cd/usb to then make and copy to the ramdisk - perhaps a better alternative would be that would be about making and using the ram-drives in general not just a specific use of that particular technology because we don't narrow down tags based on intent aka not [14.04-on-cd] or [boot-to-single-user-mode] or [grub-on-gpt].

  • I've replied via an edit to my original posting. – please delete me Jul 5 '14 at 5:28
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My principal concern with the tag is that you don't seem to be discriminating the live environment booting and a real boot to RAM. Here what I consider differences:


Live environment

  • Boots from a read only media which SHOULD be always available.
  • Stores the changes that can't be written to the media in the memory. Think like the differences between the static media and the current state are stored in the RAM.
  • Files that are not available in the memory are loaded from the media and stored in the memory until they are unneeded.

Boot to RAM

  • Boots from a media and copy all the content to the RAM, afterwards the media can be disconnected.
  • All changes are applied immediately in the memory.

As you can see, for me, the main difference between a live environment and booting to RAM is whenever or not a support media available is needed. When you wrote the excerpt you only said:

For questions about booting to ram.

and as you can see, live environment can be considered like that.

I would agree to create the tag, but you make it worthwhile. Also, through boot is related, this is a special case of booting, so the boot tag should be excluded of most questions tagged with this. (Think like keyboard-shortcuts questions shouldn't have the keyboard tag since is not about the keyboard themself, but how the applications interpret those keystroke)

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    I replied in my post via EDIT #2. You're idea about not using the boot tag makes sense. – please delete me Jul 6 '14 at 4:52

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