How to flash a Linux ISO image to USB with Popsicle

Creating a bootable Linux USB flash drive isn't a challenge with the help of Popsicle.

How to flash a Linux ISO image to USB with Popsicle

You might purchase your data center Linux servers from the likes of System76, Red Hat, or SUSE. Those servers come pre-installed with Linux, and you won't need to install the operating system. However, should you purchase bare-metal, off-the-rack hardware, those servers might ship without an operating system. If you want to install Linux, you will need to use a USB flash drive complete with a bootable version of your favorite Linux server distribution.

There are a number of tools that can handle this task. If you happen to work with System76's very own Pop!_OS, you'll be happy to know that there's a built-in tool that makes flashing a Linux image to a USB drive incredibly simple.

How easy? Let me show you.

SEE: 10 things companies are keeping in their own data centers (TechRepublic download)

What you need

The only things you need are:

  • A machine running Pop!_OS.
  • A formatted USB flash drive with about 8 GB of free space (just to be safe).
  • A Linux ISO image to burn.

Using Popsicle

First, make sure to insert your USB flash drive into your system. To start Popsicle, open the GNOME Dash and type popsicle. Click on the launcher labeled USB Flasher (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A: Launching Popsicle from GNOME Dash.

From within the Popsicle main window (Figure B), click Choose Image and, from within the Nautilus file manager, navigate to and select the Linux ISO image to be burned.

Figure B

Figure B: The Popsicle main window.

Click Next and then, in the resulting window (Figure C), select the drive that will house the bootable image.

Figure C

Figure C: Selecting your drive.

Make sure you select the correct drive, as all data will be erased. You do not want to accidentally select the wrong drive, only to wind up losing precious data. If you're not sure which drive to select, you can always open a terminal window and issue the command df -h to find out which drive is correct (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D: Locating the correct drive with the help of the df -h command.

Click Next, and the burning will commence (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E: Burning the ISO with Popsicle.

Depending on how large the image, the process can take anywhere from two to ten minutes. When the burning completes, click Done and safely remove the USB drive. You are now ready to use that drive to install whatever version of Linux you chose onto your data center servers.

Feel the burn

Using a tool like Popsicle makes burning bootable flash drives a few simple clicks away. There might be other tools that include more options, but none will have you feeling the burn with the simplicity of Popsicle.

Also see

Image: Jack Wallen