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Tido

research Need your help - what else beside Etcher

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Hi,

A small discussion started here, but I would like to lift it to here.

 

The question  and  tests  should be. Are there alternatives to Etcher?

A must was - standard writing verification. IIRC this was back in the days an option you had to set a 'tick' on Win32 DiskImager.. and so not an option.  Before we change anything - proper testing and writing down the steps to achieve a great result is a must. Multiplatform, would be nice, but we can as well recommend 2 or 3 SDcard writing programs.

 

Can you please help to write a table of available programs (you can do a table in the forum, but consider quantity  of lines & rows first). And whether or not the software is an equivalent replacement for armbian?

 

Please help us to collect here your knowledge and expericence :thumbup:

Of course your recommendation should support the minimum mentioned above - otherwise it is not a recommendation but Spam

;) 

 

Thank you in advance for your participation on this challenge

 

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Balena really went to far into the wrong directions the last years already and I guess it's to late now to fix it for them (point of no return was probably the time they did the renaming to 'balena etcher'). It's important to know that balena is a company who wants to make money and nowadays this works by collecting your data and showing advertisements - simple than that. To suggest/promote or even to link to etcher is clearly wrong in 2020 imho.

 

Maybe two or three years ago etcher was the first program to write and verify images with a simple gui. Luckily this times are over nowadays and their is various programs who offer the same.

 

I have to say I like USBImager a lot, save & simple gui:

 

image.png.2ec91510883d99eb5561028188a00c72.png

Not only that it's about a factor of 1.000 smaller in size than etcher the author also claims to comply with GDPR which balena etcher on the other hand doesn't really take serious again.

 

Taken from: https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager

 

Quote

Features

  • Open Source and MIT licensed
  • Portable executable, no installation needed, just extract the archives
  • Small. Really small, few kilobytes only, yet has no dependencies
  • No privacy concerns nor advertisements like with etch*r, fully GDPR compatible
  • Minimalist, multilingual, native interface on all platforms
  • Tries to be bullet-proof and avoids overwriting of the system disk
  • Makes synchronized writes, that is, all data is on disk when the progressbar reaches 100%
  • Can verify writing by comparing the disk to the image
  • Can read raw disk images: .img, .bin, .raw, .iso, .dd, etc.
  • Can read compressed images on-the-fly: .gz, .bz2, .xz
  • Can read archives on-the-fly: .zip (PKZIP and ZIP64) (*)
  • Can create backups in raw and bzip2 compressed format
  • Can send images to microcontrollers over serial line

 

 

It's really time to overcome etcher. RIP etcher!

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Fun fact: balena etcher (the tool for writing a armbian image) is bigger than every armbian image (non desktop versions) it will write. :lol:

 

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Honestly, I don't know what else is available with writing & verification, but studying the readme reveals that this tool is so small cause it uses standard tools: https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager#authors which is something I like.

And it is written in C  :thumbup:  https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager/-/blob/master/src/main_x11.c  so it should small and fast.

 

However, before we get to excited - we need to test it, test it and test it. Favorably on Linux (it offers a .deb), Windows and Mac.  So, please go to the website download it https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager/-/releases  and DO NOT FORGET TO SET THE TICK ON:  Verify.

Please report back about your experience with it. Let's go and get it

 

Edit: PS:  nice Preface in the documentation

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16 hours ago, Tido said:

 

However, before we get to excited - we need to test it, test it and test it. Favorably on Linux (it offers a .deb), Windows and Mac.  So, please go to the website download it https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager/-/releases  and DO NOT FORGET TO SET THE TICK ON:  Verify.

Please report back about your experience with it. Let's go and get it

 

So installation is straight forward. I just use the .deb provided for my *buntu system (choose the right one for your's here).

 

Flashing & verifying a unpacked armbian image file works straight ahead and without any problems. Difference to etcher is amazing, specially the program start which is virtually instant with usbimager while etcher always takes a minimum of 2 to 3 seconds till the gui is presented (starting from internal ssd)

 

Using the packed (7-zip) archive will produce garbage because of lack of support for this file type

 

Other thing which comes in really handy is the possibility to create a compressed image on the fly from the flash drive. So before flashing you can just take a compressed backup - very very nice!

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On 3/21/2020 at 8:15 PM, Tido said:

DO NOT FORGET TO SET THE TICK ON:  Verify.

 

Newest Version 1.0.2 has this automatically turned on :thumbup:

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I just use gnome-disk-utility on an SBC. It isn't perfect, but does the job. Otherwise multiwriter also works on SBC's.
I see no need in verification. I see it works when it does. I can't remember ever having an image not written right.
I don't know/think Etcher has a "working" arm version.

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19 hours ago, NicoD said:

I see no need in verification.

because u joined armbian after we got everybody to use writing verification?

 

// sent from mobile phone //

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21 minutes ago, Tido said:

because u joined armbian after we got everybody to use writing verification?

No, because I use ARM SBC's to burn my images. To my knowledge there was no verification when I joined(april 2018). Win32DiskImager was still my go to then on windows.
I never liked etcher. Too bulky for its task.

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2 hours ago, NicoD said:

there was no verification when I joined(april 2018).

I learned about Etcher and the writing verification from TK and since I still use: etcher-1.2.1-x86_64.AppImage    based on their release page in the year 2017.  I will now start to use/test USBimager, I read the manual and it sounds just good.

 

I hope you help us testing too?

 

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On 3/23/2020 at 6:44 PM, OrangePee said:

Newest Version 1.0.2 has this automatically turned on

I installed it and let everything as it is. Two things I don't like:

1a. To start flashing or writing, the button says in german: Ausschreiben (terrible translation),  just 'Schreiben'  would be much better

1b. When it finished it says. Done. Picture (Bild) written successfully instead of 'Abbild'.  I wonder if a human did the translation.

2. It doesn't remember the window size. It is good it starts small, but I have 24" and I like to see the path-to-the-folder I am about to write.

 

It lists the right devices: I attached an USB-Stick and an SDcard and only these two I was able to choose :thumbup:

And finally, it wrote the Kubuntu 20.04  2,3Gb within 1 min and this inlcudes the writing-verification to my understanding :blink:  2300/60 = 38MB/s   :thumbup:

Aside from being fast, Zero-Load on the CPU :thumbup:

 

In opposite to Etcher, it is not ejected at the end of the process. Well, if USBImager ensures proper termination of the process it shouldn't harm if the user unplugs it before ejecting it.

 

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18 minutes ago, count-doku said:

I have used USBImager for the last few sd card writes. Works well. 


I say we go and change the recommendation to USBImager and leave Etcher there as "also usable, but includes spyware" :) 

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I did the coding, host adjustments and test if it works ... help with changing text wherever we are mentioning this, especially in documentation, txt file that comes with an image, at download pages.
 

Thanks.

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found one, but cannot change it - the pre-defined answer here in the Forum:

 

 

Armbian's archives can be uncompressed with 7-Zip on Windows, Keka on OS X and 7z on Linux.

 

Images shall only be written with Etcher on all platforms since unlike other tools Etcher validates burning results saving you from corrupted SD card contents.

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What I have noticed so far is that USBimager does not hide non-sdcard devices and there is also nothing kind a confirmation button. Sure if you know what you are doing this is not an issue but I am thinking about new and unexperienced users as well as the situation we all come across from time to to being tired and hittin' the wrong button.

I did not try this but can this accidently kill your secondary ssd for example?

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27 minutes ago, Werner said:

USBimager does not hide non-sdcard devices

on which operating system did you try?

 

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Yeah it seems to protect only your system drive in Windows.

A general warning before writing would also be nice. Maybe someone add an issue on gitlab?

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1 hour ago, Werner said:

Windows 10

ahh, finally someone. My Tower only hosts Linux.

 

1 hour ago, count-doku said:

Maybe someone add an issue on gitlab?

Did you read the short, but interesting  Documentation  maybe this situation is mentioned already. Because in Linux, as I wrote above does this work.

 

 

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I meant create an issue for displaying a general warning before writing. Like "WARNING: This will erase all existing data on drive X".

 

The detection can probably not be made entirely perfect & foolproof

 

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2 hours ago, count-doku said:

Like "WARNING: This will erase all existing data on drive X".

every windows user has learned over many years of usage - to click-away any warning or pop-up windows.

 

That said, I don't see any advantage in such a request: 

47 minutes ago, Igor said:

we need this and that to work or at least a promise that it will be fixed in some decent time:

 

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In my case I will continue using Etcher until there are some ways implemented to make sure that no internal device can be killed by accident.

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2 minutes ago, Tido said:

That said, I don't see any advantage in such a request: 

 

Perhaps they ran out of ideas what is good to fix? That is not a huge project without borders like Linux, like Armbian, ...

 

8 minutes ago, Tido said:

I don't see


USBimager have rough edges but has advantages worth supporting. I don't expect changes over the night, but we can start recommending both and remove Etcher completely when recommendations will be implemented. I am sure its in their interest to clear out those obstacles which prevent us recommending their tool. The biggest reward any opensource coder can get is that people use their application. We can help for little in return.

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(edited)
On 4/8/2020 at 6:36 AM, Werner said:

USBimager does not hide non-sdcard devices

 

For me it show's only removable flash drives (on a linux host). Sounds like a #issue to me? There was a (already fixed in 1.0.3) https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager/-/issues/10 bug in the mac version which listed a internal drive. As you a on windows 10 @Werner it would be very nice if you open a bug report here: https://gitlab.com/bztsrc/usbimager/-/issues an drop your logs with it. Should be thing of a couple of minutes and you could save at least 1 billion of windows users who would like to write a image to the wrong drive and blame others for it :P

Edited by OrangePee

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I just use vanilla linux tools.

 

To write image:

$ dd if=image.img of=/dev/sda bs=4M status=progress && sync

 

To verify sha1sum:

$ head -c $(stat -c '%s' image.img) /dev/sda | sha1sum

$ sha1sum image.img

 

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