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run debian off usb flash drive

With 512 MB and 1 GB USB flash drives becoming cheaper and cheaper I'm
thinking that it would be a fantastic way to have a boot drive with no
moving parts that could (almost) never die of old age.  I was hoping the
install process would be as simple as loading usb-storage on the new d-i
cd (which is fantastic btw) but sadly that doesn't seem to work.  There
are a few distributions that boot off the flash drive but set up a ramdisk
to run out of.  Is any of that actually necessary?  Has anyone here tried
this before or think it's worthwhile?  Is there a way for me to copy over
the kernel and basic debian programs from an existing installation and
then reboot off my new debian flash drive?


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