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More operating systems should run on RAM by default

Speaking from experience, I support this statement, because I've experienced having a hard drive being damaged (admittedly from improperly shutting down the computer). However, there are a few other advantages I can think of:

  • RAM is faster than ROM, so one can have some performance gains using it, at least for more basic tasks.
  • It might be more secure, especially if you run it off a USB so that the data doesn't remain within the machine at all times unlike a hard drive.
  • One can save storage space on other drives, because operating systems and updates can take up drive space unnecessarily.
  • If one is running the operating system from a USB, it's easier to replace it than a SSD or HDD if they suspect any signs of the storage mediums reaching their end of life stages.
  • If one needs to access files quickly from a USB, or even change how the system runs in the same manner, they can do so easily through USB OTG with a compatible smartphone and/or tablet.

Fortunately, this can be easily done with the Linux kernel, but are there any reasons as to why this isn't widely used? Are there any disadvantages to this? Do you think my points can be refuted?

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Doesn't say much about OS but it lays out the pros and cons

 

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6 minutes ago, divided_throwaway said:

Speaking from experience, I support this statement, because I've experienced having a hard drive being damaged (admittedly from improperly shutting down the computer). However, there are a few other advantages I can think of:

  • RAM is faster than ROM, so one can have some performance gains using it, at least for more basic tasks.
  • It might be more secure, especially if you run it off a USB so that the data doesn't remain within the machine at all times unlike a hard drive.
  • One can save storage space on other drives, because operating systems and updates can take up drive space unnecessarily.
  • If one is running the operating system from a USB, it's easier to replace it than a SSD or HDD if they suspect any signs of the storage mediums reaching their end of life stages.
  • If one needs to access files quickly from a USB, or even change how the system runs in the same manner, they can do so easily through USB OTG with a compatible smartphone and/or tablet.

Fortunately, this can be easily done with the Linux kernel, but are there any reasons as to why this isn't widely used? Are there any disadvantages to this? Do you think my points can be refuted?

This is a statement made by someone who simply doesn't understand how pages work.  Its impossible to do this.

 

Another note, ROM is (typically) 100 times faster than RAM.  Its just ROM is more or less useless in day to day use.

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Volatile storage doesn't have any protection from power surges or outages, whereas higher end HDDs and SSDs do. Some operating systems, such as Windows, also require more space that people have in RAM. While there are Linux distros that can be loaded entirely on RAM, they are small and typically created for specific purposes, such as system rescue or network penetration testing.

RAM is faster than HDD/SSD, but it is also more expensive per GB, and the performance difference of using RAM as storage is negligible.

USB drives are just as secure as hotswap or external HDD/SSDs. There are also various encryption tools out there.

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Corruption of files due to improper shutdowns can happen to USB drives as well so I don't see an advantage of doing that.

 

A USB is easier to replace than a SSD or HDD. Please explain, because the way I see it, I'll need to find another PC or someway to get into a clean OS to re-image my new USB drive because if I suspect that my current one is having issues, I'm certainly not doing the re-imaging off an OS booted from the problematic drive. With an internal drive, just unplug the old one, plug in the new one, and re-install your OS and programs.

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8 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

Volatile storage doesn't have any protection from power surges or outages, whereas higher end HDDs and SSDs do. Some operating systems, such as Windows, also require more space that people have in RAM. While there are Linux distros that can be loaded entirely on RAM, they are small and typically created for specific purposes, such as system rescue or network penetration testing.

RAM is faster than HDD/SSD, but it is also more expensive per GB, and the performance difference of using RAM as storage is negligible.

USB drives are just as secure as hotswap or external HDD/SSDs. There are also various encryption tools out there.

I don't know, but hot-swappable HDDs/SSDs have become rare these days. The current USB standard does make up for it somewhat, but even that is slow compared to SATA, eSATA and M.2.

I'm wondering if drives will be protected if you still have the original files in ROM and you do not use the RAM by itself. Is flash storage also more immune to power surges as well?

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1 minute ago, divided_throwaway said:

I haven't got into RAM drives yet; strictly speaking, all the storage will go in 

 

I don't know, but hot-swappable HDDs/SSDs have become rare these days. The current USB standard does make up for it somewhat, but even that is slow compared to SATA, eSATA and M.2.

I'm wondering if drives will be protected if you still have the original files in ROM and you do not use the RAM by itself.

If you have a backup in ROM, then you lose some benefit of RAMdisks, how much depends on the frequency of the backups.

What you've described has its uses, but general use, it isn't practical.

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Break off your chains

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Pale battered body

Seems she was struggling

Something is wrong with this world.

 

Fierce Bloody Angel

The blood is on your hands

Why did you come to this world?

 

Everybody turns to dust.

 

Everybody turns to dust.

 

The blood is on your hands.

 

The blood is on your hands!

 

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Also memory cells are more sensitive than hard drives of flash memory (ssd),  bits can occasionally flip due to various reasons (cosmic radiation, interference from outside the computer, glitches in the power supply feeding the memory chips etc.

RAM can be used to speed up operating systems (and most modern systems already do this by default, using free memory as file cache) but it's not feasible to have operating systems be loaded in ram at boot and run from ram until shut down.

As for running from ROM, Microsoft tried that in the DOS days. They even had Windows 95 capable of starting from ROM. It didn't work well for lots of reasons and they abandoned it.

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1 minute ago, mariushm said:

Also memory cells are more sensitive than hard drives of flash memory (ssd),  bits can occasionally flip due to various reasons (cosmic radiation, interference from outside the computer, glitches in the power supply feeding the memory chips etc.

RAM can be used to speed up operating systems (and most modern systems already do this by default, using free memory as file cache) but it's not feasible to have operating systems be loaded in ram at boot and run from ram until shut down.

As for running from ROM, Microsoft tried that in the DOS days. They even had Windows 95 capable of starting from ROM. It didn't work well for lots of reasons and they abandoned it.

One can use ECC memory, but I don't think that's cost effective for the common user.

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More operating systems should run on lasers because lasers are light and light is fast and fast is good

Edit: good is great

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I ran Ubuntu on a flash drive, but it became too slow after a while, and I feared they would prematurely wear out. I run a version of Puppy Linux called Tahrpup. The only problem I have with it is that its file system can't be used by other Linux distros.

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I don't think I'm following your train of thought here... are you trying to suggest that the OS gets installed directly to RAM and only ever stored there?  What if you want to turn off the computer?

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11 minutes ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

I don't think I'm following your train of thought here... are you trying to suggest that the OS gets installed directly to RAM and only ever stored there?  What if you want to turn off the computer?

spend 2 hours reinstalling the OS every time... duh 
 

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17 minutes ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

I don't think I'm following your train of thought here... are you trying to suggest that the OS gets installed directly to RAM and only ever stored there?  What if you want to turn off the computer?

This is what im thinking too.

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We used to have computers that ran mostly from ROM, Acorn Achimedes for example. The primary problem with it was the inflexibility of program and operating system updates as well as the severe restrictions on application sizes allowed as ROM is considerably more expensive than a hard drive. In the end price/performance won out with the PC.

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46 minutes ago, divided_throwaway said:

I ran Ubuntu on a flash drive, but it became too slow after a while, and I feared they would prematurely wear out. I run a version of Puppy Linux called Tahrpup. The only problem I have with it is that its file system can't be used by other Linux distros.

A flash drive is non volatile memory.........RAM is.

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1 hour ago, divided_throwaway said:

I ran Ubuntu on a flash drive, but it became too slow after a while, and I feared they would prematurely wear out. I run a version of Puppy Linux called Tahrpup. The only problem I have with it is that its file system can't be used by other Linux distros.

ECC doesn't actually cost that much more. Just got 8GB for 35ish dollars.

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11 hours ago, bobhays said:

ECC doesn't actually cost that much more. Just got 8GB for 35ish dollars.

The motherboard that can support it will cost more 

 

13 hours ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

I don't think I'm following your train of thought here... are you trying to suggest that the OS gets installed directly to RAM and only ever stored there?  What if you want to turn off the computer?

Let's just say yes, probably there. 

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42 minutes ago, divided_throwaway said:

Let's just say yes, probably there. 

 

2 hours ago, Enderman said:

A flash drive is non volatile memory.........RAM is.

Basically, unless you want to install Windows over and over again every day, don't bother think about it. 

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ahhh yes great idea, let's store the OS on the RAM, the part of the system that gets completely wiped clean when turned off or on again.

 

read that sentence and you will know the biggest problem of RAM as normal storage.

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What do you mean by "run on RAM"? The phrase itself makes no sense.

We don't install OSes on RAM because

1) We would require a lot of RAM. A fresh copy of Windows is like 20GB, and it just keeps growing with updates and other things.

2) RAM gets erased when power is cut. So if you installed your OS on RAM then you would have to reinstall it every time you turned your computer off.

 

Modern OSes, such as Windows 7 and up (might even be Windows Vista) loads all the components needed to work into RAM at boot. You can try this if you want by turning your computer on, and then unplugging your hard drive. The computer will continue to work, but you will get an error when you try to access something that was stored on the drive you unplugged (so you can't launch a game for example, or start a video).

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4 hours ago, LAwLz said:

What do you mean by "run on RAM"? The phrase itself makes no sense.

We don't install OSes on RAM because

1) We would require a lot of RAM. A fresh copy of Windows is like 20GB, and it just keeps growing with updates and other things.

2) RAM gets erased when power is cut. So if you installed your OS on RAM then you would have to reinstall it every time you turned your computer off.

 

Modern OSes, such as Windows 7 and up (might even be Windows Vista) loads all the components needed to work into RAM at boot. You can try this if you want by turning your computer on, and then unplugging your hard drive. The computer will continue to work, but you will get an error when you try to access something that was stored on the drive you unplugged (so you can't launch a game for example, or start a video).

 

I don't think he knew that RAM gets cleared when the PC turns off Or maybe he was playing pretend.

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1 hour ago, Fluxus said:

I don't think he knew that RAM gets cleared when the PC turns off Or maybe he was playing pretend.

I was just probably thinking too much of Linux distros that run off of RAM, some are still bound to the ROM.

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Ram is far more expensive than solid state storage, by about two orders of magnitude. Secondly, when you power off the system (pray it doesn't shut down improperly) it will need to save everything to a storage drive anyway and reload it all again when you turn it on, significantly lengthening the process. Third, you're basically begging to lose your data.

9 minutes ago, divided_throwaway said:

I was just probably thinking too much of Linux distros that run off of RAM, some are still bound to the ROM.

No they don't, only live images and a few ultra small distributions do that and both will either lose all changes or save them to storage when shut down. Live images also still use their support medium for a lot of things, they only load the kernel and the bare essentials on RAM. Also, ROM does not mean storage.

8 hours ago, TheRandomness said:

Basically, unless you want to install Windows over and over again every day, don't bother think about it. 

Windows aside, there are ways for the OS to load a big part of itself into ram at startup, but you run into the tradeoffs mentioned above.

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