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booting disk image on a USB thumb drive

From: David H. Lynch Jr.
Subject: booting disk image on a USB thumb drive
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 20:24:54 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100821 Thunderbird/3.1.2

I am looking to create a USB thumb driver with grub2 and boot linux from a disk image on the thumb drive. This is similar - but not identical to booting an ISO image - the disk image would be formated to ext2 or reiserfs or something like that rather than iso9660. I am looking to do something that is essentially the same as what ubuntu wubi does under windows - except on a flash device.

I can handle building a custom kernel image as required, as well as a custom initrd/initramfs.

    Is there any approximation of a howto on this ?

I am also not sure I conceptually understand how grub is dealing with this. If the linux kernel and initrd are outside the disk image should I need the grub loop facility at all ? I would think only the init scripts on the booting copy of linux would need to know they were using a disk image.

Dave Lynch                                                  DLA Systems
Software Development:                                    Embedded Linux
717.587.7774           address@hidden
Over 25 years' experience in platforms, languages, and technologies too 
numerous to list.

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of 
genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Albert Einstein

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