How to Run Etcher Image Writer on GUI and Linux CLI

There are plenty of tools for writing to USB drives on Linux, but most are specialized to writing bootable USB images of one distro. For example, fedora has its own tool which makes Fedora Live USB, and other distros also have the same. So we decided to find and test a generic ISO writing tool for USB and SD cards. It is called Etcher and it is still in beta phase (at time of writing this article) but it is quite usable.

Etcher GUI

The etcher GUI is installed same way on any distribution because it is an AppImage. So first we download etcher AppImage from the official site. You can use also download it for the terminal, but it will download current version at the time writing of this article. For latest version use official site.


We need to set executable and access permissions to the AppImage

chmod a+x Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage

And then we run it with sudo or as root:

sudo ./Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage

You should get the etcher started like this:


Using it is straightforward, you pick iso image on your hard drive, then pick drive where you put USB drive to be etched, then you click Flash! button and wait Etcher to do its work.


Note that for proper operation, you must have fuse installed. In most distros, it is installed by default, but if you don't have it for some reason, you install it with following commands

On Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install fuse

On CentOS as root

yum install fuse

After the image burning was completed, you will get this screen:


From there you can flash another image or same image again.

Etcher CLI

If you are running a server without desktop environment, or you simply don't want GUI, you might want to install etcher-cli. As it is written in nodejs and there is no appImage we first need to add repository for nodejs and install nodejs

On CentOS as root:

curl --silent --location | bash -
yum install -y nodejs

On Ubuntu as normal user:

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Install the cli (on ubuntu or centos with sudo or as root)

sudo npm install -g etcher-cli

Then you only need to invoke it from terminal with the path to image:

For example

miki@miki-X550JK:~/Downloads$ sudo etcher FreeBSD-11.0-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso
? Select drive /dev/sdc (15.5 GB) - DataTraveler 3.0
? This will erase the selected drive. Are you sure? Yes

It will burn the image same as the GUI utility.

Now I have a flash drive with FreeBSD 11.


The only drawback is that developers have stated that they don't plan on making RPM and deb packages, AppImage, npm, nodejs packages is all we will get. The installation process is simple enough and burning iso images to USB flash drives or SD cards is really easy with Etcher. This is all for this article, thank you for reading and have fun with Etcher.

4 Comments... add one

  1. Hi there

    I just wanted to say a Big thanks for sharing this info
    I struggled to find out how to get this going elsewhere
    I found it frustrating that there was little info geared towards installing this on linux.
    There seems to be tons of people to sort things for windy and mac but say if you want a program
    to write img to sd cards for raspberry pi etc they point towards windows and mac programs.

    This method worked for mint 18 just fine, Thanks pal cheers.

  2. Hi
    Installing the CLI version on Ubuntu didn't work for me.
    ~$ curl -sL | sudo -E bash -

    ## Installing the NodeSource Node.js 6.x LTS Boron repo...

    ## Populating apt-get cache...

    + apt-get update
    Hit:1 bionic InRelease
    Hit:2 bionic-updates InRelease
    Hit:3 bionic-backports InRelease
    Hit:4 bionic-security InRelease
    Hit:5 stable InRelease
    Ign:7 stable InRelease
    Err:8 stable Release
    404 Not Found [IP: 443]
    Get:6 bionic InRelease [15.4 kB]
    Reading package lists... Done
    E: The repository ' stable Release' does not have a Release file.
    N: Updating from such a repository can't be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default.
    N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.
    E: Repository ' bionic InRelease' changed its 'Label' value from 'Oracle Java (JDK) 8 / 9 Installer PPA' to 'Oracle Java (JDK) 8 Installer PPA (DISCONTINUED)'
    N: This must be accepted explicitly before updates for this repository can be applied. See apt-secure(8) manpage for details.
    Error executing command, exiting


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