Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Operating Systems Software Linux

Giant List Of Linux-based Live CDs 339

nick58b writes "After searching the Internet and not being able to find a list of all available Linux Live CDs, I decided to create one. In its current form, it attempts to makes finding a Live CD easy. There are nearly 100 Live CD distributions listed so far, with functions ranging from clustering to home entertainment, and ISO image sizes from 5 to 702 Megabytes."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Giant List Of Linux-based Live CDs

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Growing Distros (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sbennett ( 448295 ) <spb.gentoo@org> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:09AM (#8313996)
    I'd guess it's partly because a lot of the stuff on the second and thirds CDs is less frequently used. If all most people want is KDE, OpenOffice, and Mozilla, and Knoppix can fit them all on one CD, why bother with a DVD at all?
  • Re:Growing Distros (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:16AM (#8314025) Journal
    I've often wondered about this as well. Considering the elevated requirements of most software packages and games written for the current top OS, you'd think that the person buying it would have a DVD drive. It sounds like a reasonable assumption for the companies to make.
  • by Ziviyr ( 95582 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:16AM (#8314027) Homepage
    MEPIS is an installer disc that boots live. It puts up a nice install with yawn inspiring ease.

    I have yet to understand why the kludge that is the Knoppix install is regarded so highly.
  • by thepyre ( 697537 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:20AM (#8314049)
    This might be a stupid question, but has anyone put out a live cd for a playstation 2 or xbox? I would love to run some form of *nix on my console, as it's probably the fastest computer I own.
  • by wan-fu ( 746576 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:21AM (#8314060)
    Awesome job with the compilation of a large list of Live Linux distros. However, I think you're missing out on a primary function: porn. I mean, c'mon, having a live CD means no history to keep on hard disk!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:25AM (#8314082)
    Ive found damnsmall linux {} to be really handy, and mostly bug- less. Which considering there are very few people working on it, speaks well for live cds, and knoppix hacks.

    Leave natural selection to work its magic.
  • Dynebolic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IroNick ( 668714 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:43AM (#8314157)
    I've tried dyne:bolic [] or here [] for my xbox. It works, but the version I tried was sadly slow. Seems like 32MB RAM isn't what this distro calls a good time. And of course: It requires your xbox to chipped and ready.
  • Wifi out of the box (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:54AM (#8314189)
    Anyone know if any of these distros have wifi support out of the box? I tried knoppix (3.2? It wasn't the latest by any means) on a wifi equipped sony laptop but it didn't see the network.

    I really want to hijack my wife's laptop as it's by FAR the fastest thing in the house, to do distcc compiles for my EPIA box - which is pretty slow at compiling. I could plug it into the network, but I'd much rather do it by wifi.
  • Re:Dynebolic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by IroNick ( 668714 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @05:59AM (#8314200)
    Actually, the xbox has 64 MB of RAM, but it *felt* more like 32. The distro worked very smooth on my 800Mhz PC with 300-and-something MB RAM.
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <<ibisum> <at> <>> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:03AM (#8314210) Homepage Journal
    Rubbish. Live CD's represent a solution to a problem which has plagued this industry for years. (*cough*Microsoft*cough*)

    It is *GOOD* to have so many to choose from ... and its good for there to be a thriving 'cottage industry' around building these LiveCD images.

    I would like to see a live Boot CD build system which allows you to customize the payload *easily* (easier than it is to actually 'install' something on a local dedicated machine, individually, and administer it, anyway) and use the Read-Only aspect of the Operating System/Applications binaries to full advantage in securing a productive machine and network.

    Imagine: you have 20 PC's, all booting from a Live CD which is configured to give all users the tools they need, and can then join the remaining no longer OS-centric hard disks all together in a large, local, p2p network filesystem.

    New "graphics" guy comes onboard - give him the "GIMP CD Toolkit" CD, point him in the direction of any machine he wants, and away he goes. No more local PC administration. New 'sales' guy comes onboard, give him the "Office CD Toolkit" and away he goes. All the disks can then be joined together over p2p, and nobody ever has to worry about where their files are stored, or which PC to use, or what the security of an individual node is going to be if someone gets access to it - since a node would be OS-less, and the filesystem dedicated to the p2p fileshare, which would presumably be secure ... on the order of a local 'FreeNet' or what-have-you ...

    I can see that Live Boot CD's are a solution to so many problems... as long as they get easier and easier to make, build, and use ...
  • Think "applications" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:05AM (#8314217) Journal
    To answer the 'why more distro' trolls, hundreds of LiveCDs does not mean thousands of Knoppix/Gnoppix clones.

    It means hundreds of applications, each specialized for a particular niche, each provided in an ultimately convenient format: plug and play.

    It's a lot like console computing: plug in a cartridge and play. It's so different from the "traditional" computing model where software is carefully installed into an environment...

    I've always believed that the need to install software was one of the biggest handicaps with delivering software to a global public.

    LiveCDs eliminate this problem. We are coming back to the 1980's when home computers booted clean and software came on cartridges. Robust, stable, cheap. Look at some of the advantages from the home user's point of view:

    - no installation
    - total separation of data (on some kind of memory stick?) and code
    - unstable system? reboot it!
    - many people can share the same hardware with no interference
    - you can use any available box to run the software

    Conclusion: LiveCDs are not some esoteric hack. They represent a fundamental change in the home computer paradigm, and will open the door to a huge new public that still faces computers with trepidation (and after that Windows XP virus disaster that wiped their snapshots for the third time), and some trauma.

    If I was a computer manufacturer, I'd be looking at designs optimized for this way of working:

    - small, silent case
    - optimised for game playing
    - large amount of RAM (2Gb+)
    - no hard disk
    - easy-access USB memory sticks
    - very fast CDROM/DVDRW
    - no diskette
    - network, TV out, 5.1 sound, etc.

    And then distribute it with a pack of 20 or so interesting Linux LiveCDs including Mythtv.
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:38AM (#8314315) Journal
    Surfing the web:
    - cache pages on a RAM disk and then throw them away
    - no cookies
    - no history, no embarassment.
    - bookmarks saved in home directory on USB disk

    Game saves:
    - they're large because disk space is cheap. Easy to be more efficient and compress the data
    - for multiplayer games, save on a server

    Media burner:
    - download new distros to RAM disk, then burn onto CDR or DVDR
    - download photos from camera, burn immediately to CD
    - download other stuff, burn immediately to CD
    - requires lots of RAM but that is not an issue

    Why no hard disk? Because permanent shared storage breaks the "console" model and will inevitably be used by software providers in the wrong way. Plus it makes noise, creates more cooling issues, and forces the case to be larger.

    Example: you've saved your game and now you want to go play on another machine... how do you do it?

    But... it's not a big deal: such boxes should be easily modded to included whatever hardware people want. Just not for the mass market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:40AM (#8314320)
    This might be a stupid question, but has anyone put out a live cd for a playstation 2 or xbox? I would love to run some form of *nix on my console, as it's probably the fastest computer I own.

    There is a build of Gentoo called GentooX available that works great on a chipped Xbox. You might be able to rig it up with a saved-game bug, but I've only done it with a chip in my box. Here's their homepage:

    You should be able to find the download links on their webpage. Its only a 100-150MB file, but it uncompresses to about 2GB (huge rootfs file). Just make sure that if you install it on your Xbox, you put it in the root directory on the E drive. I got it setup easily on my box and it runs great. I don't have a USB Mouse or Keyboard rigged up on my Xbox so I was only able to SSH to it from my PC. I noticed another poster mentioned how slow it was, but maybe it was something with their distro, because I had no problems at all with speed. I even setup SETI@Home on it and ran that for a few days. The time it took to finish a packet were comparible to a Pentium III 500MHz, which sounds about right since I believe the CPU in the XBox is a Celeron 733MHz. I also had no noticable slow downs on it while running applications. I definately recommend trying it out if you want to put Linux on your Xbox.
  • Re:Growing Distros (Score:5, Interesting)

    by otter42 ( 190544 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:41AM (#8314328) Homepage Journal
    What I think would be really interesting would be multiple LiveCD distros on one CD! Imagine, you use the boot loader to choose between Gnoppix or Knoppix, bioinformatic or educational, vanilla or chocolate.

    And, honestly, DVDs aren't at all expensive. On rebate, I bought a whole slew of DVD-R from OfficeMax (Depot?) for $5 per 25. Yeah, they're low quality, but for linux distros, the junkable ones are what you want to use.
  • Re:Growing Distros (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ComaVN ( 325750 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:54AM (#8314359)
    try pressing the pause key
  • by ColeNielsen ( 635570 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @06:54AM (#8314361) Journal
    Is there a LiveCD that will boot on an "OldWorld" PowerBook 3400c without the use of an OS 9 install?

    It would need sound support, and network support...
  • Linux's Killer App? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dfn_deux ( 535506 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:01AM (#8314378) Homepage
    I really think that Live CD distros might end up being Linux's killer app. I mean with the current state of the OS and it's compatibility with existing office applications and whatnot the "last mile" is all we really need and that is actually getting people to try it. Now I don't know about you, but most people that I know that aren't technically minded are not going to be willing to mess around with repartitioning their only hard drive to try linux. However everyone that I've shown knoppix to has been very impressed with the ease of use and compatibility with exisisting hardware and files produced with non-linux applications. If you can get 5 people to try linux with a live CD then 1 of them might convert to linux full time and it's likely that the ones who aren't interested will pass the knoppix CDs off to someone else...

    once the last mile is crossed we will have arrived.

    P.S. knoppix boots faster than alot of XP installs that alone might be enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:19AM (#8314419)
    That's one of the reasons why vmware was developed. Download the iso, boot from the file (mounted as a cd drive, form the program config), try the distro for some time, check how did the "virtual" hdd drive is. If it's the same md5, everything's fine. Go toast it.

    By the way, there are other ways of trying this. On a pc long time forgotten pc on a dark corner of a computer lab or cibercafe, for example. Or just unplug the HDD. You know how to un/plug them, or got them on extraible racks, don't you?

  • by TrancePhreak ( 576593 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @07:55AM (#8314504)
    I think you miss the point here. Gaming requires large installs these days, 2GB and upwards. Where will one install these games? Some save games are large because they store a lot of data, Black & White for example. If you look at game saves for consoles, there are some games with complex data that requires a large amount of space. Some games require their own memory card even.

    2GB would not allow you to download a new DVD distro to ram disk. What's more, you probably couldn't do a lot of stuff while downloading, because you'd need to keep the ram open for the download. Hard drives are cheaper than RAM, and that should be taken advantage of. $156 USD for 1GB of RAM, or $120 for 120GB hard disk.
  • but about dual-boot? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:01AM (#8314523)
    great list! but which of these allows installation into a file partition on a windows box - to use seriously, and dont require the CDor a partitioning of the disc (the usual way) - i ask, because I believe Mandrake used to allow for this...and its a great noninvasive way of putting Linux on friends system... partitioning being a no-go and liveCD's being severely speed limited (though great for test driving! - cant wait to see new Knoppix now that the nForce chipset is much better supported in the kernel!)
  • by wilsonjo ( 181905 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:42AM (#8314640) Homepage
    Coincidentially, I used the live KnoppixMyth CD to get my PVR working this week. I struggled for 2 weeks trying to get my Shuttle SN41G2 Xpc to work with Slackware 9.1. I then stumbled upon the KnoppixMyth [] web site and decided to give it a try.
    In less than two hours, I was up and running, recording TV.
    Much credit and thanks due to the KnoppixMyth guys for the easy install!!
    BTW - Myth TV PVR Box Specs:
    • Shuttle SN41G2 with RAM + XP 2500 - $369
    • Hauppauge PVR-250 OEM $96
    • 120 Gig HD $70
  • by jarich ( 733129 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @08:55AM (#8314684) Homepage Journal
    I've never seen a release that can handle my laptop's power functions (battery, etc) but I was able to get it working via patching kernel an ACPI Patch

    I'd love to see a release that focused on the power management as well as WiFi, etc

    also, I don't want to store my settings on a USB key chain.. that costs $$ to buy! :) Set me up to store my settings on an FTP server!!!! Accessible from anywhere in the world! Security (via username and password) built it.

    joe sixpack at work could try out distro X and then take it home and keep trying it.

    also, it's time for a common preferences format (XML anyone)? so that I can set prefs in Knoppix and then reboot and point my Slax distro at the same home dir.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:11AM (#8314762)
    try damnsmalllinux at - 50 mb and it is possible to install it to hd. got it working on an ibm thinkpad 600 233mhz and 128mb ram or so. runs perfectly from hd.
  • by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:29AM (#8314873) Homepage Journal
    Catalyst is dealing with ISO format, thus has a limitation of 2GB (inherited from FAT). What I am looking is some HOWTO about building LiveDVD with either a bootable UDF filesystem, which would give me full 4.7GB partition, or a combo of a bootable ISO partition + an additional UDF partition.

    So, if , for example your bootable ISO would be 700MB, then your UDF would be 4GB - pretty good, huh? This case is good when you take some existing LiveCD image and slightly modify it (1) to mount UDF and (2) to know what is there.

    Or if your ISO would be 2GB, then your UDF would be 2.7 GB accordingly. This case is good if you build your own LiveCD image and your "root" partition must be big enough already (by some reason).

    UDF is important also in situations when you want to save something back on DVD (if you have DVD-/+RW hardware).

    And of course I should mention another limitation of ISO: filenames. They must be short, they should not have any strange characters, and the path in the filestructure must be not too deep. With ISO we have to use some dirty hacks to work around. With UDF you don't have such limitations.

    Do you know if Catalyst has any plans to work with UDF?

  • Live CD Demos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 724860 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @09:47AM (#8314979) Homepage

    So I have this very nice high end box, running, oh let's say one of those Linux type OS's, with VMware.

    In theory, I ought to be able to store all these ISOs on one of the rather large disk drives, then mount the file as a drive, and boot the live CD in VMware.

    It follows that I ought to be able to make a pick list of all the live cds and run several side-by-side as a demo to friends of what's available without all that booting/rebooting that's hard on the hardware.

    At the end of the demo, I could give them a CD of the OS they liked best.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?


  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#8315331)
    Over half of these 100 "Distros" are Knoppix remasters. Here's a list of 60+ Knoppix remasters. The reason there are so many? It's very easy to make your own Knoppix remaster. I'm pretty sure many of these distros have 5 users if the're lucky.

    I don't know. I created a version, have it on my home server (which is why I am not linking it here) and I have people downloading it all the time. I would link to my mirror, but it disappeared a while ago. (anyone have 200 MB of space and a big pipe?) It is a bootable Quake MegaTF server. Not Q3, the old-school version. It is text only, because it just has the server on it. I have been meaning to include a light-gui, and the clients as well, but haven't gotten around to it. But I know more than 5 people have downloaded my ISO, and I am not even on any of these lists. But I have been in contact with people who have used it, and have had LAN parties with it.

  • Re:Growing Distros (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@ g m a i l . com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @12:51PM (#8316745) Homepage Journal
    CDs are not cheaper.

    80 minute cds are about 10-15 cents each and store 700M. That gives 46-70 megs per penny. 4X blank DVD-Rs are 61-81 cents each and store 4485M. That is 56-73 megs per penny.

    Time wise, DVD 1X burning is equivalent to CD 9.2X burning, I THINK. Which means the 16X burners coming out now burn data at a cd-recorder equivalent speed of 147.2X. Thus it not only saves money, but also burning time (And also labelling time and physical cubic space.)

    My facts may be incorrect in this paragraph, but NOT the last one. A 4X burner can be had, shipped, for under $100.

  • by Ziviyr ( 95582 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:32PM (#8317879) Homepage
    I really don't understand why this is a troll.

    If it were Score:0, Funny then I wouldn't mind so much. I think someone has gotten good at trolling me through mod points...

To be is to program.