Recently several people asked me about trying Linux without actually installing it. Obviously the first thing that came to mind is to try versions via LiveCD. For those not familiar, LiveCD means:
“A CD-ROM that contains a working copy of an operating system or other application that is run without installing it. Used for demonstration and evaluation as well as system recovery, the software runs intact from the CD.” Source: http://dictionary.zdnet.com/definition/LiveCD.html
While I was fast to mention and provide the LiveCD for Ubuntu Linux, I was asked if there are other versions of Linux or Linux based applications that offer down loadable LiveCD’s and what the primary function (of the CD) focused upon. Well, I’m by no means the know-all expert of Linux and its LiveCD distributions, I was however, able to find almost 300 and have done my best to put them in alphabetical order with a brief blurb.
Hopefully this will provide an initial list from which to jump off and explore different versions. It was a lot of work to put this together, but it was worthwhile and fun!
Some of the distributions are in other languages so I translated what I could into English (so please forgive any grammar mistakes). Additionally, I’ve found that several of the CD’s could be placed in more than one category, but to save constant repeats, I’ve tried to keep them in their primary focused category. I also included a couple BSD mentions or so.
If you have (or are aware) of a LiveCD we’ve not included below and you want included, please feel free to comment (below) or contact us.
You might want to book mark this list and revisit it later.
Providing tools for creating cluster server environments.
Bootable Cluster CD
For clustering. From their site: The BCCD was created to facilitate instruction of parallel computing aspects and paradigms. Part of the difficulty instructors face is lack of dedicated resources to explore distributed computing aspects lack of time to preconfigure and test the supporting environment. The BCCD image addresses this problem by providing a non-destructive overlay way to run a full-fledged parallel computing environment on just about any workstation-class system…
Clusterix is a modular, live-cd Linux distro based off of Morphix, Knoppix, and Debian GNU/Linux. This means all you need to do is download the .iso, burn it to a cd, and reboot your computer. Clusterix will automatically start to boot without using your hard drive in anyway. Used for clustering.
Used for clustering: ClusterKnoppix is a modified Knoppix distro using the OpenMosix kernel.
A practical tool for multimedia production: you can manipulate and broadcast both sound and video with tools to record, edit, encode and stream, having automatically recognized most device and peripherals: audio, video, TV, network cards, firewire, usb and more; all using only free software!
You can employ this operating system without the need to install anything, and if you want to run it from hard disk you just need to copy a directory: the easiest installation ever seen!
It is optimized to run on slower computers, turning them into full media stations: the minimum you need is a pentium1 or k5 PC 64Mb RAM and IDE CD-ROM, or a modded XBOX game console – and if you have more than one, you can easily do clusters.
ParallelKnoppix (PK) is a fast and easy way to create a HPC cluster for parallel computing. It is designed to be easy to use for people new to parallel computing, but it is also suitable for serious work.
PK is normally used as a “live CD”, but it can also be used very productively from your usual operating system, through virtualization. The PK master node can be booted in a virtual machine, then you can network boot other computers to make a real (nonvirtual) Linux cluster in minutes. The cluster is ad hoc, it does not install anything to any of the computers it runs on. This way, when you shut down the cluster, the machines are in their original state.
For desktop environments.
Primary focus is an easy to install desktop system and is a Chinese localization of Knoppix
A localized desktop version for Czech.
A desktop version that has support for UML (User Mode Linux) virtual machines which can run LIDS (Linux Intrusion Detection System) or SELinux (NSA Security Enhanced Linux).
The ADIOS live CD uses a compressed loopback filesystem and can also start with LIDS enabled. It is a custom installation of Fedora 3.0 running kernel 2.6.10 and supports X11 windows desktop environments of KDE and IceWM.
A Québécoise desktop version of Linux. It consists of a customized version of the live CD SLAX, (itself based on the Linux Slackware distribution). AliXe is a bootable CD-Rom. When introduced in the CD drive of your computer, it will mount a Linux system so you can try, all without altering the content of this disc in your machine.
A desktop version providing support for the Bangla(Bengali) language on GNU/Linux operating system.
A desktop version for old PC’s (ANTEMIUM PC Agé) is the light version of Antemium. It is designed to work on old computers, (but not too old), work begins with Pentium that have 64MB of RAM. It is reported to have been working with less RAM, but they don’t guarantee anything.
The liveCD takes it’s linux kernel from the latest Knoppix; with the launching scripts. Everything else is a custom Slackware on a liveCD! The latest Knoppix introduce UNIONFS, a system to allow compressed read-only data on the CD to be merged with a portion of the RAM. It allow to modify anything on the liveCD, changes are saved on RAM. The CD gains in memory usage, flexibility, and power. It is also possible to install new software on the liveCD ! But beware of RAM shortages
A desktop version based on Morphix’ Lightgui, aquamorph is a complete, up-to-date environment, in which the user can comfortably browse, program and generally just do his work, while not having to worry about configuring and installing things. It features programs like Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client, X-Chat for IRC chatting, Gaim version 2 for Instant Messaging, Abiword and Gnumeric for doing office work, Wireshark [formerly Ethereal] for doing forensic research, Graveman for burning CDs/DVDs etc. It also packages some nice fonts and audio/video codecs.
An arabic based desktop version. This project is tasked with bringing forth a fully Arabized Live-CD distribution. This version appears to still be in Beta.
A desktop version (also in beta). A complete live Arch linux system (v0.7) to be run from a cd/usb, built with the KISS philosophy in mind. No packages have been stripped to provide a full Arch linux system, yet deliver fastest performance with no extensive bloating. Archie uses its own hw-detection tool (lshwd) ideally to support a wide range of hardware with low detection time. Archie also provides extended features like multi-lingual, nesting capabilities and hd-install.
A Spanish version that (as stated on their web site) is: “The Linux made by the world for Aragon. Augustux is a set of programs with free licenses that run from CD and who has been given a touch “Aragonese”.
There are lot of tools: word processor, spreadsheet, email clients or web browser for the Internet. To use Augustux there is no need to install anything on a hard drive, but boots directly from the CD-ROM.
Simply put the CD into the drive and boot the computer.
A regional desktop CD. AUSTRUMI (Austrum Latvijas Linukss) is a business card size (the current release size is 65 MB) bootable live CD Linux distribution. It is based on Slackware Linux. It was created and is currently being maintained by a group of programmers from Latgale region of Latvia. The current official release of Austrumi Linux is 1.6.0. It requires limited system resources and can run on any Intel-compatible system with a CD-ROM installed. The entire operating system and all the applications run from RAM, making Austrumi a fast system, and allowing the boot medium to be removed after the operating system starts.
Baltix is GNU/Linux desktop distribution, based on Debian and Ubuntu for Lithuanian and Latvian people.
A desktop version. The livecd images on this site use redhat/fedora rpms, fedora related repositories (eg. atrpms or. freshrpms) as well as non -fedora software of several other open source projects.
These livecd’s use transparent zisofs compression on a container image instead of cloop. This allows the usage of nearly any precompiled kernel but the image container cannot be read or extracted from non-linux systems even if written on cd.
A desktop version that is a less-than-200-MB Debian/Ubuntu Linux that is a live-CD/installable to hard drive distribution featuring kernel 2.6.7, Gnome 2.8.1, Firefox 1.03 w/AdBlock, Evolution 2.01, GAIM 1.03, Open Office 1.1.2, Apt, PDF viewer, image viewer, plus much, much more.
A desktop MiniCD is (as the name suggests) a live MiniCD Linux distribution designed to run off 185MB CDs. It features automatic hardware detection, a full desktop (KDE) and is based on Mandrake Linux.
A desktop version that is a bootable CD, which features automatic hardware detection. It supports many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI, USB, and other peripherals. If you have network devices, DHCP is auto-configured so you can use the Internet. You can enjoy OpenOffice, the MS Office compatible office suite. The GIMP can be used to edit pictures and is included in Berry Linux. Berry Linux can be used as a Linux demo, Educational CD, or a rescue system. Based on Fedora.
A desktop to work in the office and at home; that includes Cyrillic support for Russian speaking people. Easy to use, requires no installation works directly from the CD. Provides support for a wide range of modern equipment. Immediately after launch, the user receives a tailored, ready to work in the local network or Internet system with a rich set of license-net programs.
A Polish language based LiveCD. Hopefully a Polish speaking person could tell us more about it?
Cool Linux CD
A desktop CD. Cool Linux CD is a bootable CD with Linux operating system, containing a 2.4 kernel and many free software packages.
Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux is a very versatile 50MB mini desktop oriented Linux distribution.
DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device.
Feather Linux is a Linux distribution which runs completely off a CD or a USB pendrive and takes up under 128Mb of space. It is a Knoppix remaster (based on Debian), and tries to include software which most people would use every day on their desktop.
It’s a FREE (GPL-2) customized Linux distribution initially designed to be run directly off a 256Mb USB key or other (similar) forms of bootable flash memory. It has subsequently (also) become a Linux distribution that runs directly from a CDROM, typically known as a Live-CD.
A special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme performance, configurability and a top-notch user and developer community.
Gnoppix is a linux live cd based upon Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (woody). It can be compared to Knoppix but GNOPPIX uses GNOME as desktop environment.
GoblinX is a Live-CD that is based on the excellent Slackware, developed and maintained by Flavio de Oliveira a.k.a Grobsch and created by using Linuxlive scripts.
It is directed towards those users whose appreciate quality applications and a workspace that is both practical and beautiful. It contains some of the most often used and praised applications for Linux, a completely operational Linux system inside a single CDROM, runs from any CDROM drive without requiring an installation and can be easily customized by anyone. It also can be used inside a Pendrive or other bootable device.
GoboLinux is a modular Linux distribution: it organizes the programs in your system in a new, logical way. Instead of having parts of a program thrown at /usr/bin, other parts at /etc and yet more parts thrown at /usr/share/something/or/another, each program gets its own directory tree, keeping them all neatly separated and allowing you to see everything that’s installed in the system and which files belong to which programs in a simple and obvious way.
Kaboot Linux Operating system aims to provide an operating system which you can take anywhere and has all your favourite programs on. Available as a Live CD or Live USB you can take with you anywhere.
A number of different versions are available, two optimized for size or speed, one for functionality, and one science based. All containing a host of useful programs able to boot virtually any computer (meeting the minimum requirements) from CD and USB.
Kaella is a (French) Linux distribution that will fit on a CD and it works without having to install on the hard drive of your PC. It is a complete operating system, provided with all the necessary software for PC use: Internet browser, mail, office suite, media players (images, photos, sounds, videos), games …
Kaella is based on the Knoppix distribution: Some software was deleted, others have been added.
Kanotix is a rock-solid Linux based on Debian, which contains the newest packages and recognizes more modern hardware than any other operating system in use today.
Kanotix is assembled for 32 Bit i586 and for AMD 64 using the most up-to-date kernel with unique patches.
Kanotix will run as a LIVE-CD on practically any computer — automatically detecting and configuring virtually any piece of hardware. It is ideal for analysis, data rescue, forensic work, removal of viruses on Win-PCs – or simply for safe surfing and mailing in an internet cafe. It installs to your hard drive in just a few minutes and is ideal for use on your desktop workstation or notebook, or as a server.
KateOS is a free (as in freedom) multitasking operating system targeted toward intermediate Unix users. It combines the most popular Open Source software with its own original solutions. KateOS has a simple yet fully functional and fully-featured TGZex package system which makes system administration and updating a breeze. KateOS also has a set of text-mode and graphical tools for system configuration, user-friendly text-mode and graphical installation systems, a unified PAM authorization system, and many more solutions which make system maintenance a lot easier while preserving the classical Unix structure of the system. The main foci of KateOS are efficiency, security, reliability, and low system requirements. Support for common multimedia is also included.
KNOPPIX is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a productive Linux system for the desktop, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2GB of executable software installed on it (over 8GB on the DVD “Maxi” edition).
Kubuntu is a user friendly operating system based on KDE, the K Desktop Environment. With a predictable 6 month release cycle and part of the Ubuntu project, Kubuntu is the GNU/Linux distribution for everyone.
A 3D livecd that appears to be based upon slax (unconfirmed).
Linux from Scratch
The LFS LiveCD is geared specifically toward providing a reliable host system for the purpose of building Linux From Scratch http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/lfs/index.html. Therefore, it may not be what you would envision as a “perfect” Linux system. It should, however, provide you with a comfortable enough environment so that you can, in turn, build your own “perfect” system. Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own customized Linux system entirely from source.
Luit Linux is a small bootable live CD distribution based on KNOPPIX and DamnSmall Linux. Mission is to make a small compact live distribution with tools and applications for day to day needs, without compromising on its looks and feel and ease of use.
Linux. A full Linux operating system on a single CD for both new and experienced Linux users, it is fast to download and install, and also safe to try with a live mode. One is really the one CD you need!
MiniKazit is a live CD image, small enough to fit into a MiniCD (180M). It is based on Morphix, base module version 0.4-1e and Debian Sid.
NetMAX DeskTOP is a Linux-based, Windows applications compatible, intuitive graphical environment that works right out of the box and offers unrivaled compatibility with any personal computer. It is designed to be usable by people who are not computer savvy. It eliminates the problems with viruses, spyware, adware, and bugs that plague the Windows platform. NetMAX DeskTOP also works as a PC repair and recovery system. It boots from CDROM and does not modify the target PC volumes unless directed to do so.
You can build your own custom OS with a couple of clicks. As easy as it gets! NimbleX is a small but versatile operating system which is able to boot in various fashion, like from a small 8 cm CD but also from flash memory (USB pens, Mp3 players, …), from hard drives and even from the network. Because it runs entirely from a CD, USB or network it doesn’t require installation or even a hard drive. NimbleX is based on Slackware with the use of linux-live scripts and is has a lot of this distribution advantages. One of them is the availability of thousands of free software that can be found in the form of packages. The beauty of it is that even if is small it has a beautiful graphical interface and also a lot of built in software for browsing the internet, writing documents, listening to music, playing movies and many more. You even have basic server functionality.
The Onebase Project, is a Linux kernel based operating system with its own package management and administration tools.
Parsix GNU/Linux is a live and installation CD derived from KANOTIX and based on Debian. It is a complete GNOME centric desktop oriented distribution. Beside of the dozens supported languages, Parsix GNU/Linux also supports Persian keyboard and users can switch to Persian with Alt+Shift keys. You can install and use Parsix GNU/Linux as your PC’s operating system. We have also included xFarDic multilingual dictionary and Persian free fonts from FPF project.
PCLinuxOS is distributed as a LiveCD, and can also be installed to a local hard drive. LiveCD mode lets you try it without making any changes to your computer. If you like it, you can install it to your hard drive. Locally installed versions of PCLinuxOS utilize the Advanced Packaging Tool (or APT), a package management system (originally from the Debian distribution), together with Synaptic, a GUI front end to APT.
PCLinuxOS has a script called mklivecd, which allows the user to take a ‘snapshot’ of their current hard drive installation (all settings, applications, documents, etc.) and compress it into an ISO CD/DVD image. This allows easy backup of a user’s data and also makes it easy to create your own custom live CD/DVD.
Puppy really is small, the live-CD typically being 85MB, yet there really is a complete set of GUI applications. Being so small, Puppy usually loads completely into RAM, which accounts for the incredible speed.
A highly, scalable and community driven Linux distribution. Based on the Gentoo distro.
With Shinux you have a complete operating system comes with a suite of software quality standard for computers compatible PC. Shinux aims to enable individuals or professionals to carry the equivalent of their laptop in a medallion, a watch or a simple USB Flash Drive. With Shinux in your pocket you can from PCs to boot your office, your bookmark, preferences, mail, files and carry with you your applications.
sidux is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, Debian’s most modern branch (called “Sid”) and many free and open source applications.
According to wikipedia sidox “…is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian unstable, which uses the codename Sid. The distribution consists of a Live CD (bootable CD-ROM) for i686 or amd64 architecture and can be installed to a hard drive through a graphical installer…” and “…The aim of sidux is to make Debian Sid/unstable usable for average users. Therefore it puts Debian Sid packages together and adds its own programs. sidux’ own repository avoids packages which are currently defective in Debian Sid. The sidux system management program “smxi” also holds sidux fixed packages until a repaired version from Debian appears in Debian Sid…“
SimplyMEPIS as a Live CD or DVD allows you to run the Linux operating system and all the programs from your CD or DVD drive before you install. There is no need to backup all your data, delete the whole hard disk and install the system, just to find it doesn’t meet your needs and expectations.
Insert the SimplyMepis disc in your drive and reboot your computer. Simple menu choices will quickly load SimplyMEPIS Linux allowing you to login. You’ll have a SimplyMEPIS desktop just as it would be when you install it to your hard drive. Test the included software, see if it supports all your hardware, and assure that your internet connection works. You can also use SimplyMEPIS as a recovery CD for troubleshooting computers and providing the tools to save your valuable data.
Slax is a modern, portable, small and fast Linux operating system with a modular approach and outstanding design. Despite its small size, Slax provides a wide collection of pre-installed software for daily use, including a well organized graphical user interface and useful recovery tools for system administrators.
The modular approach gives you the ability to include any other software in Slax easily. If you’re missing your favourite text editor, networking tool or game, simply download a module with the software and copy it to Slax, no need to install, no need to configure.
SLYNUX is a user friendly GNU/Linux Operating System for beginners. It can be run completely from CD without installation. There is also options to install to hard disk. The main feature of this operating system is that, any person who is familiar with Microsoft Windows OS can handle this operating system very easily. The desktop of this operating system is arranged so as to make it friendly to the user. Also it has a wide range of application programs which are pre-installed. SLYNUX is a live Linux distribution which includes content of about 2GB made available by using transparent compression. This is a debian based GNU/Linux developed from Knoppix (Credit of most features of this Distro goes to knoppix). This can be used by beginners of Linux OS. SLYNUX makes to familiarize Linux technology. This is also a complete suite Linux OS. This provides all types of needed software.
Traditional Chinese support. Stanix provides a simple, stable, Comfortable environment for your desktop without deluxe decorations, easy to use directly, don’t worry about system crashes or infections by viruses.
STUX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals.
STUX 2007 is based on Slackware Linux 11.0 (for packages) and Knoppix 5.0.1 (for kernel, modules, scripts).
SymphonyOS is a whole new type of Operating System, based on an advanced GNU/Linux base system Symphony provides Linux’s renowned stability and immunity to Windows viruses along with what we consider to be the easiest to use interface out there, our Mezzo Desktop Environment. You can breathe new life into old hardware as all of this is designed to work on much lower end hardware than KDE or Gnome.
T2 started as a community driven fork from the ROCK Linux Project with the aim to create a decentralized development and clean a framework for spin-off projects and customized distributions. Another goal was to provide a more continuous release stream for stable security updates.
With T2 you can define targets for various purposes, ranging from embedded linux systems with a few MB of size over server configurations to a full desktop system featuring X.Org foundation, KDE, Gnome, OpenOffice.Org and many more. Those targets can be compiled for use on the most common architectures: Alpha, ARM, HPPA (incl. HPPA64), IA64, MIPS, PowerPC (incl. PowerPC-64), SPARC (incl. SPARC64), SuperH, x86 (incl. x86-64) – theoretically any GCC/Linux supported one.
T2 comes with many predefined targets (desktop, router, live CD…) and over 2000 package descriptions ready to build.
This distribution is ideal for beginners. Tao Live is a bootable CDROM with a collection of software and automatic hardware detection. It is not necessary to install anything on your hard disk to use Tao Live.
Tilix is a Bulgarian Linux based operating system, easy to use for beginners and for advanced users. The distribution can work directly from CD or can be installed to you hard drive. The distribution can work directly from CD or can be installed to you hard drive. The hardware recognition is automatic. The hardware recognition is automatic.
Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.
Speed, performance, stability are the attributes that set VectorLinux apart from the crowded field of Linux distributions. The creators of VectorLinux had a single credo: keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be. What has evolved from this concept is perhaps the best little Linux operating system available anywhere. For the casual computer user you have a lightning fast desktop with graphical programs to handle your daily activities from web surfing, sending and receiving email, chatting on ICQ or IRC to running an ftp server. The power user will be pleased because all the tools are there to compile their own programs, use the system as a server or perhaps the gateway for their home or office computer network. Administrators will be equally as pleased because the small size and memory requirements of the operating system can be deployed on older machines maybe long forgotten.
Xfld – ‘Xfce live demo’ – is a liveCD , demonstrating the latest version of Xfce desktop environment and providing a complete Gnu/Linux operating system (based on Ubuntu), which could be run directly from the CD. In contrast to the Xubuntu install CDs, the Xfld CD contains all tools and applications necessary for both productive usage with graphical interface and command line interface. Furthermore the main purpose of Xfld is demonstrating the latest Xfce.
Providing a collection of educational programs and/or used in and education or seminar environment.
This LiveCD is for education and bio research. Bioknoppix is a customized distribution of Knoppix Linux Live CD. With this distrubution you just boot from the CD and you have a fully functional Linux OS distribution with open source applications targeted for the molecular biologist. Beside using some RAM, Bioknoppix doesn’t touch the host computer, being ideal for demonstrations, molecular biology students, workshops, etc.
fiubbix is a Live-CD (booteable distribution and 100% usable from a CD-ROM) derivative of Knoppix, adapted for use by students of the Faculty of Engineering at the UBA (though probably useful for other universities and engineering in public Overall).
Until now — and probably for a while in most heads — the GNU/Linux system at school has been perceived as a good replacement of other proprietary servers. However the server is probably the least important things in term of freedom in a school network. It doesn’t allow a teacher to share a workstation software with students. Supporting GNU/Linux in the workstation side can grant higher freedom and liberty between users in a school.. Therefore, OFSET has setup Freeduc, a tool to help to list, to evaluate and to package only free — non GPL exclusive – edu soft.
Spanish education based livecd. LUC3M (read ‘Lucem’, accusative of Lux, or “Light”), being developed by the CRUCIBLE group (information resource centre and free software), staying within the Computing Service of the Univerity Carlos III of Madrid. Its aim is to develop a distribution to facilitate teaching, including applications for conducting practices and content development. Although, in principle, it’s aimed at students, teachers and administrative staff and includes applications that can meet the needs anyone.
The DVD versions of old boots LUC3M distribution Live allowing work as if it were installed on the hard drive. A main advantage is that to run from the DVD drive, there is no need to install, and therefore can be tested without changing the configuration of equipment.
Skolelinux is a complete tailored software solution for the needs of any educational institution or school. It is a ready computer system were your school does not need to piece together the components.
What makes Skolelinux unique is that any teacher can kickstart a whole network of computers within an hour. Experts and teachers have together handpicked the software that any school would need for it’s daily education of pupils and packaged it for a tailored solution for schools and educational purposes, made easy to install.
Providing audio, video (multimedia) environments.
An entertainment LiveCD version. Amarok Live is a stripped down LiveCD with a fully functional Amarok music player bundled with the tracks commissioned last year by Wired Magazine, which are distributed under the Creative Commons Sampling Licenses.
Insert the CD and boot. In most cases, you can just hit return at the ISOLinux boot prompt. There are various cheat-codes / boot-parameters, that you can use if case of hardware trouble.
A software internet appliance with a home entertainment bias. It is based on a networked Linux distribution/bootable system with Mozilla providing access to a range of services and applications. Fits in 32MB (or 48MB) of media and should work on any x86 based PC.
GeeXboX is a free embedded Linux distribution which aims at turning your computer into a so called HTPC (Home Theater PC) or Media Center. Being a standalone LiveCD-based distribution, it’s a ready to boot operating system than works on any Pentium-class x86 computer or PowerPC Macintosh, implying no software requirement. You can even use it on a diskless computer, the whole system being loaded in RAM.
Despite his tiny ISO image size, the distribution comes with a complete and automatic hardware detection, not requiring any driver to be added. It supports playback of nearly any kind of audio/video and image files and all known codecs and containers are shipped in, allowing playing them through various physical supports, either being CD, DVD, HDD, LAN or Internet.
GeeXboX also comes with a complete toolchain that allows developers adding easily extra packages and features but that might also be used to give birth to many dedicated embedded Linux systems.
MoviX is a light media distribution that supports streaming, TV cards, slideshows, internet radio, infrared controllers and others. MoviX can boot from CDs, HDDs, USB Flash Drives, CompactFlash cards and network. MoviX2 is a spin-off project that features X alongside the usual MoviX configuration.
eMoviX is a tiny GNU/Linux distribution that plays video files when booted, based on MPlayer. It is utilised by MoviXMaker-2 and K3b.
MoviX distributions are very compact. In fact, smaller than Damn Small Linux.
It’s a 100% free multimedia operating system intended for music production, graphic design, audio and video edition, and all kind of tasks. It contains an enormous collection of free (as in freedom) programs that can replace Windows.
Myah OS is a performance desktop operating system. Made for home use with a focus on Internet, Office, and multimedia. Myah OS has been optimized for i686 processors for fast performance. Myah OS is an original Linux distro, compiled from build scripts written by Jeremiah Cheatham.
StreamBOX-LiveCD is a selfmade, KNOPPIX based Boot-CD, which is specially designed to stream MP3. Also there are some programs to stream in the OGG-Vorbis-Format.
Wolvix is a LiveDistro built from Slackware and the Linux-Live scripts. It’s a desktop and multimedia oriented Linux distribution designed to suit the needs of regular to advanced desktop users. Wolvix comes with the Xfce desktop environment and the Fluxbox window manager and includes a carefully selected group of development, graphics, multimedia, network and office applications.
Providing firewall solutions.
Formilux is a very light and secure Linux distribution. It is targetted at internet servers, routers, firewalls and semi-embedded systems. It requires a very limited administration but needs fairly skilled administrators. Installing a secured proxy or a firewall just requires about 12 MB and a few minutes.
Linux LiveCD Router
Speed-up your Internet connection! Linux LiveCD Router allows you to share, firewall and optimize your broadband connection. You can use DSL, ADSL, Cable Modem, T1, Fixed IPs, Dial-Up, WiFi and more. Includes traffic priority settings for VoIP and other apps. Can avoid ISP traffic limiting.
m0n0wall is a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software). m0n0wall is based on a bare-bones version of FreeBSD, along with a web server, PHP and a few other utilities. The entire system configuration is stored in one single XML text file to keep things transparent. m0n0wall is probably the first UNIX system that has its boot-time configuration done with PHP, rather than the usual shell scripts, and that has the entire system configuration stored in XML format.
redWall is a bootable CD-ROM Firewall. It’s goal is to provide a feature rich firewall solution, with the main goal, to provide a webinterface for all the logfiles generated!
Sentry Firewall CD
Sentry Firewall CD-ROM is a Linux-based bootable CDROM suitable for use as an inexpensive and easy to maintain firewall, server, or IDS(Intrusion Detection System) Node. The system is designed to be immediately configurable for a variety of different operating environments via a configuration file located on a floppy disk, a local hard drive, and/or a network via HTTP(S), FTP, SFTP, or SCP.
The Sentry Firewall CD is a complete Linux system that runs off of an initial ramdisk, much like a floppy-based system, and a CD. The default kernel is a current 2.4.x series kernel with various Netfilter patches applied. An OpenWall-patched current 2.2.x kernel is also available on the CD.
Providing environments that contain forensic tools.
FIRE is a portable bootable cdrom based distribution with the goal of providing an immediate environment to perform forensic analysis, incident response, data recovery, virus scanning and vulnerability assessment.
Also provides necessary tools for live forensics/analysis on win32, sparc solaris and x86 linux hosts just by mounting the cdrom and using trusted static binaries available in /statbins.
Helix focuses on Incident Response & Forensics tools. It is meant to be used by individuals who have a sound understanding of Incident Response and Forensic techniques.
Penguin Sleuth Kit, based on Knoppix, is a virtual computer forensics and security platform.
Providing gaming platforms.
A gaming version on a bootable live CD, DVD and USB disk of a minimal Linux distribution containing the AdvanceMAME emulator.
French. With GNU/Linux can be fun! Thet offer a special edition of Freeduc-cd dedicated to video games. Uses XFCE and is based on KNOPPIX/Debian, which allows them to easily add and develop additional software packages.
KnoppiXMAME is a bootable CD/DVD image with hardware automatic probing and configuration for playing MAME games. No games are included, but they can be added to the ISO image, as well as new versions of X-MAME, gxmame, and the Linux kernel.
Providing medical systems or applications.
CDMEDIC LIVE CD
Full featured free PACS based on ctn, dcmtk and mysql,with remote administration using apache mod perl and imaging processing capabilities using ImageMagick, Grevera’s dcm2pgm DICOM converter and AFNI, running in a Knoppix based live CD in less than 5 minutes without hard disk installation, with interesting programs CTSim, XMedcon, Amide, FSL and Slicer. This is medical based.
Open Infrastructure for Outcomes (OIO) system enables clinicians, researchers, and other non-programmers to create and maintain flexible and portable patient/research records. It aims to achieve the ” Holy Grail ” of data portablity as elegantly described by John G. Faughnan.
The major components of the OIO system are the web-accessible OIO Server and OIO Library. OIO Server is a highly flexible web-based data management system that manages users, patients, and information about patients. (Of course, the same system can just as easily manage information about customers, invoices, shipments, and accounts.)
Based on Knoppix, it sets up a LAMP server in RAM and facilitates various dental resources.
Furthering the cause of affordable healthcare information technology worldwide by advocating, championing, and employing the open source paradigm to expand the use and collaborative improvement of the VistA electronic health record.
Providing environments that can be quickly launched for general public use.
Firefox LiveCD is LiveCD similar to LiveKiosk, but with original binary version of Mozilla Firefox. No changes were done to user interface and everything is set to Firefox defaults.
LiveFirefox is intended for people who want to have custom Firefox based LiveCD, but find LiveKiosk unsuitable for this purpose.
Your PC boots from the CD and a web browser appears — that’s it! Use wherever you want to supply Web access to people, without worrying about what they will do to your computer.
MorphixLiveKiosk is a Morphix CD, based on the previous LiveCDs released by LiveCD.net. It is a LiveCD that contains a locked down version of firefox-browser. Boot the computer using the LiveCD and you can use the browser – nothing else (well apart from a screensaver), close the brower and all the viewing history is deleted from memory.
Providing tools needed for data rescue and recovery.
Crash Recovery Kit for Linux
A rescue disk. Crash Recovery for Linux sounds a bit superfluous. Linux is regarded as one of todays most stable Operating Systems. In the case of some hardware failure like a broken disk it can however be handy. Of course your machine doesn’t have to have linux installed to make use of the CRK kit. There are several uses and purposes for the CRK to be used. To name a few:
Recovery of a trashed LILO boot record. How many times does it happen that some person installs windows 98/95 after he/she installed linux? Well in that case windows 9X just overwrites the MBR record and linux won’t be able to boot anymore.
Backup over the network in the form of tar.gz tarballs. Both FAT16, FAT32, ext2 and all filesystems which Linux supports in a read/write fashion can be taken care of. The strong part of the CRK is when a disk is replaced or repartitioning is being done. The CRK boots a complete mini linux with networking where all possible hardware which is inside the Linux kernel is available.
Testing hardware of new intel based machines.
Detecting versions and types of hardware. The Linux kernel holds a large database of hardware supported. Booting a linux kernel doesn’t only resolve if the hardware is ok, it also show its specs. This can be handy if one wants to check-out an old/new PC which is for sale.
Recovery of a misconfigured or hacked Linux system. Well that can happen. /etc/fstab can be wrong or the root password is unknown etc.
Make a tape backup of a disk which can’t be booted anymore.
The CRK is based on RedHat Linux.
The FreeBSD LiveCD Tool Set has a main goal, which is to allow one to generate their own custom FreeBSD Live CDs.
Hiren’s Boot CD
Appears to be primarily focused on WIndows systems. Therefore it may be an exception to this list.
Julex is a Knoppix Based Linux distribution aimed at users that want to get files back from their hard drive after their computer fails to boot, Troubleshoot their pc, Get on the net in a hurry or just as a small light (no bloat) distro to use on their old (or new if so inclined) computer.
PLD Rescue CD
PLD RescueCD is a bootable disk that contains a live Linux distribution based on PLD Linux (126.96.36.199 modular kernel) made in Poland. Furthermore this version uses transparent compression (squashfs) to fit about 180 MB of software onto a single mini CD in usable form.
PLD RescueCD can be used to rescue ailing machines, perform intrusion post-mortems, act as a temporary secure linux-based workstation (using ssh, vpn connecting to remote host – other networking clients are also supported), install PLD Linux, and perform many other tasks that we haven’t yet imagined. It provides a much nicer rescue environment than your average rescue floppy.
PLoP Linux is a small distribution that can boot from CD, DVD, USB flash drive (UFD), USB harddisk or from network with PXE. It’s designed to rescue data from a damaged system, backup and restore operating systems and more.
(R)ecovery (I)s (P)ossible Linux rescue system. It’s a regular ISO used to created a system rescue CD. Make sure the program you use to download it understands it’s a binary file. If it’s downloaded as a text file it could get corrupted and be unusable.
SystemRescueCd is a Linux system on a bootable CDROM for repairing your system and recovering your data after a crash. It aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk. It contains a lot of system utilities (parted, partimage, fstools, …) and basic tools (editors, midnight commander, network tools). It is very easy to use: just boot the CDROM. The kernel supports most of the important file systems (ext2/ext3, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs, iso9660), as well as network filesystems (samba and nfs).
Trinity Rescue Kit
Trinity Rescue Kit or TRK is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues. It is possible to boot TRK in three different ways: As a bootable CD which you can burn yourself from a downloadable isofile, ffrom a USB stick/disk (optionally also a fixed disk), installable from Windows or from the bootable TRK cd, from network over PXE, which requires some modifications on your local network.
Ultimate Boot CD
You need the Ultimate Boot CD if you want to Run floppy-based diagnostic tools from CDROM drives, Free yourself from the slow loading speed of the floppy drive, Consolidate as many diagnostic tools as possible into one bootable CD or Run Ultimate Boot CD from your USB memory stick. When you boot up from the CD, a text-based menu will be displayed, and you will be able to select the tool you want to run.
The selected tool actually boots off a virtual floppy disk created in memory.
Providing various network security type tools.
A security based Linux version. An information assurance (IA) Linux live CD, used by information assurance professionals to help them assess systems and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. The CD is loaded with with tools for penetration testing and vulnerability analysis. Information assurance has many other aspects besides network security. However, it seems that the mainstream public identifies information assurance primarily with securing network-accessible systems, so they decided to go with the mainstream and call Arudius a tool for information assurance. The CD consists of a Zenwalk Linux base on top of which a large collection of network security testing software has been installed – including tools listed on Insecure.org Top 75 list plus many other tools listed on Freshmeat, Sf.net and other information assurance sites around the world.
A security related Linux LiveCD that is touted as the most Top rated linux live distribution focused on penetration testing. With no installation whatsoever, the analysis platform is started directly from the CD-Rom and is fully accessible within minutes.
Security based. The Open Source Software BOSS (BSI OSS Security Suite) essentially builds on the proven security scanner Nessus. The BOSS addition to the Security Local Auditing Daemon (SLAD), ensures the integrated management of local security software takes over.
Frenzy is a “portable system administrator toolkit,” LiveCD based on FreeBSD. It generally contains software for hardware tests, file system check, security check and network setup and analysis. Size of ISO-image is 200 MBytes (3″ CD).
grml is a bootable CD (Live-CD) originally based on Knoppix and more recently based on Debian. grml includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrator and users of texttools.
grml provides automatic hardware detection. You can use grml (for example) as a rescue system, for analyzing systems/networks or as a working environment. It is not necessary to install anything to a harddisk; you don’t even need a harddisk to run it. Due to on-the-fly decompression grml includes about 2.1GB of software and documentation on the CD.
INSERT is a complete, bootable linux system. It comes with a graphical user interface running the fluxbox window manager while still being sufficiently small to fit on a credit card-sized CD-ROM.INSERT contains a multitude of useful tools to be at your hand in a variety of situations.
Navyn OS is a gnu/linux distribution based on Gentoo. Gentoo isn’t a typical distribution like Debian or Slackware, it doesn’t even have an installer, it is similar to making your own distribution. The main part of Gentoo is portage, a set of scripts for installing and removing programs.
Network Security Toolkit
This bootable ISO live CD is based on Fedora. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86 platforms. The main intent of developing this toolkit was to provide the network security administrator with a comprehensive set of Open Source Network Security Tools.
Plan-B is a bootable Linux environment without the need for a hard drive, it runs entirely in ram or from the cd, based on a basic, stripped installation of Red Hat Linux and the fundamental workings of the SuperRescue CD.
STD is a Linux-based Security Tool. Actually, it is a collection of hundreds if not thousands of open source security tools. It’s a Live Linux Distro, which means it runs from a bootable CD in memory without changing the native operating system of the host computer. Its sole purpose in life is to put as many security tools at your disposal with as slick an interface as it can.
STD is meant to be used by both novice and professional security personnel but is not ideal for the Linux uninitiated. STD assumes you know the basics of Linux as most of your work will be done from the command line. If you are completely new to Linux, it’s best you start with another live Distro like Knoppix to practice the basics.
A linux distribution for Wardrivers. It is available on disk and bootable CD. It’s main intended use is for systems administrators that want to audit and evaluate thier wireless network installations. Should be handy for wardriving also.
Providing server systems.
A server and desktop Linux LiveCD. The main advantage of ATmission compared to other Live Linux CD’s is its flexibility. You can modify any file on the ATmission Live CD. This implies that you can: create user accounts, install additional RPM’s, start a database on boot, configure a firewall, etc… anything you can do with a normal Linux system, and preserve your changes in a file located on hard disk or a USB memory stick
Devil-Linux is a distribution which boots and runs completely from CDROM. The configuration can be saved to a floppy diskette or a USB pen drive. Devil Linux was originally intended to be a dedicated firewall/router but now Devil-Linux can also be used as a server for many applications. Attaching an optional hard drive is easy, and many network services are included in the distribution.
The system is designed to install without the use of a hard drive. It requires the use of a CDROM and a write-protected floppy. The CDROM provides the operating system, and the floppy provides the configuration information, via a tarball that is unpacked into the /etc directory. In this way, the system is fully configurable, yet the running system has no writeable device.
ffsearch-LiveCD is a modified Knoppix-Linux with Fast File Search running on top of it. This way, no installation is required! You can download an Iso, burn it on CD, put the disc in you CD-drive and boot it up. It crawls the net for SMB and FTP shares and provides you with a web interface for searching these files.
LAMPPIX allows you to burn your web projects (i.e. PHP presentations or Perl scripts) onto a CD-ROM and give them away to others. They will only have to insert the CD and reboot — if you configured LAMPPIX properly (and this is really easy!) they can view your project.
It’s a server based system. There are tons of options, visit their site to learn more.
Zeroshell is a small Linux distribution for servers and embedded devices aimed at providing the main network services a LAN requires. It is available in the form of Live CD or Compact Flash image and you can configure and administer it using your web browser.
[tags]linux, ubuntu, livecd, 130, desktop, lamp, open source[/tags]