Also see: Compact Disc
A Live CD is a full blown OS bootable from CD, without any installation, without touching the hard disk. A Live CD has certain advantages and disadvantages over an install on a HDD, which is currently the most common way to install an OS.
Linux distributions like Slackware, Debian, Gentoo as well as *BSD‘s are Live CD’s which provide a CLI. If required, tasks can be done with such CD’s, provided that the user has the required knowledge about the CLI and installs some additional software. However, their purpose isn’t aimed at to be a production system. There are also Live CD’s which are meant to be used as ‘Rescue CD’. GUI Live CD’s are more user friendly, and aim rather to average users.
- No (re)partitioning of harddisk is needed.
- After the ISO image has been burned, runs directly after being booted.
- The bridge between experiencing certain software out is therefore smaller.
- Most can be used as a rescue CD with GUI.
- Somewhat slower than running from a modern harddisk.
- Installing new software isn’t always possible. A medium which contains software packages is required, like a CD, a HDD or a network connection over for example HTTP and FTP for which a fast network connection is advised.
- Changed configuration files, settings, produced material, these are all lost after a reboot.
It should be noted some Live CD’s allow ‘nesting’: installation on harddisk. However, free space and/or partitioning is then required.
Here are some full out of box Live CD’s:
- DyneBolic (Linux) – Boots you up to Window Maker and a wide number of creative programs. Aimed for media activism.
- Knoppix (Linux) – Based on Debian, boots up to a KDE desktop.
- Gnoppix (Linux) – Same as Knoppix, but for GNOME.
- FreeSBIE (FreeBSD) – A LiveCD for FreeBSD.
- QNX – QNX RTP 6.2.x comes with a Live CD.
- LNX-BBC – the Linux Bootable Business Card, used as the Free Software Foundation membership card, build with the GAR build system.
- Damn Small Linux
- Bootable Cluster CD – a derivative of the LNX-BBC, designed for teaching parallel computing
Two fairly simple BSD distributions that allow for high strength firewall for networks without a lot of configuration or fuss. Runs on the most basic hardware.
- m0n0wall – from cd
- ClosedBSD Project – very small – works from floppy or CD
- Recovery Is Possible – Floppy or CD. Supports lots of filesystems and network support.
- System Recovery CD A gentoo-based disk intended for recovery purposes, but with server software (Samba) installed, too.
- FrozenTech.com’s list of all available Linux-based Live CDs.
- List of FreeBSD LiveCD’s
TakeDown.NET -> “Live-CD”