IN THIS CHAPTER
Exploring bootable Linuxes
Choosing bootable Linux distributions
Booting rescue distributions
Booting multimedia distributions
Booting tiny desktop distributions
Building or customizing a bootable Linux
A bootable Linux distribution refers to an entire Linux system that is contained on a removable medium (such as a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive). Because the first full bootable Linux systems were contained on CDs, the common name for this type of Linux system is a live CD.
Here are some reasons to use a live CD for your first experience with a new Linux system:
Doesn't need to be installed — As its name implies, the live CD runs live (and immediately) from the removable medium. You don't need to take the time or commandeer the disk space needed to install Linux to your hard disk. Just insert the medium into your computer and reboot to bypass your hard disk and run the CD.
Lets you test your computer — With the live CD, you can check that your hardware is supported before committing to a Linux system. So you will know in advance whether your printer, video card, network card, or other component will just work with your selected Linux system, or whether you might need to do some extra tweaking.
Doesn't disrupt your installed computer system — Because the entire operating system is on the CD or DVD, and uses your computer's RAM to hold temporary data, you can run the live system without touching the contents of your hard disk.