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Linux Live CD

The Live CD's below have all been tried but failed to perform either at all or as well as Ubuntu.

  1. Simply Mepis 6.5 from the July 2007 edition of the magazine Linux Format which is based on Ubuntu.
    • The Synaptic Package Manager was unusable, giving the error message Unable to write to /var/cache/apt/. I think this is because the directory is linked to /linux/var/cache/apt which is on the CDROM. This meant that no packages were available for checking or loading.
    • Simply Mepis failed to recognise my graphics resolution of 1400×1050 and used 1024×768 instead.
  2. OpenSuse 10.2 from the April 2007 edition of the magazine Linux Format.
    • No support for my screen resolution; 800×600 was used instead.
    • Software is installed by a Suse program called Yast. This isn't a nice piece of software. I was unable to get it to use the CDROM as a source of further software updates. Since openmotif is not installed by default, it has to be installed from the CDROM if possible.
    • gawk is used for awk which is the right choice!
  3. Mandriva Linux 2007.0 from the April 2007 edition of the magazine Linux Format.
    • This is a release which uses rpm files instead of deb files for software updates. Mandriva has its own software updater, the portentously named Mandriva Linux Control Center. I could not work out how to add the CDROM to the search path and so was unable to check or update the default software configuration.
    • This distribution has some fancy graphics interface which didn't work well on my PC. The correct graphics resolution was found, but moving windows was slow with unattractive graphics artifacts (like the panel moving out to touch a window which was moved close to it). I also found an overhead of 20% of the CPU always running, probably to maintain all this graphics overhead.
  4. gNewSense from the April 2007 edition of the magazine Linux Format.
    • This distribution looks like Ubuntu with different colours. Unfortunately this CDROM has no extra software which could be installed (like gawk) so it isn't much use here.
  5. PCLinuxOS from the July 2006 edition of the magazine Linux Format.
    • This release has no extra software beyond what what is installed.
    • When you turn off the computer, the CDROM remains trapped inside the drive. At the next power up, the boot is from the CDROM with no option to boot from the hard disk! The only way out of this is to hack the ROM BIOS to boot from the hard disk first, and afterwards hack it back again.

The Ubuntu Live CD's 6.10 aka Edgy Erg and 7.04 aka Feisty Fred have been used to test the concept and have worked well. My versions came from the magazine Linux Magazine; 6.10 from January 2007 and 7.04 from July 2007.

You want certain features from a Live CD.

No distribution meets all these objectives, but Ubuntu does best.