Linux Installation cd, uses M$crosoft software? Is that really Linux?
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or is it more likely that in an effort to be friendly to those coming from the windows side a linux distro has placed onto a live CD or install CD a 'boot.exe' or 'setup.exe' binary that would allow said windows user to launch the Linux install / live distro from the CD on top of the Windows kernel? Hard to say without a file listing or a more detailed description of what gives you the impression that its a collection of windows files (and of course identification of the distro CD image downloaded).
Distribution: pclos2016, Slack14.1 Deb Jessie, + 50+ other Linux OS, for test only.
'zip' was made for "PKZIP".(Shareware) (PK = Phil Katz)
Wikipedia :"Katz kept the new ZIP file format open....soon became a standard
for file compression across many platforms.""Katz was adamantly opposed to
Microsoft Windows in the early 90s."......
Exe files are often helptools to be used on windows to make other helptools
(e.g. boot floppy) to get you started with linux (See disc 1, Slackware.)
Usually a "README" will explain the purpose of these files.