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Andrew Dufresne 07-25-2010 06:34 AM

Which live CD has all the tools for programmers?
I am trying to introduce some computer science students to the world Of Linux programing. Instead of asking them to install Linux distribution on their systems, I have advised them to run it through Live CD or through VMWare, for obvious reasons.

Now I am looking for a Live CD which has tools required for programming installed in it. They are just beginners so their main requirement is GCC, Vim, GDB and make. But additional tools and libraries it won't hurt either, like git, doxygen, glib, Gtk.

It would be good if its light, as it would not take long to download, but not necessary.

My main concern is that they should be able to make simple C programs in it. If its games and other applications converts them to Linux, it would be superb :)

So which distribution of Live CD would you recommend?

Thanks for your time.

GrapefruiTgirl 07-25-2010 07:07 AM

Hi Andrew,

While awaiting some responses from members, may I suggest you check out and do a search there - they have a really good search tool where you can search a giant load of Linux OS's by various criteria, then peruse the list of results and visit the homepages of the distros to see if they might suit your requirements.

One thing I'll also mention is that while many distros may come with GCC Compiler, the additional requirement in order to actually build most things with it, will be the kernel source-code and/or kernel headers, so you'll want to make sure that the Linux you choose includes these items. Some live CD's do not, but surely *some* must. (EDIT: for very simple C programs, perhaps you won't need these, but I'm not much of a C programmer so someone else can give a better idea about this).

I did a search of Distrowatch with the following criteria (as an example):


Distro Category  = Live Medium
Country of Origin = All
Based on          = All
Desktop Environmt = All
Architecture      = i486, i586, i686, x86_64
Status            = Active

And that returned 115 choices - a large number, but it's a place to start. You can change the search criteria to narrow it down (i.e. select for lighter desktop environments, different architecture, etc).

The distrowatch page for a given distro tells you what major & minor packages & versions are included, such as GCC, Vim, Emacs, Gtk, and which kernel version (called "linux" in the list), etc..

Good luck! I hope you find what you need - and if you come up with a short list, by all means show us what you're looking at, so that folks who have used those particular distros can tell you if it might do what you want.

Andrew Dufresne 08-03-2010 04:58 PM

I tried my luck with Fedora 13 live CD but it didn't even have vim and gcc installed in it.

Knoppix provided gcc, vim and make. But it didn't have git and doxygen which I needed.

Well then I came to know about Suse Studio and it solved my problem very well.

Using their online interface, which is quite easy, I was able to churn out my custom live distribution, with all the developments tools I wanted to discuss with those students, in few minutes. Waiting for it to be build, by the Suse Studio site, took more than few minutes. Then downloading the final distribution from their server took around 35 min, but that would depend on the connection speed.

Their repository is vast. Besides git, tig, doxygen, indent, I was able to add several other packages, which I deemed useful or necessary for those students.

All in all, Suse Studio offers a time saving and easy process to make a custom distribution.


GrapefruiTgirl 08-03-2010 06:24 PM

Having never used SuSE, and therefore never really had reason to research it very much, I had not known about SuSE Studio - never even heard of it. But now that I've looked at the site you linked, I must say.. Pretty darn cool! That's so cool, I just might try it out sometime. :)

Thanks for sharing the link & info, and best of luck with the computer sciences instruction!

knudfl 08-04-2010 05:04 AM

If you want the lot, you will not find it on a cd.

The live DVD with the most "everything", that I know, is Sabayon.


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