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Poll: Best CD-based distro?
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Best CD-based distro?

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The nominees are:

Damn Small
They're all useless!

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Old 12-09-2003, 06:02 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: UK
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 210

Rep: Reputation: 30
Question CD Based Distros - what's good, what's not, what's up generally!

I just tried (hard!) and failed with mandrake 9.1 and i have started to wonder about the "little" distros?

I have limited time to spend playing with linux (tho i do like it and find it rewarding when it goes right!) and man 9.1 was just too big for me, I couldn't get my head around it, so i thought, hmmmm

something smaller, something that i don't have to invest loads of time in and that i can wash my hands of without losing i thought a cd based distro (on the hard disk if i like it)!

I've checked out distrowatch and based on the hit counters on the left:

knoppix, gnoppix and damn small all look pretty attractive

anyone got any recommendations?

i'm a newbie, i got a pcmcia (hardware) modem and i already learned abit about the shell etc and i want to learn some more (well alot) but actually get a working distro going with "fun" apps

e.g. firebird, TB, Gaim, mplayer, xmms

and also maybe try fluxbox and some less common stuff rather than massive old kde and gnome?

anyone digging me? i'll go and read loads more but would like some opinions and ideas, go on guys, you never seem to enjoy bigging up your chosen distro no matter how hard i encourage you!
Old 12-09-2003, 06:14 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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I think the latest knoppix has fluxbox.

Knoppix Cheat Codes

Run From The CD Linux Distros

# Cheap CDs
Discount Linux CDs
Linux Central
Os Heaven

Last edited by fancypiper; 12-09-2003 at 06:20 PM.
Old 12-09-2003, 06:16 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: San Antonio
Distribution: Suse 9.0 Professional
Posts: 843

Rep: Reputation: 30
Can't vote, I only have experience with Knoppix, which I really like. Suse now has a Live Eval CD. They adertise it as a try before you buy option. I am going to try this soon. Read good things about VectorLinux's live CD. Will let you know. Trying to find the best Live CD with a light GUI for a compac 133 notebook with 24 Megs ram.

Old 12-09-2003, 06:26 PM   #4
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Manchester, England, UK, The World....
Distribution: Gentoo/SuSE 9.0
Posts: 291

Rep: Reputation: 30
i use redhat 9 for day-to-day stuff, so do the siblings on the frequent occasions that windoze breaks and i can't be bothered fixing it.
i tried using KDE at first on this PC, but it was just _too_ slow to get any kind of use out of it so i started looking around for a lighter desktop environment/window manager, i tried Enlightenment, Afterstep, Sawfish, Windowmaker, i didn't really like them, then i found blackbox and i was in heaven
it runs in 600K of RAM on my system and it had everything i needed.
but it's _really_ buggy.
i then found fluxbox, which compiled without me having to run make 20 times (_weird_ bug)
i liked it a lot more than blackbox and i taught my brother to use it.
then i upgraded my PC to 256MB RAM and a Duron 950, by then i was getting sick of having my brother ask me to change his background 5 times a day (why he has an obsession with LoTR wallpaper i have no idea )
i decided to give KDE another go.
i have never looked back, it runs fast, i switched back to a graphical login (my sisters couldn't get their heads around "this startx thingy" ), and now my brother has a background change every 5 minutes while gogling for yet more backgrounds, and i don't have to do a thing.
also i've had a lot of fun configuring it (transparencies..... mmmmmmm....)
also, with the prettiness that my desktop is now, my XP using friends are all very jealous .. well, kinda

The Verdict: if your system can run it, use KDE, if not, use fluxbox

EDIT: and on what the thread is actually about....knoppix is good, but not for everyday use, if you just want to play with a working linux system without installing anything on your hard drive, knoppix is your friend, but don't actually try and use it for working with.

Last edited by randomblast; 12-09-2003 at 06:29 PM.
Old 12-09-2003, 06:29 PM   #5
Registered: Nov 2002
Posts: 668

Rep: Reputation: 30
my vote goes to Slackware-Live
Old 12-09-2003, 06:58 PM   #6
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 327

Rep: Reputation: 30
I don't think much of any of them. They have their place, demonstrations, recovery etc. But to actually use one? No thanks.

1. They're slow. ultra ata. 52x, dma whatever you're going to think here doesn't matter. They run from the cd which makes them sluggish.

2. They run a bloated kernel. Sure you might recompile your own and save it to the HDD, but isn't the point running all off the CD?

3. Hardware incompatability. Try running one using card readers, wireless network cards, usb drives etc.

I know all these situations can be fixed, but then you're installing things to the HDD. If you're going to do that, might as well install slackware.

My 0.02 feel free to ignore me or ridicule me
Old 12-09-2003, 07:06 PM   #7
Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Lower Alabama
Distribution: Slackware, OpenBSD 3.9
Posts: 344

Rep: Reputation: 31
Knoppix-STD -- based on knoppix, but with more security tools, and less games.
Old 12-09-2003, 08:10 PM   #8
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Springfield Ma.
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2,Knoppix 3.7,Slackware 10.0, FreeBSD. 5.3, OpenBSD 3.6, NetBSD 2.0, Debian
Posts: 275

Rep: Reputation: 30
Yea Knoppix is pretty good, But I second the slackware-live cd.
Old 12-09-2003, 10:27 PM   #9
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

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I couldn't vote, but figured I'd babble. AFAIR, I've only tried Knoppix, Slackware-Live, and Arch. Slackware-Live's the best of them in the sense that it's the best distro but I think Knoppix is probably the best as a live-CD achievement - not to mention blazing the trail for what Live-CDs really could be. I have fairly normal hardware that no installation disk has had any trouble with and neither of the other live CDs (Slackware-Live in one version was glitchy and spat out some error messages but no big deal) but Arch pretty much failed. After half a dozen failures and specifying half a dozen boot options it did finally boot but I didn't see anything that made me learn all about Arch after it did boot.

burnpile - I agree. dibblethewrecke - I wouldn't recommend trying to regularly *use*a Live-CD and I wouldn't even really suggest a hard-drive install. That's just not what they're really for and it's just Debian's evil installation and Knoppix's Debian-base that created such a demand for HD-installs which Knoppix has somewhat grudgingly gone along with.

LSS, if I was trying to show off Linux to someone, I'd pop in Knoppix. But I understand Knoppix has spawned some serious competitiors, now, that I haven't tried. If I was recommending a hard drive install, it wouldn't be any of them.
Old 12-10-2003, 01:06 AM   #10
Registered: May 2003
Location: S.W. Ohio
Distribution: Ubuntu, OS X
Posts: 760

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Knoppix3.3 or Slack-live are the best that I have tried and I have tried alot of them. I use them at school when I get tired of windows, which is all the time now. Yes they are slower, but I can live with that. I am just more comfortable with linux. Try different ones and you will find a favorite.
Old 12-10-2003, 09:29 AM   #11
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: UK
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 210

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 30
Thumbs up

guys! i'm almost in tears, just overwhelmed by the amount of responses!

Hope that doesn't sound too sarcastic or pathetic!

two things tho

1) concerns about a) hardware compatibility and b) my inexperience

a) auto detection would be a plus - i have an old low spec (400Mhz, 128MB) laptop with neomagic multimedia, which has caused me some bother

b) really like the look of the full slackware distro but am a bit daunted by the comments at distrowatch....someone sell me slackware-live a bit more, please!

2) I am keen on a hardware install of a little distro - i don't have the experince to build my own or the time to explore slackware/gentoo - hated the bloat and size of mandrake. want something small that i can get my head round, a playground for my mind to explore the basics, and do some pretty multimedia stuff (all ready mention my fun apps) - not looking for a fully featured workstation (yet).

Damn Small Linux? I was attracted to this. Any opinions? Have read good things...
Old 12-10-2003, 09:49 AM   #12
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 327

Rep: Reputation: 30
DSL only needs about 300 megs for a full HD install. It's neat, but a bitch to keep current, the applications are a mix of half debian binaries and half misc. hacked packages from other distro's. And the debian package database is stripped out, so apt-get isn't an option.
Not knocking it, like I said it's fun, but there are drawbacks
This is my post on another thread.

Now if you look at both my posts in this thread, it sure looks like I'm a real negative bastard. I'm not! You can use any CD based distro and have good results, I'm just trying to warn about things that I've noticed. Not trying to bash any Linux Distrobution.

Last edited by burnpile; 12-10-2003 at 09:53 AM.
Old 12-10-2003, 01:13 PM   #13
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: The Real Washington
Distribution: Debian, Android
Posts: 1,819

Rep: Reputation: 46
I tried the SuSE live eval (truely a standalone cd distro) and it worked great on both my HP ze4230 laptop and the machine below. Worked so well I ran out and bought SuSE 9 Pro and never looked back.
Old 12-10-2003, 03:23 PM   #14
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: UK
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 210

Original Poster
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Exclamation Give me the hard sell!

...on slack-live someone! I'm greener than grass remember - i couldn't even find files using shell commands!

By-the-way, feel i should add this, i would like to avoid KDE if it all possible Is it simple enough to get rid of in a slack-live HD install? I'd like to try fluxbox and some others if it's not too tricky to get started...

burnpile - i could be wrong but isn't there info on the damn small website (underpackages) that tells you how to put the package list back in and would that, therefore, improve the update stuff, in your eyes?

And, as an aside, would that mean I could add and remove debian packages with apt get as required (whatever that is? assume it's like urpmi)(?)

Last edited by dibblethewrecke; 12-10-2003 at 03:35 PM.
Old 12-10-2003, 03:33 PM   #15
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Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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Just buy a fistful of Run From The CD Linux Distros and sell yourself.


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