Feeds

Linux Live CDs

Development systems in your pocket

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

I can still remember the wow factor when first seeing a copy of Knoppix booting up on a Windows machine. It was many moons again and the idea of a bootable Linux CD seemed strangely miraculous.

Assuming you had a BIOS that could boot from a CD, (pretty much a standard now but not so common a few years ago), Knoppix would correctly identify your hardware, configure itself accordingly and boot to a full KDE desktop in all its glory.

Based on the Debian Linux distribution, Knoppix was (and is) not just a pretty face, it comes with a full complement of applications, including a choice of browsers, games, office applications (including OpenOffice.org) and more.

These days Knoppix is no longer alone, there are plenty of other Linux live CDs available.

And neither is the main use to give nervous Windows users a taste of a real live Linux system. Knoppix and the other live CDs are now established as essential techie tools – used for system rescue, temporary server usage and a host of other imaginative uses.

For those who’ve ever wondered how it all works or have entertained ideas of creating their own live CDs then Christopher Negus has put together a book that opens the lid on the arcane secrets involved.

The book is structured in three parts. The first is all about live CDs, what they are, how they work, a quick look at the most popular of the existing CDs and finally showing how you can persist your data to USB, disk or other media. Running a live CD does not mean that you necessarily have to lose all your settings and files when you turn off the machine or boot back into Windows.

Part two of the book ups the techie ante as it walks the reader through the creation of customised live CDs. Firstly there’s the detailed explanation of how it all works, from CD formats to boot loaders to loading kernels into RAM and more. The technical content is high but you don’t have to be a Linux geek to make sense of it, though obviously a familiarity with the insides of operating systems helps a great deal. And you need to have no fear of the command line.

There are three complete examples of creating live CDs, one based on Knoppix, one on Fedora and one based on Gentoo. These show how to start off with a live CD and then drop the applications or components that aren’t of interest, how to update those that are and how to add completely new applications and packages. For software developers this holds out the prospect of creating live CDs that contain all of the tools that you need to work – compilers, IDEs, documentation and so on. Add to this the data persistence you get with a USB stick and you’ve got a complete development environment that travels even lighter than a laptop…

The final chapters look at specialised live CDs – presentations, gaming, multimedia, firewalls and Linux clustering (yep, you can use a set of live CDs to create temporary Linux clusters). To round off the package the accompanying DVD includes a number of ISO images so that you can burn your own live CDs to use as the basis for customisation.

Live Linux CDs

Verdict: Successfully opens up the world of live Linux CDs to mere mortals.

Author: Christopher Negus

Publisher: Prentice Hall

ISBN: 0132432749

Media: Book

List Price: £28.99

Current Reg price: £17.99 inc. VAT (discount 40%

Buy this book at Register Books at Reg Developer's special discounted price (subject to change)!

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.