It sounds like a toy, doesn't it? "Puppy Linux". So cute, and when it first boots you'll hear "Woof-Woof" as a help screen opens.
Well, it's not a toy. Although small (the "big" download is 70MB), it includes a lot of the things I'd want to have in a live CD: word processor, spreadsheet, paint and draw, ssh, vnc, remote desktop and much more - I was really surprised to see what was available immediately.
Puppy Linux runs in RAM, so it's very fast - even in an emulator (I ran it in Parallels Workstation).
When Puppy first boots, you need to select a keyboard and configure your ethernet card. If you have anything remotely capable of having a file system available (CD, USB pen drive or a hard drive), you can save Puppy info to that and it will load that on the next boot (and of course you can over-ride that if you need to).
Perhaps most surprising to me was that Puppy comes with a full set of videos explaining how to use, upgrade and configure your system.
If all that isn't enough, there are piles of add-on packages available. However, it can be a little hard to find what you are looking for and as no compiler is included, you can't just download source and roll your own.
A HOWTO makes reference to an add-on file called "usr_devx.sfs" that gives you a C/C++ environment. I could not find that anywhere.. references to it, but nowhere to download it.
I don't like that this comes up in a root desktop with no password by default. That's just wrong. But other than that, this is a good distro.
Download a live CD image from the Puppy Linux site.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-12 Anthony Lawrence