Linux became real part of our lives. You can meet anywhere... in your appliances, mobile phones, internet servers, desktops and laptops.
In most cases this is either "embedded" or "installed" version of Linux. But there is another type of Linux operating systems which you should also consider. And I recommend you to have at least one at home... Why?
Live Linux is operating system which can be booted directly from removable media: CD, DVD or USB stick. It does not require installation. In most cases it only uses RAM to store all the data, not touching hard disk of your computer.
Pioneer of Live Linux was Knoppix. This is Live distribution created by Klaus Knopper back in 2000. It is based on Debian distribution and features lots of different applications which can help you in your computer life. Since Knopper has shown the way, lots of other distributions followed the lead.
How can you use Live Linux at your own computer?
Yes, sad but true Linux distributions sometimes change the direction of their development, and new version is not something you would like to stick to. Remember Ubuntu with Unity, Fedora with GNOME 3. Even if you are happy with current distribution, sometimes it is stopped in development and even security patches are no longer available. Inevitably, the best choice is to switch distro. But which one to choose? There are hundreds of them, if you look at distrowatch.com.
Live Linux can be real help here! You can download and burn ISO image to CD or DVD, or create Live USB. Then you can run new Linux distribution without installation. This will let you feel the flavour, get your hands just a little bit dirty with configuration and so on. Of course, in most cases all your changes will be gone after reboot, but that is enough for quick distro hopping.
Your computer goes mad. Or... crash-boom-bang and there is an issue with hard disk. In other words, your beloved computer does not want to boot from hard disk. Operating system has failed.
Live Linux can help you to save your data. You can still boot your computer without touching hard drive, and then try to mount partitions. If you are lucky, you should be able to copy important data to external media and thus save it from destruction.
When data are saved, you can think what to do with your failed OS and hard drive: scrap, put it on the wall in the frame, or just attempt to re-install the OS. Of course, this should be Linux this time!
Are you obsessed with privacy and security? You don't like your personal and financial data to be stored on computer which is always on-line?
True. It is very difficult to steal personal or financial data if their media is disconnected from network, or even electricity.
Live Linux can help you here too. Create Live USB with SLAX, Porteus, Puppy or any similar Linux distribution which can store "persistence" file on the media, preferrably USB. Create your own environment with all the necessary browsers, patches, bookmarks and so on. Then, lock the USB with all the configuration you like. Either physically (there are some USB sticks to allow this) or via default boot parameters.Now you can boot into this Live Linux when you need to logon to internet bank, make some financial transaction or make some other operations with sensitive data. Log off and disconnect media immediately after. This should minimise security risks.
There are different Linux distributions designed for specific tasks, like multimedia (DyneBolic, Musix), security (BackTrack, Caine) and so on. You may wish to install all the necessary software for your permanent Operating System. But if you don't want to clutter it, why not use Live Linux where all the necessary programs are gathered in one place? Boot it, do what you need, disconnect and forget.
As you can see, Live Linux can be very helpful in many cases. Do you think of any more? Or maybe you have your own experience of using Live Linux?
DarkDuck is author and owner of blog Linux Notes from DarkDuck and site Buy Linux CDs, where you can read more about different Linux operating systems and then order CDs with your favourite distribution.
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