Linux has always been comfortable running Web servers, firewalls, and other single-function services on dedicated machines, thanks to its flexibility, reliability, and small kernel footprint. LiveCDs are a natural extension of this capability of single-mindedness, letting you install a specialized, bootable Linux distribution -- along with whatever applications you choose -- onto a single CD for distribution. For an overview, read "Spin up a Linux LiveCD" (developerWorks, July 2004).
Some advantages for developers are:
- You can control the execution environment by modifying the kernel and including other software only as necessary for your application.
- The operating system and applications are clean and uncompromised -- especially important for security and diagnostics applications.
- Users can run your software on non-Linux machines without the need to install emulation or translation layers, or set up multi-boot capability -- great for distributing trial software and demos.
We've never underestimated the creativity of programmers, and we expect you can think of a dozen more good reasons to use the LiveCD format.
We've put together a collection of articles on Linux LiveCDs, starting with a set of four articles that show some of the applications -- by no means exhaustive -- that can work well on a LiveCD:
- Assess system security using a Linux LiveCD
- Restore compromised systems with diagnostics LiveCDs
- Back to school with education LiveCDs
- Rock your desktop with entertainment LiveCDs
Finally, here are two articles that show how to build your own:
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