A New Bootable-from-CD Linux

by Richard Vernon

Zeebra Linux recently announced the availability of the Zeebra Linux CD--a version of Linux that runs from CD, without requiring a hard disk installation.

The CD includes applications for word processing, audio, video, graphics, Internet (browser, mail client etc.), and compilers and editors for development.

The target audience embraces new Linux users who want to experiment before actually installing Linux on their hard drives and those who can benefit from a portable version of Linux, such as schools, where the same hardware might be required to run other operating systems.

Zeebra is not the first to develop a bootable, complete Linux distribution on CD. Linux Journal readers may remember an article by Jordi Bataller, a Spanish university professor. Professor Bataller also developed a bootable Linux CD, called Maragda, motivated by the desire to use Linux in his university on hardware that was carted around to different classrooms for a variety of purposes and needed to retain its original OS.

The latest version of Maragda is based on Debian 2.2r2 and can be downloaded here. An earlier Red Hat 6.2 version is also still available. As Professor Bataller's article explains, the Maragda CD includes:

the base system, printer support, the X Window System, the VGA16 and framebuffer X servers, GNOME (or you can edit .xinitrc and uncomment the line for the window manager you like the most), network server workstation, authoring and publishing tools (LaTeX, etc.), Emacs, development tools (make, egcs, etc.), DOS/Windows connectivity, mail, WWW and news tools, and other packages such as rhide, ssh support and the JDK 1.2.

If anyone has experience with both the Maragda CD and Zeebra, or with Maragda but would be interested in experimenting with the Zeebra CD, we'd like to hear from you.

Richard Vernon is Editor in Chief of Linux Journal.

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