Chris J Powell

OS Sunday – Linux From a USB Stick

The use of Linux as an alternative to working in Windows or Mac is not only a wonderful alternative but there is times when the installation is not possible or even allowable.  That is when having a portable Linux that can be quickly booted up and used comes in handy. I hate being without Linux but to run Ubuntu the Live Disk seems to take forever to boot up lately so I headed off in search of an alternative.

Porteus is a Live Media alternative to running from an installation.  I was not only impressed with just how fast the live disk booted (under 20 seconds to a full desktop) but the small size of the ISO was incredibly impressive in this age of Distros that don’t even fit onto a CD anymore.  Coming in at just 251MB as a download I was curious if this would actually have the tools that I would need to make it a viable emergency boot disk to be carried around on a partitioned 1GB USB Stick.

The Porteus site gives some solid instructions on how to boot from external media that ranges from a CD, USB or external hard drive! Beyond the quick boot time and option to have a “Home Directory” of sorts really appealed to me, but I would have to live with the default applications that come with the distro because the world of ubiquitous wireless is still a fair distance away!

Lately I have been using KDE a lot more and I must say that the structure is really starting to grow on me.  Dare I say that I am converting away from the Gnome / Unity love affair that I have had since getting into Linux over a decade ago?

Included in this small Distro is a solid collection of Apps that for the most part allow me to complete 90% of a work day.  It would be nice to have presentation software, and maybe a spreadsheet program but the collection is respectable considering it is packed into such a small package!

  • Internet: Firefox (13.01), Konquorer, gFTP
  • Graphics: KolourPaint, KSnapshot, KuickShow
  • Multimedia: Gnome MPlayer, Noatun
  • Office: AbiWord, FBReader

Porteus Linux gives you two very solid options when you boot though…KDE is one alternative the other is a very responsive LXDE environment that is even faster (boot to full desktop in about 15 seconds!!!).  The Porteus Forums appear very active and I have decided that for an emergency boot system…this will be my OS of choice.  Instead of just installing the Distro on a 1GB stick…I had a 32GB one kicking around and have now attached it to my key chain (for those times that one needs to boot into a Real OS instead of Windows!

It is not designed to be a Desktop OS, it is a fast and responsive Live Media OS and for that purpose not only does it serve the purpose…it does so with style and grace!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Chris J Powell

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