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8 Linux-based Live CD/DVD and USB Distros For All Occasions - page 2

PublicIP Zone, Knoppix, Linux LiveCD Router, Backtrack

  • June 21, 2010
  • By Eric Geier

XBMC Live: set-top-box/media center

XBMC Live lets you turn your computer or X-Box into a media player and hub. You can browse and view pictures and videos you have shared on the network. You can also stream music and view your weather forecast. The operating system was designed to look like and behave like a set-top-box that you'd use through your TV.

It automatically scans your media, creating a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fan art. You might even want to create playlist and slideshows, or mess with some of the audio visualizations. Its your own multimedia jukebox.

stresslinux: load and stability testing

This helps system builders, power-users, and administrators stress test their machines. It puts hardware under high usage or loads and monitors the stability and thermal environment. It makes use of several different tools, including stress, cpuburn, hddtemp, and lm_sensors. Its best for Linux users as its a minimal distribution without a GUI.

GParted Live: disk and partition management

This lets you quickly manage your disk partitions via a GUI. You can add, remove, grow, shrink, move, copy, check, and label your disk partitions. All the popular file systems are supported, regardless if drives are using Windows, Mac, or Linux. Most partition changes won't affect any existing data. This is great if you want to run multiple Windows versions, or even different platforms.

Personally, I use this tool a lot to resize and edit my Mini Mac drive. I run a Linux distro, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Mac OS Tiger, and Mac OS Leopard all on one Mac Mini. However, when you're running multi-platform systems, you'll run into booting problems. I also keep rEFIt, grub, and Windows discs nearby to recover boot sectors after I make OS changes or installs.

Clonezilla Live: disk and partition backup and cloning

This live version of Clonezilla lets you save disk/partition images and clone them to other PCs without running a server or connecting the PCs to the network. Just burn Clonezilla to a disc or USB drive, pop it into a computer to save an image, and then pop it into another computer to write/clone the image to it. If you want multicasting, the ability to simultaneously clone multiple computers at once, you must use the server edition.

Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer. He's authored many networking and computing books for brands like For Dummies and Cisco Press. He is also the Founder and CEO of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi networks with the Enterprise mode of WPA/WPA2 encryption.
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