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Small but Featureful: Puppy Linux Reviewed 41

norhtec writes "Puppy Linux is a small distribution that fits on a business card-size CD-ROM or on a USB thumb drive. Puppy allows users to write data back onto their CD-ROM or thumb drive and features a complete assortment of office applications."
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Small but Featureful: Puppy Linux Reviewed

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  • This would be useful for an old laptop of mine that has no harddisk. Only problem it doesnt boot from usb. What would be the minimal amount of stuff I'd need on my floppy to boot into the USB stick? Can it be done with only Grub?

    • Basically you need a boot loader (grub is fine) and Linux kernel with USB drivers. There are instructions on the Puppy website: My PC can't boot from USB|CD []
      • Yes, but how big is this kernel? Is it just a tiny kernel to find your USB stick and boot the real kernel, or is it the real kernel that will be used? If it is the latter its probably very big. I don't want to load the complete 1440 kb upon boot, but just the bare minimum needed to switch to the faster medium.

  • by sqlzealot ( 553596 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:50PM (#12568687) Journal
    Wow, considering that the definition of CD-ROM is "compact disc, read-only memory" it is quite the technical achievement to write to it. Just imagine what Puppy Linux could do with a CD-R!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A puppy might be a chick magnet in a park, but using puppy linux or calling your distro puppy linux will not get you laid. Ever.
  • write data back onto their CD

    Now that's a FEATURE I'd love to have in my knoppix!

    • Puppy uses multisession on cdr. An alternative way would be to create a loopback device on the unused portion of a cdrw or dvdrw and format it with a udf filesystem. I've done this and it works. The kernel needs UDF write support [] and packet writing support [].
      • Sounds cool, you should write a HOW-TO and put it somewhere.

        • It's not too difficult. Here are the basic steps:

          1. modprobe pktcdvd and use "pktsetup" from the udftools package to create a packet device.
          2. Use "isoinfo" from the cdrtools package to find out the number of sectors (2048 bytes) used by the iso fs.
          3. Use "losetup" to create a loopback device on top of the packet device from step 1 with the offset from step 2.
          4. It may be necessary zero out the loopback device with "dd" in order to avoid IO errors.
          5. Create a filesystem of your choice on the loopback devic
  • Tcl and Tk (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DavidNWelton ( 142216 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:57PM (#12568768) Homepage
    According to informed sources ( []) a lot of Puppy Linux is done with Tcl and Tk. Reminds me to some degree of ETLinux: ml []

    although of course that was aimed at much smaller targets.
  • I've never seen the point of these, except to look cute. They're too fragile to put in your wallet, so what does it matter that they're so small?
    • I'm of two minds about those

      The pros:

      • Can be included in presentation folders and other items that have space for a business card, but not a full CD.
      • Fit nicely inside a business-card case.
      • Can be displayed in business-card holders and trade shows

      The cons:

      • Fragile
      • Can't be used in slot-load CD trays (like PowerBook/iBook)
      • Unbalanced, so they are loud in many CD drives

      Overall, I vastly prefer the 3.5" CD size. 210MB is enough for many things, and they are extremely portable. In a case, the 3.5" CD

  • Direct Link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @02:30PM (#12569140) Homepage Journal
    The post contains a link to an article, which contains a link to the Puppy Linux page on Distrowatch, which then contains a link to the Puppy Linux home page.

    So I figured I'd give you a shortcut straight to the home page []...
  • ... and reading more about Puppy Linux, all I have to say is,

    "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!"

    • Good job. You've pointed out the liberalism is inconsistent. Since liberalism is based on individual freedom, I'm not sure why you thought it wouldn't be.

      Do I have the "freedom" to have multiple wives? Liberalism would say I do. "Leftists" would say I don't. Fortunately, what you've confused as "Leftists" are really just liberals.

      In case you haven't noticed, true liberals have always stood up for the rights of *everyone*, not just those with whom they agree. If there's a question as to the extent of
      • I never said anything about "liberalism".

        I don't have anything against "liberals" aside from the fact that they have stolen a perfectly good adjective/noun to apply to their squeamish brand of nanny-state collectivism, and they tend to be exploited as "useful fools" by the true Leftists.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) * <> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:15PM (#12569711) Homepage Journal
    Carrying both the OS and your home directory on your thumb drive is kinda interesting. I usually think of storing your home directory on a thumb drive, and then have whatever *nix loaded on various systems that know about your user account via either /etc/passwd, NIS, or LDAP. Simply plug in the drive and log in. The other way around is to store your home directory in a centralized, network-accessible location, perhaps secured via ssh/ssl (haven't put much time into this to be honest) then carry your OS on your keychain drive.

    Never really considered doing *both* though. Other than thinking you'd be really screwed if it ever got lost (then again, how hard is it really to plug into a machine and home, dd if=/dev/myusbdrive of=/home/myuid/backup.todaysdate && tarthefile && bzipit && ftpitsomeplace ?

    Makes backing up easier anyway. ;) I'm curious about NIS or LDAP support in the Puppy distro, so far as being able to recognize user accounts from a centralized location.

    While I'm on the topic, perhaps /.'ers could help me out with the whole 'home directory synchronization' thing too. Right now I feel I have two options: local home directory, or remote home directory. With local, at specified intervals I can copy or sync back to the server, but I don't know if I can set up something like 'roaming profiles' a-la windows, other than maybe adding an rsync command to .login (anything for syncing back at logout?)

    Okay, enough ranting for me. :)
    • Okay, I'm going to reply to myself for a moment here.

      So far as the simple backup goes, you can skip 'tarthefile', as it's only one file anyway. :)

      Also, I'm still trying to get down how to do filesystem backups vs block device backups. I'm relatively knew to the unix scene (new as in I've 'grown up' on modern unix-type OS's), but if you look at apps like CarbonCopyCloner for MacOS X, it does an elaborate copy operations of the files in the filesystem from one formatted filesystem to another, then 'blesses
  • Another small distro (Score:3, Informative)

    by m50d ( 797211 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:16PM (#12569731) Homepage Journal
    Austrumi [] is an incredible 50mb distro. Rather than mini programs, it includes full versions of abiword, gnumeric, the gimp, mplayer, inkscape, skype... loads of things.
  • Ugh! The 60hz refresh rate used on this distribution when booted is extremely irritating to my eyes on my CRT monitor.
    • Re:60hz refresh rate (Score:3, Informative)

      by numbski ( 515011 ) *
      Least common denominator. Just switch it in your xorg.conf file. Just don't freak when you take it to a machine that doesn't support a higher refresh rate. ;)
  • After trying out puppy a couple of months ago, it became my main live cd. It really does work nicely, and usually loads faster than the regular os.
  • Really impressive (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is my first "live-cd" linux version i've tried, i wasn't much interested in live-cd's earlier. what got me interested is usb portability and plenty of documentation found both on their site, and the contextual help.

    Its friggin fast (as it loads completely into the RAM). I was able to connect to my LAN via DHCP, mozilla has flash support preconfigured. I was able to play real audio, mp3, avi, mpg out of the box (i just tried this distro yday, wmv and wma is not playing out of the box, need to check it
  • by cahiha ( 873942 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @04:09PM (#12570388)
    People invest so much time in figuring out how to run this sort of thing from a USB stick, and then they fail to make it trivial to install it on a stick.

    Please, instead of lots of DOS commands, create a little self-contained application (e.g., in FLTK) that pulls over all the necessary files, finds the memory stick, copies everything over, and makes the thing bootable.

    That's particularly important given one of the likely user communities for these kinds of Linux distributions: people who want to start experimenting with Linux without devoting a whole machine to it.
    • If I'm readint his one correctly, you download an iso, burn it, boot off of it, then there's a command to install it to the usb drive from there. I like the way this thing claims to work. The only thing left is to set Firefox and Thunderbird as the default web/mail, but that can be adjusted after install. :)
      • You're right--that's simpler than I thought. The web page is a bit confusing, because the install-from-CD instructions are tacked onto the description, followed by a big, major section with what turns out to be old install instructions.
  • Puppy love (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anna Merikin ( 529843 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @06:29PM (#12571682) Journal
    I've been using Puppy for a while; it's my distro of choice. Why? Many reasons have been given, but IT JUST WORKS out of the box.

    For one example, last week I had SBC-Yahoo! DSL service started. It took two phone calls to SBC help to install (under Windows 98SE) the CD-ROM programs SBC bundled with, including a user name change and downloading IE-6 (which I would never, ever use) and allowing it to become my default browser. When all was done, I was told I had to reset the modem to the new username/pwd combo, which I did, all the while wondering how my Puppy would withstand the changes.

    The answer was: Windows should be so easy. All it took was to click on the Ethernet/Network Wizard and choose DHCP -- and I was connected to SBC-Yahoo! with no further work and no need to reconcile a username/pwd for SBC-Yahoo! DSL.

    Everything works and works together. I can make a graphic in Sodipodi and print it on a dead tree, or incorporate it into a document page in Scribus for typesetting or in Mozilla Composer or Abiword for export as htm.

    If I highlight a selection of part of a URL and paste it into Mozilla Composer, it comes out looking like a real html page with no further work on my part, just like the 35-meg Mozilla installations I am used to.

    There is a small database and Gaby, a personal db. Spreadsheets. A unit conversion utility (one of my main needs) and a choice of calculators.

    I am using puppy right now to write this.

    Nothing beats its speed, either (Duron 750 w/640 Mb RAM). Mozilla opens on first boot in less than two seconds (timed with a stopwatch!)

    And if you're interested in security, its linux nature, needlessness of a hard disk and ability to physically possess all your data and applications is reassuring.

    Plus it comes with exactly the applications I have been using for years under Red Hat-6.2: gFTP, Sylpheed mail, ytree file manager (in Pup-get archives) Sodipodi, Mozilla, Scribus. And did I mention it's the fastest OS I've ever used (with the exception of DOS-5 on an early Pentium) and IT JUST WORKS?
  • Wow. Talk about yet another project doing something that has already been done, and done well, in the past. Take this list found at x.asp [] :

    GreyCat, MuLinux, Xdenu, 2diskXwin, NucLinux, SmallLinux, LoopLinux, PocketLinux, tomsrtbt, Trinux, CrashRecovery, LIAP, Giotto, Coyote, RIP, Ariane, FDLinux, IBIBLIO, FLI4l, LRP, Floppyfw, FrazierWall, Floppix, Monkey Linux

    Is it just me, or do a ton of people out there do things without checking to see if someon

  • It's nice, not particularly full featured, but pretty functional given its small size.

    I've had a great deal of variation in success in booting from the USB keychain, so it's not as useful as I hoped it would be. But I do keep a CD in my laptop case and use it for rescue and other tasks I'd have used Knoppix for before.

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