Linux Live CDs: All the Linux with None of the Commitment
If you’ve been itching to try Linux but have been wary about partitioning your hard drive or otherwise afraid to commit the time and space to another operating system, the good news is you don’t have to risk anything to experience Linux. For quite some time, Linux distributions have been made available in live CD format, decompressing data on-the-fly and running entirely from memory. Not only can you try different flavors of Linux, but you can often use the live CD to install the software if you really like it.
And if that wasn’t enough, specialized live distros can run from business card-sized CDs, USB thumb drives, and some that are intended as rescue CDs for virus-ridden PCs. There are even live routers and firewalls in case you want to use an older PC as your main connection to the Internet. You can also just boot a Linux Live CD to try out the games, OpenOffice.org, or the GIMP image editor without installing them. Because OpenOffice.org and the GIMP are both available for Windows, it’s a great opportunity to see whether you like them before you install them on your Windows PC. And in the event your Windows installation goes bad, you can even use a Live CD to rescue or otherwise back up files from your hard drive.
There are plenty of reasons to try a Linux live CD. In addition to the above, it’s a great way to experience a different desktop environment...