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I'm tired of fixing friends' and relatives' Windows PC's :-/

I need to find a Linux/BSD live CD with the following features:

  1. Under active development, so as to provide recent software

  2. Localized for European languages. At the very least, it should prompt at boot time for the language to use, but ideally, should be localized right from when the CD boots. Slax is nice, but menus aren't localized in the current version

  3. It's just for basic use, ie. web browser, multimedia player. No need for 700MB worth of applications

Thank you.

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closed as not constructive by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Mokubai, Dave M, bwDraco, oKtosiTe Mar 26 '13 at 8:58

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For those interested: It looks like Mandriva is a good choice. It's available on a USB key, or a live CD, and it's available in several languages. – OverTheRainbow Aug 17 '09 at 14:55
Just curious, is your motivation to ask this question is to have a Live CD as a means to convince your friends and relatives to switch to Linux? Or, like most people answering your question assumes, that you wanted a Linux distro that you could use to fix their computers using Linux? If your motivation is more of the former, actually most major distros (Ubuntu, Fedora or Mandriva) would easily fit that criteria. – Seh Hui Leong Aug 18 '09 at 8:12
Yes, I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough: It's to be used daily instead of Windows, until they get someone to either reinstall Windows or install Linux on their HD. I find the major distros above a bit heavy, but more importantly, is the GUI localized for European languages, eg. French? – OverTheRainbow Aug 20 '09 at 8:35
Have you tried the solutions given ? Care to give some feedback ? – Gnoupi Aug 25 '09 at 11:04
I didn't try a localized version of Ubuntu, but Mandriva is OK in French (makes sens, as Mandriva is a French company.) However, it's bigger than I wanted since I was rather looking for something lighter to lower the time it takes until the user is up and running. Slax would be nice if it came in localized versions, and had more up-to-date applications. Maybe Minix or MenuetOS or Haiku could foot the fill... one day :) – OverTheRainbow Aug 26 '09 at 11:06
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The Ubuntu installation can be made quite small and gives a very comfortable environment.
Look at KUbuntu (article ref).
Your requirements sound like a NetBook application.

PuppyLinux installs on a ramdisk and is quite fast.
But, it has its own interface feel and does not work with debian packages.

DamnSmallLinux is a good (while not exactly debian based).

In general you could lookup the distribution features at the DistroWatch site.

Critical things to note while selecting a small distribution are.

  1. Quick to boot and update (besides being small)
  2. Comfortable user interface (Gnome is heavy, usually bloats the installation)
  3. Widely supported package management (when you want something small to be installed quickly)
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There're always the Damn Small Linux, have you checked it out?.

And for fixing friends' and relatives' PCs,
I've always found that having a GParted LiveCD around super-useful.

Not sure about the localization though, but why do you need localization support for fixing friends' PCs ?

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Sorry, I wasn't clear enough: It's not fixing them, it's for their daily use. That way, I can just mail them a CD and tell them to boot up. They basically can't read English, so the interface must be in French (OK even if the translation is fuzzy ;-)). Additional requirement that I forgot: Since it's a live CD, the user must be able to save settings (Firefox's bookmarks, etc.) on a USB key. – OverTheRainbow Aug 17 '09 at 10:48
@overtherainbow I see... in that case, see @nik's answer – chakrit Aug 18 '09 at 10:16

For a small bootable Linux distro I prefer Puppy Linux or the aforementioned Damn Small Linux.

You may be interested in this page which lists most of the smaller Linux and BSD derived distributions.

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Knoppix is specifically designed to be a live CD. Is has a lot of applications though, but if you want to load a GUI already anyway, it doesn't really make a difference since other programs are only loaded on demand.

Ubuntu may be a good choice, too, if you want someone to try Linux (imho it is the most user friendly Distro for Linux), but it doesn't ship with a lot of Tools to fix broken Windows PCs.

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I use grml whenever I'm working on severely broken machines. Debian based so it's localized, however its default shell is zsh but all you need to do is type bash to sort that out ;) It also comes in a number of sizes small ~75mb, medium ~200mb and large ~700mb.

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For fixings PCs I use Ultimate Boot CD :

It has memtest86, 20 different hard disk diagnostics, disc wiping tools, cloning tools (except CloneZilla), partition tools (except GPartD), DOS tools, boot disk makers, CPU testers, and more...

But nothing replaces having a good Live CD around. Knoppix was the first good one but lately there are lots of others, my favorite is the Ubuntu live CD.

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Take a look at and build your own distro with the tools you need. I built one for a task at work and it came in at 60MB and boots just fine.

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Thanks, I will. – OverTheRainbow Sep 11 '09 at 17:18

If you like real use free software (, you can easily download 4.0.1 taranis Trisquel 100% free distribution of the following URL: / en / download. When using this will be the most advanced free software distribution (much like ubuntu and debian but in this case Trisquel 4.0.1 and you may very well play all YouTube videos without any problems using the native program (which is in its repositories) gnash 0.8.8. also plays very well java (sun) but the free version. You can perform all the tasks you did in windows but in this case will exalt you really saying that you use the best version of the free software GNU with linux-free: http : / / / wiki / Linux-libre

share|improve this answer – arescorpio Oct 4 '10 at 2:33
Thanks for the link. – OverTheRainbow Oct 12 '10 at 14:07

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