Finnix includes the latest technology for system administrators, with Linux kernel 2.6, LVM2, encrypted partitions, etc. And above all, Finnix is small; currently the entire distribution is over 300MiB, but is dynamically compressed into a small bootable image. Finnix is not intended for the average desktop user, and does not include any desktops, productivity tools, or sound support, in order to keep distribution size low.
Finnix development first began in 1999, making it one of the oldest distributions released with the intent of being run completely from a bootable CD (the other Live CD around at the time was the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card CD, first released in 1999). Finnix 0.01 was based on Red Hat Linux 6.1, and was created to help with administration and recovery of other Linux workstations around Finnie's office. The first public release of Finnix was 0.03, and was released in early 2000, based on an updated Red Hat Linux 6.2. Despite its 300 MiB ISO size and requirement of 32 MiB RAM (which, given RAM prices and lack of high-speed Internet proliferation at the time, was prohibitive for many), Finnix enjoyed moderate success, with over 10,000 downloads. After version 0.03, development ceased, and Finnix was left unmaintained until 2005.
On 23 October 2005, Finnix 86.0 was released. Earlier unreleased versions (84, and 85.0 through 85.3) were "Knoppix remasters", with support for Linux LVM and dm-crypt being the main reason for creation. However, 86.0 was a departure from Knoppix, and was derived directly from the Debian "testing" tree.
Finnix is released as a small bootable CD ISO. A user can download the ISO, burn the image to CD, and boot into a text mode Linux environment. Finnix requires at least 32MiB RAM to run properly, but can use more if present. Most hardware devices are detected and dealt with automatically, such as hard drives, network cards and USB devices. A user can modify files nearly anywhere on the running CD via UnionFS, a filesystem that can stack a read-write filesystem (in this case, a dynamic ramdisk) on top of a read-only filesystem (the CD media). Any changes made during the Finnix session are transparently written to RAM and discarded upon shutdown. In addition, Finnix uses SquashFS to keep distribution size low.
Finnix can be run completely within RAM, provided the system has at least 192 MiB RAM available. If a "toram" option is passed to Finnix, most of the contents of the CD are copied to a ramdisk, and the CD is ejected, freeing the CDROM drive for other purposes. Finnix can also be placed on a bootable USB thumb drive, or installed permanently on a hard drive.
Finnix 86.1 running as a paravirtualized Xen guest
Finnix is available for several architectures. The primary architecture is x86, with an additional x86-64 kernel included. Support for the PowerPC architecture was introduced in version 86.1 as a separate ISO, released concurrently with its x86 counterpart, but was dropped for version 100. In addition, Finnix is aware of both the User Mode Linux and Xen virtualization systems. UML and Xen Virtual private server providers such as Linode can provide Finnix as a recovery/maintenance distribution to their customers.
Updates: (via Distrowatch)
Ryan Finnie has announced the release of Finnix 101, a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian's 'testing' branch: "Today marks the eggnog-induced release of Finnix 101, the seventeenth release of Finnix since its beginnings over ten years ago. Finnix 101 includes major behind-the-scenes architectural changes, the re-introduction of PowerPC support, new features, and minor bug fixes. After a show of public support, Finnix is once again producing PowerPC releases. While using Finnix still has its same familiar look, much of the core infrastructure which comprises Finnix has been re-engineered. Many of the changes are intended to make development and re-development (remastering) easier and more powerful, and to help with deployment by Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers."
For further details please read release announcement and the detailed release notes.
Download (MD5): finnix-101.iso (127MB, torrent), finnix-ppc-101.iso (145MB, torrent).
• 2010-12-25: Distribution Release: Finnix 101
• 2010-10-28: Distribution Release: Finnix 100
• 2009-08-11: Distribution Release: Finnix 93.0
• 2008-12-04: Distribution Release: Finnix 92.1
• 2008-06-29: Distribution Release: Finnix 92.0
• 2008-01-29: Distribution Release: Finnix 91.0
Finnix 86.0 boot screen
Finnix 86.0 bootup
Finnix 86.0 debug bootup
One of the earliest (bootable) builds of Finnix for the PowerPC
Finnix 86.1 running as a Xen 3 DomU
Finnix 86.1 as a UML guest (on Linode)
Finnix dev snapshot, 2006-01-23
Finnix dev snapshot, 2006-01-23 (LVM)
Finnix 86.2 boot screen
Finnix 87.0 boot screen
Finnix 88.0 boot screen
Finnix 88.0 "dos" profile (FreeDOS ODIN)
Finnix dev boot screen
Finnix 89.0 boot screen
Finnix 90.0 boot screen
Finnix 91.0 boot screen
Finnix 91.1 boot screen
Finnix 92.0 boot screen
Finnix 100 boot screen
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