Puppy boots into a ramdisk and, unlike live CD distributions that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD, it loads into RAM. This means that all applications start in the blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly.
Puppy Linux has the ability to boot off a flash card or any USB memory device, CDROM, Zip disk or LS/120/240 Superdisk, floppy disks, internal hard drive. It can even use a multisession formatted CD-RW/DVD-RW to save everything back to the CD/DVD with no hard drive required at all.
Updates (via Distrowatch):
Larry Short has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.2.8, a small and fast desktop distribution built from scratch and compatible with Ubuntu binary packages: "Lucid Puppy is our edition of Puppy Linux that is built from Ubuntu binary packages, hence has compatibility with, and access to, the vast Ubuntu package repositories. Lucid Puppy 5.2.8 is the fastest and friendliest Lucid yet. It is the fastest because it is the first Lucid to use the C and FFmpeg libraries optimized for i686 computers rather than the older i386 computers. Lucid 5.2.8 has also received a thorough going-over under the hood. There is new and updated firmware and drivers for many devices and the hardware detection and configuration routines have been extensively tested and enhanced."
Check out the release announcement for further details.
Download: lupu-528.iso (129MB, MD5).
• 2011-05-25: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.1.2 "Wary"
• 2011-04-03: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.2.5
• 2011-02-21: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.1 "Wary"
• 2011-01-06: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.2
• 2010-12-29: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.0 "Wary"
• 2010-08-13: Distribution Release: Puppy Linux 5.1
Puppy can be easily installed to many different media. Having downloaded the live-CD "ISO" file, you would normally burn that to a CD or DVD and then "boot" the computer from it, and you have a running Puppy. The "Puppy on a CD" link below explains all about that, but firstly, here is a link to download Puppy:
Puppy download page.
Warning to MS Windows users:
In the Puppy Linux forum, there are a few reports of the files on the Puppy live-CD being incorrectly named. Especially "PUP_430.SFS" (in the case of Puppy version 4.3). What needs to be understood is that this is not a new "bug", all prior puppies have it. The reason that you are seeing the wrong filenames is because you are using MS Windows. That is, running Windows, you plug in the Puppy CD and view the files in Windows Explorer. I presume that you are doing this to copy the files for doing a frugal hard-drive install or USB Flash drive install. The Puppy live-CD ISO file (CD image) is created without Joliet extensions -- this is needed for MS Windows to read the filenames on a CD/DVD correctly. This is what causes the problem. The reason that Joliet extensions is left off is because I had experience that it breaks saving of sessions for the multisession-CD/DVD (saving sessions back to the CD/DVD, no hard-drive or other storage media required on the PC). So, the question must be raised, why are you running Windows to copy the files off the Puppy CD? You need to wean yourself off this dependence on Windows. Boot the live-CD, then you have a running Puppy! Alternatively, maybe you only have the downloaded 'pup-430.iso' live-CD image, you have not burnt it to CD, and you are running MS Windows, and you use a Windows application (Isobuster?) to view the contents of the ISO file and copy out the files. Really, you "should" be running Puppy or some other Linux, but if you really must be running Windows to perform this operation, then copy the files and then rename them... This is how Windows sees the files:
BOOT.CAT BOOT.MSG HELP.MSG INITRD.GZ ISOLINUX.BIN ISOLINUX.CFG LOGO.16 PUP_430.SFS VMLINUZ ZP430305.SFSFor frugal install, copy the required files to the destination then rename them to (note only some builds of Puppy have the 'z*' file):
initrd.gz pup-430.sfs vmlinuz zp430305.sfs...most important, rename PUP_430.SFS to pup-430.sfs! Note, viewing inside an ISO file when running Puppy is a piece of cake. Just click on it!
Puppy can boot from:
* A live USB, including USB flash drives or any other bootable USB storage device (flash-Puppy)
* A live CD (live-Puppy)
* An SD card or built in Flash drive
* A Zip drive or LS-120/240 SuperDisk
* An internal hard disk drive
* A computer network (thin-Puppy)
* An emulator (emulated-puppy)
* A floppy boot disk that loads the rest of the operating system from a USB drive, CD-ROM, or internal hard drive
Puppy Linux features built-in tools which can be used to create bootable USB drives, create new Puppy CDs, or remaster a new live CD with different packages.
Puppy Linux has a unique feature which sets it apart from other Linux distributions: the ability to offer a normal persistently updating working environment on a write-once multisession CD/DVD. (It does not require a rewritable CD/DVD.) Puppy automatically detects changes in the file system and saves them incrementally on the disc. This feature works particularly well with DVDs, partly because of the much larger space available. While other distributions offer Live CD versions of their operating systems, they do not allow programs to be permanently added nor do they allow files to be written to the CD.
Puppy also features sophisticated write-caching system designed to extend the life of USB flash drives that Puppy Linux runs from.
Unlike some other OSes, Puppy Linux does not mount (allow for writing to) hard drives nor connect to the network automatically. This reduces the odds that a bug or even intentionally-added incompatible software could corrupt the contents of a hard drive.
Since Puppy Linux fundamentally runs in RAM, all the files and operations that are created in a session would disappear when the system is shut down. However, it is possible to save files upon shutdown. This feature allows the user to either save the file to disk (USB, HDD etc.) or even write the file system to the same CD puppy is booted from if "multisession" was used to create the booted CD (on CD-Rs as well as CD-RW) where a CD burner is present.
It is also possible to save all files to a disk instead of the file system; examples include a hard drive, USB stick, or even a floppy disk. Puppy can also be installed to a hard disk.
Desktop with one of multiple integrated themes with XMMS a multimedia player, mtPaint a painting program for creating pixel art and manipulating digital photos and mplayer running, plus an opened text file under Puppy Linux 2.15 CE Viz (with default WM: IceWM)
The default WM in most Puppy releases is JWM.
Packages of the IceWM desktop, Fluxbox and Enlightenment are also available via Puppy's PetGet package (application) management system (see below). Some derivative distributions, called puplets, come with default window managers other than JWM.
When the operating system boots, everything in the Puppy package uncompresses into a RAM area, the "ramdisk". The PC needs to have at least 128 MB of RAM (with no more than 8 MB shared video) for all of Puppy to load into the ramdisk. However, it is possible for it to run on a PC with only about 48 MB of RAM because part of the system can be kept on the hard drive, or less effectively, left on the CD.
Puppy is fairly full-featured for a system that runs entirely in a ramdisk, when booted as Live system or from a 'frugal' installation; however, Puppy also supports the 'full' installation mode, which allows Puppy to run from a hard drive partition, without a ramdisk. Applications were chosen that met various constraints, size in particular. Because one of the aims of the distribution is to be extremely easy to set up, there are many wizards that take the user through the process of a range of common tasks.
Package and distribution management.
Puppy Unleashed (currently replaced by Woof) is a tool used to create Puppy ISO images. It consists of more than 500 packages that are put together according to the user's needs.
Woof is an advanced tool for creating Puppy installations. It requires an Internet connection and some knowledge of Linux to use. It is able to download the binary source packages from another Linux distribution and process them into Puppy Linux packages by just defining the name of that Linux distro. It is equipped with a simpler version control named Bones.
Puppy also comes with a remastering tool that takes a "snapshot" of the current system and lets the user create a live CD from it, and an additional remastering tool that is able to remove installed components.
Puppy Linux uses the T2 SDE build scripts to build the base binary packages.
Puppy Linux's package manager, Puppy Package Manager, accepts packages from other distros (such as .deb packages).
Because of the relative ease with which the tool Woof and the remaster tool can be used to build variants of Puppy Linux, there are many variants available. Variants of Puppy Linux are known as puplets.
After Barry Kauler reduced his involvement with the Puppy Project, he designed two new distributions within the same Puppy Linux family, Quirky and Wary.
An embedded distro inside the kernel. All files required to make the system was put altogether inside the kernel. It has a simple module loading management but less drivers included.
A puplet targeted for old hardware and it has long term support. It uses old but long term support Linux kernel. It has newest apps bundled yet retain the old hardware support.