A Live CD, Live DVD, or Live Distro is a special way of creating a computer operating system so that it is able to run without installing anything on the computer first. This special operating system is used when the computer is booting up, and runs all its programs off the object it is put on. The name of the operating system usually has something to do with the object, such as "Live CD" for CDs, "Live DVD" for DVDs, or "Live USB" for USB flash drives.
"Distro" is short for Distribution, and is used because different types of Linux operating systems are called Linux Distributions, and Linux Distros were the first operating systems to be made into Live CDs. A "Live Distro" is used to refer to all different kinds of these special operating systems, instead of just the ones on a certain object.
The first Linux-based Live CD was Yggdrasil Linux (it stopped being made in 1995), but it did not work well because back then CD drives could not read CDs fast enough. in 2003, a Live CD based on Debian called Knoppix was released. Many people liked to use Knoppix, both as an operating system, and as a way of fixing a computer. Many more people have started using Live CDs since then, because of programs like Linux Live scripts and remastersys which make it very easy to make your own personalized Live CD.
Here are some images/screenshots of live CDs:
- FreeBSD LiveCD
- Linux Live scripts
- Build your own Custom Live CD
- Bootable CDROM HowTo
- LiveDistro.org: Extensive build/remaster howtos, tools and release announcements.
- Guide: Howto remaster a sidux live CD
- The Live CD List links & information on over 300 Live CDs
- Long list of LiveCDs at the Knoppix Wiki
- The magic of live CDs Article published on Free Software Magazine about LiveDistros
- Live CD News
- Live CD Build Scripts
- Pondering Live CDs - A BSD perspective on the concept of Live CDs
- Darknet 10 Best Security Live CD Distros for pen-test, forensics, and recovery