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If you haven’t checked it out yet, Knoppix 7.3.0 is the latest release of this grand-daddy of Live DVDs. When it first started out in the late ’90s it was built to be both a Live CD to give you an instant free operating system full of free software that would run on almost any hardware you had available, and to be a Rescue Disc. By 2003, when version 3.2 came out, it had become a lot more, with many different specialized builds, including Scientific, Engineering, Game and Network platforms. A lot of folks also used it as a Demo Disc environment, making their own customized builds that would launch straight into their own programs, allowing you to run the software without having to install it on your computer. Over the years the functionality has grown, but the two core abilities that make it so very useful remain its Rescue Disc and its Disc Authoring tool kits.

You can download Knoppix 7.2.0 from one of the mirrors listed, using HTTP, FTP, or BitTorrent, and it is available in both CD or DVD size, depending on how extensive your software needs are. Note that the 650Meg Live CD version unpacks to 2Gig worth of software, so even the smaller file is a powerhouse. The latest version, 7.3.0, can be picked up included with the March copy of Linux Magazine.