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Knoppix 7.4.2 is a security and bug-fix update which corrects the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash among a number of other vulnerabilities according to the good folks over at Distrowatch. Plus it has the latest and greatest versions of Firefox, Chromium, GIMP, LibreOffice, and a lot more. And since it is a Live Disk, you don’t have to install it on your computer; just pop it in your DVD drive, reboot your computer, and watch it load and run. Enjoy all the software, and when you are done and shut it down it ejects the disc; if you take it out of the DVD tray, the next time you boot your computer you go back to whatever operating system you have on your hard drive. It defaults to the KDE desktop, but you can select others during the boot process, including GNOME. I am going to download the .ISO file tonight and burn that image to disc so I can check it out!

The newest version, Knoppix 7.4.0, is now available for download. This Linux build is specifically designed to be a Live Disc, meaning you can boot it directly off the CD, DVD, or USB device, and never need to install it to your computer. It comes with a ton of free software, up to 2Gig on the CD and 9Gig worth on the DVD, thanks to the on-the-fly decompression it does as you launch each program. Besides having more programs, the DVD version also supports both 64Bit and 32Bit platforms, and has multiple desktops to choose from, including both GNOME and KDE as well as the default LXDE file manager. It includes a full set of rescue programs, software utilities designed to help get your broken Windows or Linux computer working again, including anti-virus cleaners, partition managers, and much more. It comes with Wine 1.7 so you can run your windows software in it, and Virtualbox 4.3.14 on the DVD version if you want to run any other operating systems inside it. A lot of the Live Discs I have mentioned here are built on this platform, which is the longest running Live Disc Linux build I know of, and there are a host of specialized builds spun off from it. If you haven’t tried Linux yet, download the ISO file, burn it to disc, and then boot your computer from it. You will be amazed at how easy it is to use and how powerful it is.

Actually, every specialist variant of Ubuntu just came out with their build of Ubuntu 14.04.01, a maintenance update of the current stable release. I have two personal favorites of this family, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Studio.

Xubuntu is a minimal footprint build that allows my surviving computers from the 1990s to run as if they were built a mere decade ago. It runs all the latest versions of my favorite programs, and it’s Virus, Intrusion, and Identity Theft protection is up to the minute. That one I have installed on a few computers that otherwise would have been relegated to the status of doorstop, since no one would remember what they were going to do with them by the time Windows finished booting.

Even more impressive is Ubuntu Studio, a Live Disc version that boots straight off of the DVD without messing up the OS on your hard drive. It is filled with the most amazing collection of software for capturing, creating, editing, burning, and broadcasting your media in any format. Want to create a 3D animation, run your own radio station, turn your home video footage into a high quality movie, or burn that movie onto DVD complete with a great menu system and lots of special features? Those are just four of the hundreds of projects in all aspects of media production and creation that this OS and its related software suites are designed to help you achieve. To make it even easier, they have broken the menu system down into workflow driven tracks, so once you decide on a project you will find every tool you could ever want for that project within that track’s folder. Whatever multimedia project you want to create, this is the perfect tool set to use.

The Tango Studio Linux build is primarily oriented to folks who want to create, modify, and edit audio/music files, through all aspects of the process. But it also gives you a mighty impressive tool set for working with graphics, video, animation, 3D modeling, and pretty much the entire creative range of media production and creation. Being a Live DVD means you don’t have to install it; boot from the DVD you make from the .ISO file you download, and run it from the DVD, saving anything you create to a thumb drive. When you are done working with it, shut down the computer and eject the disc. When you boot without the disc in the computer, the normal operating system on your hard drive launches whatever system you have installed. As usual for an open source Linux OS and software collection, both the Operating System (OS) and all the software running on it are free for use and distribution. Once you boot the disc, you will find a number of worthwhile workflows to follow, depending on what you are trying to create. Try it out, and let me know what you think.

You have an older computer and you don’t want to give up your XP Windows, even though support ended months ago. One possible solution is to burn RoboLinux to disk, boot from that disk, and run your already-installed OEM version of Windows XP or 7 from the hard drive, inside of this VM (Virtual Machine) wrapper. The virus and intrusion protection is handled from the Linux OS, and the program boot and run times are much faster then you ever saw from a Windows platform. But it automagically runs every XP/7 program you have installed, through the power of Robolinux Virtual Box. It does take a bit of setup (all of it very simple), and if you like the results you should consider donating something their way, but beyond that it just works.

Note that for a permanent solution you want to install a Linux version in parallel to your windows OS on your hard drive, install Robolinux Stealth VM Software on the Linux partition, and create a VM file image from the hard drive. The VM file you create can be run on any PC that is running any Linux version with Stealth VM installed. From that point on, you have your entire windows software collection available to you on any computer you care to launch it from, plus another 30,000 killer Linux programs, all of it booting and running a lot faster than windows could do it.

I wanted to edit both of these videos down into only those parts that would help you create your Virtual Machine, and eradicate the various requests for funding and explanations about why you should go out and convince other folks to support the base system. It would have reduced the viewing time for both videos combined down to about 20 minutes of actually useful information that would help you create your own virtual disc. But they really are creating a worthwhile service, so deserve to get the word out in full so everyone can make up their own mind about how they want to proceed. I hope you find these useful.

The folks over at Sabayon have two attitudes that make me appreciate their Live Discs; they want it to “just work” right out of the box, no questions asked, and they are constantly updating to the latest and greatest versions of the software in the package. They have now released a series of variants on version 14.05. They are live DVDs, in 32 or 64 bit mode (only get 32 if you have an older computer) and come in Gnome, KDE, XFCE, and a minimalist variant that runs smaller desktops like Fluxbox or Openbox. The exciting part is the KDE and Gnome versions are optimized for Steam, meaning they are setup for some serious network gaming. If you want to you can install them to hard drive or memory stick, as well, but they do everything I want them to do booting from the disc. Like almost all Linux builds, they are a free operating system filled with tons of free, open source software programs, so you certainly can’t beat the price.