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Porteus 2.0 Xfce: the Ideal Mobile Boot

Jon Nileprecinct Feline
2013mar27

Introduction

Porteus is cool.

A Porteus Screenshot

Porteus 2.0 runs the Linux 3.7.8 kernel, is based on SlackWare 14.0 (the longest continuously maintained GNU/Linux distro), & is bundled with Xfce, the lightweight desktop environment including the Thunar filemanager. Although only 200M in size, Porteus is an actual (ie non-BusyBox) Linux implementation including the GNU development compilers & the complete Unix style manpages. It also sports a highly configurable persistence architecture which can record all modifications to a "/changes" area or restore any desired resources from a "/rootcopy" directory with each boot.

Great Software

Porteus has Galculator, MidnightCommander, Lynx, GParted & gFTP already installed (along with an impressive selection of utilities & apps). Theres also a modern Xorg which will start a VESA session if necessary & let you get right to work, & the ability to fully configure the activeness of the automount of removable drives.

Porteus 2.0: VFU, Lynx, Galculator

Porteus uses the Linux Live Scripts & a system of squashfs modules to effect a flexible, easily configurable boot. Its trivial to move a package such as Firefox18 from /base to /optional whereupon its ignored at startup but can be dynamically enabled in toto anytime during the session, & disabled afterwards to free resources. Using the XZM facility user customisations can be built easily into manageable bundles.

A Modular Approach

Porteus has a simple inhouse Package Manager which is an interface to a number of repositories with their own various dependency monitoring capabilities. This includes SlackWare & Debian repos as well as the SlackBuild Express facility from which I compiled the Beaver texteditor.

Midnight Commander, Porteus PM

The LiveCD contains the Plop bootmanager & can be remastered easily; the system can be added effortlessly to existing bootloader installs (extlinux / grub) on flashdrive or HD, booting from any medium in modes ranging from readonly to fully persistent. In short, this is one GNU/Linux I can unhesitatingly recommend to noobies & spergiferous neckbearded awklords alike.

Conclusion

the future is Linux. are you ready?

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