List of Linux distributions that run from RAM

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Puppy Linux 5.10 desktop running in RAM

This is a list of Linux distributions that can be run entirely from the computer's RAM. That ability allows them to be very fast, since reading and writing data from/to RAM is much faster than on a hard disk drive. Many of these operating systems will load from a removable media such as a Live CD or USB stick. A "frugal" install can also often be completed, allowing boot up from a hard disk drive instead.

This feature is implemented in live-initramfs and allows the user to run a live distro that does not run from ram by default by adding toram to the kernel boot parameters.[1] The system may ignore the switch if there is not enough RAM.[citation needed]

Additionally some distributions can be configured to run from RAM, such as Ubuntu using the toram option included in the Casper scripts.[2]

Linux distributions that run from RAM
Distribution Based on RAM required installation drive/required size
Alpine Linux[3][4] Independent base system uses less than 64 MB CD - USB flash drive - HDD
AntiX[citation needed] Debian Testing base system uses 128 MB CD - USB flash drive - HDD
Arudius[5] Slackware & Slax 210 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
AUSTRUMI[6] Slackware less than 100 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Damn Small Linux[7] Knoppix 128 MB CD - USB flash drive - HDD
debirf[8] Debian 256 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Devil-Linux[citation needed] Linux From Scratch 128 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Grml[9] Debian 256 MB (required), 512 MB (or more, recommended) CD - USB flash drive - HDD
Kanotix[10] Debian & Knoppix 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Knoppix[11] Debian 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Lighthouse Linux[12] Puppy 256 MB (required), 512 MB (recommended), 768 MB (optional)[13] CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) [14] Thinstation 178 MB (basic), 382 MB (deluxe) CD - USB flash drive
Macpup[15] Puppy 164 MB CD - USB flash drive
MCNLive[16] Mandriva CD - USB flash drive
Mustang Linux[17] Slackware 168 MB[18] CD - DVD
Nanolinux[19] Tiny Core Linux 64 MB[20] CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Parted Magic[21] Independent 175 MB - 312 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
PCLinuxOS[22] Mandriva 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Plop Linux[23] Independent 64 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Porteus[24] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Puppy Linux[25] Independent 64 MB (required), 256 MB (recommended)[26] CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
RIPLinuX[27] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Slax[28] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
SliTaz[29] Independent 192 MB (48 MB for base) CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD[30] - Floppy disk[31]
SystemRescueCD[32] Gentoo Linux 400 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Tin Hat Linux[33] Hardened Gentoo 4096 MB
Tiny SliTaz [34] SliTaz 8 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD - Floppy disk
Tiny Core Linux[35] Independent 10 MB[35] HDD - CD
Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK)[36] Mandriva 256 MB - 512 MB (recommended) [37] CD - USB flash drive

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