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]

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
Arudius[5] Slackware & Slax 210 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
AUSTRUMI[6] Slackware less than 100 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
boot2docker[7] Independent 24 MB Web service
Damn Small Linux[8] Knoppix 128 MB CD - USB flash drive - HDD
debirf[9] Debian 256 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Grml[10] Debian 256 MB (required), 512 MB (or more, recommended) CD - USB flash drive - HDD
Kanotix[11] Debian & Knoppix 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Knoppix[12] Debian 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Lighthouse Linux[13] Puppy 256 MB (required), 512 MB (recommended), 768 MB (optional)[14] CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) [15] Thinstation 178 MB (basic), 382 MB (deluxe) CD - USB flash drive
Live Raizo[citation needed] Debian 836 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Macpup[16] Puppy 164 MB CD - USB flash drive
MCNLive[17] Mandriva 512 MB CD - USB flash drive
Mustang Linux[18] Slackware 168 MB[19] CD - DVD
Nanolinux[20] Tiny Core Linux 64 MB[21] CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Parted Magic[22] Independent 175 MB - 312 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
PCLinuxOS[23] Mandriva 1024 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Plop Linux[24] Independent 64 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Porteus[25] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Puppy Linux[26] Independent 64 MB (required), 256 MB (recommended)[27] CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
RIPLinuX[28] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive
Slax[29] Slackware 512 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
SliTaz[30] Independent 192 MB (48 MB for base) CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD[31] - Floppy disk[32]
SystemRescueCD[33] Gentoo Linux 400 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD
Tin Hat Linux[34] Hardened Gentoo 4096 MB
Tiny SliTaz[35] SliTaz 8 MB CD - DVD - USB flash drive - HDD - Floppy disk
Tiny Core Linux[36] Independent 10 MB[36] HDD - CD
Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK)[37] Mandriva 256 MB - 512 MB (recommended) [38] CD - USB flash drive

See also[edit]

  • tmpfs; by mounting a tmpfs and running files that are placed on this, files and programs can be run from RAM, even on Linux distros that do not run completely in RAM
  • Network file system; network file systems are another way to avoid needing to use a (slow) harddisk (at least faster if using a E-IDE harddisk)
  • initrd ("initial ramdisk"), a scheme for loading a temporary root file system into memory in the boot process of the Linux kernel.
  • Lightweight Linux distribution
  • List of tools to create Live USB systems
  • SYSLINUX, a suite of lightweight IBM PC MBR bootloaders for starting up computers with the Linux kernel.
  • Windows PE, a non-Linux operating system that can also be run from RAM.

References[edit]

External links[edit]