The Porteus project started out as "Slax Remix" at the beginning of 2010 and was started as a community project using the Zen kernel to improve and update the Slax OS.
The community agreed on the new name of the project, Porteus, which was named after "'Portability' and 'Proteus'. 'Proteus' is a "Greek god of the sea, capable of changing his form at will," according to the naming announcement on the Porteus forum. The project leader commented on the name, "I find this name as a kind of synonym of 'flexibility.' We have portable (small) and flexible (modular) features included in one name: Porteus."
Currently Porteus comes with the LXDE and KDE desktops. The 32-bit version has the Razor-qt desktop available, while the 64-bit version uses the newer KDE4, including the Plasma workspace into the Porteus environment. The Xfce edition can be downloaded as a separate ISO for both architectures. Porteus 2.0rc2 is the last Porteus release claiming binary compatibility with Slackware-14.0.
In reviewing Porteus 1.0 in June 2011, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier wrote, "Users who've missed KDE 3.5.x are in for a treat with Porteus, a portable Linux distribution that offers a 32-bit release with the Trinity fork of KDE 3.5.x, and a 64-bit release that offers KDE 4.6.4. While not a distribution that will appeal to everyone, it might be of interest to enthusiasts of live CD distributions and old-school KDE fans." He concluded "...Porteus looks like a nice portable Linux distribution, aimed at expert or at least experienced Linux users. It's not something that will appeal to the majority of Linux users, particularly users who prefer a slightly larger depth of available packages. But, for users who are nursing older hardware or prefer a portable distribution, Porteus is an interesting project."