xPUD – A Quick Booting, Easy To Use 64 MB Linux Distro [Linux]

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easy linux installBooting in under 10 seconds and centering around web browsing and media, xPUD is nothing if not a lightweight operating system. Start it up and you’ll see a clean interface, allowing you to quickly find what you’re looking for and get to work. It might not be the ideal operating system for general use, but if you want something that boots quickly and barely uses any resources it’s a keeper.

Not enough? The system is expandable, both with official plugins and ones you can roll yourself. In theory any Linux application could be bundled with xPUD, meaning this distribution could turn into your ultimate lightweight toolkit, if you’re willing to put in some work.

Simple

Whether you’re booting from a USB key or CD, the first thing you’ll notice is that this Linux distribution starts quickly. When it does, you’re greeted with a simple startup screen:

easy linux install

Here you can connect to the wireless network of your choice, and turn off the system. You’ll also find a clock and your current battery life; neither have a place on a taskbar in xPUD because there is no taskbar.

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To the left are four options: “Home”, which represents the main screen above; “Menu”, which lets you pick an application to launch; “File”, which shows you the file browser; and “Setting”, which is self-explanatory.

Click “Menu” and you’ll see what programs you can launch:

easy linux

By default there’s not much, though that can be changed (keep reading). Launch a program and it will be neatly integrated into the interface:

easy linux

This kind of integration is pretty slick in my opinion, though those wanting to use up more of their screen real estate need only to move their mouse to the top-right corner. The usual buttons will pop up there, allowing you to maximize the current program.

The “File” menu gives you a quick way to browse the file system, also integrated into the interface. This is very useful if you’re using xPUD as a recovery system.

Finally, there is the “Setting” menu, which allows you to configure the system:

easy linux

If you need to change your language or network settings this is the place. There’s also a button for installing additional applications, but that didn’t work for me. Don’t worry; it is possible to get more applications working than Firefox!

Expansion Packs

Like xPUD, but need a bit more software? Don’t worry: there’s an online collection out there already:

easy linux install

As you can see the packages include Dropbox and Open Office, as well as additional drivers for the system. These packages can be integrated with your xPUD system; simply slip them into the “/opt” folder of whatever disk you’re using to boot xPUD from. Note that only 6 such packages can start at boot, though.

You’ll find that these add-ons an quickly make your 64 MB system take up 300 MB or more; Open Office alone is 121 MB. But if you need additional functionality it’s good to know these packages are around. You’ll find the official xPUD extensions and a collection of “testing” extensions.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? If you’re handy with Linux you might consider rolling your own packages; find instructions on the xPUD forums.

Get xPUD

Ready to give xPUD a spin? Download xPUD here. You’ll also find instructions on getting it running from a burnt CD, in Virtualbox, or from a USB disk using a custom version of Unetbootin, the easiest way to boot Linux from a USB key.

Overall xPUD is a great example of Linux at its best: lean, lightweight and out of your way. I’m having a lot of fun imagining the possibilities of this distribution and hope you have fun with it too. Let me know of any successful experiments in the comments below.

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Comments (12)
  • Anonymous

    I installed xPud on a old laptop for my sister as a easy to use OS for college use. She loved it, and I liked the fact I did not have to teacher much of it. One of the easiest to use distros.

    • jhpot

      Yeah, I’m not sure why this distro isn’t better known. It’s exactly as advertised: simple and quick.

    • Anonymous

      I do not know either, This would make a great netbook OS for the every day user. The only fuss I have ( The same fuss I have will all Unix) is drivers. The laptop I mentioned earlier had some driver trouble, But it did not take to long to set it straight either.

  • Dan

    Which would hide the underlying UI and defeat the purpose. The distro makers consciously made an effort to integrate the installed programs into their tabbed UI, even to the point of obscuring the minimize/maximize/exit buttons.

    A better solution would be to make the tabs smaller, perhaps minimizing it to 5% when opening apps, and expanding back to 15% when returning to the “desktop”.

  • kami84gr

    Great Distro! xpud has also gave birth to a kick-ass backup & restoring live cd called “RedoBackup” which shares the same easy and clean interface. I urge everyone who needs a solution of that nature to give it a try!!!

  • SKOF

    Dude. All you have to do is put your mouse over the top right hand corner and Click on the Minimise/Maximise Square. Dude!

    It’s a nice Distro. If only I could get the Wifi working, I’d use it.

    • Dan

      Which would hide the underlying UI and defeat the purpose. The distro makers consciously made an effort to integrate the installed programs into their tabbed UI, even to the point of obscuring the minimize/maximize/exit buttons.

      A better solution would be to make the tabs smaller, perhaps minimizing it to 5% when opening apps, and expanding back to 15% when returning to the “desktop”.

  • SKOF

    Dude. All you have to do is put your mouse over the top right hand corner and Click on the Minimise/Maximise Square. Dude!

    It’s a nice Distro. If only I could get the Wifi working, I’d use it.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.