Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Puppy Linux

Danny Stieben 27-06-2011

<firstimage=”//” />puppy linuxAs I’m fairly sure you know, Linux is known to be capable of virtually running everywhere and doing anything. Not only does it run on a majority of our world’s supercomputers, but it can also run on the tiniest systems ever made, just as the size of a quarter. Today we’ll be taking a look at a distribution of Linux that is famous for being able to run with very little hardware requirements, Puppy Linux.


Puppy Linux isn’t based on another distribution; it is developed completely on its own. The system can, however, be built from packages of other distributions like Ubuntu, Arch Linux, and Slackware thanks to the Woof project. One of the great advantages of this distribution is it’s very small size. Generic Puppy Linux offers a 128MB ISO to download, with both “new” and long-term release options available. The small size lets Puppy Linux boot on any CD or USB stick and run with a weak CPU and low amount of memory. Puppy Linux is also constructed so that the computer doesn’t even need to have a hard drive for Puppy Linux to run. Don’t worry, there’s still a way to install this distribution to a hard drive if you desire.

Puppy Linux is also very customizable. A handful of developers have taken it and created their own specialized versions of it. The site offers a whole list of different “puplets” that offer special features or support. Among the specialized puplets includes non-English puplets and special-purpose puplets, that range from helping with certain subjects to being targeted for netbooks. Therefore, this distribution will suit your needs very well.

As you may expect from Linux Live CDs, getting started is very easy. Once you have the ISO burned to a CD or written to a USB stick, you simply need to boot off of that media. Puppy Linux will then scan through the hardware before launching the desktop environment. Once that finishes, you’ll see something like this:

puppy linux



Remember that Puppy Linux is a very lightweight distribution, so don’t expect anything fancy from it (although there’s a puplet that adds some eye candy, including Compiz Linux Eye-Candy Read More ). The desktop, however, is still very eye pleasing, and doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been sent back to 1995. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that Windows 95 was more than 128MB, and yet Puppy Linux, the simplified distro, is still capable of more.

download puppy linux

Installing this distribution is also fairly easy. A universal installer is available on the desktop to get Puppy Linux onto your hard drive or other media.

puppy linux


Installing application packages is easy too, which you can do in the Puppy Package Manager. Quickpup let’s you install popular packages very quickly via a native package format.

The rest is up to you. You can do whatever you wish with Puppy Linux from here on out. Many people choose Puppy Linux over traditional distributions because it works, runs fast, and has great graphics for a lightweight distribution. Therefore, you get more work done quickly and have the distro stay out of your way so that it doesn’t bog you down.

Is this Linux distribution a plausible choice for you? What do you like or don’t like about it? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Dr. Stan
    November 23, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    I have never tried any Linux stuff yet...but Puppy is something that I dream about having. So I will try.

    BUT, I don't know how to "boot" from a USB. Do I just turn the machine on normally? If so, wouldn't Windows start up automatically? How could I indicate to the computer that I want to boot up from the USB?

    Many thanks!

    • GY Chang
      December 19, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      best way is to google which key u need to push when starting (going thru bios) and u have to "direct" so it uses USB stick to start. Usually F12, F1, delete key ...

  2. AYOUB
    March 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    please update the link of the official website , become

  3. pradeep gour
    April 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Finding the exact version and puplets that you are desperately looking for is a challenge ignored so far,I think.
    - Pradeep Gour

    • rodocop
      October 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Once you are deep enough in Puppy to easily switch between puplets (through frugal install) - the process of finding YOUR one becomes a pure fun, really.

      Next stop is your ability to customize any puplet in the way it allows. And there the fun gets double.

  4. Anonymous
    August 31, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I would have not the slightest hesitation in recommending Puppy to anyone, be they a green newbie, or a seasoned veteran. When XP went EOL last year, I switched to Linux; initially Ubuntu, as it was the distro most recommended by others.

    During the next six months, I must have tried more than 80 different distros, searching for the one that would best suit my needs. I tried Puppy early on, but didn't think that much of it to start with. Over the following weeks, I kept coming back to it, and digging deeper.....and eventually came to realise that it was perfect for what I wanted to do with it. And I'm not talking about truly ancient hardware.

    I run a 10 yr-old, Compaq Presario desktop PC from 2005, around the time that HP bought them out. Consequently, it doesn't suffer from the cost-cutting measures that HP employed subsequent to the takeover; it's still constructed to Compaq's exacting standards. And it was a top-end machine for its time.

    In recent years, it's been highly modified, and seriously upgraded. In May, I got rid of all my other distros, and went all-Puppy. With its light footprint, and being as easy on system resources as it is, Puppy absolutely flies on it.....and it will give any modern tower or laptop, running Windows, more than a run for its money! Even i7-based stuff.....

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 1, 2015 at 6:43 am

      Even while running Chrome? :D #trololololol

      • Mike Weldon
        November 13, 2016 at 10:13 pm

        Yep; even while running Chrome! Besides which, I, personally, package the 64-bit SFS packages of Chrome used by the community. On the 64-bit Pups, they open within around a second, thanks to employing a particular one of the multitude of command-line 'switch' options available to all Chromium-based browsers.

        Believe me, Chrome on Puppy flies with at least halfway reasonable hardware.....

  5. Raffy
    July 5, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Jlm, just copy the openoffice sfs (sfs4 version for Puppy 4.31 and newer) to /mnt/home and reboot (/mnt/home is where you have the save file).

  6. Jlm123hi
    July 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    i am fairly new to linux and i have tried live boots of ubunto puppy and mint 11 i liked puppy a lot it is the by far best i've tried from a boot disk the only problem is i am trying to install open office and can't figure out how plus, the archive opener is really annoying to use

  7. Chris b
    June 30, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Linux newbie here...  would this be a good way to install XBMC on a HTPC?

    • Danny Stieben
      July 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

      I believe that XBMC exists on Puppy, so it's definitely possible. I'm not sure how well-suited Puppy is for a newbie compared to regularly suggested solutions such as Ubuntu. I'd like to see what other people think.

      • Mike Walsh
        May 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        ''I'm not sure how well-suited Puppy is for a newbie...'

        Welll.....let's see. It's one of the very few Linux distros that offers a multitude of wizards to guide you through absolutely every aspect of setting it up. Normally, I would say that you need a wee bit of Linux experience before switching to Puppy.....but judging by the sheer number of newcomers joining the community these days, I'm guessing that's not a view shared by everyone. And it IS aimed, primarily, at ex-XP users; the interface is very similar to the XP layout.

        These days, XBMC is better known as Kodi, of course.....and we have several versions compiled by various forum members, working on Pups ranging from some of the oldest (2 & 3 series), all the way up to the current, 64-bit flagship Pups.

        The uses some Puppians put their hardware to is mind-boggling..!

  8. Scott Dean
    June 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    For situations such as priehl mentioned it is a good idea to get the best hardware tester I know of. UBCD or Universal Boot CD as it has many features for testing hardware before booting. That situation sounds like a memory error but could be other hardware as well. Before you boot Puppy test your system to ensure that no loss of data will occur. When I repair a PC I see if the PC is normally connected to the internet by phone modem if it is I pull the modem before I do anything else. Then I normally boot UBCD and test the memory, hard drives and processor. Then I boot Puppy (live CD) and back up all of the windows files to a different computer.

  9. priehl
    June 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Alas, the pup is not yet housebroken. I tried to install WINE, which prompted me to let it download something it needed. As soon as I clicked, it shut down my laptop, dead, instantly. It started up again without problem, but I didn't even know there was a way for it to shut down the laptop that quickly.

  10. Gentlemanbeggar
    June 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    It's great to see puppy getting a little love.  I've been a fan of this distro for years.

  11. WDS64
    June 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Puppy has kept a 1999 Compaq workstation usable for many years now. Installed wine and added a few Windows based portable apps and i can do most of the tasks i do on my  Windows XP machine. I have tried other versions of linux over the years but keep coming back to Puppy.  

  12. jasray
    June 28, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Uhhmmmm . . . try a Puppy distro with Qemu (not KQemu); you'll love the results.  Any machine, anywhere, anytime, and nothing left behind. 

    • Miggs
      June 28, 2011 at 5:58 am

      What's that?

      • Danny Stieben
        June 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm

        Qemu is virtualization software. It basically does the same task as VirtualBox, but is constructed differently. I haven't actually tried it myself, so I'm not sure if it's any better than VirtualBox.

  13. priehl
    June 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    AWESOME! Thanks for posting this. Over the years I have tried 15-20 flavors of Linux, and none has worked well on whatever machine I had - lots of digging around, tweaking, and in the end going back to the functionality of Windows. This puppy changes all that - it just works! Plus I love the fact that it's small and looks good. Perhaps elegance in software design is not a lost concept after all.

    • Danny Stieben
      June 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Yes, I was actually quite surprised at everything Puppy Linux could do, because before I always thought it was just a very small distro that was supposed to run on ancient hardware. However, it definitely has the capability to find a niche on any system. Right now I'm still in love with my Fedora systems, but if for whatever reason they fail me, Puppy Linux might be next in line.

      I'm glad you liked the article! :)

      • Marcovsky
        September 17, 2011 at 2:00 am

         just a question man...which do you think has been the best puppy linux version ever?...

        • Danny Stieben
          September 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

          I'd say the newest version, simply because it includes newer software and offers better hardware support than earlier versions.

        • Mike Weldon
          November 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

          Without a doubt, Tahrpup 6.05.....based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Closely followed by the classic 'Slacko' 5.7.0 (which I'm posting from right now.)