CD boots any PC as arcade machine

I've been finding out more about bootable CDROM operating systems over the weekend. First of all, they're called 'LiveCDs' - that made me wonder if Microsoft hadn't called it's new service Microsoft Live just to co-opt the name. Booting up with a LiveCD might come to mean booting up a 'Microsoft Live CD'. Or that might just be my enthusiasm running away with itself.

I tried out the Ubuntu live CD, that's a Linux distribution. I downloaded the CD image file, and burnt it onto a blank CD. It worked fine, booting my PC and configuring all the hardware and the network connection. It nearly worked fine on an old Dell laptop too, but needed a bit of tweaking to get the video display right. It was very slow to boot on both machines. Somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

Much faster to boot was KnoppixMame - that's a bootable games CD, again Linux, with the Multi Arcade Machine Emulator loaded onto it. The download isn't supplied with any games(ROMs), so the CD needs to be remastered to add the games - that's a real hassle, but once it's done, the CD boots any PC as an arcade machine with a custom selection of classic arcade games. It's more limited in the range of hardware it picks up and you'd want to keep your hardware configuration simple to get sound working.

So that's just two, but LiveCDs have subtly altered the way I think about PCs - before my PC was a 'Windows XP box' - now it's a PC that happens to have WinXP on the hard disk. The OS doesn't own the PC anymore.

Posted by Alexander at November 22, 2005 12:05 PM

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a better option is installing linux on a usb thumb drive. The distro Pentoo ( a customized gentoo ) livecd actually has some support for this, and it gives you a very powerful tool where ever there is a computer with a usb port, and the ability to boot from it. Most modern day computers have that option. This method is much faster then booting from optical media.

well, of to searching again good luck in the *nix world.

Posted by: kloudt at December 16, 2007 05:04 AM