In the trying it out section, we explored Knoppix to see if Linux worked on the hardware and see how it looks and works. This is an excellent, low-cost, low-risk way to dip a tentative toe in the Linux world and find out more about it without plunging in to a full install.
Now we've got a full install, but the live distributions (of which Knoppix is definitely not the only one!) still perform a very useful function - they allow an easy way to experiment, see what the other distributions have to offer, and try out new or different programs, again with very low risk.
There are many many live distributions to choose from, and we sample just a few of them here. Apart from Knoppix, we first take a look at the very popular, Gnome-based Ubuntu, here in its 2005 "Breezy Badger" incarnation. We also peek at the futuristic, Enlightenment-based Elive version 0.3, and more recently at the streamlined, Xfce-based Xubuntu Dapper Drake. Next, we take a look at the live version of Mandriva 2006, and compare with an advance peek at the radical new Mandriva 2007 live edition, including the Aiglx 3d desktop features.
In 2008, we take the latest versions of Mandriva 2008.1 and Kubuntu 8.04 and run them head-to-head, and then in 2009 we check out the very latest KDE 4.2 live CD to see what KDE 4 has to offer, and review the latest Debian Lenny live version.
Going ahead to 2010, we take a sneak preview of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx live to see what all the fuss is about with the window controls, and check out the latest version of Elive 2.0 Topaz to see how much has changed since version 0.3. Also we look at our first DVD, the OSGeo Live DVD, and compare it with a vanilla Xubuntu Meerkat live CD.
Finally, in 2011 we try our first USB-stick-based live system, the first release candidate of Debian Squeeze.