6 Best Live Linux Distros in 2024

As of 2024, Linux is still growing in popularity, with more and more individuals switching to this open-source operating system. Using a Live Linux distro is one of the most significant ways to try out Linux without changing your machine’s configuration. A Live Linux distribution is a bootable image that can be run from a USB drive or DVD, enabling you to test the operating system without having to install anything on your hard drive. In this article, I am going to show you the 6 best Live Linux distros in 2024.

What is a Distro in Linux?

In Linux, a “distro” (short for distribution) is a complete operating system that consists of the Linux kernel, system utilities, and a variety of software applications. Typically, a Linux distribution is created around a package management system that enables users to quickly install and manage software on their computer.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Live Linux Distro

Choosing a Live Linux distro might be difficult, especially if you are new to Linux. There are numerous Live Linux distributions to choose from, each with a unique combination of features, advantages, and disadvantages. Here are some things to think about while picking a Live Linux distribution to help you make a wise choice:

  • Purpose and Use Case: Think about the Live Linux distribution’s use case and goal. Developers design different Linux distributions for various use cases, including general use, programming, gaming, and multimedia editing.
  • Hardware Compatibility: Even though Live Linux distributions generally do not support all hardware, Linux is known for its hardware compatibility. Consider using a distribution that supports your hardware, especially if it is older or less widespread.
  • Ease of Use: Choose a Live Linux distribution that is simple to use and has a user-friendly interface if you are new to Linux. Consider your level of experience when choosing distros as some have simpler interfaces than others.
  • Software Availability: Consider the software you require and choose a distribution that supports it. Make sure the Linux distribution you choose has the software you require because different Linux distributions have different software repositories.
  • Stability and Security: Choose a distro that supports the software you require after taking it into account. Make sure the Linux distribution you select has the necessary software because different Linux distributions have various software repositories.
  • Customization: Linux is known for being adaptable and customizable. If you have specialized demands or preferences for customization, choose a Live Linux distro that enables customization.
  • Community Support: Consider the level of community support available for the Live Linux distro. A strong community can provide essential resources, support, and troubleshooting support when you need it.
  • Update and Upgrade Policy: Check out the Live Linux distro’s update and upgrade procedures. Some distros offer rolling releases, while others use a more traditional release approach. Choose a distribution that fits your preferences and requirements.

Top 6 Live Distros in Linux

In the article, I’ll go over the top 6 Live Linux distros, along with links to their official download pages. To help you understand them better, I’ll list their key features as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Anyway, you can read the Comparative Analysis of Distros to get a comparable overview of them.

1. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a widespread Linux distro with an outstanding Live version. It is one of the best live Linux distros. It is easy to use, has an extensive range of software, and is very compatible with hardware. Several desktop environments, including GNOME, KDE, and Xfce, are available in the Live version.Ubuntu is one of the Best Live Linux Distros

Download Ubuntu

Click here to visit Ubuntu’s official download page.

Target Users

Beginner and intermediate desktop users, as well as server administrators.

Key Features of Ubuntu

  • User-friendly interface: Ubuntu is straightforward to use, even for beginners, because of its clear design.
  • Large software repository: There are numerous free and open-source programs available for download from Ubuntu’s vast and varied software repository.
  • Security: Ubuntu has safety features such as a firewall and secure boot to help protect users from threats.
  • Compatibility: Can be installed on a wide range of hardware, including laptops, desktop computers, and servers.
  • Regular updates: Releases updates regularly, including security patches and new features, to keep the system updated and functioning smoothly.
  • Community support: Ubuntu has a vast and active community of users and developers that provide support, answer queries, and help with troubleshooting.
  • Open-source: Ubuntu is based on open-source software, which implies that anybody has access to the source code.
  • Customization: Allows users to personalize the look and feel of the desktop environment with several themes and icon options.

Advantages of Ubuntu

  • Easy to use.
  • Large user community.
  • Updates regularly.
  • Extensive software repositories.

Disadvantages of Ubuntu

  • Resource-intensive
  • Some packages may be outdated.
  • Less customizable than other distros.
  • Less stable than other distributions.

2. Linux Mint

Another user-friendly operating system that is simple to use and has high hardware compatibility is Linux Mint. The Live edition of Linux Mint includes the Cinnamon desktop environment, which gives a classic desktop experience similar to Windows.Linux Mint is one of the Best Live Linux Distros

Download Linux Mint

Click here to visit Linux Mint’s official download page.

Target Users

Beginner and intermediate desktop users who want a user-friendly experience.

Key Features of Linux Mint

  • User-friendly interface: Linux Mint offers a user-friendly interface that is similar to Windows, making it simple to use for newcomers.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with a wide range of hardware devices and can run on older computers with limited system requirements.
  • Large software repository: Numerous free and open-source applications are available for download from Linux Mint’s large software repository.
  • Stability: Well-known for its stability and reliability, making it an attractive option for both desktop and server use.
  • Customization: Users can change the look and feel of the desktop environment in Linux Mint by choosing from a variety of themes and icons.
  • Privacy: Linux Mint prioritizes user privacy and does not collect any confidential data.
  • Multimedia support: Includes multimedia support for popular formats, making it simple to play music and video files.

Advantages of Linux Mint

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Large and active user community.
  • Access to extensive software repositories
  • Good multimedia support.
  • Good for beginners.

Disadvantages of Linux Mint

  • Some software may be outdated.
  • Can be resource-intensive.
  • Not as customizable as some other distributions.
  • Releasing cycle can be slower than other distributions.
  • Some hardware compatibility issues.

3. Fedora

Fedora is a popular distro among developers and advanced users. It’s one of the best live Linux distros in 2024. Its Live release provides a strong and stable Linux environment with the latest software packages and cutting-edge features. The Live version includes the GNOME desktop environment, but alternative desktop environments are also available.Fedora is one of the Best Live Linux Distros

Download Fedora

Click here to visit Fedora’s official download page.

Target Users

Advanced users, developers, and enthusiasts who want a cutting-edge Linux distro.

Key Features of Fedora

  • Cutting-edge software: Fedora is well-known for being a cutting-edge distro that includes the most recent versions of software packages and technologies.
  • Security-focused: Places a high priority on security and offers tools like SELinux and firewalls to improve system security.
  • Community-driven: A community of contributors developed Fedora, and its active and inviting community has made it renowned.
  • Open-source: Dedicated to open-source software and encourages the usage and development of free and open-source technology.
  • Easy installation: Comes with a user-friendly graphical installer that guides users through the installation procedure.
  • Stable: Fedora is a cutting-edge distribution that has been designed to be stable and reliable for regular use.
  • Multiple desktop environments: Provides users with a variety of desktop environments, including GNOME, KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXQt, and others, providing them with plenty of choices.

Advantages of Fedora

  • Up-to-date software packages.
  • Community-driven development.
  • Customizable.
  • Security-focused design.
  • Excellent developer tools.

Disadvantages of Fedora

  • Can be less stable than other distros.
  • Smaller user community.
  • Some packages may be less tested.
  • Less beginner-friendly than other distros.

4. Arch Linux

Arch Linux, also known as Arch, is a popular distro among advanced users due to its minimalistic appearance and customizable nature. The Arch Linux Live version is an excellent way to test out the distro before installing it. The Live version includes the Xfce desktop environment, although other desktop environments can be installed on top of it.Arch Linux

Download Arch Linux

Click here to visit Arch Linux’s official download page.

Target Users

Advanced users, developers, and enthusiasts who want a highly customizable and minimalist Linux distro.

Key Features of Arch Linux

  • Rolling release model: Arch Linux is designed on a rolling release basis, which means that updates and new releases are constantly merged into the distro, giving users access to the most recent software packages and technologies.
  • Lightweight and minimalistic: Arch Linux’s lightweight and minimalistic design is well-known for being extremely adaptable and adjustable to the user’s needs.
  • Pacman package manager: Uses the Pacman package manager, which is well-known for its simplicity and convenience of use in installing and updating packages.
  • User-centric design: With an emphasis on user control, customization, and simplicity, Arch Linux was created with the user in mind.
  • Open-source: Supports open-source software and encourages the usage and development of free and open-source technology.
  • Arch User Repository (AUR): The Arch User Repository (AUR), which offers a wide variety of user-contributed packages and applications, is maintained by a large and active community of developers who work on Arch Linux.

Advantages of Arch Linux

  • Lightweight and minimalistic.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Rolling release model.
  • Large and active user community.

Disadvantages of Arch Linux

  • Requires advanced technical knowledge.
  • Can be time-consuming to set up.
  • Can be less stable than other distros.
  • Less beginner-friendly than other distros.

5. Kali Linux

The Kali Linux distro was designed for penetration testing and security auditing. Its Live edition includes several tools for evaluating vulnerabilities and testing network security. Although Kali Linux is not advised for newbies, advanced users will find it to be an excellent tool.Kali Linux

Download Kali Linux

Click here to visit Kali Linux’s official download page.

Target Users

Penetration testers, security professionals, and digital forensics investigators.

Key Features of Kali Linux

  • Penetration testing tools: For ethical hackers and security experts, Kali Linux is well-known for its wide selection of penetration testing tools.
  • Security-focused: Kali Linux is built with security in mind, featuring capabilities like full disk encryption, network forensics, and intrusion detection.
  • Open-source: Since Kali Linux is an open-source distribution, anyone can view, modify, and share the source code without restriction.
  • Customizability: You can customize Kali Linux to your needs by using its several desktop environments and tools, which make it highly adjustable.
  • Live boot capability: Kali Linux can be run as a live boot from a USB drive, allowing users to test and use the distro without installing it on their device.
  • Wide community support: Kali Linux has a large and active community of users and developers who contribute to its development and offer support and resources to users.

Advantages of Kali Linux

  • Numerous penetration testing tools.
  • Security-conscious design.
  • Live boot capability.
  • Proper documentation.

Disadvantages of Kali Linux

  • Not ideal for everyday use.
  • May require advanced technical knowledge.
  • Less customizable than other distributions.
  • Security features may not be practical for daily use.

6. Tails

Tails is a USB-based privacy-focused Live Linux distribution. The developers have designed it to offer the highest levels of security and anonymity, with built-in encryption and online privacy features. Tails is an excellent choice for journalists, activists, and anybody else concerned with their privacy.Tails is one of the Best Live Linux Distros

Download Tails

Click here to visit Tails’s official download page.

Target Users

Privacy-conscious users who require strong anonymity features, such as journalists, activists, and whistleblowers.

Key Features of Tails

  • Privacy and Anonymity: Tails is built to provide strong privacy and anonymity features by using the Tor network to route all internet traffic and by providing several tools for encryption and secure communication.
  • Live Boot Capability: You can boot Tails from a USB device or DVD without having to install or modify the underlying OS. As a result, it can be used on practically any computer without leaving any digital traces of its usage on the host machine.
  • Security-focused Design: Tails is built with security in mind and has several features to guard against typical attack vectors including malware, phishing, and surveillance.
  • Open Source Software: Constructed entirely from open-source software, which means that anyone can inspect and edit the code. As a result, the project is transparent, accountable, and the community can contribute.
  • Portable and Easy to Use: Tails is intended to be portable and easy to use, even for those with no technical knowledge. The user interface is simple to use, and the included tools are easy to access and user-friendly.

Advantages of Tails

  • Security-focused design.
  • Leaves no trace on the system.
  • Can be run as a live boot.
  • Good for privacy and anonymity.
  • Good documentation.

Disadvantages of Tails

  • Limited functionality.
  • Not ideal for everyday use.
  • Can be less customizable than other distributions.
  • Some hardware compatibility issues.

Comparative Analysis of Best Live Linux Distros

Take a look at the table below for a complete and comparative analysis of the 6 best Live Linux distros presented in this article.

Distributions Based On Default Desktop Environment Size on Disk Release Cycle
Ubuntu Debian GNOME ~15 GB 6 months
Linux Mint Ubuntu Cinnamon ~10 GB 6 months
Fedora Red Hat GNOME ~2.5 GB 6 months
Arch Linux Xfce N/A (rolling release) ~610 MB Rolling release
Kali Linux Xfce Debian ~3.4 GB Rolling release
Tails GNOME Debian ~1.2 GB Rolling release

Conclusion

To sum up, Live Linux distributions offer an excellent opportunity to try out Linux without committing to a complete installation. Each distro has its own set of features, advantages & disadvantages, and target markets, so pick the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

People Also Ask

How do I choose the best live Linux distro for my needs?

When choosing a live Linux distro, keep in mind your specific needs and preferences, such as your level of technical knowledge, the purpose for which you’ll be using the distro, and any hardware specifications you may have. It’s also helpful to read reviews and do research to compare the features and performance of various live Linux distros.

Can I use a live Linux distro as my primary operating system?

It’s possible to use a live Linux distro as your primary operating system, although it might not be the best choice for everyday use. Live Linux distros are intended to be portable and lightweight and thus may lack some of the features and functionality of a full Linux installation.

Are there any security risks associated with using a live Linux distro?

In general, live Linux distributions are considered to be safer than installed operating systems because they don’t leave any traces of your activities on the computer you’re using. But you should still take security measures, like using a VPN and updating your system and software.

How do I save my settings and files on a live Linux distro?

Some live Linux distributions allow you to create a persistence file or partition, which enables you to save your settings and files between sessions. However, not all live Linux distributions support persistence, so it’s necessary to check before using the distro.

What are some of the disadvantages of using a live Linux distro?

Some disadvantages of using a live Linux distro are limited functionality compared to an installed operating system, slower processing speeds as running from external media, and limited storage capacity.

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Jannatul Ferdousi Sylvie

Hi there! This is Jannatul Ferdousi Sylvie. I am one of the Linux Content Developer Executives at Softeko. I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have completed my BSc. in Software Engineering from American International University-Bangladesh. You can see my projects in the GitHub account. I love traveling, shopping, cooking, and gardening. Read Full Bio

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