I read about a Porteus, a Linux distro which is designed to be run from USB.

I liked everything about it, but I prefer distros that are Debian derivatives. (Like Debian itself, Mint, Ubuntu, etc.)

I am interested in something similar to Porteus, but based on Debian. I want to have all my applications, data, settings, etc. around with me on a flash drive and be able to boot into it from a variety of computers. I'm not interested in a "persistent" Live USB, I want a real installation, a distro which is made to be portable.

I realize that I could just install Debian or Ubuntu on a flash drive. But that's not what I'm asking for. I'm asking for a distro that is built with portability in mind, like Porteus.

I have heard about "Damn Small Linux", but it seems so tiny and lightweight. The computers I use typically have decent hardware. Is there a more full distro out there that will fit my needs?

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    You might wish to take a look at Knoppix. While it usually boots from a CD, it can use a stick for your home directory – and AFAIR you can move the entire system to the stick as well.
    – Izzy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:41
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    As I wrote: it gives you the option to do so on a USB-stick (or SD-card). Knoppix then uses a kind of "overlay file system" to blend that writable storage in with the system (as it does for installs and everything else).
    – Izzy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:49
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    If I could tell that, I'd made it an answer :) I'm not sure, but I'd say yes: the stick is not read-only, so I see no reason for a restriction to read-only. It is an option however when running it from the CD.
    – Izzy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 15:28
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    @Izzy Cool, I'll give it a try. Might post an answer here eventually.
    – Fiksdal
    Apr 15, 2016 at 15:30
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    Great! If you tried it and it fits, definitely consider to answer your own question :) Good luck!
    – Izzy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


DSL small Linux distro was developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. With the time this project expanded into a large community with thousands of developers dedicating their efforts to DSL. You get fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a USB device, floppy disk, or a hard drive.


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