Software Purpose: I would like to be able to carry a small operating system on my USB stick, which allows me to surf the Internet.

Essential Requirements:

  • Installable on a USB device
  • Pre-installed features
    1. An up-todate browser (preferably Chrome, Chromium or Firefox)
    2. Flash installed
    3. Bonus: Java installed
  • Small, fast, light-weight
  1. Architecture: x86
  2. License type: Any

Budget: Free

tl; dr I'm looking for a maintained version of BrowserLinux 501. Sadly, it is no longer up-to-date.

  • I didn't try it myself, but maybe you're after Tails Linux (aka "Snowden Linux")? Tails is a live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity […] See also this Wikipedia article for a quick intro.
    – Izzy
    Jun 11, 2014 at 16:32
  • 1
    @Izzy Thanks for the comment. However, Tails is packaged with a lot of stuff I won't use (e.g. the erasure of the memory - it's been erasing for 26 minutes). Apart from that, its size amounts to ~900 MB (as opposed to BrowserLinux, which only has ~90 MB).
    – ComFreek
    Jun 11, 2014 at 17:40
  • Just out of curiosity, what's the use case for this? I can't see most people letting you reboot their computers to use it.
    – Bobson
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:00
  • 1
    @Bobson Occasionally, I encounter old PCs which I don't dare to start because of their endless loading time (and after X hours you notice that they still have IE 8 and FF 3 running on XP). An USB flash drive would come handy in such situations.
    – ComFreek
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:19
  • 1
    @unor It doesn't have to be Linux distro. Any other free operating system is welcome.
    – ComFreek
    Jun 12, 2014 at 10:00

4 Answers 4


Have you tried JustBrowsing? Seems to be what you are looking for.

[X] Installable on a USB device

"Boot from CD-ROM, USB, hard drive, I-ODD, or Virtual Machine."

There is an USB boot option on the Start Guide that guides you through.

[X] An up-todate browser (preferably Chrome, Chromium or Firefox)

"Releases are built with the latest version of Firefox (stable) and Chrome (dev)."

[?] Flash installed

I don't know if comes installed, but they cite Flash on Extensions.

[ ] Bonus: Java installed

I'm not aware of it; didn't see anywhere on the website saying anything about Java.

[X] Small, fast, light-weight

While the ISO image is not that small (~700 MB), they claim that the system is pretty lightweight:

"Designed with old machines in mind. Don't throw out your old computer, put JustBrowsing on it!"

[X] Architecture: x86

Supports both x86 and x64 architectures:

"Based on ArchLinux i686 (32-bit). Now available optimized for x86_64 (64-bit) too."

[X] License type: Any

IDK about which license they use exactly, but they claim:

"The JustBrowsing project is free and open source."

Maybe they use different licenses for it part of the whole solution.

"I'm looking for a maintained version of BrowserLinux 501. Sadly, it is no longer up-to-date."

JustBrowsing seems to be rather active. They have on the What's New page a section for Roadmap, Recent Changes, Project Goals and Changelog.

If you check the changelog page right now you can see that the latest version (nightly build) is from just a month ago (2014-05-25).

Not to mention that they are also on several social networks: Reddit, Tumblr, GitHub, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

  • That piece of software is exactly what I was look for :) Thank you very much.
    – ComFreek
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:44
  • Revising my former (now deleted) comment: The last downloadable version is from 20/02/2015. I received a fast reply from the author describing that this project is currently on hold while he is rebuilding his update/deploy mechanism from scratch (which unfortunately stopped working a while ago).
    – ComFreek
    Jul 29, 2015 at 8:02

You can have a complete operating system running on your usb stick. I do formatting and backups often so I set up an 8GB stick with a complete install of Fedora 20 XFCE and it works wonders. I have the following software installed and up-to-date:

  • Google Chrome (so I don't have to install the flash plugin)
  • Libre office Writer, Impress and Calc
  • Media codecs: mp3, mp4, mpg, mkv, etc. (with the rpmfusion repos)
  • Java 1.7.0 openjdk
  • Icedtea web (java plugin for browsers)
  • GParted
  • Gnome disks utility
  • aircrack-ng suite
  • chntpw
  • lshw

Among other software I use regularly. This usually fits my needs of a take-anywhere OS. Not to mention that fedora packages are almost bleeding-edge and there's plenty support for this distro. You may want to use a live stick if your storage is 4GB or less, but you'll eventually have to reinstall it due to live media limitations, and performance is overall poorer.


I use TinyCoreLinux, with which I've managed to get a full Linux OS and a browser (Opera, other browsers are available) in under 32MB, installed to USB. (WiFi drivers require considerably more space.)

The smallest full-featured distro I've found is Slitaz, which has a 35MB ISO. Includes Midori browser, office applications, media players, etc. I haven't tried installing it to a USB, but there are programs which can take any Linux ISO and convert it to USB. Support many WiFi cards out-of-the-box.

Both run on x86, both are free, and Flash and Java should be available in both. Both load and run straight from Memory, so they're fast.

Really, though, just about any recent Linux LiveCD would answer this question. (If you want Ubuntu package compatibility, I'd recommend Lubuntu.)

  • @Izzy - Revised answer.
    – Tiberia
    Jun 12, 2014 at 6:46

This is my opinion but here it is: You don't really need an OS to run on your USB anyway. :)

You could use Google Chrome Portable though. Here's how it works...

  • It's portable. Can just run on your USB.
  • Fast, has flash pre-installed
  • Runs exactly the same way as the normal Google Chrome
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Java: Might need to download Java portable for this one
  • Does not install anything on the host computer
  • Completely free

The setbacks....

  • Once in a while you need to update Google Chrome Portable manually
  • Google Update Service does not come part of the portable version
  • Java not pre-installed

You can find it here and make sure to click the "Download Now Sourceforge" button.

  • Thanks for your answer (+1), but I already have an USB stick full of Portable Apps software. I love it, but using it involves starting a PC, which I want to avoid. See my comment above.
    – ComFreek
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:22
  • (-1): While your answer is well written, I believe that it goes to far outside the scope of the question. Thus I believe if it should be here at all, it should be on the bottom. Basically along the lines of meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/3318/… Jun 12, 2014 at 8:32
  • @Oxinabox- I wasn't quite sure what you meant, but okay. Jun 12, 2014 at 13:50
  • You have gone outside the constraints of the question (I want a OS) to instead solve the overall problem. Sometimes (often) this is justerfied, but in this case I think not. Jun 13, 2014 at 13:02

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