MandrakeSoft has released a version of its Mandrake Linux 9.2 operating system distribution that allows users to boot a personalised desktop from a single CD. MandrakeMove is designed to allow users to be more productive on the road, while filling niches not yet explored by Microsoft with Windows.
The product is similar to bootable-CD distributions released by other companies, including LindowsCD, released earlier this year, which have mainly been used for demonstration or training purposes. Unlike LindowsCD, MandrakeMove allows users to store encryptable system settings and application data on a USB key -- an inexpensive removable storage device that attaches to a PC's USB port.
The software also allows users to remove the MandrakeMove CD-ROM in order to access data on other discs.
Like similar products, MandrakeMove boots directly from the CD-ROM, with no installation or hard disk access required. When the PC is restarted it returns to its previous state. Mandrake's product is compatible with most Intel and AMD processors, and requires 128MB of RAM.
The boxed version uses the KDE interface and includes the Microsoft Office-compatible OpenOffice 1.1, games, educational applications, and commercial applications such as Nvidia drivers, Acrobat Reader, RealPlayer and Flash Player. It is available for pre-order for 69.90 euros (£50), including a 128MB USB 2.0 storage device.
MandrakeSoft is also offering a beta version for free download that doesn't include commercial software or the USB key feature.
Industry analysts -- and dominant Linux distributor Red Hat -- say that Linux is probably not ready for widespread desktop use yet, although it is highly successful in the server market. A Forrester Research survey of 65,000 households earlier this year found that significantly less than 1 percent had deployed Linux.
Forrester has said that CD-bootable distributions are likely to appeal mainly to Linux hobbyists.