Linux MultiBoot USB Keys


I’m looking to launch a USB key offering to make it easier for new (or experienced) users to try out different flavours of Linux without doing all the leg-work required to download images and make them bootable. This is what I have working at the moment;


I’m using 64GB Kingston keys, so I should be able to get between 8 and 10 full DVD sized distro’s on one key. These are all live DVD’s so you can boot up your machine on any of these distro’s from the USB key and try it without installing anything on your hard drive.

Anyone have any thoughts re; what would be a good combination of Distro’s to put together?

Although Mint is based on Ubuntu the desktop is sufficiently different to appeal to some users, so I would suggest that one.
I did have a go at Debian once but it was too hard for a novice like I am, so having it on a USB would be great. Do I assume correctly that one would be able to install from the USB?

I’m very much in favour of this project - well done you! I’ll buy one.


Ok, so MINT should be easy and it’s one of the ones I was thinking about, I’m just not really that up on the popularity if different distros. The idea is that you boot from the USB, either your computer will be set up for this or you may need to tweak the BIOS and mark USB BOOT as the first device it tries to boot from.

First thing you see is the menu (above) or similar but with more alternatives. After selecting one of the menu items, it should chain onto the boot menu for that specific image. Typically it will then offer you thinks like “Try the Live CD or Install”. That said, Ubuntu (and I think Debian and others) launch the Live CD and present a working desktop, with an install option there on the desktop.

So yes, all should be Live CD with an install option. (with the possible exception of SystemRescue :slight_smile: )

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Excellent! I know you have a lot on at the moment, but do you have a planned launch date?

Mmm, need to set up a “shop”, write an ad / article, get a few more images tested … maybe next week?

You have the .deb’s covered with Zorin,Debian,Ubuntu and .rpm with Fedora how about a arch distro like Manjaro. Also maybe one of antiX,Bodhi,Puppy for people with an old low spec computer that might be sitting about unused?

Mmm, I did look at Arch but I’ve never used it. Would raw Arch be a good idea, or Manjaro? I have used Bodhi and quite like Enlightenment, but I wasn’t sure if they did a Live CD, will add it to my list of distro’s to look at. Not really come across Puppy or antiX do they have specific use-cases?

In terms of low spec computers, I was looking at XUbuntu, which is based on XFCE … but I’m starting to wonder whether I should be looking at collections, there seem to be half a dozen official flavours official distro’s, then lots of independents. I think I may’ve spent too long with Ubuntu, losing track :wink:

Lots of people on the Forum seem to be using Xubuntu. and I like it, too. So it has my vote to appear on your USB.

Puppy linux is designed to run off a USB stick rather than be installed (although it can be) and antiX is designed for old computers and is quite a bit lighter than even XFCE based distros.

Ok, I’ll take a look at antiX … Puppy might be a slightly different animal (pardon the pun), but it sounds more like a rescue tool. I’ll have a look, there might be some mileage in having a tools option which provides non-desktop distro’s which are designed to run off USB.

Mm, so I’ve added MINT, Manjaro, antiX, Bodhi, Puppy … just testing XUbuntu, OpenSUSE, PopOS, Arch and Gentoo. Kinda running out of ideas, there’s lots of distro’s that are “like” other distro’s and “based” on other distro’s …

I had a look at @whonix , it does look useful but it looks like their ISO is experimental and not ready to roll just yet.

Any other thoughts before I stick KUbuntu on there and call it “v1.0” ?

Your proposed list looks very comprehensive for a first version. It has my vote.

Ok, tweaked the list slightly … has technical issues with Pop!_OS and OpenSuse so I’ve dropped them. There were also issues with key verification for the System Rescue CD so I’ve dropped that for now.


Also includes Gentoo and Kali, but they’re off the bottom of the screen.