Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Puppy Linux

You're in for another nice surprise, however, when you realize what Puppy seems to be missing -- namely, nothing. There's so much software available with Puppy right out of the box (yes, it is also available on a pre-burned, boxed CD) that some of those hefty, multi-CD distro behemoths should seriously think about going on a diet.

If you heard that Puppy relied too heavily on obscure, oddball desktop software, don't worry: That's no longer a problem. In fact, I think Puppy is the first distro that a Linux geek can give to a Windows-enthralled friend without having to make any apologies or excuses. I used Mozilla and Firefox, along with Macromedia Flash, for Web browsing; ABIWord and PlanMaker as more-than-worthy Microsoft Word and Excel work-alikes; and plenty of other software that will keep you working -- or playing, if you prefer, since there are games here, as well.

Of course, Puppy offers a windows manager to run on top of its X Window System. In fact, it offers three: FVwm95, designed to mimic the Windows desktop, JWM, and iceWM. These aren't the usual suspects, and although they're all usable with Gnome and KDE environments, you admittedly won't find the same bells and whistles in these window managers that you'll find in a full-fledged desktop environment. But all three of these managers are built with size, speed, and simplicity in mind, which means they're the right choices for Puppy.

The Making Of A 'Puppy'

The name "Puppy" fits this distro well in many ways, but there's at least one big exception to the rule. When it comes to the innovative thinking that went into creating Puppy, this distro definitely does not follow the pack.

  • 1