Sunday, July 23, 2006

Portable applications - all you need is a USB! - Part I

So, was it obvious I would never post again! ;)

Anyways...good to be back. And I want to talk about those tons of portable apps I have been googling on. I think and I have come to realize that, you can almost run a PC from an external hard drive, or better yet from a 1Gb large USB thumb drive.

First of all, let's start with the heart of a computer -
Operating system. Hope you all have heard about Damn Small Linux. It's a Linux LiveCD distribution. Also, it sizes only ~50Mb. Another good distribution was Flonix which seems offline these days. Puppy Linux is only ~60Mb and is claimed to be a very good alternative as well. These distros come bundled with tons of portable applications such as Firefox and OpenOffice. There are also projects to create Windows on USB and Mac on Stick, but both include price of operating system thus making discussion worthless here. :)

Next thing you would need on a computer system is an office suite. On a local machine where you have huge space, you actually install an application like that. If you have huge pockets, you can go for a paid, complete suite such as Microsoft Office. Otherwise, OpenOffice or Star Office would do just fine. The good news is - OpenOffice is available in portable version. You can thank John Haller, and get his Portable OpenOffice. It's a terrific application. A must have for that USB stick..

I can't think of myself using any browser other than Firefox now. I get frustrated when I have to use some other's computer and FF isn't installed on it. There is a cure to that. And it comes in the form of Portable Firefox, again from the same developer, John Haller. So, now you can carry around your extensions, bookmarks, saved forms - just about everything you have on your computer!!

I think this much information is good enough to get you started. Get your USB stick loaded. All you need is 256Mb. I hope to add some more utilities in next edition of my blog, whenever I get a chance. I just need to dig out through my bookmarks. Expect details on portable anti-virus, firewall, media players, chat clients, photo editors, CD burners, compression's a long next blog!!! :)


Ankit said...

There's already a LIVE WINDOWS out there. I have all OS on CDs that can boot up from a CD and give me access to the contents of the hard drive.

tejas said...

I agree. But anything Windows includes money factor, which I was trying to avoid there. You can, however, with your Windows copy, create UBCD and Emergency Boot CD, which are live Windows CDs. [both are based on Linux, though]