Puppy Linux 4.2 – Super Fast Linux – Quick Review and Screenshots

The Fastest Linux Ever?

Puppy Linux is a popular Linux distribution that runs on less than 128MB of Ram.

We reviewed the June 2009 release v.4.2 of Puppy Linux, which comes in a 110 MB file download from their website, or from accepted mirrors.   The iso file is then burnt to CD and runs as a Live CD.  After installing the Live CD into RAM, I experienced my HP Laptop (2GB RAM) run faster than I’ve ever seen with any other OS or Linux Distro.

Bootup is fast and intelligent

The bootup sequence asks a few questions, such as if it has detected your mouse and keyboard correctly. It also gives you a chance to select, and preview, a suitable display for your monitor.  Lastly, you are given the choice of which X Server to load – bare-bones,Xvesa (Standard Graphics), or the recommended default Xorg (Advanced Graphics). The desktop environment is JWM, which is intuitive and well-organized.

Feel the Speed of RAM

Once you have reached the desktop screen, your entire session has been loaded into less than 128MB of RAM on your computer.  Your hard drive and CD ROM drives are not touched (unless you save files to them).  If you haven’t experienced it yet, you must feel the power of a computer running on RAM.  There’s no delays.  No skipped beats.  The nerve center of your computer asks almost human-like, action – response –  Scary!

Desktop Layout

Everything is very nicely placed on your desktop.  A lot of thought must have gone into where to put what elements.  The left top side of the screen has quick link icons, with a gadget that makes it easy to drag additional icons to the desktop.  The right side of the screen is for widgets, and has a gadget to choose and add from dozens of available widgets.

Puppy Linux Initial Desktop
Puppy Linux Initial Desktop

Wireless Network Support

I ran Puppy Linux on my HP Laptop and was able to connect, after several minutes of tinkering, to a secure wireless network.  This was one of the few kinks in the Puppy Distro.  I clicked on the Connect icon on the desktop and had to repeat the steps of scanning for and connecting to a wireless network several times until I got it to work.  The average user may have given up after a couple tries.


Like every great Linux Distro, Puppy Linux has its own repository PET. When you want to add new packages, you can do so through the package manager, or just GET PET  – what an infectious phrase.  The thin-client targeted default installation comes with hundreds of very useful apps.  The repository gives you access to much of everything else.  Tough decisions on which packages to include (or exclude) in order to keep away from product bloat are discussed on the Puppy Linux website.  For example, Sea Monkey is the default browser, and the Sea Monkey email package comes installed.   The website FAQ explains the difference between Sea Monkey (by Mozilla) and Firefox means a savings of over 40 MB, which is required to get everything in to the target RAM budget.

Great for Network Clients

Puppy Linux is suitable for thin-clients, and can be booted from a network, USB Flash key or hard drive (buy why?).  There’s a nifty setup menu that gives you step by step instructions on how to install Puppy Linux on to your USB Flash drive.

Save configuration to your CD

One of the nice features of Puppy Linux is that you never have to touch a hard drive, and can even keep all your settings and added files to the original live CD.  The program writes the changes since your last session to a file that contains an EXT2 file format onto another session of your Multi-Session CD.

Or you can simply write your files to a USB or Hard Drive, and keep files the “old-fashioned” way.  As strange as it sounds, your Multi-Session CD is still probably the best archival system out of the three choices.

Look and Feel

Here’s a gallery of the menus and pages of the very pleasant looking Puppy Linux.

The desktop is based on GTK2 theme.  We found the desktop and selection of apps very appealing (and fast!).


Linux Puppy has just enough of the right tools at the right place to become a definite powerhouse in companies looking for a thin client OS.  There are still many rough edges to the interfaces and setup menus, which are easy enough for experienced Linux users to handle.  Users who are new to Linux or who have less technical skills may find the configuration questions too complex.

Corporate managers looking for a thin client solution could create a network installation and offer a carbon copy to all users on the network.

Puppy Linux is an innovation.  Make no mistake, this is not just an attempt to shove as much as possible into a small download.  The potential is great here to make a lasting mark for Linux in the corporate market.  Other tools, like Xubuntu, are also treading down this path, and this is a good thing for Linux and for computer users everywhere.

There’s a great Linux distro in the making here, and it’s no mistake that Puppy appears number 8 on distrowatch.com.  Its easy to see how many users who have tried this distro are in Puppy Love.

Can’t get enough of Puppy Linux? Check out our review of Puppy Arcade, a Puppy Linux derivative with retro video game emulation based on TurboPup Xtreme.

35 thoughts on “Puppy Linux 4.2 – Super Fast Linux – Quick Review and Screenshots”

  1. Nice review but what’s the point of testing Puppy Linux in a 2 Gb RAM machine. I think it would have been better if you would have tested in a older machine

  2. Great review there man! My personal experience with puppy linux reveals that there is some perfecting still to be done.For example, things crash unexpectedly, especially if you install firefox browser,but the seamonkey browser is not quite as bad, but still has its fair share of crashes.If a lot of blueprinting went into this o/s, it would be a microsoft challenger big time as it costs nothing, is very user-friendly, uses very little electricity, and is capable of running on practically any hardware available.

  3. Reliability of Firefox is hampered by the proprietary flash module – this effects all of Linux – are Adobe hiring incompetent programmers? – maybe they need to go open source?
    Bless them their little empire.

    Anyway Puppy is creating its own browser

    Using a new programming language – Vala and Genie

    Up in he clouds

    Coming soon – Pet Store

    We are Puppy
    Great review – we deserve it 🙂

  4. Hi I was one of the builders for that release and it was a true love affair, lol You forget to try the shut down script 🙂 If you click men/shutdown and select the advanced tab, you can select ‘Switch to IceWM”
    click that and 2 seconds later you have a whole new window manager with 5 themes, I made the Icewm themes and built the package, the IceWM window decorations have Paw prints, lol I figured that would suite puppy just fine 🙂
    anyways always nice to read a great review.

  5. The great thing about Puppy is the age range of computers you can use, I have it on a pentium 1 toshiba libretto with 64mb ram and a swap partition that enables an ancient mini laptop to function as a word processor/work machine and much more. Also for a year one of the desktops my kids use had a broken ram slot which meant ubuntu and xp (dual boot)really struggled I was able to give my kids a functioning computer with open office by using puppy as a live cd, saving the session to the windows hard drive.

    I am mainly an Ubuntu/Linux mint user but The tools I use most often (from the puppy live cd)are the Benchmarking tools which I use to compare my equipment.

  6. i have to download puppy linux (puppy-4.1.1-k2.6.25.16-seamonkey.iso)in rar (zip )formate .how to make iso of this file and how to make bootabal usb pendrive pl. mail me thais solution ….

  7. have to download puppy linux (puppy-4.1.1-k2.6.25.16-seamonkey.iso)in rar (zip )formate .how to make iso of this file and how to make bootabal usb pendrive pl. mail me thais solution ….yogesh.agara@gacl.co.in

  8. Fantastic – this is the OS that turns the computer into an appliance. Works on a wider range of hardware better than anything else I have ever tried. This is really eco software because it allows use of hardware otherwise discarded. Ten stars.

  9. I installed 4.2 on a older Gateway desktop with 384Ram and 550mhz P3.
    I cannot believe how well it runs.It recognized all the hardware and I am using a LAN connection which did require some configuration.
    But after trying Ubuntu which simply is getting bloated like every other OS out there. Puppy manages to still cater to those older machines with less muscle behind them.

  10. I installed 4.2.1 and 4.1.1… BOTH FAILED a very basic need.. Unable to connect to Internet… via LAN and ASDL
    The configuration package is a loop of failure.

    The OS sure looks interesting but didn’t get very far.
    Could not find a solution. Bottom line… Crash and burn on takeoff!!!!

  11. I got on with my PCMCIA wireless card in my old P III with 1GB ram. This distro is very fast and is much nicer looking than older versions of Puppy. It rocks-great job!

  12. My windows installation has got messed up, and of course I had not backed up recently. However I had a couple of Linux distro CDs so I first tried Ubuntu, which enabled me to backup my data , but had various problems running, so I tried Puppy 4.2 and so far am very pleased with it. It is a bit quirky but I guess I can get over that.

    This version seems to have Firefox (Bon Echo) as its main web browser. No problems with that.

  13. We use two derivatives of Linux, Puppy Linux and PCLinuxOS. Puppy Linux is clearly the fastest Operating System we have ever used. It is shrunk and streamlined for amazing performance. Although it is requires some learning of Linux to use, it is very user friendly, often taking the time to alert the user as to what it is up to, as well as polite, subsequently asking for permission to continue. The community found at the online forum is by far the one of the most outstanding and friendly ones we have found. It is an excellent way to learn the world of Linux.
    PCLinuxOS is also fast, owing to it’s i586 compiled arcitecture, although not as fast as Puppy. In exchange, it is sizeable and full featured, requiring little to no knowledge of Linux and working out of the box for most contemporary hardware. It is for people who just want an excellent operating system without having to learn new tricks.
    Some of the most popular applications for Windows have originated from Linux. Firefox, which has revolutionized web browsers, is a Linux child. Windows users also regularly use OpenOffice, GIMP, and Filezilla to name a few. One of the primary concerns for people switching from Windows is parting with their familiar Windows programs. Have no fear, for Linux comes with an excellent Windows emulator, called Wine. We run Photoshop CS and World of Warcraft with no complications or fear of viruses or spyware which haunt Windows users!
    There is a Puppy derivative called Tipsy Puppy which has not only Wine built in, but also XFCE, a superior window manager than the default one for Puppy, and even Compiz-Fusion as well, an amazing program which adds special visual effects to the windowing system. The author of Tipsy has decided to host it at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3FPIREF0.
    We went further and compiled our own Wine because the latest stable release does not suit our needs, and did so specifically for our CPU arcitecture, so that it runs even faster!
    We have also compiled Wine geared to Pentium, Opteron, and Athlon processors for PCLinuxOS. Contact us if you would like help with any of these. We can even burn a Live Installer CD for Linux and send it to you. Welcome to the world of Linux!

    Read the original article:

  14. I use Ubuntu as my prime o.s. at home, but Puppy Linux is with me everywhere I go. I installed it on a usb stick and can run it on just about any computer around. This makes it so nice for the owner of the borrowed computer as I don’t leave anything on his system. Means at times I can travel without carrying my laptop. Another advantage is, with everything in your pocket if the laptop is ripped off, the thief won’t get your important stuff, (if you have saved it to the usb stick).

  15. I popped a Puppy Linux CD into my old W98 era DELL laptop and was astounded that it quickly identified my old Belkin pcmcia WIFI card. I was on the internet in minutes. That sold me. Since my CD is a bit flaky, I did the frugal install, and though the computer has only 80MB of memory, Puppy works fine. I did install the minimalistic DWM window manager, and I’m off and running.

    On the extreme other end of the scale, I tried Puppy on my just purchased Compaq laptop with 2GB memory. Again, the wifi card was immediately identified, and internet connection established in minutes. I’m oscillating between Knoppix (which also runs well on the new laptop) and Puppy. I’m leaning towards Puppy for its impressive compilation of handy utilities. It’s surprisingly hard to beat.

  16. i’ve been using windows xp for a long time.. it has slowed down and corrupted.. i thought of downloading xp again to reinstall as i had deleted the image file i was provided.. and then i came across this puppy, by which i was captivated.. its speed and portability. this pet is just great.. 🙂

  17. I have tried to connect to a network for several days.
    It does not work.
    The newest Puppy Linux, 5-somewhat is almost dark.

  18. I installed puppy it is a good change from windows xp(installing just one program can cause it not to shutdown for over ten minutes usually meaning a re install of xp to fix)I like it so much Im not going to use microsoft again.Im going to install Ubuntu on my laptops and use puppy on my desktop.

  19. We are testing the new release of 5.2.8 on an i7 tosh as a outside self loader since it loads in the ram.
    Iam and above average use doing Ministry Video looking the best editor and the new 64 bit edition may be what I am looking for but I love this setup and manager. I love windows 7 but were still looking to escape the corporate bondage
    Victory John

  20. It’s a beautiful distro. and it’s so fast. I use the old version (4.12) and run well on my pentium 4.

  21. Puppy also features sophisticated write-caching system designed to extend the life of USB flash drives that Puppy Linux runs from.

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