Slax is a Live operating system based on Linux. Live means it runs from an external media without any need for permanent installation. Slax boots from USB mass storage devices such as Flash Drive keys as well as from regular hard drives and CD/DVD discs. Simply plug your device in and boot from it. Entire Slax operating system resides in a single directory /slax/ on your device, making it easier to organize with your other data.

Slax provides FluxBox window manager already preconfigured for the most common tasks. Included is a Web browser chromium, Terminal emulator xterm and simple text editor leafpad and calculator qalculate. You can put Slax on wide range of different filesystems, including EXT (ext2,ext3,ext4), btrfs, and even FAT and NTFS.

When Slax is started from a read-only media such as CD/DVD, it keeps all system modifications in memory only, and all the modifications are lost when you reboot. On the other hand, if you run Slax from a writable device such as USB Flash Drive, it can store all changes there, so all your configurations and modifications are restored next time you boot, even if it is on a different computer. This feature is known as Persistent Changes and you can read more about it in a separate chapter.

You probably noticed that Slax is available for 32bit and 64bit processor architectures. The 32bit version is designed to run on very old computers (as old as Intel 686; that dates back to 1995). It will run properly on brand new computers too, but it is somehow bigger download. Furthermore it has a limitation that single application can address only 4GB of RAM. On the other hand, the 64bit version is smaller, does not have such limitation, and it will run on most computers available nowadays. So in general, if you plan to use Slax on very old archaic computers, then choose 32bit. If your intention is to use Slax on machine made in this century, you better go for 64bit. And if you don't know what your target hardware is, go for 64bit too, because the chance you'll ever see a 32bit computer nowadays is almost zero.

Slax 32bit versionSlax 64bit version
Processor:i686 or newer CPU, all Intel processors
and AMD processors will work
An x86_64 CPU, like AMD Athlon 64, Opteron,
Sempron, Intel Core 2/i3/i5/i7, and others
Memory:128 MB of RAM for desktop
512 MB of RAM to run Web browser
128 MB of RAM for desktop
512 MB of RAM to run Web browser
Peripherals:CD or USB drive to boot fromCD or USB drive to boot from
Optionally:network card, sound cardnetwork card, sound card

Slax is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) as published by the Free Software Foundation. Slax is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; use at your own risk. The GNU GPL license requires that all source codes are published so others could reuse it, modify or learn from it. You can trust me, this is very good idea - without it, there would be no Slax at all. Slax itself shares most of code with Debian, whose source code is as well publicly available.