name = Finnix

caption = Finnix 89.0 "about" boot screen
developer = Ryan Finnie
family = Linux
source_model = Open source
working_state = Current
released = birth date and age|2000|03|22
latest_release_version = 92.0
latest_release_date = release date|2008|06|28
language = English
kernel_type = Monolithic (Linux)
supported_platforms = i386, amd64, PowerPC, UML, Xen
updatemodel = APT
package_manager = dpkg
ui = Console
license = Various
website = []

Finnix is a Debian based Live CD operating system, developed by Ryan Finnie and intended for system administrators for tasks such as filesystem recovery, network monitoring and OS installation. [ [ Linux Complete Backup Recovery and HOWTO] ] [cite book
last = Smith
first = Roderick
title = Linux Samba Server Administration
edition = First Edition
publisher = Sybex
pages = 463
year = 2000
isbn = 0782127401
] Finnix is a relatively small distribution, with an ISO download size of approximately 100 MiB, and is available for the x86, x64, PowerPC, User Mode Linux and Xen architectures. Finnix can be run off a bootable CD, USB thumb drive, hard drive, or network boot (PXE).


Finnix development first began in 1999, making it one of the oldest distributions released with the intent of being run completely from a bootable CD (the other Live CD around at the time was the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card CD, first released in 1999). [ [ - A tale of two Linux bootable business cards] ] Finnix 0.01 was based on Red Hat Linux 6.1, and was created to help with administration and recovery of other Linux workstations around Finnie's office. The first public release of Finnix was 0.03, and was released in early 2000, based on an updated Red Hat Linux 6.2. Despite its 300 MiB ISO size and requirement of 32 MiB RAM (which, given RAM prices and lack of high-speed Internet proliferation at the time, was prohibitive for many), Finnix enjoyed moderate success, with over 10,000 downloads. [ [ Original Finnix site archive] ] [ [ SourceForge Finnix 0.03 download page] ] After version 0.03, development ceased, and Finnix was left unmaintained until 2005.

On 23 October 2005, Finnix 86.0 was released. Earlier unreleased versions (84, and 85.0 through 85.3) were "Knoppix remasters", with support for Linux LVM and dm-crypt being the main reason for creation. However, 86.0 was a departure from Knoppix, and was derived directly from the Debian "testing" tree. [ [ Finnix project history] ]


Finnix is released as a small bootable CD ISO. A user can download the ISO, burn the image to CD, and boot into a text mode Linux environment. Finnix requires at least 32MiB RAM to run properly, but can use more if present. Most hardware devices are detected and dealt with automatically, such as hard drives, network cards and USB devices.cite journal
url =
doi = 10.1109/MPRV.2007.84
author = Surie, A.; Perrig, A.; Satyanarayanan, M.; Farber, D.J.
journal = IEEE Pervasive Computing
pages = 24 - 30 (27)
year = 2007
title = Rapid Trust Establishment for Pervasive Personal Computing
volume = 6
issue = 4
quote = Finnix provides both excellent support for devices and automatic hardware detection. It's suitable for our purposes because it boots quickly and has a small footprint.
accessdate = 2008-06-28
] A user can modify files nearly anywhere on the running CD via UnionFS, a filesystem that can stack a read-write filesystem (in this case, a dynamic ramdisk) on top of a read-only filesystem (the CD media). Any changes made during the Finnix session are transparently written to RAM and discarded upon shutdown. In addition, Finnix uses SquashFS to keep distribution size low. [ [ Finnix frequently asked questions] ]

Finnix can be run completely within RAM, provided the system has at least 192 MiB RAM available. If a "toram" option is passed to Finnix, most of the contents of the CD are copied to a ramdisk, and the CD is ejected, freeing the CDROM drive for other purposes. [ [ Finnix "cheat codes"] ] Finnix can also be placed on a bootable USB thumb drive, or installed permanently on a hard drive.

Finnix is available for several architectures. The primary (and most popular) architecture is x86, but a nearly identical functioning distribution is released concurrently for the PowerPC architecture. In addition, Finnix is aware of both the User Mode Linux and Xen virtualization systems. In particular, the Finnix x86 CD includes a system called Finnix on Finnix, which, through UML, can boot multiple concurrent instances of Finnix, using the same CD the main Finnix instance was booted from. [ [ Finnix architectures] ] UML and Xen Virtual private server providers such as Linode can provide Finnix as a recovery/maintenance distribution to their customers. [ [ Finnix available for use with Linode] ]


New versions of Finnix are released every 3 months on average, with updated software from the Debian "testing" tree, along with new Finnix-specific functionality. Major releases usually include major functionality changes, while minor releases usually include minor fixes and Debian updates to bring Finnix's packages up to date with Debian's "testing" tree. Development branches are named after cities and towns in Wisconsin.

* "Code names" in Finnix refer to the development cycle leading up to the release, and not the release itself. Releases are signified by version number.
* Versions with two package counts in the table above represent x86 and PowerPC package counts, respectively.


External links

* [ Finnix homepage]

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