OSGeo-Live is a free, open-source and full featured operating system derived from Xubuntu, an official flavor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution built around the lightweight Xfce graphical desktop environment. The main emphasis is on geospatial software.
It’s distributed as Live DVDs and Virtual Machines
This Xubuntu-based operating system is distributed as two Live DVD ISO image of approximately 4GB in size each, a standard one and a minimal one, with fewer software packages. They are dual-arch and hybrid ISO images that support both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware platforms and can be written on either DVD discs or USB thumb drives.
In addition to the Live DVDs, the distribution can be downloaded as virtual machine images that can be used in various virtualization software, such as Oracle’s VirtualBox. Both the standard and mini editions of OSGeo-Live are available as VMs.
Features a standard boot menu
The boot menu is quite standard for an Ubuntu-based distribution, allowing the user to start the live system with default drivers, in safe graphics mode, in text-only mode or in debug mode. In addition, you can start the installer directly, perform a memory test or boot from the local drive.
The default graphical desktop environment is powered by Xfce
As mentioned, the distro is derived from Xubuntu, which means that is borrows its graphical desktop environment, Xfce. It comprises of a single taskbar located on the upper part of the screen, from where you can navigate the main menu, launch applications, cycle between virtual workspaces and interact with running programs.
It includes some of the best open-source geospatial software
Some of the best open-source geospatial software is included in this distribution, such as OpenJUMP, AtlasStyler, GeoPublisher, GRASS GIS, gvSIG, Kosmo, OssimPlanet, Quantum GIS, SAGA GIS, SpatiaLite GIS and uDig.
It also includes applications for crisis management, navigation, spatial data manipulation, maps, browser clients, and many more.
A bootable Linux OS for geospatial applications
Summing up, OSGeo-Live is without no doubt a great operating system for geospatial applications. It is based off of Ubuntu and includes some of the best open source software packages, so you won't have to install anything else.