The LOW Risk Linux Adventure...
So, you've got (or are mid planning/assembly of) a carPC. And like so many of us, your plans are becoming more fluid as you learn about more technologies. Which OS, is best, which front end, hardware, etc. the list goes on.
But installing linux is risky.. The learning curve, walking away from the things you know and love in windows. For some, the risk is just too high to explore further. But what if you could load linux w/o installing it? --yeah actually HAVE run, load, see, learn, play with, explore, fiddle, you name it.. ALL w/o ever enduring the linux install process.
Well, you can. http://www.frozentech.com/content/livecd.php (I'm partial to KNOPPIX) is a list of "LIVE LINUX CDs".
Live Linux is a bootable cd w/ linux on it.. LiveLinux 'borrows' your PC's hardware (mem, hd, peripherals, etc) only for the durration that boot.
"When you're done w/ live linux, remove the cd and reboot."
With live linux, you can:
<> save/restore session data to a windows disk or folder.
<> install/run Linux applications onto/from a windows disk or folder.
(Though, Linux must be running to use those linux apps)
Q: So I just download the CD.IMG of a LiveLinux cd, burn it and boot from it and I have linux running?
Q: Do need to create a Linux partition to keep linux data on?
A: No, session/configuration/ even linux applications can be kept on your windows partition/file system.
Q: What does LL install on my system when I boot with it?
A: Some temporary files are used.. but they're removed at shutdown. --generaly speaking there is no evidence that linux was ever on the PC after a reboot. (but for configuration data that you would have opted to write to disk)