Skip to Main Content

Introduction

Zest is a fast bootable Linux Live CD based on Debian stable branch. The main aim of Zest is to be 99.9% compatible with most modern firmware particularly most (if not all) wireless drivers available (up to date of latest release) so that one can use it on any laptop and connect to the Internet without any further driver installation and configuration. The Live CD is totally generated by a bash script using DebianLive live-build package.

The name Zest was chosen to show that this Live CD is Debian GNU/Linux in its purest form, combined with a list of packages and drivers without the extra bloat. The ISO is also a hybrid image, meaning that it can be either burned on a CD or else transferred on a pendrive for persistent storage of any user customizations.

Zest Philosophy

Zest was built mainly for the Linux enthusiast. In fact it is more of a console based system and many commands have to be actually typed. The GUI features a wallpaper, and the dwm window manager including a simple status bar and a mouse pointer.

We are no GUI enthusiasts because we believe that, although using a GUI is much simpler and convenient, one has to actually type commands and analyse the output and logs in order to learn how to use a system. Also, text based systems are faster in execution. For this reason, we aim to provide packages that the experienced Linux user can utilize to perform jobs using the terminal instead of the GUI. These packages can also be used to write various bash scripts.

Since Zest focuses mainly on wireless drivers, we included the chromium web browser in the live system as well as w3m with the image extension and links2 for some fast text mode web browsing. No other specific packages were included and the user is left free to choose which packages to install. For example, although the bluetooth firmware is included, there is no GUI package provided for bluetooth operation. However one can easily install the blueman manager.

Screenshots

Download Zest

The Linux kernel version is 2.6.32-5.

ISO file
Click here to download the main ISO file. You can then transfer it on a CD using any CD/DVD burning program. The ISO can also be transferred to a USB pendrive. There are many online tutorials on how to do this. If you are using Linux, you can use the simple dd unix utility and issue the command dd if=/path/to/your/isofile of=/your/usb/disk. The main advantage of transferring it to a USB pendrive is persistence. In this way, your settings are saved to disk and are not lost once the system is shut down or restarted. In order to use persistence, you have to create a new partition on the drive and label it live-rw. Then at the boot prompt, press TAB and type the word persistent after the boot parameters.
MD5 Checksum
Click here to view the MD5 checksum of the ISO. This can be used to verify that the ISO file was successfully downloaded, without any corruption.

Download Agreement

Since Zest is free of charge (and without support), by downloading it, you declare that you accept the following agreement:

THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL SOFTWARE. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. ZEST.COM.MT CAN NOT BE HELD LIABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR DAMAGE TO HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE, LOST DATA, OR OTHER DIRECT OR INDIRECT DAMAGE RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE. IN SOME COUNTRIES THE CRYPTOGRAPHIC SOFTWARE AND OTHER COMPONENTS ON THE CD ARE GOVERNED BY EXPORT REGULATIONS OR SOFTWARE PATENTS, WHICH MAY FORBID DISTRIBUTION OR DOWNLOAD. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS. IF YOU PLAN TO COMMERCIALLY USE OR DISTRIBUTE (AND SELL) THE SOFTWARE, YOU HAVE TO ACQUIRE THE NECESSARY LICENSES AND PERMISSIONS FROM ALL SOFTWARE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS OF NON-FREE SOFTWARE COMPONENTS, OR REMOVE THESE COMPONENTS BEFORE DISTRIBUTING THE SOFTWARE.

Contact

Feel free to send an email on info [at] zest [dot] com [dot] mt with any suggestions. Your email will be surely considered but unfortunately we cannot promise to reply back to every email.

F.A.Q.

How do I change the keyboard layout?
Open a terminal and, as root, type dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration.
How do I operate the window manager?
Pressing Alt-Shift-Enter will open a terminal where commands can be typed. For more information refer to this tutorial.

Changes for version 2.1

Changes for version 2.0

Copyright © 2012