Anyone happen to know of a livecd distro that could easily have CUDA installed on it? One already made?

It’s not too hard to make a custom Ubuntu LiveCD.

I used Reconstructor with 7.04:

There are some other programs available too. Basically, you create a “fake” boot partition using the data from a LiveCD, chroot into it, install the software you need and configure, and then the program packs the install into an ISO image for burning.

I used a Scientific Linux 5.1 (RHEL 5.1 rebuild) live CD to test CUDA on a new system. The computer had lots of RAM, and the root filesystem was read-write thanks to unionfs, so I just used yum to install gcc and the rest after I booted the CD. Then I installed the NVIDIA driver and CUDA toolkit, and was able to verify that basic examples worked.

Of course, if someone made an Ubuntu live CD (ok, maybe DVD) that could run CUDA apps, and even had nvcc on it, that would be awesome!

Actually I think it would be a very smart idea for NVIDIA to put out a livecd including the latest driver, sdk & toolkit for 32 & 64 bit. That way people can test out really quickly how fast their computer can become by using CUDA.

I wish I had time to make a LiveCD, but the situation doesn’t merit it. I can help/advise/hint if anyone’s ready to put a few hours in.

Hmmm, Ill have to look into this now.

I tried installing the Nvidia drivers on a Ubuntu 7.04 livecd but I failed miserably. Also the Linux side of the machines I was using for testing is kind of out of commission for awhile.

Think it would be possible to create the image in a VM(on a comp without a Nvidia card)?


I had looked into building Gentoo LiveCD’s for use in building binaries and/or to provide users a quick working environment to test their machines. However, I gave up after finding out how complicated the LiveCD creation process is in Gentoo. looks very simple. I’ll see about building an Ubuntu LiveCD (or DVD) with a full nvcc development later this week. I should even have the web space to host it.

If you dont have the space I’m sure I could get my college todo it easily. Or maybe just act as a mirror for you.

I have a working Ubuntu 7.04 x86_64 livecd now with NVIDIA drivers and an installation of the CUDA 1.1 toolkit. There were plenty of hiccups on the way, but I saved a nice shell script that does everything so it will take much less effort to master a new livecd when CUDA 2.0 comes out.

I have some temporary space to post the beta ISO. After someone other than me reports that it works and/or helps debug the any issues, I’ll remaster the livecd and consider it non-beta. At which point, I’d like to reclaim the lost space on my college personal website ;) Does anyone have a better solution for hosting the final livecd(s)? The only other option I can think of would be to seed a torrent from my home desktop.

A) What I added to the livecd:
envy installed NVIDIA drivers 169.12
NVIDIA CUDA Toolkit 1.1

*My motivation for creating the disk in the first place is to provide an execution/build environment for HOOMD ( which requires boost.

B) To make room to keep this on a 700 MB CD, I removed:
non-english language packs
the “Examples” ubuntu puts on the desktop

C) Modified dexconf to setup xorg.conf with the nvidia driver
Note: X on the livecd should still work on non-nvidia card machines, but I don’t have any such machines to test :(

Suggestions needed!

  1. It currently has the default ubuntu splash screen. Should it be updated? I don’t have the art skills to do that, and will take any help I can get. See the requirements in the documentation at
  2. Is a 32-bit livecd needed, too? Most machines are x86_64 these days…
  3. It would be nice to install the CUDA SDK samples, but I’m worried about the disk space usage. Anyone have any ideas?
  4. Any other suggestions are welcome.

… I will be uploading the beta version later today. I’ll post a link when that completes, which might not be until tomorrow morning (April 19)

Edit: Lousy smilies…

I have a vastly underused Dreamhost account with ridiculous bandwidth quotas. I’m totally happy to host this long term once some people report it works (can’t check at the moment).

Edit: Feel free to PM me a link and I’ll mirror once the ISO is available.

It seems the SDK does fit, at least after removing the object files. The ISO is 699.9 MB, so it fits :) I’ll be uploading tonight and providing a link tomorrow morning.


Mines still in ‘beta’. Testing it is kind of annoying since I don’t actually own a supported device. Have to run to a lab every time…

I did get a nice amount of space for a permanent mirror though :)

Here is the iso (finally).…beta-x86_64.iso

$ md5sum ubuntu-cuda-1.0_beta-x86_64.iso
0762fced8a67ea472872cf4e3da26456 ubuntu-cuda-1.0_beta-x86_64.iso

I’m trying to download a copy to setup a mirror of the ISO, but wget is getting stuck at byte 519569408, and then the connection closes.

That is strange. I get the same kind of issue here despite being on a GbE connection to the server… The first download worked with some hiccups, and the 2nd timed out around ~500MB.

The webserver seems to have recovered, and I’ve finished the download.

If anyone is having trouble with the link above, a copy of the ISO is now at:

It seems to be a quite speedy network connection, so go nuts. :)


32-bit OS’s are so last century.

Still, it shouldn’t matter what bit OS on on the live CD or what other operating systems are installed on your HD. The point of a live cd is that you boot off of the CD directly.

Although anyone with a modern GPU will definitely run into trouble the the ancient LiveCD posted above. It’s running CUDA 1.0 which doesn’t support any of the newer cards. If there is truly a need an updated liveCD could be created based on CUDA 2.2 (or 2.3 when it comes out). I, however, am way too busy at the moment to have the time to build a new one. Maybe I will in a month or two if no one else steps up.