Taking a note from the Knoppix book, Apple will be releasing a lite version of OS X – code named Kitty, in honor of their feline naming conventions – which will run from a bootable optical disc.
Knoppix is a Linux distro that only runs from a booted cd. Recent version allow users to even save files from within the Knoppix OS to the system’s local hard drive. What started as a terrific tool for trying out Linux without the commitment of partitioning a hard drive has turned into a real world solution which banks are starting to adopt.
Apple has developed Kitty, a lite version of OS X that will run on any machine, when booted from optical media. It’s still unclear whether or not the media will be CD or DVD, but it seems fairly obvious that a DVD would be required for the features OS X offers. Still, it’s being labeled a Lite version, so there’s no definite yet.
Being a Lite version, no additional application installations will be possible. Users/Potential Switchers will be able to save and edit files just as Knoppix offers, but they will be limited to using the OS X-included applications. Versions of TextEdit, Safari, and Terminal are all expected in some form, though the Lite description may extend to the apps as well. iLife doesn’t seem to be a viable option, but there is no specific mention one way or the other on this either.
Apple sees this move as a strategic way to offer their flagship product to still-weary users. After seeing and using the Apple OS on some level, and then with the recent release of the Mac mini, there should be little to stop Apple Computer.
“Kitty” is expected to be available about the same time that Tiger – the new (and full) 10.4 version of OS X – hits the shelves, and will probably retail for as much as $20, but may very well be less – free? – based on the target of the product.