"Knoppix is a GNU/Linux distribution that boots runs completely from cd. It runs a complete linux distribution based on Debian, of recent linux software and desktop enviroments, with programs such as OpenOffice.org, Abiword, The Gimp, Konqueror, Mozilla, and hundreds more quality open source programs, compressed from 1.7GB to fit on a 700MB CD. It's default windowing enviroment is KDE, but comes with Gnome, windowmaker, blackbox, enlightenment and many more."
Some related links:
I booted the Knoppix Live CD under VMWare4. Even when loading it from an ISO across an SMB share , I was quite impressed with how fast it was. Scary that Linux running under VMWare on my computer is faster then Linux on my laptop. --Wim
See also Linux Distributions