There should be an image here!xPUD may not be the first light weight Linux distribution to take up less than 50MB of disk space. But it’s certainly one of the simplest, fastest Linux distributions I’ve seen. And that’s largely because it’s still in the early stages of development and doesn’t support a ton of hardware or software yet. But it’s still pretty nifty watching a computer boot a full operating system complete with a web browser, media player, and BitTorrent client in just about 10 seconds. You can see it for yourself after the break.

The operating system has a kiosk-style user interface. In other words, there’s no start menu and desktop. Instead, there are a few tabs on the left side of the screen that let you tweak the settings, launch applications, or access files. Right now there are only a handful of applications available and when you click the utility for adding new apps, you get a message telling you the feature hasn’t been implemented yet.

You can install xPUD to your hard drive, although I wouldn’t really recommend it. Or you can download a ZIP file and prepare a bootable USB flash drive to boot the OS without installing it.

There’s also an unimplemented feature labeled “Switch Mode” that lets you “toggle into other OS,” which makes me think the goal is to develop xPUD as a quick-boot style operating system like Splashtop or HyperSpace. It could coexist peacefully on a hard drive with Windows, Ubuntu, or another operating system and give you access to a handful of programs a few seconds after you hit the power button. If you need more power, you’d toggle operating systems and boot into a full desktop environment.

Note: The xPUD download servers were extremely slow when I last tried them. But the files are mirrored at the following site (you’ll have to copy and paste the URL; clicking doesn’t work):

http://www.hp-umpc.com/xpud/

Check out the xPUD boot sequence after the jump.