How does a live OS work?

It’s my understanding that live OS' typically create a “RAM disk”; i.e., they allocate part of the system’s memory for disk-like purposes. They then install themselves onto that RAM disk and give the user an interface that allows file manipulation; but, when shut down, no traces remain (unless the user explicitly mounted the local disk). Does anyone have any interesting resources on how the process actually works? The best thing that I have seen so far is this. However, it does not refer to what I am looking for. I am looking for an in-depth technical explanation of how the entire process works, and how the OS is actually mapped to memory.

Is there a distinction between a live OS and a bootable OS, or are they interchangeable?

submitted by /u/ibuydan
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