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Bootable Linux Demo Distro - Knoppix 215

Posted by michael
from the beautiful-work dept.
ts writes "Newsforge has an article about using Linux to recover Windows partitions. The interesting part is not only the article, but also the comment about Knoppix a Live-on-CD distribution of Linux. I just downloaded it and it booted from CD on a Shuttle Spacewalker SS25. AMAZING. Even the audio works. Have any /. users found interesting uses for this distro?" I've been looking for exactly this to use in demonstrations. Perfect.
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Bootable Linux Demo Distro - Knoppix

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  • No Pix? (Score:5, Informative)

    by oever (233119) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:07AM (#4007111) Homepage
    Well no, lots of pix. These are the specs of this Debian based distro:

    * Linux-Kernel 2.4.x
    * KDE V3.0.2 as the standard desktop with K Office and the Konqueror WWW-browser konqueror
    * X Multimedia System (xmms) an MPEG-video, MP3, Ogg Vorbis Audio player and xine
    * Internet connection software kppp,pppoeconf (DSL) and isdn-config
    * Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) Version 1.2
    * utilities for data recovery and system repairs, even for other operating systems
    * network and security analysis tools for network administrators
    * OpenOffice(TM), the GPL-developed version of the well-known StarOffice(TM) office suite
    * many programming languages, development tools (including kdevelop) and libraries for developers
    * in total more than 900 installed software packages with over 2000 executable user programs, utilities, and games
  • "Have any /. users found interesting uses for this distro?"

    Yes I used the diskette to prop my table leg up. I was able to replace the AOL CD I was using.

    Seriously though it could have problems with varying types of file systems. For instance the guy said he used it with ME, not with Windows 2K which uses NTFS. And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K so those files would pretty much be lost if you had that setup. Why not just create a recovery CD? If it's FAT there are a lot of ways to boot to it. Just my .02 cents worth.
  • Re:Another Just Like (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:13AM (#4007123)
    Here is the Adios Boot CD [], its a similar project, check it out.
  • by wavelet (17885) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:14AM (#4007125)
    We've used this distro for forensics and network trouble shooting.

    Because its on a CDR we know the tools are safe. We use dd to image a drive off via the network (piped to netcat/cryptcat), firewire, another drive etc etc... just add a few scripts to do some MD5 hashing an away you go.

    It would make network trouble shooting tool as well because you have your network tools, tcpdump, etherreal, etc to check out the network on any users desktop or laptop. You don't have to lug aroung your linux laptop.

  • Re:Another Just Like (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:16AM (#4007131)

    1. Option 1 allows you to run Linux entirely from RAM disk and CDROM. It first copies /var to a 16MB ramdisk and all other files remain on CDROM (/var includes /tmp, /etc, / home, /root, and /usr/local). This is the only option that will work if you only have an NTFS filesystem.
      1. Option 2 allows you to save configuration files, create users and build executable files in /usr/local/bin, but you can't install RPMs into /usr. It copies /var to a file inside the windows FAT partition the first time and mounts it each subsequent time you boot the CDROM (It also allows user to allocate 64MB to 512MB of FAT disk space for the /var and SWAP file). Option 3 allows you to install CDROM image onto the FAT filesystem. Copies CDROM to windows FAT partition the first time and then runs from the FAT file image on each subsequent boot (allocation of 1GB FAT file). Only requires CDROM to boot image on FAT filesystem (or boot diskette).
  • Seti@home (Score:4, Informative)

    by Perdo (151843) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:16AM (#4007133) Homepage Journal
    Full bootable Linux w/seti@home using my username. Perfect for every public machine I find that has network access w/dhcp enabled.
  • SuperRescue (Score:3, Informative)

    by XNormal (8617) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:18AM (#4007138) Homepage
    Take a look at H. Peter Anvin's SuperRescue [] - it's a full Red Hat system on a floppy. It uses zisofs compression to fit it all on a single CD.
  • What about SuSE? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Pibb (26775) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:41AM (#4007178)
    My (IBM Deskstar) hd died the week before finals last year. Luckily, I had ordered a free SuSE 7.2 LivEval CD (not sure if it's still offered). StarOffice, as well as Mozilla and Konqueror were all I needed to get my work done (and ftp my files off my comp). My K7V Dragon's onboard LAN and Sound were supported right off the bat, and I didn't have to have the 100mb of swap space on my HD it wanted for it to work well. You can get the ISO from here []
    Thanks, SuSE!
  • by Critical_ (25211) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:41AM (#4007179) Homepage
    Some more linux live cd distros:

    * DemoLinux -
    Dedicated to bootable Linux CD distributions.

    * LNX-BBC -
    Business Card Sized Open-Source Bootable CD.

    * Mondo Restore/Rescue Utility -
    Use a live bootable Linux CD for your system backups and recovery.

    * Linux - Live on CD -
    Linux - Live on CD. Hard disk not required

    * Dyne Bolic -
    Complete GNU/Linux operating system working without the need for any hard-disk.

    * Diskless Nodes - l
    Includes information on creating your own live CD.

    * Virtual Linux -
    Bootable Mandrake Linux distribution with 1.6 gigs worth of tools and toys on a single CD.

    FreeBSD LiveCD --

    NetBSD LiveCD --
  • by OSX ROOT (592558) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:52AM (#4007195)
    Mac's have booted off the cd before this, just hold down the c key, no need for a boot floppy or changing BIOS. it just works.
  • No Big Deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by archnerd (450052) <[] [at] []> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:20AM (#4007228) Homepage
    Linux Boot CD are not difficult to write. Here's how you can write your own in a few hours:

    1. Compile the system. There's a fanastic guide at [].
    2. Set the fstab up to place all read-write hierarchies on a tmpfs filesystem. This include tmp, var, and portions of etc. Have copies of the initial state of thse filesystems in a separate directory on the CD and set the bootscripts up to untar them at bootup.
    3. Compile a highly compatible kernel. Basically, enable most things that cannot be compiled as modules and compile all modules.
    4. Use devfs with compatibility links. it cuts down on confusion as to what devices exist.
    5. Create an ISO of the filesystem, being sure to enable all options required for bootable CDs.
    6. Install lilo into the boot sector of the ISO.
    7. Burn the CD.
    8. Reboot and pray.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:30AM (#4007239)
    Timos Rescue CD []

    This probably isn't as well suited for a super demo, but you can get the source, tweak it up as you want, and burn. Though the prebuilt iso is great as is for a rescue disk if you aren't into customizing it. Optionally the whole thing will load into RAM, freeing up the CD drive, say for if you've got data on CD that you want to access as well.
  • by ax_42 (470562) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:54AM (#4007275)
    For the simple reason that you can have the Knoppix CD along in your backpack and you have a complete, useable Linux system along. While this will not allow you to fix every possible problem (it can't repair fried CPUs, for example), it is a lot more useful than a DOS boot disk.
    For a rescue CD that fits on the small CDRs (of which I ALWAYS have a copy with me) check Timo's Rescue CD []. (Not my project, but I'm a fan). Plus, you can really show off Linux - pop it in the CD drive, boot it up, listen to the oohs and aahs. ax
  • our rescue disk (Score:3, Informative)

    by jsse (254124) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:55AM (#4007277) Homepage Journal
    for our windows OSs is actually a Linux boot disk with parted []

    (any major distro has parted) parted can copy, resize, move etc. partitions like a command line Partition Magic.

    Can't resize NTFS though, but we can still move it with dd.
  • by Kredal (566494) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:35AM (#4007320) Homepage Journal
    This is what you want...

    Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox []

    It will fit on one of those oddly cut business card sized CDs, so will of course fit on a 3 inch CD. Enjoy!

  • by IDkrysez (552137) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:18AM (#4007366)
    Don't forget PLAC, the Portable Linux Auditing CD, which is very cool: Project Homepage []... be sure to check out the design, they use a compressed system image on the CD, to fit a 200+ meg image into ~50megs! Tight.

    And the tools it comes with are designed for recovery and forensics, not demonstrating your sound and video cards.... so beware and enjoy!! The partitions are mounted read-only by default, for instance, and there are tools for undeleting files as well as for copying all data to a network-mounted filesystem, includes nfs samba ssh etc ;^]

  • Re:No Pix? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jmayer (144463) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:22AM (#4007374)
    That's for systems where you do not assign any swapspace on disk. Remove the swap line from your /etc/fstab, reboot and viola - no more kde :-)
    The essence is: without swap, virtual mem == real mem.
  • Re:No Pix? (Score:2, Informative)

    by egreB (183751) <berge&trivini,no> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @09:10AM (#4007577) Journal
    There's a similar distribution, called Demolinux ( It's been around for a while. There's no spec list on the site (though I browsed it quickly), but I remember it includes kernel 2.2, KDE 2.x, X on different drivers, a nice boot-up logo, loads of software (like xmms, xine, StarOffice, GIMP, etc, etc). On the News-page it states that the current release even has KDE 3.

    I use demolinux for showing off Linux to people, mostly at school. My sysadmin was mighty impressed (-8

    I talked to one guy, and he used Demolinux for cracking - he said it was ideal for booting up a computer in a Windows-based corporation, and his traces would be more difficult to find.. (-8
  • Re:No Pix? (Score:2, Informative)

    by TRyanC (37547) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @10:24AM (#4007778)
    egreB is reading at a threshold greater than -1, and didn't see the anonymous flamebait that "You're All Wrong" was responding to, which said something to the effect of "it needs the extra RAM to run a modern desktop, cuntbag". Not a very useful response.

    Now, getting back to the question, I assume it uses some of the RAM to make a /var and/or /tmp ramdisk, which isn't necessary on a read/write hard drive based system (such as your 48 MB machine).
  • by knopper (598305) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @12:30PM (#4008179) Homepage
    Some hardware is NOT auto-detectable at all, so you have to make "sane assumptions", or have a dialog ask you for your graphics card, monitor-type, everything...

    Question: Would the other operating system have auto-detected the correct display modes without you putting in a vendor-supported "driver floppy disk"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @12:49PM (#4008250)
    I've been playing with Knoppix for about two weeks now.
    1. I use it like a sandbox to try different applications. Great way for newbies to test drive Linux.
    2. A great way show off the interface of KDE 3.0 to my MS-user friends who judge O/S by their appearance.
    3. When I have visitors at my house who want to surf the net using broadband, I would remove my hard drive (from removable rack) and fire up this CD.
    4. Load this on a vacant computer at work and run Apache and Nessus. No, just kidding. ;-)

    By the ways, version 3 is a big improvement. It recognizes my second CPU. In short, I highly recommend downloading this CD.

How much net work could a network work, if a network could net work?