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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
    • Actually, I think it's redhat based. The website describes installing
      software via rpm and using kudzu to autodetect hardware.
      • Actually, I think it's redhat based.

        However, the website [knopper.net] also states that:

        The following Highlights are available in version 3.1 of this Debian-based (www.debian.org [debian.org]) CD:

        A case of schizophrenia, perhaps?

      • Re:No Pix? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Rufus211 (221883)
        except that it most definetly is Debian based.
        Debian Planet article [debianplanet.org] blockquoth:
        Based on
        Debian woody 3.0, Knoppix 3.1 has KDE 3.02, OpenOffice.org 1.0, Gimp 1.2 and kernel 2.4.
        also check out the packages.txt (seems to be /.'d by now):
        Gew?nscht=Unbekannt Installieren R Entfernen P S?ubern Halten

        | Status Nicht Installiert Config U Entpackt Fehlgeschl. Konf. Halb install.
        |/ Fehler? (keiner) Halten R Neuinst. notw X=beides (Status, Fehler: GRO? schlecht)
        ||/ Name Version Beschreibung
        +++--
        [...]
        yeah, it's in german (and I had to mutilate it to get it past the junk filter...blah), but look familiar? Exact output from `dpkg -l`
    • I thought it was "Graphic" image manipulation program...
    • This may sound a silly question, I ask it genuinely.

      {{{
      16 MB of RAM for text mode, at least 96 MB for graphics mode with KDE
      }}}

      !!!!

      Does it really take 96MB to have KDE up and running? WHY?

      My Linux setup has 48MB RAM, and I run the much maligned bloatware _emacs_ in X, and I can happily edit 10MB text files without hitting swap.

      What does KDE do with that extra 48M that I'm not doing without it?

      YAWIAR.
      • Re:No Pix? (Score:3, Informative)

        by jmayer (144463)
        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.
      • As far as bloatware goes, emacs is no longer even close to the top. Netscape, Mozilla, KDE, gnome, X itself, etc all have it beat in terms of memory consumption by a large margin.
    • Re:No Pix? (Score:2, Informative)

      by egreB (183751)
      There's a similar distribution, called Demolinux (http://www.demolinux.org). 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
  • "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.
    • i have actualy used this at work. i started a job at this place and they had a computer with a lot of important information on it. the person who used it quit and always logged on as administrator on windows2k. i booted off of this cd, got an xterm and it even mounted the ntfs partition automatically. i just ftped what they needed to the file server.
    • First a (minor) correction - W2K allows you to use NTFS. It's not mandatory, you know.

      Most of the W2K installations *I* consider to be wise have a small boot partition for W2K (~4 Gigs - W2K and Windows apps are bootdisk space hogs [sigh]) which uses FAT, just so that any disk-analyzer can find out what's wrong with it THIS time. Then put all data and programs on a secondary NTFS partition, which can be accessed when you've either

      1. rescued the FAT boot partition
      2. Re-installed W2K
      The last option is rarely needed for an average user (they do it anyway, though), but for a developer (like myself) it's necessary with intervals of ~6 months - sigh (but that's due to DLL bloat, most of the time). If the NTFS one fails (rather unlikely barring physical disk damage) you can repair it using any of the tools already available for that job. I never ever had to repair anything running on NTFS, though. Solid as rock.

      This approach has saved my a** more than a few times...

      • We have a similiar problem here (testing CD-ROMs, therefore we need any combination of e.g. winxx+servicepackyy+internetexplorerzz+with/withou t quicktime installed)
        What I did was setting up a seperate linux partition and a boot-menu, allowing you to restore previously done disk images of the systems. Much faster than reinstalling and _guarantees_ the exact same configuration you started this.
        Wouldn't that make your job easier (the 6 month reinstall cycle)?
        • It would indeed - except the problem is that I don't want the exact same configuration 6 months later. New versions of half the applications, new much-needed Service Packs from M$ and so on. That said, I usually have IT service from my company put an image on the machine when needed, but I find that I use as much time upgrading/installing my apps as I would installing it all in the first place. But your idea is interesting if I make regular images of my *own* W2K installation though - maybe I should give it a try...

          Besides, having Linux on it is ALWAYS desirable :-)

          • But your idea is interesting if I make regular images of my *own* W2K installation though - maybe I should give it a try...

            That was indeed what I meant, images of the original install was the right thing in our case, it is clealry not in yours.
            With a little scripting&boot manager magic + perhaps wake-on-lan one can even do scheduled nightly images.
            Add to that netcat+dd for windows (look on google for it, there's a standalone version), and it might really be possible to that on a live system (this is dangerous though, I assume) over the net.

            But what might be nice could be nightly differential backups, but since we have no use for that, I didn't try this.
            It might come in handy for you, though. See for instance Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync [mikerubel.org].
            Sound neat.

      • Yeah, I once had an NTFS partition go south because of a disk driver/chipset problem. NT refused to touch it (refused to mount it because it had errors; various utilities gave up). So I took the disk out and stuck it in a RedHat system, but I had to recompile the kernel to turn on NTFS reading. It worked great -- I was able to recover various important files. Of course, I had to reboot a lot, because once I touched a bad part, it would hang.
    • >>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.

      Well, files might not be accessible from linux while encrypted, but you could just turn the encryption off before toasting Windows...
    • And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K so those files would pretty much be lost

      NTFS encryption is an option that can be set on a volume/folder/file basis. You have to manually turn it on, so it's not like "oh this is a win2k box, this means all the files are encrypted and we are screwed".

      On another note, you don't lose the encrypted files as long as you back up the encryption key (not hard). Using the file system encryption without backing this up is very irresponsible since a dead installation, system drive failure, etc will cause these files to be lost.

      You act like file-system encryption is a bad thing. Oh wait, it's something from Microsoft and this is slashdot... never mind.
      • On another note, you don't lose the encrypted files as long as you back up the encryption key (not hard). Using the file system encryption without backing this up is very irresponsible since a dead installation, system drive failure, etc will cause these files to be lost.

        That is true, but I'd hardly call it irresponsible. Win2k/XP does not warn you about this at all when you encrypt a file.

        I used encryption on a couple of files, and then my Windows install died so I had to reinstall.

        It was only after I had done this that I realised I couldn't get my files back - basically the only way to get them back was to go back in time and archive the encryption info before my installataion failed.

        I guess it's kind of obvious when you think about it, but it would be really great if MS popped up a little dialog about this the first time you ever encrypt a file.

        I wonder how many people have files encrypted on an NTFS volume, and don't realise how easy it is to lose that data. Luckily for me, I had backups of the files in question.

        I just checked the help in Windows XP, and it certainly doesn't make this problem clear, even if you go looking for it. If you happen to know what a 'designated Recovery Agent' is, then you might find the information, but it's by no means obvious.

        Tim

        • You are absolutely correct, there should be a friendly warning.

          I learned this lesson the hard way a few months ago when I upgraded my development box from 2000 Server to XP Pro a few months back. Since it won't let you do that as an upgrade and all I had on my C: drive was my Windows installation, I didn't think twice before telling it to just reformat the C drive....

          Bybye porn collection
    • I've been looking at this for a couple of weeks. Didn't try it on a 2k box, but it works just fine on 98se, ME, and XP Pro. Mounts the drives just fine. The WINE had problems running XP executables, but the 98se exe's worked fine. I even had the Starcraft map editor running in it no problems. Only problem I ran into was on one machine I had no sound,which had an SB16 ISA card, so I thought that was a little odd. Other than that, it works like a hot damn. I ran off copies for my parents to use to boot their computers in case Windows goes out to lunch on them (which happens, and they wait a month for me to visit and fix it) and they need to access the web. We're also looking at using it to replace a company's desktop OS with, as it does everything. We just need to modify it to accept a few presets and everything should be golden.
    • 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 [sourceforge.net]. (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
    • A little short sighted today? You can use dd to move your encrypted file system. You can use the network tools to verify your network. You can verify your hardware to be functional. Sound works with the cd, but not with windows. You can do so many diffrent things, if you choose to.

    • And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K ...

      Man, with an encryption layer NTFS must be even more blazing fast than the last time I checked. ...

  • 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.

    • >>Because its on a CDR we know the tools are safe.

      Huh? What does it being on a CDR have to do with whether or not you can use it to modify the HD contents?
      • >>Because its on a CDR we know the tools are safe.

        >Huh? What does it being on a CDR have to do with whether or not you can use it to modify the HD contents?

        I think he means that because it runs off a CDR, you know it won't be tainted in the case of a breakin or a virus/worm running around screwing things up.

  • 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.
    • That's cheating. The spirit of Seti@Home is to find aliens, or something. So, it's helpful. However, I don't think it's ethical for one to extend your scores using other peoples' computers. Make a generic account for that purpose, or else hereafter be labelled Bob. Yes, Bob.
      • I don't want to be labeled Bob so I'll let you in on a secret:

        I'm downloading the Knoppix english version right now. It will take me a while to understand enough about Linux to create a bootable Seti distro that will work on any machine I put it in.

        It's purpose will be to boot linux/seti on my many machines without altering their existing OS installations/software suits.

        A freaky neat disk would be able to boot both x86 and PPC.

        Key words: I own every machine I run Seti on.
  • Well i did it several times, and i used redhat in the process, compile kernel to read NTFS and FAT32 volumes, and reboot, and voila, u can restore ur windows partition.
  • 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 [kernel.org] - it's a full Red Hat system on a floppy. It uses zisofs compression to fit it all on a single CD.
    • by ElMiguel (117685)
      it's a full Red Hat system on a floppy

      On a floppy? He must be using lzip [sf.net].

  • weird I read the same article and saw the same comment. I didnt download it though.. Tell me how it is! looks cool.
  • by dotgod (567913)
    back in the day when pc's started coming standard with HD's, everyone was like "cool, now we don't need to boot from a disk" Isn't it odd that we're now back to being impressed by an OS that can be booted from a removable medium?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm involved in a HMI lab where we develop user interfaces ( GUI, hardware, ... ) in conjunction with the users ( navy submariners ). Being separated by 4000km we use an in house distribution similar to this ( inspired by linux from scratch ) to run our prototypes on there PCs and, via video conference, discuss the prototype.

    Just boot off the CD straight into the prototype, linux installation not needed, and when finished hit the reset button and remove the CD.
  • Distro for mum (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    How about this.

    Customize for your mother, put in all her ISP setup details, configure the desktop for web browsing and email, allow her to print email,pictures.

    Make it simple for her to use.

    I haven't done this yet, but when I get some time.
  • What about SuSE? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mr. Pibb (26775)
    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 [ibiblio.org]
    Thanks, SuSE!
  • by Critical_ (25211) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:41AM (#4007179) Homepage
    Some more linux live cd distros:

    * DemoLinux - http://www.demolinux.org/
    Dedicated to bootable Linux CD distributions.

    * LNX-BBC - http://www.lnx-bbc.org/
    Business Card Sized Open-Source Bootable CD.

    * Mondo Restore/Rescue Utility - http://www.microwerks.net/~hugo/
    Use a live bootable Linux CD for your system backups and recovery.

    * Linux - Live on CD - http://www.ocslink.com/~blunier/
    Linux - Live on CD. Hard disk not required

    * Dyne Bolic - http://lab.dyne.org/DyneBolic/
    Complete GNU/Linux operating system working without the need for any hard-disk.

    * Diskless Nodes - http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/Diskless-HOWTO-3.htm l
    Includes information on creating your own live CD.

    * Virtual Linux - http://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-linux
    Bootable Mandrake Linux distribution with 1.6 gigs worth of tools and toys on a single CD.

    FreeBSD LiveCD -- http://livecd.sourceforge.net/

    NetBSD LiveCD -- http://www.netbsd.org/Changes/#live-cd
    • Don't forget PLAC, the Portable Linux Auditing CD, which is very cool: Project Homepage [sourceforge.org]... 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 ;^]

  • by rickymoz (533931) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:59AM (#4007199) Journal
    When talking of Linux, a lot of people think it is still like DOS. When I tell them to boot the computer and in the meantime inserted Knoppix, they go like "wow! that's Linux?!?!" Usually the boot takes 3 minutes and I guarantee them I don't change anything on their disk. Telling them that they have 8000 USD value software on this disk and show them things like OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, The GIMP, KOffice, the games, they can't utter a sound.

    Even me, when I discover a new Knoppix CD, I cannot believe my eyes: every latest version is on it and it's running rock solid.

    • they go like "wow! that's Linux?!?!"

      "Like, It has windows and menus and everything!" People who are that easily impressed by an operating system aren't the best case studies of the mind-blowing advancements in UI that Linux brings to the world of computing. Heh.

      Telling them that they have 8000 USD value software on this disk and show them things like OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, The GIMP, KOffice, the games, they can't utter a sound.

      Neither can I after reading the above. Suggesting that those half-dozen pieces of open source software are in some meaningful way "worth $8000" is bordering on the ridiculous. I thin what you mean to say is that they might adequately substitute for $8000 of commercial software. I would be quick to add that more often than not they don't. Hell if more than a few people agreed with you then Adobe, for example, would go out of business for lack of sales in the Photoshop department. Everyone would be downloading GIMP. Follow me? Most people don't find them adequate substitutes.

      This kind of breathless Linux advocacy is almost as bad as what one can often find on Macintosh discussion sites. In either case it doesn't do anyone any favors.

      That reminds me of one other thing about the original post. "AMAZING." What is amazing? Booting a functional OS off a CD? Shit, I've been doing that for years and years on Macintoshes. I even have 50 little boxes at work that have no hard drives, just boot Linux off the CD and serve as email / browsing stations for students in the university coffee shops. I'm not seeing anything amazing here. "Even the audio works." (insert gasps of amazement here.)
      • I'm not seeing anything amazing here. "Even the audio works." (insert gasps of amazement here.)

        Having used Linux since 1.x days, on a variety of nasty, obsolete, and far-too-new hardware, I'm gasping in amazement.
        I never got sound working :)

  • No Big Deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by archnerd (450052) <[nonce+slashdot.org] [at] [dfranke.us]> 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 linuxfromscratch.org [linuxfromscratch.org].
    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.

    • Re:No Big Deal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mr. Mosty-Toasty (449993) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:36AM (#4007384) Homepage
      It is a big deal if you do it like Klaus Knopper, the author, did it: He uses cloop [knopper.net] to transparently decompress the CD-ROM image. Thus he can stuff 1.8GB on a 700MB disk.
    • by Aceticon (140883) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @09:36AM (#4007629)
      1. Compile the system. There's a fanastic guide at linuxfromscratch.org [linuxfromscratch.org].
      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.
      9. ???
      10. Profit
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:30AM (#4007239)
    Timos Rescue CD [sourceforge.net]

    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 Sankt_Nelson (459558) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:53AM (#4007273)
    We are runnning a Network in a large Student Apartment House, with about 500 PCs connected.
    Whenever someone starts shouting: "Hey my network doesn't function and it's all your fault!"
    You just go there, pop the knoppix CD into the drive, surf to slashdot, download some mp3s and tell him: "Nope, it's yours."

    You would not believe in how many ways you can misconfigure a personal firewall!
  • 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 [freshmeat.net]

    (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.
  • FreeBSDToGo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zanzar (33471)
    I've created a piece of software which makes it rather trivial to create custom bootable FreeBSD CDs. With a little work, it could be used to make a bootable CD with the same functionality as Knoppix. Sadly, I have yet to write any documentation, and the code is in a fairly early stage. Feel free to check it out. [sourceforge.net]
  • by kubla2000 (218039) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:19AM (#4007299) Homepage

    Oxford University is setting up Linux training courses. We're assuming that those on the course have little or no experience of Linux. We're using Knoppix for the course because it comes with the basic software that a user will need to learn and become familiar with the OS and it lets them take the CD home or to their office and play with it while making no permanent changes to their precious systems.

    My own project is run entirely on Open Source Software and it is my belief that spending public funds on licenses for office suites, web browsers, email clients, databases and webservers is money poorly spent. It seems that others in the university agree. A medium sized project can save thousands of (dollars, euros or pounds) by setting up staff with the basic tools for their tasks on an Open Source platform. Those thousands of pounds can often mean the project can bring in another researcher / investigator / clerical assistant.

    Getting fellow academics and their students to dip their toes into the Open Source Gnu/Linux waters through a bootable CD like Knoppix is very easy to do. We'll see how these training courses go but I'm hopeful that we'll see more projects migrating at least some of their staff from Microsoft to Gnu/Linux

    • We're using Knoppix....

      Can you give me any info on how you burnt this to get a bootable copy? I downloaded KNOPPIX_V3.1-06-08-2002-EN.iso and burnt it on a Win98 system with EZCD Creator 4. But when I tried to boot it, the CD wasn't recognized as bootable, and when I booted into Windows, Win98 was very upset by whatever it saw on the CD when it tried to open it for the "my computer" window. I already downloaded, burnt and booted ISO images of Virtual Linux and Demo Linux, so it's not like I'm making a novice mistake or just can't boot a CD. I looked at it with IsoBuster and IsoBuster reports that it doesn't like the ISO image at all. Thinking I had a bad download I got another copy from a different mirror site, and found I had perfect byte by byte match to my original file. I then downloaded 2 copies of the older KNOPPIX_V3.1-04-08-2002-EN.iso with the same results. How are you burning your copies???

  • Did any of you heard about a demo distribution which fits on a 180MB Mini-CD disk ?

    That would be nice to carry everywhere a small disk with linux :)
  • by Ziviyr (95582)
    I've been playing with this for a bit, its coolish. It set up a working X environment alot quicker than I think I ever will be able to.

    And now the handful of mirrors are going to be permanently slashdotted... :-\
  • by haukex (229058)
    Call me ignorant but I don't see how this is any different from SuSE's [suse.com] Live Eval CD's... they've been around for years...
    • I won't call you ignorant, but there is a difference! The SuSE Live Eval requires some access to the hard drive - not much, but some.

      If your HD crashes and you can't replace it for a while you will not be able to run SuSE Live Eval, but you will be able to run Knoppix.

  • by kasperd (592156)
    Nice with a demo bootable straight off the CD and no need for using the HD. This can be used to show all this Window$ users, what Linux is without having them repartitioning their harddisk.

    But there is a drawback. The CD is not a writable media, so the only writable storage this distribution has is RAM. This is bound to increase the need for RAM to more than what is the case with a HD install. Another problem is the performance, a CD is not as fast as a HD. The performance is going to be better on a HD. Some of the performance decrease can be circumvented by copying stuff to RAM, but this would increase the RAM usage and boot time. And probably you'd rather have the kernels caching handle this anyway.

    No matter how they do it, we will have people trying this CD and saying: "Linux boots slower than the OS on my HD, Linux requires more ram than the OS on my HD, and Linux generally perform poor compared to the OS on my HD."

    Some people might understand this, if the system on boot tells the user about this fact, but not everybody is going to understand it.
    • No matter how they do it, we will have people trying this CD and saying: "Linux boots slower than the OS on my HD, Linux requires more ram than the OS on my HD, and Linux generally perform poor compared to the OS on my HD."

      The SuSE Live CD tells the user about slow bootup when starting. Also, it creates a couple of files on c:\ (they can be deleted afterwards) that contains your home directory and a swap file, so they don't have to worry about it using up all the RAM and they can even save documents with it! SuSE definately has this done very slickly indeed.

  • I am using the "Superrescue" Distribution which is also a CD-Distri in my company when I need to start up another Linux workstation, so I do not need to delete those wondonze stuff nor do I need to install a complete Linux on a computer I am using only once a month. The distri is a little slow in the first boot-up but it also brings Gnome and KDE with most programs. And when that's not enough you can just use it for a "diskless" workstation.

    I found the "Superrescue" here: http://www.kernel.org/pub/dist/superrescue/v2/
  • Political Success (Score:2, Interesting)

    by senfman (207535)
    Some of my friends at the Socialdemocratic Party of Germany (it's the party of our current Chancellor) started with Knoppix as their first Linux distribution and are really happy with it.
    They were especially happy, that they didn't have to install anything. After seeing and using Knoppix this people are usually less preoccupied towards Linux, which is quite important, since the German government wants to force the use of Open Source Software.
  • bulging eyes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 4im (181450) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @07:18AM (#4007423)

    ... is what I got out of the instructor at the MS Active Directory course, when I just booted a Knoppix CD instead of the W2K Server on the harddisk.

    He ended up admitting that it was quite nice, and that indeed he and his colleagues were experimenting with RedHat... I wonder how long they'll remain MS Certified Training Center ;-)

  • I have in my more or less constant posession an old AOL 3.0 floppy disk which has a working copy of something called tomsrtbt [toms.net], which I have used countless times to rescue garbled Windoze partitions. 'Course, it can't handle NTFS, but networking support is amazing, and I have found it makes the world of difference for tasks like recovering from a screwed up Ghost client install, for instance. And the date thing is fun :)
    It will be nice to have something which is, ahem, more full-featured - many of my users get nervous when there isn't eye candy to look at.
  • by benson hedges (595198) <reo@ g m x.at> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @07:33AM (#4007435) Homepage Journal
    while the idea of using a boot-from-cd-distro would never appear to me, knoppix is unbeatable when it comes to "initiating the non-believers." I have seen knoppix detect and support some very weird hardware configurations, including but not limited to tv/radio cards, webcams, exotic soundcards and pcmcia cards, without asking for information or requiring a kernel update. so, the next time J. Random Linuxdisser talks about how no Hardware is supported, the installation is painful or whatever, invest the 30 cents for a CD-R and give him Knoppix. As of today, I got 3 people to convert from Windows to Linux with this nifty distro. Maybe they should rename it "Gateway Distro" ? :)
  • Having fucked up my Linux box way too many times, I got in the habit of completely backing up my entire stable system onto a spare drive or partition. I found Knoppix, and now use it to do this. (I can still surf and listen to MP3's while doing a cp -a from one ro mounted partition to a rw paritition) It was really amazing. I got KDE up, network connection up, and listening to MP3's w/ XMMS within 2 minutes of booting. (I only had to make a minor change to XF86Config)

    Also, some of my colleagues go out to customesr sites and need some sort of net analyzer, but don't have sniffer. Booting into Knoppix and using ethereal is a great alternative!

    I intend to make copies and give them as gifts to colleagues who are on the fence about linux...
  • I have tried v 3.0 (3.1 is out now) and its amazing, boot up and a minute or two later you have a full, good looking gui and all the tools you can think of including things like open office (who needs lindows with its poo assortment of progs). A few minutes after that I was browsing the web using mozilla, playing my mp3s from a shared samba drive on my dedicated linux box and checking my email.
    Tried it on a 256MB comp too and it ran fine there too, impressive considering it has no virtual ram and has to store tmp files on a ramdisk.
    now all I need is a 35MB linux cd to fit these 35MB business card sized cd's I bought, all the rescue disc type distros seem designed for 50MB ones.
  • Linux, NetBSD, Darwin, either would be great. (Or would the need for open firmware / bootX / yaboot prevent such a thing?)
  • by JayAndSilentBob (517888) <bass.sellingmysoul@com> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @10:50AM (#4007855) Homepage
    After reading about it on Slashdot, I downloaded Knoppix 3.1 (I love my Cable Modem), disabled my hard drives in BIOS and booted it. Here I am, 10 minutes later. This is a truly amazing peice of software. I just might take it to Best Buy or a computer lab at the local community college to get some weird reactions. Convertomg people to Linux by abandoning CD-R's in public computers just might work. The only problem that I ran into was having to reset the H-Size scaling for my LCD panel. But all-in-all, an EXCELLENT package.
  • Giving talks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KjetilK (186133) <kjetilNO@SPAMkjernsmo.net> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @11:51AM (#4008052) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I thought about this a couple of months ago. The use I thought about is this:

    I create a presentation with KPresenter, Impress or something similar. I burn the presentation onto a CD together with a live Linux distro. Many good auditoria have a good projector, but connected to a windoze computer. So I pop the CD in the PC, boot it on Linux and give my talk.
  • I have been using the SuperRescue CD to do this very thing, rescue Windows files on crashed machines.
    SuperRescue site [freshmeat.net]

    The reason it has proven better than a Windows boot rescue diskette is that they will often not be able to get the failed system running or retrieve files because the hard disk has failed, or the OS is so damaged that the time to get it going is not cost effective.

    With SuperRescue (and I presuem the Knoppix might even be better) I have bee able to:
    * Boot from CD and read a *failed* NT 4 hard drive that the NT CD would not read. Yet Linux read it just fine except for a few tracks.
    * Connect to the LAN with the built in Dell Ethernet card
    * Start the GUI on Linux (KDE) and use the File manager to copy virutally every file and folder on the computer to a network drive (except a half dozen that were on bad tracks, and were OS files anyway).And this is done with long file name support
    * Put a new hard drive in, and selectively restore what I wanted.
    * Within a couple of hours, the hard drive failed completely. Bear in mind, NT 4 would not read it at all, even when the drive was put in a second machine as a secondary drive.

    In the past year the SuperRescue CD have become an indispensable part of my toolkit. I am hoping Knoppix expands on that capability.

  • ...from the front page:

    What is KNOPPIX®?

    KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software...
  • This is cool and all, and I'll be downloading it and testing it out soon. But this just goes back to the ultimate boot-from-CD OS: Be.

    Be's installer is very simple; it's reminiscent of the installers for DOS games. When you put a Be boot CD in your drive, it loads up the OS, completely runnable off the CD. (Yes, I know that Be-provided images don't run anything but the Installer, but that's not the point - if you make a custom image, it can run whatever you want.) You go to the Be menu, then Applications, then Installer, select a partition, and go; beyond that, there is absolutely nothing you have to do. Reboot, and you're in BeOS.

    Not only is there no configuration at all (beyond partitions, and even that can be automatic) that you have to do during Install, almost everything is auto-configured after install, too.

    Mandrake may require no more expertise to install than Windows, but Mac OS is quite a bit easier, and Be is even easier than that. Linux should learn from that example.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Someone at my work was trying out Knoppix on his Win2k box to see how Linux worked with his various hardware. The beauty part is he didn't have to mess with his Win2k setup, so he could go back to using Windows any time, but it went so smoothly that I don't think he's going to.

    Someone else was kicking around the idea of bringing Knoppix on trips to get around possible (software) keyboard sniffing devices installed on internet cafe machines.
  • Can this be used as a rescue disk for Linux partitions? When I tried it with DemoLinux, it couldn't see the hard disk, but it would be nice to have a rescue disk that would let one use the graphic tools, instead of trying to fumble at the command line with no man files.

    Of course, I'd prefer if the tools that I used recognized the ext3 file system, but that's no *major* problem.
  • by gregfortune (313889) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:47PM (#4009317)
    I just got it setup for a client running Point of Sale systems. Most of their machines are Linux based and our POS software runs just fine, but we haven't ported the printing to Windows yet, so running the software on the Windows machine is not possible.

    When the client is offsite and needs a bunch more computers, we can now just grab a couple of spare Windows boxes, stick a CD in and boot up a fully functional Linux system with our software installed and configured. The process for adding your own software is listed in their English forum and I can help anyone out who's interested. Post a reply here and I'll check when I get back from Reno, NV on the 12th.
  • by Bill Kendrick (19287) <bill@newbreedsoftware.com> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:07AM (#4010298) Homepage
    The Linux Users Group of Davis [lugod.org] used DemoLinux [demolinux.org] CDs to turn a lab full of Win2K PCs into a lab full of live, ready-to-use Linux boxes for an Intro to Linux [lugod.org] class we held.

    The 2nd time we did this, we simply used fullscreen VNC. In both cases, the boxes looked like an average Linux box... we just didn't need to do any partitioning or installing or annoy the IT department. :^)

    At the Whole Earth Festival [lugod.org] at UC Davis last year, we handed out about 100 DemoLinux discs to passers-by, so they can try Linux out at home without installing anything.

  • I was talking to some ex-coworkers, and we used to play Quake Mega-Team Fortress over lunch at our old company. Luckily, I saved an archive of the server, and wanted to get it back up and running. We even had a map of our office layout, and a couple of other custom maps we created.

    I looked into Knoppix, bt it wasn't as customizable as I wanted. So I used timos rescuecd [sourceforge.net]. It gives you the basic distro, and you can add whatever else you want. I just plopped in the quake directory I had archived, and ran the utility to create the ISO. Now I have a bootable Linux Quake server. All I have to do is boot it up, configure the NIC, and start the server.

    I could have configured the NIC before creating it, but I wanted to keep it generic so other people I know can use it. I know a guy who runs AIX, so he couldn't host the server. Now he can, and we can get the old Quake gang back together.

    I looked into how to create a bootable distro, and it wasn't as straightforward as I had hoped. Sourceforge and freshmeat to the rescue!

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