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Knoppix Tips and Tricks 496

Posted by michael
from the sweet-debian-goodness dept.
cosog writes "Robert Storey writes in a thorough review about Knoppix: 'Some people even take a Knoppix disk with them when they go shopping for a new computer, a clever way to ensure that the hardware will be Linux compatible before you purchase it.' His article discusses things like: booting, rescuing, installing on HDD, tips'n'tricks, etc... A nice read for everyone interested in Linux (and Knoppix in particular ;)."
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Knoppix Tips and Tricks

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  • Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cowclops (630818) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:52PM (#7877310)
    Knoppix + DD = ultimate way to mirror a drive from one to the other. Screw norton ghost.
    • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:58PM (#7877366) Journal

      Really? DD is far slower because it makes exact copies down to the bits. Norton Ghost works by cloning files instead. Instead, think of dump + gzip instead of dd. Insert some netcat for networking and presto, one central server holding default installs for all OSes you want. Probably works nice with network booting, then selecting a configuration, start cloning and then reboot into a brand-spanking new & fresh OS installation.

      • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Funny)

        by Geek of Tech (678002) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:25PM (#7877560) Homepage Journal
        You mean Dungeons and Dragons is a system administration tool also?! Dang! Just when I thought I knew something.... Good thing slashdot is here to correct that....

        Oww, you mean the command dd..... right.... I knew that....

      • colleges do this (Score:3, Informative)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        " Probably works nice with network booting, then selecting a configuration, start cloning and then reboot into a brand-spanking new & fresh OS installation."

        Campus computers were setup like that. The drives were wiped when restarted, and on boot it'd load a cloned OS over the network onto the hard drive.

        Kept the geeks from installing viruses and required no maintance, since the OS for every PC on campus was all on one server, just had to be sure every PC was similar so the drivers could be the same

      • DD often far faster (Score:3, Interesting)

        by billstewart (78916)
        What's this "empty space on a disk" you're talking about? :-) Maybe dump/restore has gotten faster,
        and it certainly helps if you've defragged your source disk before copying, but normally copying files is slower because it's much more complex and has to bounce around the disk a lot more, while dd can just rip right along without slowing down. (As somebody else mentioned, you do want to use large blocks with dd, of course.) Norton Ghost does have some extra functionality on Windows, dealing with the !(#W(
    • Come on now..

      Since when does DD do muliticasting, resizing of partitions.. Partition selection... Remote capture of the HD, etc, etc, etc..

      Sure DD has some uses, but it is NOT by any stretch of the imgaination as functional as ghost...

      And if you want to toss in the enterprise features of ghost, the gap widens even further..
      • Re:DD != Ghost (Score:5, Informative)

        by shaitand (626655) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:11PM (#7877469) Journal
        True enough, DD != Ghost, but not what he claimed, he claimed that linux on a cd will supplant ghost and that is something different altogether.

        Now your not talking about ghost, your talking about a number of tools.

        mount
        partd
        mkfs
        kernel support for more filesystems than ghost will ever dream of.
        tar
        dd
        cp
        mkswap
        lilo/grub

        Between these utilities you can do pretty much everything ghost can and much much more. A knoppix cd (generally I use a customized one to take out the gui fluff) gives FAR more flexibility than any other software tool.
    • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

      by KrispyKringle (672903) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:01PM (#7877392)
      Norton ghost does so much more than this. Hate to say it, but I've spent plenty of time looking for Ghost replacements, and found none. There are a few (g4u, for example) which do networked dd-style copying, or partimage, which can actually read a partition table but can't deal with NTFS, but none that have the capabilities Ghost has for copying Windows NT/2K/XP installations (I use Ghost in deploying donated computers to schools and community centers; we don't feel Linux is managable for the target users).

      See, if you do DD, it works if all the hard drives are the same size. But if you want to make an image that will last a while, on multiple machines, you have to make it match the smallest drive (since dd simply copies the content and doesn't rewrite the partition table). So if you make it, say, 2GB, you throw away a lot of space on bigger drives. And like I said, partimage can't write NTFS properly.

      Not to mention Ghostwalker, which changes the machine's hostname and rewrites the SID's (I think that's what they're called; I rarely use Windows anymore) on the files so that they are unique and secure.

      • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

        by BrookHarty (9119) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:18PM (#7877522) Homepage Journal
        Ghost supports EXT2 and EXT3, and if you use sector copy, you can use ReiserFS/UFS/HFS/etc.

        Personally, I use Barts Boot cdrom [nu2.nu], and ghost over tcp/ip to backup servers/workstations and laptops. I find ghost works great to backup a system that doesnt have an OS or a Partition over the network. Plus I can read .gho files with ghost explorer, incase I need a file off a backup.

        If ghost worked under winex or dosemu, then I'd run it under knoppix, but for now, Barts Cdrom does the job.

        • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

          by Saint Stephen (19450) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:56PM (#7877744) Homepage Journal
          There's a solution called "Windows PE" (Windows Preexecution Environment), part of the "OEM Preinstallation Toolkit" specifically designed for the Dells and Compaqs of the world to preinstall the OS on the factory floor. I don't think it's publicly available. It is especially designed to boot from Readonly media, and it's supported.
      • Re:Knoppix (Score:3, Informative)

        by fgb055639 (707256)
        have you ever tried Mondo? www.mondorescue.org Handles all your needs...
      • Not to mention Ghostwalker, which changes the machine's hostname and rewrites the SID's (I think that's what they're called; I rarely use Windows anymore) on the files so that they are unique and secure.

        Happily, there is also free software to do the same thing.

        Knoppix + DD (or, as I did it, the Red Hat Install CD recovery mode + DD) has its uses -- if, as you said, the disk is the same. Not ideal for corporate use (unless you're really careful about giving everyone exactly the same PC model). I found

      • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

        by aking137 (266199) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:04PM (#7877794)
        Just FYI: I used Partimage on a 130-computer school network, where all machines were NTFS and ran either Windows NT or 2000, and it was always successful. so I recommend giving it a go. Kernel was my own compiled 2.4.18. 2.6.0 is stable write support too. Mail me if I can help.
      • Re:Knoppix (Score:5, Informative)

        by redback (15527) on Monday January 05, 2004 @01:01AM (#7878741)
        Ghostwalker is not nessacaray, there is a microsoft tool called SysPrep that does this for you.

        You run it on a machine to reset the name and SID's, then on next boot it asks you for a machine name and recreates the SID's.

        So sysprep, ghost, startup and put in name and your done.
    • Re:Knoppix (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ghost does several other things, and is a bit more space-efficient. Ghost parses filesystem structures and can restore to drives of different sizes.
      That said, there does exist a good free ghost-like tool or two for linux, which actually parse common linux filesystems:partimage [partimage.org] even has experimental NTFS support!
  • by mfchater (681560) * on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:55PM (#7877337) Homepage Journal
    I used a knoppix cd at best buy when looking for a new laptop. The salesman told me that I would not be able to run a linux distro on the toshiba Satelite p25-s607. I was happy to find out upon inserting the cd that I could indeed run linux. This was approx 3 months ago and the salesman said they wouldn't have drivers out for the video card for 6 months, of course he was wrong.
    • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@gGAUSSmail.com minus math_god> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:57PM (#7877355) Homepage Journal
      Would be an interesting way to promote linux - make a dozen copies of Knoppix and slip them in Bestbuy computers, restart them.

      Voila!

      (smirk) Not sure the salespeople would appreciate it, though.
    • Actually it was a version of knoppix, knoppix std. Also, the best buy salesman wasn't happy that I was wanting to use an outside cd to boot the computer. I just told him I wasn't spending 2800.00 on a computer that couldn't do the things I needed it to do.
      • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:42PM (#7877992) Homepage
        I did the same thing. Told the sales guy to get his manager, and explained that I was going to buy a laptop that day, and the store that would get my business is the one that would let me verify the laptop with my boot cd. I also hinted that I liked their extended warranty options. Dollar signs lit up in the sales manager's eyes, he let me boot with Knoppix, and I left with a laptop, a grand less cash, and without the extended service plan :-)
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:12PM (#7877478) Homepage Journal
      "I used a knoppix cd at best buy when looking for a new laptop. The salesman told me that I would not be able to run a linux distro on the toshiba Satelite p25-s607."

      Back when Pentiums first came out, I went to a Circuit City and wrote a quick little Quickbasic app that drew random lines on the screen as fast as it could. This was a test I did at home as well, just wanted to get a feel for how much faster this would be than my 486. A salesman came over and told me to get away from the computer. He thought I was up to no good.

      Have times changed? Maybe... But I would urge caution when going to a computer store and booting up Knoppix, maybe go grab a salesguy and say "I'd like to do this, cool?" I imagine stores that show computers like this have had to deal with their fair share of people trying to break the system.
      • by eean (177028) <slashdot&monroe,nu> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:26PM (#7877919) Homepage
        Or you could just do it anyway. What are they going to do, kick you out of the store? *gasp*

        Anyways, buying computers retail is a bad idea usually. I'm a student worker at the IT dept. of my University and it seems we're always working on student HPs and Compaqs. I'm not sure if thats because its what most people have, or if the people that need help (usually from catching a virus and/or getting loads of spyware) or if its because the machines are crap. Perhaps all of the above.
        • If you don't suggest HP or Compaq for students, who would you support? HP and Compaq give some of the most end user support for the retail buyer, and can give the help in much better locations than the mom and pop shop down the street that would just prefer you bring the computer in -- especially when you are half a continent away. Which brings ya back to the point of buying something that has national support and probably at least one campus rep within 15 minutes from your location. And if that doesn't
  • BitTorrent link... (Score:5, Informative)

    by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:56PM (#7877342) Journal
    Here's where to get it quickly, via the official BitTorrent: http://torrent.unix-ag.uni-kl.de:6969/ [uni-kl.de].

    The torrents are pretty fast; faster than the mirrors in my personal experience.
    • by po8 (187055)

      Whether BT is faster for grabbing KNOPPIX depends on where you are. My office box is on the INET2 backbone, and I've found that grabbing from an INET2 mirror via HTTP or FTP is about 100x faster there than grabbing via BT. YMMV.

  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:56PM (#7877343)
    he's running whatever server this article is on off of one of those machines sitting on the store shelf, based on it responsiveness.
  • by irokitt (663593)
    Never thought of taking a knoppix distro to shop with-neat idea. I like Knoppix cause you don't have to partition anything, and with modern CD drives, it runs fast enough for me.
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Afrosheen (42464) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:08PM (#7877445)
      I've done it before with both Phlak .20 and PCLinuxOS pr4. It's pretty interesting to see what can/will boot and what absolutely refuses to. I was 'caught' doing it at Compusa and all the salespeople started gathering around. Nobody had ever seen linux being used before and was surprised at how windows-ish it was.

      The kicker came when they found out it was free. I ended up giving both cds away to people that wanted to play with it at home.
      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sparrow_hawk (552508) on Monday January 05, 2004 @12:07AM (#7878508)
        I did a speech on Linux for a class and used Knoppix to demonstrate -- had them put the CDs in the drive and boot themselves so they could see how easy it was, with much assurance that it wouldn't fsck the hard drive or anything like that. We didn't have DHCP, or I would have done a much more thorough demonstration, but I showed them OpenOffice.org, and the prof had a heck of a time dragging them away from Frozen Bubble. I ended up giving all the CDs away, plus burning extras for interested parties. Linux evangelism rocks. :)
  • Some people even take a Knoppix disk with them when they go shopping for a new computer.

    Give me a break, we are only at the beginning of 2004.

    jdif

    • If you are considering running Linux on store-bought systems, this is a perfect way to find out if it will work or not.

      Linux users don't have the luxury (yet) of knowing if drivers exist for specific harware (other than looking at a HCL that may or may not be current.

  • Rescue (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vpscolo (737900)
    Knoppix comes in very handy when around and about as it will get your out of virtually any hole (short of rm -rf). Unstabled for debian doesn't mean things crash, it just means that they have not been totally tested to be totally stable
  • by bdaehlie (537484) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:57PM (#7877353) Homepage
    Knoppix really is amazing. I didn't understand all the hype before, but after a glorious performance recovering files from a horked Windows box, I make sure I always have a Knoppix CD around. Whenever Windows threatens to waste my time, its Knoppix to the rescue. Also - not only is Knoppix really good at what it does, it looks great too! Its a great way to show off Linux.
    • by cgranade (702534)
      At college we have some poorly run lab computers (most labs were run beautifully, except this one) that had one login account for everyone on the system. Some punk changed the password, so I just popped in Knoppix and surfed the Net that way w/o losing sleep over the insolent fool. Chalk up another win for Knoppix.
  • linux hardware test (Score:4, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:57PM (#7877356)
    maybe this could be a good niche distro, a linux compatablity cd which does nothing except test a pc for compatablity with linux.
    • PCLInuxOS 2k4 pr4 is a pretty good test of this, you can find it at pclinuxonline.com in the left hand column. It's basically mandrake 9.2 with a handful of tweaks so it has incredible hardware support. Phlak at phlak.org is a decent little distro for hardware testing as well. Both generally do well on laptops. Phlak won't boot on my desktop but it worked fine on every laptop I stuck it in...go figure.
  • KnoppiXBox? (Score:5, Funny)

    by R33MSpec (631206) * on Sunday January 04, 2004 @08:58PM (#7877363) Homepage
    Now all we need is a Knoppix distro that loads automatically onto a demonstration Xbox at your nearest major retailer!

    Oh the fun you could have especially if your playing on a big screen surrounded by huge Xbox signage!
  • Need bootable USB (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fastdecade (179638) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:00PM (#7877380)
    (Slashdotted already?)

    Well, knoppix CD is great, but with 256MB (and more?) USB keys out there, I wish more BIOS's would allow booting from USB, it'd be so nice to walk into a net cafe, pull linux out of my pocket or USB watch, and then read mail with mutt in X-Windows while surfing with my own damn bookmarks. And not having to close the last guy's chat session and assorted porn popups? Priceless.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:04PM (#7877416) Homepage Journal
    Its by far a much better setup then plain knoppix. Well thought out and 'professional'.

    Not to knock knoppix as Klaus has given birth to the *practical* live CD movement, but its still has the 'feel' of a toy..

    Hmmmmm or have some fun and boot one off cluster knoppix and PXE the rest of the building...
  • by Pyro226 (715818) <Pyro226@hotmaiAUDENl.com minus poet> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:06PM (#7877427) Journal
    The newer (3.3 and up I think) versions of knoppix have a cool feature where the entire knoppix CD is loaded into ram. My friends computer has 1024 megs of ram, so we tried it out. It was so incredibly fast; Open Office barely took any time to load.

    I don't know if his top of the line, hyperthreaded P4 had a big impact, because I don't know hard it is to decompress the cloop compression knoppix uses. But if you have a computer with a gig or more of ram you should give it a try.

    • Its not very hard to decompress cloop images . Hell a 233 machine with 128mb ram can do a decent job (I wrote some netcaffee software to run on a specific platform , enduded using a compressed fs so that all the tools would fit on a 50mb card sized cd) .
  • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:09PM (#7877461)
    Something For Everyone
    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
    -- Charles Duell, Commissioner of US Patent Office, 1899

    In these modern times it seems that there is a product to suit every whim and fancy. Whether you need a miniature Statue of Liberty with a clock in her (its?) stomach or a stuffed alligator with a light bulb in its mouth, you can rest assured that somebody somewhere is marketing it.

    When it comes to software, much the same situation prevails. There are applications that do everything from psychoanalysis (in Emacs hit M-x and type "doctor"), to helping you contact alien civilizations (SETI@Home).

    Operating systems are not immune to this tendency towards specialization. Notepads, cell phones and perhaps your DVD player all have specialized operating systems. At the height of the dotcom bubble, there were pundits predicting that soon your online refrigerator would have an operating system, the purpose of which was allegedly to order milk when you needed it. Just why you couldn't buy your own damn milk was never explained to us.

    And finally we come to Linux distributions. There are different distros for different purposes. Desktop Linux (in many flavors), server Linux, embedded Linux, Linux routers, Linux BIOS, Linux on the Halfshell. And every so often, somebody comes up with a whole new use for Linux that just makes everybody sort of just stop in their tracks and say, "Cool!" Which brings me (you are still with me, aren't you?) to the topic of this article - Knoppix.

    Live From Germany
    Knoppix is a "live CD" distro - just boot it and use it. You do need a CD drive of course, but you don't need a hard disk. The implications of this are significant. It means you have a portable Linux that you can take with you wherever you go. This can be used in a number of innovative ways - as a demo disk, as a rescue disk, as a way to use Linux at your local Windows-only Internet cafe. Some people even take a Knoppix disk with them when they go shopping for a new computer, a clever way to ensure that the hardware will be Linux compatible before you purchase it.

    To be fair, Knoppix was not the first live CD ever created. Apple, for example, distributed MacOS (even before OSX) on a live CD. Linux has had DemoLinux, SUSE Live-Eval and Cool Linux, as well as some others. But none of these have come close to the functionality of Knoppix, which could justifiably claim the title as "first useful live CD." Even though Knoppix has inspired a number of clones (Gnoppix, Morphix, Freeduc, Quantian, to name a few), it still remains the most popular live CD distro by far.

    Most people are just awe-struck the first time they see a Knoppix CD boot. Probably the thing that blows them away is the hardware auto-detection. There is really nothing to configure - just boot the CD, and two to three minutes later you have a beautiful desktop system. This is remarkable, given the lack of standards (and lack of driver documentation) that exists in the PC world.

    Knoppix took the Linux world by storm in late 2002, but actually it's history is a little bit longer than that. Klaus Knopper of Germany started his experiment with "Knopper's *nix" about three years ago. As he tells the story, it wasn't his original intention to create a new Linux distro, but rather to learn how "el torito" (the booting mechanism on CDs) works, and how to get access to a whole CD from a minimal ramdisk system. However, his project soon attracted the attention of the LinuxTag association, which happily provided a mailing list and forum so that others could give their input. Though Klaus was (and still is) the solo developer of Knoppix, user feedback and bug-testing have helped make this distro the great success it is.

    Deep Impact
    Knoppix is one of the most up-to-date distros around. This is thanks to the fact that it is based on Sid, the "unstable" branch of Debian. Some people might be put off by the word "unstable," or the word "Sid" (the name of the mentally unstable kid in
  • by cyber_rigger (527103) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:10PM (#7877463) Homepage Journal
    and accidently (on purpose) left the Knoppix CD in machine. I love to watch people (especially the sales people) walk by and say "Cool, what's this". CD blanks are cheap enough now to do this.
  • This Koppix looks like a good way for a hacker to go around taking over computers. In this age of terrorism, an attacker taking over computers at an airport, traffic light control center, or water treatment plant, could be especially dangerous. I hope the developers have put in appropriate safety measures to prevent this from happening.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:17PM (#7877509)
      Yeah, they've thought of that and built in a safety mechanism. On bootup, it asks the user whether they are Evil or not. If they say yes, it just powers down.
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgranade (702534) <cgranade@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:26PM (#7877565) Homepage Journal
      Ya know, this isn't just Knoppix. People would bring in Dreamcasts with custom boot CDs, hook them up to the network, and walk away. The DC would blast a hole in the firewall, and let the hacker in.
      Despite of this obvious threat, Dreamcasts were not banned, nor made to implement stronger security measures. Why? Because if any device on a network, w/o a password or any type of authorization other than its physical location can destroy a firewall, then the network itself has larger problems to deal with. To me, this calls into question the assumption of trusted devices. In short, Knoppix cannot forsee it's use, thus placing the burden on those who create and administer networks to do so in a safe and responsible manner.
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iggymanz (596061)
      Illogical to worry about Knoppix rather than anything else being misused in that fashion. You could use any of 30 operating systems to "take over" most Wintel PCs and do something naughty. Or just run naughty software under the existing installed OS from CD. Better yet just yank out network cable & plug in your own evil network-equipped PDA or laptop and be naughty.
  • Knoppix and students (Score:5, Informative)

    by mokeyboy (585139) <mark.keir@gmail.com> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:29PM (#7877577)
    Knoppix is a great distro to pass on to students who need to work in a *IX shell environment to do course work. I recommend it to EE and IT students when they want to get their feet wet but don't want to use VMWARE or go through a potentially destructive HDD repartition. The KDE interface is friendly to the Windows crippled, the harware detection is fantastic and running from the CD, a user can't break it. Many of the derivative distros are also great in niche areas (eg ClusterKNOPPIX). A great piece of work to help make Linux better appreciated and understood.
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:30PM (#7877585)
    My best experience with linux is when I used knoppix a few months ago. My hard drive on my dell laptop crapped out again but I could still use my computer while the replacement was being shipped. I mean it wasn't perfect and I wouldn't want to use it full time, but it was a definate lifesaver that weekend.

    I like the idea of a live cd where if I fucked anything up, a simple reboot would fix everything. This is how linux should be taught to new users who are afraid of trying new things but still have some strange desire to use linux.
    • by rossz (67331) <ogre@geek b i k e r.net> on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:48PM (#7877690) Homepage Journal
      The same thing happened to my wife. The hard drive in her HP laptop (zt1130) died. While waiting to get a replacement (had to wait until payday), she booted with knoppix and used a USB drive (my Laks watch) to store her desktop and bookmarks. I had hoped the experience would convince her to let me install Linux when the replacement drive arrived, but alas, she wanted WinXP. :(

      Off-topic: That damn HP laptop convinced me to never buy another HP product again. The drive died when the thing was 13 months old. The manufacturer warranty on it was 3 years, but HP only covered 1 year (it was OEMed). Their offered to fix it for $269 to $649 (depending on the work required). I got rather nasty with them when I got that quote. My exact words to them in my response was, "In other words, you do not honor manufacturer's warranties (which should be 3 years), plus you try to screw your customers by charging them $269 or more to replace a $100 (retail price) hard drive. How nice."

  • There's a little Mandrake goodness in there too, Michael.
  • by MajorDick (735308) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:41PM (#7877645)
    The timing of this article is too funny, today my son, who is 6 (almost 7) grabbed my knoppix CD thinking it was a copy (legal backup:) of I game I had just made a copy of for him for him.

    He put it in and after about 30 minutes after not hearing him ask for help with his game (which he ALWAYS does) I went in to see what he was doing, I almost had a heart attack, he was clicking away on Knoppix. It scared me becuase I forgot I had knoppix burned. and I thought he had rebooted my system into linux and changed from Gnome to KDE

    But the more I think about it the more I like the idea of setting him loose on a live distro, I dont have to worry about him buggering up my work system (yes I have a spare system for him but its not fast enough for most of his games)

    When I first started in computers I was his age and if I made a mistake I rebooted, no OS , MS basic in Rom and a 6502 on an OSI challener (the good 'ole days may date me a bit since that comp came out in 77 and I was 7:)but I got my feet wet in assy programming then. I didnt have to ask dear old dad for any help beyond well, everything, but I didnt have to worry about bonking an OS either.

    When I found him on the system he was drawing cats on gimp, bestill my little code monkey....
    • by image (13487) on Monday January 05, 2004 @02:01AM (#7878985) Homepage
      Wow. Think about what you just said. Your six year old child was able to figure out how to boot from a CD, use the KDE interface, and run and actually use Gimp. In 30 minutes. All without any help from you.

      And some critics say that Linux is too complicated to be used by adult professionals in the workplace.

      You obviously have a very smart son, but the point remains -- Linux is definitely ready for the mainstream, usability-wise.
  • by twoslice (457793) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:41PM (#7877647)
    ClusterKnoppix [bofh.be]is Knoppix on steroids. Instant OpenMosix cluster using PXE network boot for clients.
  • Being put off (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corian (34925) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @09:41PM (#7877654)
    Some people might be put off by the word "unstable," or the word "Sid" (the name of the mentally unstable kid in the movie "Toy Story").

    I suppose that I'm one of those people. To me, the strong emphasis on free software / GPL / alternatives to "big corporate entities" that seems to be a part of the Debian community seems antithetical to the idea of naming their product after DISNEY CHARACTERS. Isn't Disney _exactly_ the big evil company the oppose? Isn't Disney the one working to extend copyright indefinately, put all sorts of protections and technical blocks on DVS, &c &c?

    So the name "Sid" is a Debian turnoff to me. And probably others.

    As for Knoppix, I didn't find it self-configuring very well on my Latop, but I DID find the Image perfct as a way to set up and configure disc images in a VMWare virtual machine. So, the concept IS a very good one. The distribution (or at last the Desktop) seemed inclined to include quite a few things just for a "coolness" factor which didn't contribute to either usuability or functionality. Strip the whole thing down a little cleaner and meanear and you've got a really nice tool.
  • Graduation... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:32PM (#7877944) Homepage Journal
    Seems Knoppix will be the platform I'll use for defending my graduation work. My school has no decent Linux workstation classroom, and I just couldn't force myself to write all the software I need in visushit. So, Knoppix CD, floppy or USB drive with my work, the custom hardware I'm working with, and - voila!
  • by ivi (126837) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:37PM (#7877971)
    So, SQL Server lets one "hide" a relational DB in an unformatted partition... there may even be a performance advantage in doing so...

    [Do computer forensic folks know the above?]

    Anyway, I'd hate to wipe an old hard disk before finding that its copy (eg, made with dump & gzip)
    didn't get the DB copied onto it...

    Is therething that does such a job (correctly) -better- (ie more time-effectively) than DD?
  • by automatic_jack (181074) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @10:44PM (#7878005) Homepage
    I've been playing with Knoppix a bit recently and enjoying it, but it has pissed me off with two systems.

    One has a Biostar motherboard with a Via Rhine network card on it. For some reason, though Knoppix will load the Via Rhine module for it, the card won't come up. It works fine in Debian with the same module, and I've seen posts that the module is somehow compiled slightly wrong in Knoppix. But to fix it, I need to install the Knoppix kernel to a hard drive and then recompile the module! No thanks...

    The other is my laptop which has a Senao pcmcia wifi card. Again, in Debian with wlan-ng I can make the card work fine using the prism_cs driver, but Knoppix seems to really, really want to use the orinoco driver for the card. So much that, no matter WHAT I do, I can't get it to use the prism_cs driver. Highly irritating!

    Oh well.
  • by CedgeS (159076) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @11:41PM (#7878360) Homepage Journal
    Knoppix is excellent for data rescue and recovery work. This data recovery howto [shockfamily.net] for Knoppix has proved invaluable for many of my friends. It has also been translated into Polish [7thguard.net]
  • Knoppix & MAME! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antdude (79039) on Sunday January 04, 2004 @11:57PM (#7878462) Homepage Journal
    How about putting MAME and a few arcade games? ;) KnoppiXMAME [freshmeat.net].
  • by Clockwurk (577966) on Monday January 05, 2004 @12:48AM (#7878695) Homepage
    and had some mixed success. The install was pretty painless (other than figuring out the formatting utility) and the OS itself isn't bad.

    I ran into a couple of problems though. Sndconfig refuses to work with my sound card. I have an audigy and the emu10k1 (or whatever the hell name it was) installs by default. Running the sndconfig command (after struggling to find a way to close x windows without shutting down) I was greeted by a "module is not in the specified search path"... No information was given as to which path was the search path nor any information as to how to change the search path.

    Knoppix also installs by default close to every program ever written for linux including both KOffice and OO.o perhaps a little bit of an overkill.

    The other problem I have with knoppix is changing the refresh rate and screen resolution. When using the live CD, the refresh rate and the screen resolution are some of the "cheat codes" you can enter. In the hard-disk install, no oppurtunity is offered for the entering of such codes. I'll probably end up having to edit some .conf file :'-(

    The final minor annoyance (and it is minor) is that the CD version boots using both color and a nice resolution (1024x768) for the streams of console text that appear during booting. The hard-disk install does not. It's pretty minor, but the colored text and resolution was really nice and made reading the text much easier.

    Knoppix is a really good live CD, but the harddrive install leaves a little to be desired. Hopefully that changes with new versions.
  • by naelurec (552384) on Monday January 05, 2004 @01:10AM (#7878775) Homepage
    Ways I have used knoppix..
    - to backup data from bashed W2K machines to a network drive
    - to scan a networks for security issues
    - to test systems for Linux compatibility
    - to demo linux to people
    - to show off crossplatform apps
    - customized as a product demo CD
    - customized as a read-only server setup
    - as an aid to test for hard-to-detect hardware issues
    - as a boot disk to access other Linux boxes
    - test for server/client configurations

    Needless to say, I use Knoppix a LOT. I have created lots of Knoppix disks and promote it to anyone who has an interest in learning about or who uses Linux. I have found it to be awesome at detecting a wide variety of hardware and a great "second opinion" when troubleshooting a Windows box for hardware issues .. pop in Knoppix and see if the hardware exhibits the same problems.
  • by stvangel (638594) on Monday January 05, 2004 @01:58AM (#7878982)
    and didn't notice until I tried to use it this afternoon that I only got 50 meg of it. I then went to a different site and was downloading it at about 120K per second. Being the idiot that I am, I accidently got the German version. Going back to the site, I can only get 25K per second tops. The Slashdot effect at work.

    Forget about building a special distro just for the 800 meg CD's out there. It's not really that much more space for something that's not "standard" in the first place. Why doesn't somebody go ahead and make a Knoppix-type distro for DVDs? Most newer machines have them and with 4.7 gig of storage space you can put pretty much everything on them. With one of these properly configured and a decent sized USB memory drive, this is all somebody really needs for a truly portable computing experience. You could fit Gnome and KDE as well as a good installer on them. Forget about making a "Live" version of a distro. With one DVD containing a live version of Linux as well as a full installation environment running on it, it's a true one-stop-shop.

    Does anybody make a credit-card form factor DVD +/-R like they do with the CD-Rs? If you could fit a full Knoppix distro onto something that size that you can fit into your wallet, that'd be really useful. While CD's aren't all that big, they're inconvenient to carry around all the time "just-in-case".

    It's really too bad that you can't burn a distro to a CR-RW or a DVD +/-RW and use the unused space as a worm drive of your configuration or data. You'd have to refresh the disc every so often as your available space would dwindle, but you could get around even needing a USB key-fob. Unfortunately the common disc-formats in use make this very difficult, but it's something to think about...d
    • by axxackall (579006) on Monday January 05, 2004 @06:42AM (#7879809) Homepage Journal
      I asked same questions on Gentoo forums [gentoo.org] and I've got an impression that usually people with DVD+/-R/RW don't know how to build a bootable DVD. The problem with a bootable DVD is in its size - its image would be too big to become commonly downloadble. But if you have a Linux box in your hands then such problem doesn't exist anymore. The solution is to distribute a guiding script instead of an image. If you already have Linux with DVD authoring tools then such script, being configured and told about what settings and what applications you want on the disc, would build all desireable application packages, pre-configure the system for your desirable environment, make a proper image and burn it. Source code is more compact than binaries. And it's a high chance that you have most of needed source code on your Linux box already. So, with such a guiding script, the downloaded size can be even less than with a CD image. By the way, does any of you know any links that I can follow and gather bootable DVD advises? I may build such script by myself (as I actually need it!) and share it with the rest of us.
  • by kwoff (516741) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:02AM (#7879526)
    Like others, I used Knoppix when I went to buy a new laptop. One problem, which the store-owner was insightful enough to point out, is that because Knoppix is intended to be a general distribution (though it supports a lot of different hardware), it might be somewhat "dumbed down" so that, although you couldn't get an ultra-new system to work immediately by sticking a Knoppix CD into it, you might be able to if you googled a bit to find the problem. In fact, though I went in the store determined not to get an HP laptop (which I had very bad experience with before), that was the only one with my desired specs which would boot immediately from the Knoppix CD (some Sony Vaio and another brand didn't boot). It might be that I saved myself a lot of trouble by avoiding those machines, but then it might just be a simple problem with Knoppix itself not yet supporting the hardware.

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