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Bootable Linux Demo Distro - Knoppix 215

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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  • by allanj ( 151784 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:28AM (#4007150)

    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...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:33AM (#4007163)
    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 on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:39AM (#4007174)
    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.
  • Re:No Pix? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <{gro.hsikcah} {ta} {todhsals-sufur}> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @03:49AM (#4007190) Homepage
    except that it most definetly is Debian based.
    Debian Planet article [] blockquoth:
    Based on
    Debian woody 3.0, Knoppix 3.1 has KDE 3.02, 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`
  • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @04:38AM (#4007249)
    >>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.

  • FreeBSDToGo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zanzar ( 33471 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @05:05AM (#4007292) Homepage
    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. []
  • 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

  • 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 [] to transparently decompress the CD-ROM image. Thus he can stuff 1.8GB on a 700MB disk.
  • Political Success (Score:2, Interesting)

    by senfman ( 207535 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:56AM (#4007405)
    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.
  • by benson hedges ( 595198 ) <reo@[ ].at ['gmx' in gap]> 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" ? :)
  • by ctar ( 211926 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ratrehpotsirhc'> on Sunday August 04, 2002 @07:54AM (#4007445) Homepage
    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...
  • 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 ) <kjetil@kjernsm[ ]et ['o.n' in gap]> 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.
  • by jlrowe ( 69115 ) on Sunday August 04, 2002 @12:28PM (#4008173)
    I have been using the SuperRescue CD to do this very thing, rescue Windows files on crashed machines.
    SuperRescue site []

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @01:03PM (#4008302)
    Knoppix Install script to install to HD! I haven't tried it! But if they were impressed with the live distro why not make it your own! ix/ 2002-June/000529.html / [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @01:31PM (#4008408)
    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.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2002 @06:36PM (#4009450)
    could not be true, but seems to be. It tested it (shortly) on 3 systems, two "normal" standalone PCs with absolut "default, noname hardware", one has never run any linux at all, and on my notebook (HP Omnibook XE3, running SUSE 7.0 with new kernel & stuff) - it worked everywhere. The sound for the notebook took me about 2 hours when setting up SUSE, and it just *worked* with this CD. Of course nothing to really work with, but a great proof-of-concept, and great to make fast backups on crashed systems, repair configs etc.


  • by Bill Kendrick ( 19287 ) <> on Monday August 05, 2002 @12:07AM (#4010298) Homepage
    The Linux Users Group of Davis [] used DemoLinux [] 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 [] 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 [] 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.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas