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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

Running Linux from a CD

 11:31 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

A freind of mine just turned me on to Knoppix, a version of Linux that runs from a CD rather than being installed on the hard drive. MY CD should arrive in a few days.

Anyone here have experience with this? Is it a good way to become conversant with the O/S?



 12:24 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've never tried it, but I'd like to. It would be cool to keep one of those CDs handy for those time I'd be otherwise forced to use a MS desktop.

I have read only good things about KNOPPIX.

good read..


 8:41 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I tried the older version with KDE 2 and it was great. If you have a DHCP server in your local net, you are automatically connected to your network after boot, and your disks are mounted.
If you then configure special additional settings (network stuff like proxies or a mail user-ID), these config data can be written to a floppy to survive a shutdown and to be read in again at the next boot.


 8:20 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is talk that Debian is going to adapt Knoppix to be the Debian installer in the future. Seems like a smart thing to do, imagine what would happen if Debian was easier to install than Mandrake.


 10:24 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I haven't used it but I've created my own boot CD based on Slackware 8.1. It was fun and it has all the nice utilities that I miss the other rescue CDs.


 1:18 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I hadn't read that the thought was in circulation, but I had it myself last night. The only problem I can think of with it is that it would make it impossible to install Debian on systems old enough that a CD-ROM drive isn't an option. You can deffinitely fit a more complete installation of Linux on a CD-ROM than on my laptop. The CD has more than siz times the available storage space :(


 1:20 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

The obvious issue here is that you won't be able to tune the kernal to suit your needs. The creators may have compiled it with everything under the sun to account for all possible situations or they may have left it bone dry (the extremes). It is more likely that they will have chosen what they think is a good default Kernal and shipped the product with that. But you'll get what you get for compiled services.


 1:30 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

At the vey least, Knoppix is a great way to get an introduction to Linux without having to do anything complicated. All you do is insert the CD and you're running Linux. I highly recommend it for people who want to try Linux to see what it's like.


 2:28 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

It probably is really a good choice to test the OS, I don't think that I can use it as an everyday option.

I remember that I first tried something that used UMSDOS filesystem and I didn't have to repartition to test Linux.


 4:31 pm on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

My introduction to Linux was with an older computer that I pieced together. I then downloaded a copy of Linux via RedHat and installed it. Used thier defaults and voila, had a server up and running in no time. I played with that for a while and then trashed that install in favor of the workstation install - again all defaults. The hardest part of the whole setup was the download of the tar files (several dozen MB as I recall). I never did do any customization but I had fun and learned a lot about the OS.

Then my coworker suggested I try Mandrake. Which I did try and found to be more stable on my machine.

The bottom line is that the difference between Mandrake, RedHat, and Knoppix will be in what they chose as the default versus what you need/expect. One install pkg could influence your opinion of the OS when it shouldn't - at least not without trying a couple more. Linux is a fantastic OS albeit more than I have time to learn. I prefer to leave it to my network friends. :)


 5:59 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just installed a CD burner on my Debian machine, first thing I wanted to try was Knoppix. I downloaded and burned the ISO, which sits at 696MB. I was really surprised at how much they got into a single CD, a complete KDE, OpenOffice, Mozilla, the GIMP, XMMS, Emacs, gVim and a ton of other programs.

It did a great job at recognizing my hardware, and did it really fast including my NIC and DHCP account, and my sound card. That really impressed me.

Of coerce it runs slower than Linux would from the harddrive, though I guess it would be less noticeable if you had a really fast CD ROM.

One thing I wish is that there was a thinner window manager option, KDE is beautiful and it will be the desktop MS users will be most comfortable with, but with it all running off of the CD it would be nice to have the option of a light weight window manager like Fluxbox.

If I were on the road I'd have to take one of these CDs with me.


 6:27 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I also wanted to download Knoppix, it's good to have a full-featured Linux when you have to use someone else's box but I have problems with their mirrors. All seem to be very slow, the maximum I get is 1.5KB/s.


 9:22 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, the download us on the slower side. I didn't mind so much, I figured it's their bandwidth bill. I just wget'ed it and went and watched SNL.


 9:57 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Getting 157.75 KB/s from ftp.uni-kl.de as I type this.


 10:37 pm on Nov 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Martin, I misread what you wrote, I thought you typed 150KB/s which is about what I got, it seems slow to me these days.

For the sake of it I tried the CD on an old slow Compact Prisario 1245 with 32 MB of ram. Knoppix built a pseudo 'swap partition' to handle the lack of ram. As expected, it was really slow, but *everything* worked including USB internet adapter, and touchpad.

screenshot [cgi-fun.hypermart.net]


 8:23 am on Nov 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Unable to resist I did the Knoppix HD install script after reading this article:
It went very well and really quickly. It's nice to get a Debian installation in less than 30 minutes -- using the old floppy method I was in for more than 4 hours.

That install script is really tucked away (/usr/local/bin/knx-hdinstall).

The author of the article had a language problem, which I avoided by adding Lang=us at the initial booting off of the CD. That is one thing that wasn't clear from the article, it looks like the installer will carry over the settings you feed the CD boot. I also got mousewheel support which isn't usually auto detectable by adding it to the initial boot.
It looked something like this:
BOOT: knoppix wheelmouse Lang=us

Of course, you would choose your own language (Lang=XXX).

The only other thing I did differently is that I allowed the installer to install KDM (I'll probably replace it with wdm later). The process was actually faster than installing Mandrake.


 7:59 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

The creator of Knoppix gave an interview [distrowatch.com].
I wanted to learn how bootable CDs work and once a base system was running, I added stuff that I needed for my personal use, like hardware auto-detection and automatic start-up of a pre-configured desktop. When you are teaching computer classes, the PCs for students are not always installed in the way you need it. So, having a bootable CD with me with a complete installation, made a lot of things easier. Also, considering the fact that notebooks can get stolen or broken easily, carrying a bootable CD around is way less of an effort.

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