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Knoppix – Delightfully Distracting

There are things I like about the Microsoft IIS server solution. There are things I like about the Linux Apache webserver solution. Where I work, it is the former. But for my church web sites, it is the later. Part of it has to do with the cost But part of it is *NIX-like approach. Everything is a file. Add only what you need, when you need it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Simple, brutal efficiency at the cost of assuming the user knew what he/she was doing and was able to read the manual without hand-holding.

At least that is how it was. Now, just as Microsoft adds more and more networking and servers to their operating systems, so too is Linux adding quite a bit more user interface. That said, without a compelling reason, most individuals haven’t tried, spied or experimented with the new GUI breeds of Linux. Who wants to risk blowing up their valuable data by adding a partition and installing a cryptic operating system just to sneak a peek?

Well fear not. Not only have recent installs for Linux become amazingly user-friendly and somewhat idiot-proof, but more recently, there are now distributions of Linux that run entirely from a CD. No partitioning, no formatting, no installation necessary. Which brings me to a very cool tool that goes by the name of Knoppix Linux.

Knoppix is a GNU/Linux distribution that boots and runs completely from the CD. It includes several recent Linux software and desktop environments, such as OpenOffice.org, Abiword, The Gimp, Konqueror, Mozilla, and hundreds more quality open source programs.

In other words, you can test drive Linux without having to install it on your hard drive!

What more variety? There is a growing community if geeks creating what are called Knoppix Linux Documentation – Knoppix Customizations. These are ‘unofficial’ distributions of Knoppix offering a variety of interesting modifications. Some are reduced in size. Some in different languages. One adds various security tools. One even adds clustering capability.

Moreover, if you want to do something crazy, you can remaster Knoppix so it loads the Apache webserver and mod_php on boot-up. Though for those of you without 3 gig to spare, and/ or those of you using Windows, you’re probably better off using Knoppix-customize, a tool that enables you to change boot options and files of a KNOPPIX ISO image or boot disk without .

The point is, here is your chance to play without having to make a huge investment in time or resource. Just download the ISO. Burninate it to a CD. Boot from the CD. Spend all night exploring Linux.

Those of you with wives should just have them complain to me directly for distracting you the rest of this weekend.

6 Comments

  1. I can’t resist something like this. I have a
    699 MB download going right now.

  2. I am now browsing this page from Knoppix using my DSL connection. This is cool! Thanks!

  3. If you think Knoppix is cool, you need to download clusterKnoppix (http://bofh.be/clusterknoppix/). Just run 2+ computers on the same network from it and you instantly have a cluster-computer that looks and acts just like your regular PC. Add more computers and you instantly have your own supercomputer. Very, very cool. And it’s based on Knoppix.

  4. I *love* knoppix as a system utilty tool. Whenever I have to check on the hardware of a computer I just pop in Knoppix and reboot. The freeback here is priceless.

  5. You are very right Dean, Knoppix is great. I’m a big GNU/Linux desktop user (I cover the subject as a journalist, so I guess I should be!), but Knoppix still comes in handy. I like that you can easily check to make sure a system will work okay with GNU/Linux by just booting Knoppix.

    FWIW, Knoppix also provides a fairly easy way to install a permanent Linux system on your hard disk. Just go to a konsole or other terminal and type “sudo knx-hdinstall” and follows the prompts. It’s the easiest way to get a Debian install that I know of!

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