is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB key (Live USB), one of the first of its kind for any operating system. Knoppix was developed by Linux consultant Klaus Knopper. When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive. The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly.

Although Knoppix is primarily designed to be used as a Live CD, it can also be installed on a hard disk like a typical operating system. Computers that support booting from USB devices can load Knoppix from a live USB flash drive or memory card.

There are two main editions of Knoppix: the traditional Compact Disc (700 megabytes) edition and the DVD (4.7 gigabytes) “Maxi” edition. Each of these main editions have two language-specific editions: English and German.

Knoppix mostly consists of free and open source software, but also includes proprietary software.[4]



[edit] Usage

Knoppix can be used to copy files easily from hard drives with inaccessible operating systems. To quickly and more safely use Linux software, the Live CD can be used instead of installing another OS.

[edit] Contents

The classic Knoppix start-up process

More than 1000 software packages are included on the CD edition and more than 2600 are included on the DVD edition. Up to 9 gigabytes can be stored on the DVD in compressed form. These packages include:

[edit] Hardware requirements

  • Intel-compatible processor (i486 or later)
  • 32 MB of RAM for text mode, at least 64 MB for graphics mode with LXDE (at least 128 MB of RAM is recommended to use the various office products)
  • Bootable CD-ROM drive, or a boot floppy and standard CD-ROM (IDE/ATAPI or SCSI)
  • Standard SVGA-compatible graphics card
  • Serial or PS/2 standard mouse or IMPS/2-compatible USB-mouse

[edit] Saving changes in the environment

Prior to Knoppix 3.8.2, any documents or settings a user created would disappear upon reboot. This lack of permanence then made it necessary to save documents directly to a hard drive partition, over the network, or to some removable media, such as a USB flash drive.

It was also possible to set up a “persistent home directory”, where any documents or settings written to the user’s home directory would automatically be redirected to a hard drive or removable media, which could be automatically mounted on bootup. What is physically stored there is a file called knoppix.img. The file is used to simulate a file system into which files are written for later use. This is transparent for the user. What the user perceives is that it is possible to write files to the home directory.

Union mount support was added in version 3.8.1 through UnionFS. This was later replaced in 5.1.0 by Aufs to improve stability.[5] The union mount allows virtual updates to the data on the read-only CD/DVD media by storing changes on separate writable media and then representing the combination of the two as single storage device. The writable media can be memory (ramdisk), a hard disk, USB flash drive, etc. This means that the user can modify the software installed on the Knoppix system, such as by using APT to install or update software. The storage device containing the changes needs to be present whenever Knoppix is started, else only the original data from the disc will be used.

By default Knoppix will scan available storage devices for a persistent home directory, a user can override this and provide a specific location with a boot option (see below) such as:

home=/dev/hda1/knoppix.img [6]

By carrying a Knoppix CD and a USB flash drive, a user can have the same environment, programs, settings, and data available on any computer that can run Knoppix.

This functionality is available only until and including Knoppix 5.1.1 (CD release) and 5.3.1 (DVD release), as all subsequent Knoppix releases don’t have it anymore. The said versions are from 2007 and 2008, respectively, and are thus outdated. Subsequently, the Live CD paradigm has transformed into portable operating systems that run on external storage.

[edit] Change in functionality

The older customized live-mode has been deprecated since Knoppix 6.0.

For permanence, Knoppix 6.x releases require saving all of the CD or DVD contents to non-optical media (hard disk, flash drive, memory card), from which to boot the system up. This can sometimes be a limiting factor, as some computers are not configured or able to run operating systems off USB-connected drives or memory cards; some other systems won’t boot from very large external storage devices. The boot order is usually configured from the BIOS, access to which may be restricted in some situations (typically work computers).

[edit] Boot options

When using Knoppix as a Live CD, one can use boot options, also known as ‘cheatcodes’, to override a default setting or automatic hardware detection when it fails. For example, the user may wish to boot into a plain console, or proceed without SCSI support. For this, Knoppix allows the user to enter one or more cheat codes at the prompt before booting. If the user does not enter a cheat code, or does not press any key before the timeout, Knoppix will boot with its default options. For example, to set the language to French rather than the default, one would type:

knoppix lang=fr[6]

[edit] Popularity

Knoppix was one of the first Live CD Linux distributions to gain popularity.[7] There are several factors that contribute to the popularity of Knoppix:

  • Knoppix was one of the first Live CDs available, and is known as the “original” Debian-based Live CD
  • Its extensive hardware detection allows most systems to start Knoppix without any configuration
  • Its ability to automatically connect to most kinds of networks
  • Its utilities for system repair and troubleshooting

Knoppix works on a fairly large number of PCs or laptops, but not all. The automatic hardware detection cannot cope with all hardware, and sometimes the drivers used will not be optimal. Knoppix has difficulty recognizing some cards made before 1998, or motherboards with a BIOS made before 2002. (In some cases, manual configuration with codes entered at boot time can overcome problems with automatic detection.)

If a PC does not have enough RAM to run KDE and other included programs, Knoppix boots up a very limited twm session instead. The only window running in the twm session by default is xterm.

[edit] Versions

As of April 2008, from version 4 up until 5.1.1, Knoppix has been split into a DVD “maxi” edition (with over 9 GB of software), and a CD “light” edition, both developed in parallel.[8][9]

The following is the version history of major releases.

Knoppix version Release date CD DVD
1.4 30 September 2000 Yes No
1.6 26 April 2001 Yes No
2.1 14 March 2002 Yes No
2.2 14 May 2002 Yes No
3.1 19 January 2003 Yes No
3.2 26 July 2003 Yes No
3.3 22 September 2003 Yes No
3.4 17 May 2004 Yes No
3.5 LinuxTag-Version June 2004 No Yes
3.6 16 August 2004 Yes No
3.7 9 December 2004 Yes No
3.8 CeBIT-Version 28 February 2005 Yes No
3.8.1 8 April 2005 Yes No
3.8.2 12 May 2005 Yes No
3.9 1 June 2005 Yes No
4.0 LinuxTag-Version 22 June 2005 No Yes
4.0 updated 16 August 2005 No Yes
4.0.2 23 September 2005 Yes Yes
5.0 CeBIT-Version 25 February 2006 No Yes
5.0.1 2 June 2006 Yes Yes
5.1.0 30 December 2006 Yes Yes
5.1.1 4 January 2007 Yes Yes
5.2 CeBIT-Version March 2007 No Yes
5.3 CeBIT-Version 12 February 2008 No Yes
5.3.1 26 March 2008 No Yes
6.0.0 28 January 2009 Yes No
6.0.1 8 February 2009 Yes No
6.1 CeBIT-Version 25 February 2009 Yes Yes
6.2 / ADRIANE 1.2 18 November 2009 Yes Yes
6.2.1 31 January 2010 Yes Yes
6.3 CeBIT-Version 2 March 2010 No Yes
6.4.3 20 December 2010 Yes Yes
6.4.4 1 February 2011 Yes Yes
6.5 CeBIT-Version March 2011 No Yes
6.7.0 3 August 2011 Yes Yes
6.7.1 16 September 2011 Yes Yes

The KNOPPIX 6.0.1 / ADRIANE 1.1 is a CD-edition again, and a complete rebuild from scratch. LXDE as default desktop and a very reduced software collection in order to easily fit on CD.[10] No further development is being done of the traditional 5.x versions.

The KNOPPIX 6.2.1 release, both CD and DVD, and the ADRIANE 1.2 has just CD-edition.[11]

[edit] Derivatives

[edit] Adriane Knoppix


Adriane Knoppix is a variation that is intended for blind and visually impaired people, which can be used entirely without vision oriented output devices. It was released in the third quarter of 2007 as a Live CD. Adriane Knoppix is named after Adriane Knopper, the wife of Klaus Knopper, the developer of Knoppix. Adriane has a visual impairment, and has been assisting Klaus with the development of the software.[12] The name Adriane is also a backronym for “Audio Desktop Reference Implementation And Networking Environment”.

Adriane Knoppix is intended not only for the blind but also for beginners who don’t know much about computers. It uses the SUSE Blinux screen reader with a phoneme generator and speech engine for normal output.

[edit] Other variations

Knoppix family tree

  • BackTrack, a distribution that concentrates on digital forensics and which collects together various security programs. The project is a merge of Auditor Security Collection and WHAX.
  • Dreamlinux, a Brazilian distribution branched off from Morphix, centers on ease of use and graphics performance.
  • Kanotix, a live distribution now based on Debian.
  • KnoppMyth, a distro that attempts to make the Linux and MythTV installation as trivial as possible
  • Poseidon Linux, a widely-acclaimed distribution specifically geared for the scientific community.
  • Quantian, for statisticians

[edit] Unmaintained projects

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

[edit] Books

[edit] News articles

[edit] References

  1. ^ “Knoppix”. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  2. ^ “KNOPPIX Linux Live CD: What license does the KNOPPIX-CD use?”. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
  3. ^ Two Weughty Questions on Debian newsgroup post
  4. ^ Knoppix FAQ-Wiki pages
  5. ^ Changelog
  6. ^ a b Knoppix Documentation Wiki:Cheat codes
  7. ^ – Live CD
  8. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2005-07-06). “KNOPPIX 4.0 in issue 8/05 with DVD of “com! Das Computer-Magazin””. KNOPPER.NET News. Knopper.Net. Archived from the original on 2005-07-08. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  9. ^ (German) “Knoppix 4.0 auf DVD erscheint zum LinuxTag 2005” (Press release). Knopper.Net. 2005-07-29. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  10. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2009-02-11). “Microknoppix”. KNOPPIX 6.0 / ADRIANE 1.1 – Live CD. Knopper.Net. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  11. ^ “Microknoppix”. KNOPPIX 6.2 / ADRIANE 1.2 – Live CD / DVD. Knopper.Net. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  12. ^ Swapnil Bhartiya, EFY News, Free Operating System For Blind: Adriane Knoppix accessed 2 February 2007

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