The Knoppix reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Knoppix is a Linux distribution LiveCD, which is means that an entire operating system can be run from a CD drive without performing an installation process. Knoppix was developed by GNU/Linux consultant Klaus Knopper.

Knoppix is based on KDE desktop and Debian GNU/Linux. The Gnoppix project uses a modified form of Knoppix with GNOME as the default desktop environment.

It includes some added packages that are not currently considered stable and some other modifications to the packages: i.e. for hardware autodetection, because Knoppix automatically recognizes most Linux supported hardware on the computer when booting.

The current version, Knoppix 3.4, was released on 4 May 2004 and features KDE 3.2.2, Kernel 2.4.26 (optional Kernel 2.6.5), 1.1.1, The GIMP 2.0 and improved hardware detection.

Table of contents
1 Usage
2 Highlights
3 Graphic cards
4 Variations
5 External links


It is fully featured with copylefted and freely distributable software such as The GIMP,; overall there are more than 900 pre-installed software packages. Up to 2 gigabytes can be stored on the CD in compressed form (the decompression is transparent and on-the-fly).

Unlike most Linux distributions, it does not require a hard drive installation; the system can boot from a single 700 MB CD. One needs a bootable CD or DVD-ROM drive to start Knoppix from a CD. In order to start the CD/DVD, first adjust the boot list in the BIOS Setup of your computer to boot from CD/DVD-ROM (before it might have been set to floppy disk or hard drive). Put the CD in and restart the computer.

Knoppix can also be installed on the hard disk using an installation script. However, since this goes beyond Knoppix's original purpose, the hard disk installation is recommended only for advanced users. The installation script has been improved and is now delivered on the Knoppix distribution CD as shell command executable "knoppix-installer". Use caution since this may affect other disk partitions and requires enough advanced knowledge to create partition space for Linux and Linux-swap partitions.

Another possibility to make usage more persistent is to store the home directory on a removable medium, like a USB storage device. Use of a persistent home does not allow installation of other many other linux applications that need to alter system files or configurations which reside on the CD. In order to add or update the system directories Knoppix must be installed on a hard disk.

There are different possible uses of the Knoppix live CD:


Graphic cards

The graphics card
driver is very important in using this distribution as it relies on a graphical interface, although most expert users can make use of the command line interface. If your graphic card does not work, it may be that it is new (or exotic) and is not in the knoppix hardware database yet. New cards will usually work under Linux, but they may have to be run using a generic driver.

The easiest way in version 31-01-2002 or later is to type:

knoppix xmodule=fbdev

in the booting.


ClusterKnoppix is a distribution based on Knoppix and using the Linux Terminal Server Project and openMosix. It is a convenient way to try out clustering. Quantian is a Knoppix-like CD geared towards science, based on clusterKnoppix.

Knoppix STD (security tools distribution) is a customized distribution of Knoppix that focuses on computer security tools. It includes GPL licensed tools in the following categories: authentication, password cracking, encryption, forensics, firewalls, honeypots, intrusion detection, network utilities, penetration testing, servers, packet sniffers, assemblerss, vulnerability assessment and wireless tools.

Kurumin is a Brazilian distribution based on Knoppix (with support for the English language) that fits on a mini-CD. It includes standard desktop applications, documentation and an e-book that introduces users to Linux.

Kanotix Linux LiveCD based on KNOPPIX technology using Debian/sid. The included XFree86 4.3 is from Debian/experimental.

There are other Linux demo CDs: SuSE and Slackware distribute live evaluation CDs, Coollinux, DemoLinux, Mandrake, Morphix and Gnoppix have similar purposes to Knoppix. There are also full desktop-oriented distributions based on Debian, notably Linspire (formerly Lindows), Xandros and Libranet.

Hispalinux has an ongoing project, Metadistros, to enable the easy creation of customized Knoppix-like Linux live CDs with an easy installation on the hard disk.

Damn Small Linux, Feather Linux and Flonix are Linux LiveCDs that are very small, mostly under 50MB in size, but fairly robust and desktop-oriented nonetheless.

External links

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