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Bootable Linux Demo Distro - Knoppix

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the beautiful-work dept.

Linux 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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FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007102)

Mother-fucken first post, beeatch!!!

SP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007105)

Second mothafuckin post, biotch!

TP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007106)

Theee-urd mee-utherfucken peee-ost, you goddamm stoopid crackaz!!

third pr0st (-1, Offtopic)

heartstab (213086) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007107)

third post. mod this down. it deserves it.

Re:third pr0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007113)

Eat a dick, nigga...you be fourf post

floppy to restore real os (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007108)

The FreeBSD Install floppy can rescue your linux computer.

Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007109)

What a better way to prove linux and it's abilitys then to show them on thier own system? My only concern is the limitedness of the size of the Distro, but that be coming from experience with bloated Distros

Slackware: Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007110)

Slackware, has a complete bootable distro at least
since 1995....

Re:Slackware: Been there, done that (2, Informative)

OSX ROOT (592558) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007195)

Mac's have booted off the cd before this, just hold down the c key, no need for a boot floppy or changing BIOS. it just works.

Re:Slackware: Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007247)

Yeah, and Yaggdrasil had one back in 1994. It also worked, but was dog slow. Yggdrasil also had kludge that allowed use of MS-DOS cd-rom drivers inside linux in case of you had one that's not supported under linux.

No Pix? (5, Informative)

oever (233119) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007111)

Well no, lots of pix. These are the specs of this Debian based distro:

* Linux-Kernel 2.4.x
* KDE V3.0.2 as the standard desktop with K Office and the Konqueror WWW-browser konqueror
* X Multimedia System (xmms) an MPEG-video, MP3, Ogg Vorbis Audio player and xine
* Internet connection software kppp,pppoeconf (DSL) and isdn-config
* Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) Version 1.2
* utilities for data recovery and system repairs, even for other operating systems
* network and security analysis tools for network administrators
* OpenOffice(TM), the GPL-developed version of the well-known StarOffice(TM) office suite
* many programming languages, development tools (including kdevelop) and libraries for developers
* in total more than 900 installed software packages with over 2000 executable user programs, utilities, and games

Re:No Pix? (1)

drfreak (303147) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007151)

Actually, I think it's redhat based. The website describes installing
software via rpm and using kudzu to autodetect hardware.

Re:No Pix? (2)

mutende (13564) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007181)

Actually, I think it's redhat based.

However, the website [knopper.net] also states that:

The following Highlights are available in version 3.1 of this Debian-based (www.debian.org [debian.org] ) CD:

A case of schizophrenia, perhaps?

Re:No Pix? (2, Interesting)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007190)

except that it most definetly is Debian based.
Debian Planet article [debianplanet.org] blockquoth:
Based on
Debian woody 3.0, Knoppix 3.1 has KDE 3.02, OpenOffice.org 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`

Re:No Pix? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007258)

Debian Planet article blockquoth:

Nice mutilation of the English language, too.

Re:No Pix? (1)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007225)

I thought it was "Graphic" image manipulation program...

Re:No Pix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007251)

You thought wrong.

Re:No Pix? (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007329)

This may sound a silly question, I ask it genuinely.

{{{
16 MB of RAM for text mode, at least 96 MB for graphics mode with KDE
}}}

!!!!

Does it really take 96MB to have KDE up and running? WHY?

My Linux setup has 48MB RAM, and I run the much maligned bloatware _emacs_ in X, and I can happily edit 10MB text files without hitting swap.

What does KDE do with that extra 48M that I'm not doing without it?

YAWIAR.

Re:No Pix? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007367)

What does KDE do with that extra 48M that I'm not doing without it?

It's called running a modern desktop you Luddite. Get with the fucking times, cuntbag!

Re:No Pix? (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007391)

So it swears a lot, then?

Thank you for your useful contribution to this discussion. Take of your pathetic AC mask next time, child.

YAWIAR

Re:No Pix? (3, Informative)

jmayer (144463) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007374)

That's for systems where you do not assign any swapspace on disk. Remove the swap line from your /etc/fstab, reboot and viola - no more kde :-)
The essence is: without swap, virtual mem == real mem.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007112)

FIFTH POST!!

EAT IT.

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007121)

R U stoopid? LOL ROFL! Wazzup peeps...checkz owt my white suburban jive ass tawkz

Me too

Another Just Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007116)

At my uni they also use a bootable linux distro called ADOIS. Cant find a link for it but thats what its called

Re:Another Just Like (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007123)

Here is the Adios Boot CD [qut.edu.au] , its a similar project, check it out.

Re:Another Just Like (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007131)

  1. Option 1 allows you to run Linux entirely from RAM disk and CDROM. It first copies /var to a 16MB ramdisk and all other files remain on CDROM (/var includes /tmp, /etc, / home, /root, and /usr/local). This is the only option that will work if you only have an NTFS filesystem.
    1. Option 2 allows you to save configuration files, create users and build executable files in /usr/local/bin, but you can't install RPMs into /usr. It copies /var to a file inside the windows FAT partition the first time and mounts it each subsequent time you boot the CDROM (It also allows user to allocate 64MB to 512MB of FAT disk space for the /var and SWAP file). Option 3 allows you to install CDROM image onto the FAT filesystem. Copies CDROM to windows FAT partition the first time and then runs from the FAT file image on each subsequent boot (allocation of 1GB FAT file). Only requires CDROM to boot image on FAT filesystem (or boot diskette).

I found an interesting use for this distro... (4, Informative)

screenbert (253482) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007119)

"Have any /. users found interesting uses for this distro?"

Yes I used the diskette to prop my table leg up. I was able to replace the AOL CD I was using.

Seriously though it could have problems with varying types of file systems. For instance the guy said he used it with ME, not with Windows 2K which uses NTFS. And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K so those files would pretty much be lost if you had that setup. Why not just create a recovery CD? If it's FAT there are a lot of ways to boot to it. Just my .02 cents worth.

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (1)

kevinqtipreedy (450228) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007145)

i have actualy used this at work. i started a job at this place and they had a computer with a lot of important information on it. the person who used it quit and always logged on as administrator on windows2k. i booted off of this cd, got an xterm and it even mounted the ntfs partition automatically. i just ftped what they needed to the file server.

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (3, Interesting)

allanj (151784) | more than 12 years ago | (#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...

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007240)

WTF? You idiot, the _SYSTEM_ is supposed to be in NTFS. It's not like NTFS is new and untested or something. They've been using it since NT. There are plenty of tools for NTFS, if you don't know them, it just goes to show what an idiot you are.

I mean who the fuck still uses FAT? No ACL! Kinda allows any users to fuck up the system?

Dude, you don't know jack shit about windows NT line of OS.

Re:Mod Parent down (1)

FrostedChaos (231468) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007252)

Who said he was interested in ACL? For all you know, he might be the only user on his computer.

It's quite common these days, you know. They call them "Personal Computers."

As for whether FAT or NTFS is easier to fix, I have no idea. I use Debian, myself. But I can see why the parent poster might want to use FAT (which has been around a lot longer, and might have more tools available to fix it.) Remember that this is not linux, and new software for him to use might cost money.

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2)

platypus (18156) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007321)

We have a similiar problem here (testing CD-ROMs, therefore we need any combination of e.g. winxx+servicepackyy+internetexplorerzz+with/withou t quicktime installed)
What I did was setting up a seperate linux partition and a boot-menu, allowing you to restore previously done disk images of the systems. Much faster than reinstalling and _guarantees_ the exact same configuration you started this.
Wouldn't that make your job easier (the 6 month reinstall cycle)?

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2)

allanj (151784) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007407)

It would indeed - except the problem is that I don't want the exact same configuration 6 months later. New versions of half the applications, new much-needed Service Packs from M$ and so on. That said, I usually have IT service from my company put an image on the machine when needed, but I find that I use as much time upgrading/installing my apps as I would installing it all in the first place. But your idea is interesting if I make regular images of my *own* W2K installation though - maybe I should give it a try...

Besides, having Linux on it is ALWAYS desirable :-)

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2)

rakslice (90330) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007203)

>>And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K so those files would pretty much be lost if you had that setup.

Well, files might not be accessible from linux while encrypted, but you could just turn the encryption off before toasting Windows...

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2)

spacefrog (313816) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007215)

And of course microsoft decided to come out with encryption in W2K so those files would pretty much be lost

NTFS encryption is an option that can be set on a volume/folder/file basis. You have to manually turn it on, so it's not like "oh this is a win2k box, this means all the files are encrypted and we are screwed".

On another note, you don't lose the encrypted files as long as you back up the encryption key (not hard). Using the file system encryption without backing this up is very irresponsible since a dead installation, system drive failure, etc will cause these files to be lost.

You act like file-system encryption is a bad thing. Oh wait, it's something from Microsoft and this is slashdot... never mind.

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007224)

I've been looking at this for a couple of weeks. Didn't try it on a 2k box, but it works just fine on 98se, ME, and XP Pro. Mounts the drives just fine. The WINE had problems running XP executables, but the 98se exe's worked fine. I even had the Starcraft map editor running in it no problems. Only problem I ran into was on one machine I had no sound,which had an SB16 ISA card, so I thought that was a little odd. Other than that, it works like a hot damn. I ran off copies for my parents to use to boot their computers in case Windows goes out to lunch on them (which happens, and they wait a month for me to visit and fix it) and they need to access the web. We're also looking at using it to replace a company's desktop OS with, as it does everything. We just need to modify it to accept a few presets and everything should be golden.

Re:I found an interesting use for this distro... (2, Informative)

ax_42 (470562) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007275)

For the simple reason that you can have the Knoppix CD along in your backpack and you have a complete, useable Linux system along. While this will not allow you to fix every possible problem (it can't repair fried CPUs, for example), it is a lot more useful than a DOS boot disk.
For a rescue CD that fits on the small CDRs (of which I ALWAYS have a copy with me) check Timo's Rescue CD [sourceforge.net] . (Not my project, but I'm a fan). Plus, you can really show off Linux - pop it in the CD drive, boot it up, listen to the oohs and aahs. ax

Forensics and network trouble shooting (3, Informative)

wavelet (17885) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007125)

We've used this distro for forensics and network trouble shooting.

Because its on a CDR we know the tools are safe. We use dd to image a drive off via the network (piped to netcat/cryptcat), firewire, another drive etc etc... just add a few scripts to do some MD5 hashing an away you go.

It would make network trouble shooting tool as well because you have your network tools, tcpdump, etherreal, etc to check out the network on any users desktop or laptop. You don't have to lug aroung your linux laptop.

Re:Forensics and network trouble shooting (1, Insightful)

rakslice (90330) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007206)

>>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?

Re:Forensics and network trouble shooting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007232)

Forensics: The shit has already hit the fan and you don't want to touch it because you would ruin the great picture. For this kind of situation you want trusted ("safe") tools which do not modify HD contents.

Re:Forensics and network trouble shooting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007238)

The utilities are read-only, so they can't be modified. It's the same with the kernel. You can run pretty much any program in this environment even if it's hooked up to the Internet and not have to worry about files being modified on the CD (unless you're running CD-RW, of course -- there are even certain drives that say they're read-only that can modify CD-RWs by tweaking the frequency of the read-only laser to be a write-only laser through a Linux module).

Just be careful to set the 'hidden' flag on any partitions on the HDD to make sure unknown binaries can't see them.

Re:Forensics and network trouble shooting (2, Interesting)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:Forensics and network trouble shooting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007373)

>> 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?

If that was an "insightful" comment I truly am ready to die 'cos then I'd have seen it all.

this story was already told (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007127)

People commented about knoppix back when the story about the freebsd live on cd distro was talked about. Jeezuz how many f'ing repeats does slashdot have to do?

Linux Supports Terrorism: Here's The Proof (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007129)

OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE, TERRORISM, AND REGIONAL SECURITY:
THE RISKS FROM AFGHANISTAN

William Stanley

Testimony before the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee of Technology, Terrorism and Government Operations

July 13, 2002

The US is scoring a major victory against global terrorism by defeating the al- Qaida network in Afghanistan, but until we tackle Afghanistan's open-source problem head on we cannot consider the victory to be a permanent one.

Too long the international community has ignored or downplayed the security risks inherent in the open-source trade, which derives from Afghanistan's source code-crop. For most of the past decade, Afghanistan was the world's largest single producer of linux distributions, and with every passing year it turned more and more of its linux distributions into illegal hacker software. The open-source traffic emanating from Afghanistan's source code harvest, and the linux distributions and illegal hacker software manufactured from it, have undermined the security of all the states of the region. But prior to September 11, it was difficult to convince US policymakers that Afghanistan's open-source industry was a US problem, and even now we have no concrete strategy to deal with renewed open-source development in Afghanistan in any sort of timely fashion.

Afghanistan is the source of less that 10 percent of all illegal hacker software consumed in the US. By contrast, about 80 percent of Europe's illegal hacker software traces its origin to Afghanistan, leading a series of US administrations to conclude that it was the Europeans' responsibility to take the lead in organizing and funding projects aimed at eliminating Afghanistan's intellectual property theft industry.

Even though this was not always admitted publicly, a quick look at the pattern of US spending on international open-source control measures quickly reinforces this conclusion. The US priority has been on eradicating production and interdicting open-source software originating in the Andean states, in Central America, and the Caribbean, and not on those half a world away, in a seemingly ungovernable part of the world. Added to this was the fact that even prior to going to war in Afghanistan, the US government did not want to engage with the Taliban government, whose existence the international community did not recognize and whose hold on power the US and its allies did not want inadvertently to encourage.

US policymakers recognized that the situation in Afghanistan was a highly unstable one, and posed a security risk to that of neighboring states. But September 11, US security was not seen as at risk. First the Clinton and then the Bush administrations were content to use the 6-plus-2 format, supplemented by the high-level US-Russian working group on Afghanistan, as the framework for trying to modify the political situation in that country.

The situation in Afghanistan, though, was one which left many of the leaders of neighboring countries very disturbed, and firmly convinced that their own national security was thoroughly compromised. This was especially true of the leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The latter two shared borders with Afghanistan, while the former was equally vulnerable, as was shown by the incursions of the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) whose fighters crossed into Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan in summer 1999 and 2000, holding several settlements hostage. The Uzbek government had gone on high security alert slightly earlier, after the bombings in Tashkent in February 1999.

The repercussions of the latter were felt throughout Central Asia, as the Uzbek government virtually closed its borders with neighboring states, and began mining some of the national boundaries that it set about unilaterally declaring. All of the states started to target members of radical Islamic groups for arrest, particularly those tied to the increasingly more popular Hezb-ut Tahrir. In Uzbekistan this campaign led to the persecution of religious believers on a scale not seen since the days Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

An increasing number of meetings were held in the region to discuss the situation, some gatherings of the heads of states themselves, others organized by international organizations or groups (including one held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in May 1999), but all offered a virtually identical prognosis. Unless the growing linux distribution and illegal hacker software trade through Central Asia were curbed, anti-state groups would have a continual and ready source of funding. Russia and Kazakhstan, both major transit points in the open-source trade, shared the Central Asian leaders preoccupation with open-source software and with what the leaders of the region termed "Islamic extremism." Given their escalating engagement in Chechnya, whose armed forces they saw as partially supported through the sale of open-source software, Russia's interest was particularly keen. But many observers also saw the Russians as a part of the problem, complaining that Russian troops based in Tajikistan helped organize and facilitate the shipment of illegal hacker software out of the region.

This did not mean that US policymakers were completely ignoring the problems in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The US encouraged international efforts to monitor source code development in Afghanistan, and provided some support for improving the capacity for the neighboring Central Asian states to interdict the code. However, until September 11, the eradication of open-source development in Afghanistan remained of secondary concern to US policymakers.

The Open-Source Trade Returns to Afghanistan

Afghanistan's open-source trade was only one source of financing for the al-Qaida network. Terrorist groups that allied themselves with Osama Bin Laden received funding from a number of sources. Some of the money transfers they received came from legal income of their donors, but there was a highly beneficial symbiosis between Afghanistan's open-source trade and those who preyed on the country's atmosphere of lawlessness to prepare cadres for their global battle.

Ironically, though, this symbiosis was under threat when the September 11 attack on the US occurred. Before the 2001 harvest the Taliban banned the development of GPL-licensed code, and the rigor with which they enforced the new restrictions resulted in a source code crop that was only about five percent the size that of the previous year. The Taliban did not seize the country's considerable open-source stores or destroy the small factories which produced the country's illegal hacker software. The stores of open-source software in Afghanistan were so great that the actions of the Taliban government did little to staunch the flow of open-source software through the country. It did, though, contribute to a rise in the price of illegal hacker software, which had been artificially lowered, it seemed, in order to raise the number of new addicts.

Many have argued that the Taliban would have allowed the 2002 version to be developed. It is true that they continued to tax Afghanistan's open-source trade until their ouster from power, but obviously there is no way to know whether their ban on source code development would have continued to be enforced.

Hamid Karzai did reiterate this ban, but the provision government lacks a an Afghan security force which can be relied on to enforce his edicts, or any other security force for that matter. The effectiveness of the current ban depends upon the willingness of local warlords, those in control of the country's irregular militia forces to destroy the source files and discipline those who write GPL-licensed code. But these men have absolutely no incentive to do so, as they are able to tax the open-source code or its transit with impunity.

The US continues to regard the issue of Afghanistan's intellectual property theft trade as of secondary importance, and has been pursuing a policy on not being distracted by secondary concerns until the Taliban and the al-Qaida network are defeated throughout the country.

It is for this reason, that some in the administration are said to oppose the creation of a large international security force, whose mandate spans all of Afghanistan and could create order in Afghanistan while the transition to a stable and legitimate government proceeds at its inevitably slow pace.

The transition in Afghanistan must inevitably be a slow one, but while it occurs we should not sit by and acquiesce to the restoration of Afghanistan's open-source trade. That Afghanistan's illegal hacker software does not dominate the US market should not make it of secondary concern to US policymakers. Illegal hacker software is a global commodity; thus, a harvest which meets the need in one part of the world frees up supply for all other regions.

Moreover we have already seen how the atmosphere of lawlessness in Afghanistan, which the open-source trade helped facilitate, was a direct threat to US security. Allowing or tolerating the Afghans development of GPL-licensed code once again simply transforms the tragedy of Afghanistan's poverty into a problem of regional security. Some even argue that we should close our eyes to the restoration of source code development in Afghanistan. Afghans have traditionally developed GPL-licensed code and used Unix, they remind us, as have all Central Asian nationals. Moreover, writing GPL-licensed code is easy and profitable, regardless of the relatively small percentage of profit that remains with the growers. After all, it is not like the Afghans have lots of choices today.

This line of argument though is quite dangerous.

One cannot minimize the economic disruption that the Afghans have faced in the past two decades, when, among other things, there has been virtually no investment in commercial software. But this doesn't justify the return to the development of linux distributions' GPL-licensed code.

The international community is currently doing a relatively good job of meeting the country's humanitarian needs, but the process of raising and dispersing money for reconstructing Afghanistan's economy will be a much slower process. Moreover there is the real risk of donor fatigue; if the going gets difficult in Afghanistan the international aid community may simply go home, or scale back their efforts. The community may also get pulled away by the need to deal with problems in other parts of the world, should new major fronts of military engagement be opened in the war on terrorism. Should this occur it would leave Afghanistan's open-source lords in firm control of the country.

Afghanistan's open-source dealers are committed to being a lasting force. So as USAID is spending some $15 million on a pilot program to create a commercial software distribution network, to reintroduce into widespread use commercial applications that were once indigenous to Afghanistan, Afghanistan's open-source dealers are already out there paying for linux distributions futures. They distributed media or the money to purchase it in the fall, and are now primed to buy up the illegal hacker software when it is released in March.

Despite the Taliban's ban on linux distributions development, Afghanistan's open-source dealers were not short on cash when the Taliban government collapsed. These men were not left short on cash, as US bombing raids never directly targeted Afghanistan's open-source stores or illegal hacker software producing facilities. Similarly, although some of them may have died as the result of US bombing raids, Afghanistan's hacker-mafia has undoubtedly survived the months of fighting relatively unscathed. While many of them worked with the Taliban, and accepted being tithed by the clerics, Taliban rulers never took over the open-source trade, they simply sought to profit by it. Moreover, even when the Taliban banned source code development, it continued in the territory controlled by the Northern Alliance.

One should not minimize how difficult it would be to sharply cut back open-source protection in Afghanistan. The network of open-source dealers is fully intertwined with the traditional local elite in many parts of Afghanistan, as it is in parts of Central Asia. Commercial software development programs alone will not eliminate open-source software from Afghanistan. Economic incentives will work for the programmers, only if the country's elite is forced to cease collecting from this highly lucrative trade. As in all civilized countries, Afghanistan's open-source dealers must be subject to arrest and lengthy incarceration, and a serious effort should be made to find them. Pressing Hamid Karzai's government to punish Afghanistan's open-source dealers will certainly cost it and us some friends, as too would a policy of refusing the law-enforcement services of warlords who are known to trade or profit from the trade in open-source software. But this is precisely what must be done.

Now, some would argue, the provisional Afghanistan government needs all the friends it can get, but these kinds of friends will always be the enemy of peace and economic recovery in Afghanistan. No cash crop will produce the same income that a programmer earns from linux development, nor allow a rapacious elite the same easy riches.

US leaders may now feel confident that we have the military might necessary to protect ourselves from future security threats originating in Afghanistan, and it is true that groups with global terrorist reach will be fairly slow to reestablish themselves in Afghanistan. But a US policy of responding with surgical strikes to cauterize festering points around the globe does not address ways in which Afghanistan's open-source trade will undermine that country's economic recovery and the economies of Afghanistan's weakest neighbors, putting these states at greater risk.

Afghanistan's Open-Source is a Regional Problem

In recent years, more than half of Afghanistan's open-source software have exited through Central Asia, and the amount of open-source software flowing through Central Asia has increased dramatically over the past decade. Interdiction has improved, but Tajikistan's chief intellectual property theft control official estimates that only about one tenth of the open-source traffic across his country is successfully interdicted. Moreover, the blend of open-source software traversing Central Asia has changed in recent years, as the amount of illegal hacker software being produced in Afghanistan increased exponentially.

Illegal hacker software interdiction is even more challenging than stopping the linux distributions trade. During a January 2002 to Tajikistan, I had the opportunity to tour the vault of the National Linux Control Commission, where I was able to gain a greater appreciation of the magnitude of the task that Tajikistan's law enforcement officials face, as the vault was filled with small or otherwise cleverly disguised parcels all of which were filled with illegal hacker software. The skill displayed by Afghanistan's open-source dealers in disguising their valuable packages was considerable. Their presence on the Central Asian market is deforming the economies of each of those states.

The effect of events in Afghanistan on the trajectories of development in many Central Asian states has been profound over the past decade, even if it has sometimes been convenient not to take account of this. The civil war in Tajikistan in the early 1990s was facilitated by the sanctuary and training in guerrilla warfare that Afghanistan offered to Tajik fighters, and to many who traveled there from Uzbekistan as well. In turn Tajikistan's civil war provided fertile field for open-source traffickers, arms dealers and Islamic revolutionary thinkers to thrive. Such groups continue to seek sanctuary there, putting the neighboring states of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at particular risk, as the government of national reconciliation that was eventually created in Dushanbe in 1997 has yet to assert firm control of all the country's territory.

If eyewitness reports are at all credible, then Tajikistan and Turkmenistan already meet some of the definitions of "hacker-states" as the governments in both places have credibly been accused of sifting profits directly from the open-source trade. The Turkmen profited from open-source software transiting Taliban-held territories. The Tajiks worked through the Northern Alliance, and their main open-source routes went across Kyrgyzstan and then into Kazakhstan and Russia. Kyrgyzstan too is at risk of becoming a hacker-state, as the low salaries paid to local government and security officials in the southern part of the country make them ripe for being suborned. Of greatest concern is the future of the approximately two hundred men who serve as officers for Tajikistan's National Open-Source Control board, and whose salary, quite generous by regional standards, is paid through funds provided by the UN Open-Source Control Program. Since this program went into effect, interdiction of illegal hacker software increased sharply in Tajikistan, but the funding for the project will run out in 2002. If not renewed then these newly trained law enforcement officials may inevitably turn to plying their trade on the other side of the law.

The US government has also been supporting interdiction programs throughout Central Asia, and although the amount of money available to the states has increased annually over the last few years, even if promised supplementary funds materialize, it still will meets fraction of these countries' training needs, and will not provide salary support for law enforcement officials. Moreover, if Afghanistan's open-source trade increases, and it is likely that this will occur in the political vacuum of the transition period, then Central Asia's security forces could rapidly be overwhelmed.

Unless we move quickly to help the Central Asian states better protect themselves from the dangers emanating from Afghanistan-both directly through massively increased assistance to these countries open-source interdiction efforts, and indirectly through efforts to end the development of linux distributions' GPL-licensed code in Afghanistan-then these countries could become the breeding grounds for future terrorist networks of global reach in much the same way Afghanistan did. Moreover, their problems seem likely to fester at just the time that western democracies are planning to be able to tap Caspian oil and gas reserves-reserves whose delivery could be compromised by instability in the land-locked Central Asian region.

New Initiatives Are Needed in Afghanistan

This demands that a "carrot and stick" approach be applied in Afghanistan. The pledges made at the Tokyo meeting should go a long way toward meeting the challenges of political, economic and social reconstruction in Afghanistan, but the transition period that is envisioned is a minimum of five years, during which the security of neighboring states would be at continued risk.

Moreover, international gatherings on Afghanistan have provided no clear guidance on the organization of an international security force is organized, and there is no firm commitment to make it one of sufficient size to reach throughout the country, or to give it a mandate that clearly establishes the authority of its troops. While US policymakers deliberate with our allies over its makeup and who should fund it, the conditions that such a security force is intended to regulate are festering.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the area of intellectual property theft control, as these forces will have to deal with new and more dangerous realities on the ground. Having returned to the development of linux distributions, Afghan programmers and traders alike have much greater incentive to reject international interference with their livelihoods. Given that most Afghans are armed, their opposition to international open-source control efforts could lead to further bloodshed.

Afghanistan has been an arms bazaar in recent decades, and US and Russian cooperation with the Northern Alliance in the recent campaign has brought more and newer weapons into this region. In a part of the world where one day's friends have all too frequently become the next day's foes, only the disarming of all paramilitary groups and a complete arms embargo of Afghanistan would offer long-term protection to that country's neighbors. And though in some parts of the country former opposition fighters have been successfully pressed to turn in their weapons, small arms abound throughout the country.

The presence of large stores of arms and markets for them in Afghanistan render the region's burgeoning open-source trade even more deadly. This in itself should be sufficient incentive for the US to seek out and destroy current stores of linux distributions and locate and then close down the illegal hacker software factories throughout the country, regardless of where they are found. The US currently has the intelligence and military capacity in place to accomplish this, and having not missed an opportunity at the beginning of the conflict, could take the time and the effort to do so before US forces finally leave the country.

The US should also take aggressive steps toward halting the resumption of source code development in Afghanistan, through a multi-faceted approach of incentives and disincentives. Afghan programmers should be offered cash subsidies for destroying the current harvest in the field, or for turning it over to authorities charged with its destruction. Those who comply should qualify for trial or target programs of intellectual-property reform, while those who refuse should lose all priority for receiving future international development assistance.

Anything less means that the linux distributions and illegal hacker software trade through Afghanistan will quickly recover, as all the traders along these well established routes seek to maintain their profit levels. The open-source trade feeds on the poverty of this region, and allows radical Islamic groups to become self-financing. Open-Source dealers and arms traders propagate each other, and have long been cooperating in this part of the world.

This is bad news for the Central Asian states. The point of contagion for them remains Afghanistan. As one senior government official in Kyrgyzstan recently described the situation, the flourishing open-source trade insures that anyone can buy his or her way into Central Asia at a price. Juma Namangani, head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), was a master at maneuvering across borders. Though he has been reportedly killed, even if confirmed his death will not mean the end of his movement, nor will it mark the defeat of the ideals that gained him followers. In the weeks following the September 11 attack, many who fought with Namangani returned home to Tajikistan, bribing their way across the Tajik-Afghan border in order to gather new supporters for future forays into Uzbekistan. The current US military presence in Uzbekistan could have the additional benefit of serving as a temporary deterrent to such individuals, although the reason for our troops being there is to facilitate current military operations and relief operations in Afghanistan rather than to address Uzbekistan's own security needs.

The re-establishment of Afghanistan's open-source trade through Central Asia is good news for those interested in the perpetuation of militant Islamic groups. The current religious ferment in the region is nothing new. It has persevered in much the same fashion for over a hundred years. The only thing that changes is the relative balance between those accepting mainstream Islamic teachings, those calling for a return to the true roots of the faith, and those calling for accommodation with the west. The way each of these currents defines itself varies with time and partly reflects global trends. Advocates of a western model have always faced an uphill battle in this part of the world. Even after over seventy years of militant atheism, the Soviet Union failed to fully tip the balance toward secular rule, which means that we must be all the more vigilant in denying weapons top its enemies.

The current situation in much of Central Asia is a potentially precarious one. Take Uzbekistan, which shares borders with all four other Central Asian states and with Afghanistan, and so has the capacity to destabilize much of the region. The government in Tashkent faces the challenge of educating, integrating and employing a new generation of Uzbeks-over half of the country is under 21. Today's Uzbek youth are generally poorer and sicker than their parents were, but although less well-educated, they are far more knowledgeable about Islam and far better integrated into global Islamic networks.

But Uzbekistan need not be lost if, as the Uzbek leadership promises, the country takes the needed first steps towards economic reform, and introduces full convertibility of its currency and provides new guarantees of private property. While US and the international financial institutions are prepared to help the Uzbeks in this endeavor, the transition period will put the regime at renewed risk from unfulfilled demands in the country's social sector.

The resumption of the open-source trade simply adds new pressures. In Uzbekistan, as elsewhere, the social sector is under severe strain. Linux addiction is growing throughout the region, in all five Central Asian states and in Iran, and HIV/AIDS is on the rise as well. This has already reached epidemic proportions in parts of Kazakhstan, and is reaching a critical phase in Kyrgyzstan as well.

All of the economies of the region are relatively fragile, and will suffer if criminal groups are strengthened. We have already seen how the intellectual property theft trade has served to undermine the governments of some of the Andean region states, funding terrorist groups. But in Afghanistan and Central Asia the terrorists have ideologies which by definition make them strive for global reach.

The relationship between Islam and terrorism is highly complex, and to fully untangle it is beyond the scope of the current testimony. Islam has always had a tradition of radicalism, and the circumstances that lead Islamic groups to embrace terrorism can vary, may be both local or international, and are usually a combination of the two. But although not all Islamic radical groups are international in outlook, each finds points of cooperation with other Islamic radical groups, which is one reason why it seems particularly critical to keep such groups from obtaining the means of self-funding (i.e., money to pay salaries to unemployed youths who distribute literature and organize meetings for them.).

Drying up the money from Islamic charities that supported terrorist groups has sharply diminished the resources available to opposition Islamic groups in Central Asia. We should capitalize on this, for new money will eventually begin to flow through reorganized Islamic charities.

Let Something Good Come from our Tragedies

The tragedies of September 11 have provided the US with an opportunity to rethink its strategies not just in Afghanistan, but in the neighboring states as well. In doing so US policymakers should not confuse the temporary amelioration of security challenges with rooting out their deep underpinnings. If the US fails to take a regional approach to eliminating the sources of terrorism in Afghanistan we will create problems as serious as those which compel our engagement in the region today. Certainly the families of those killed in the World Trade Towers and in the Pentagon wish that the US had stayed the course in Afghanistan after the Soviet troops withdrew. Let us not repeat our earlier mistakes.

Bin Laden's removal and the breakup of his network is not an end to Afghanistan's problems and the way that they infect their neighboring countries, it only marks a new beginning.

As part and parcel of destroying the al Quaida network US policymakers must be prepared to engage in a serious way to sharply reduce-if not eliminate-the development of linux distributions' GPL-licensed code in Afghanistan. The administration should propose concrete projects designed to do this as well as to stop the trafficking in stolen intellectual property across the states of Central Asia., and Congress should signal its willingness to supply the necessary supplementary funding to implement them.

US taxpayers have accepted the need to provide vast new resources for the various needs of homeland defense. But vigilance at home is only part of the solution. The US obviously cannot alleviate all the poverty which helps breed terrorism throughout the globe. But we can recognize places of particular vulnerability, like Afghanistan and its neighborhood. Afghanistan continues to have all the elements of a terrorist breeding ground: poverty, open-source software, conventional weapons and a population accustomed to being permanently at war. Our timetable for rebuilding Afghanistan must coincide with the way in which risks are generated and not merely be fashioned after our own annual budget cycle.

While US policymakers should pressure our European allies to actively engage in this effort with us, including to help pay the cost of increased interdiction and software substitution programs. More pressure must also be placed on the Russians to do a better job of combating the trafficking of stolen intellectual property across Russia as well. Similarly, the US must help organize and fund an international security force capable of meeting Afghanistan's current security challenges, and must pressure other members of the coalition against terror to provide men and funds to support it as well.

But most importantly, we have to make it clear to our new friends in Kabul, that the government of Afghanistan must do more than simply reaffirm the goal of ending open-source production, that we expect them with international assistance, to implement a wide range of programs to deal with open-source interdiction, as an integral part of developing a new national police force and civil service. Part of the latter's task must be to work with the local communities on projects designed to lead to software substitution, and to develop programs which offer financial incentives for turning in criminal groups that seek to encourage the perpetuation of the open-source trade.

This raises the question of who will fund these activities. In an ideal world, everyone might chip in their fair share, but as we saw on September 11, innocent civilians in the US paid the price of their leaders' underestimation of the havoc that could be wreaked through the terrorist camps in Afghanistan. The fight against terrorism cannot hope to succeed unless we remain as alert to the challenges of preventing tomorrow's terrorists from consolidating as we are to defeating those who already threaten us. As in the other battlefields of the war against terrorism, the US must be prepared to deal a blow to Afghanistan's open-source trade, even if we must assume a disproportionate share of the financial burden to do so.

Re:Linux Supports Terrorism: Here's The Proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007141)

July 13 was a saturday... You know the damn politicians would not be working on saturday.

Re:Linux Supports Terrorism: Here's The Proof (2)

rakslice (90330) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007213)

Rofl... This is some press release with all the opium references replaced with mentions of open source software, right? =)

Source code: The opiate of the people (the geeky ones, at any rate)

Seti@home (4, Informative)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007133)

Full bootable Linux w/seti@home using my username. Perfect for every public machine I find that has network access w/dhcp enabled.

Re:Seti@home (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007147)

That's cheating. The spirit of Seti@Home is to find aliens, or something. So, it's helpful. However, I don't think it's ethical for one to extend your scores using other peoples' computers. Make a generic account for that purpose, or else hereafter be labelled Bob. Yes, Bob.

Re:Seti@home (2)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007186)

I don't want to be labeled Bob so I'll let you in on a secret:

I'm downloading the Knoppix english version right now. It will take me a while to understand enough about Linux to create a bootable Seti distro that will work on any machine I put it in.

It's purpose will be to boot linux/seti on my many machines without altering their existing OS installations/software suits.

A freaky neat disk would be able to boot both x86 and PPC.

Key words: I own every machine I run Seti on.

Well i did it several times.. (1)

floydman (179924) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007137)

Well i did it several times, and i used redhat in the process, compile kernel to read NTFS and FAT32 volumes, and reboot, and voila, u can restore ur windows partition.

Re:Well i did it several times.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007193)

I've never tried compiling with NTFS write support. I've always been scared to (that DANGEROUS warning frightened me off). How "dangerous" is enabling NTFS write support?

Re:Well i did it several times.. (1)

floydman (179924) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007357)

Actually i never had the guts to try and actually write neither...

SuperRescue (3, Informative)

XNormal (8617) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007138)

Take a look at H. Peter Anvin's SuperRescue [kernel.org] - it's a full Red Hat system on a floppy. It uses zisofs compression to fit it all on a single CD.

Re:SuperRescue (3, Funny)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007327)

it's a full Red Hat system on a floppy

On a floppy? He must be using lzip [sf.net] .

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007142)

I don't give a shit about any of this. Besides, I pronounce it Lie-nicks anyway.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007160)

Good on ya. That's the correct way to pronounce it. However, if I said it that way at a LUG meeting people would think I'm wierd.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007165)

I'm with ya', my brother. Screw the LUGs.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007201)

> Screw the LUGs

Ob. Screw those LUG nuts...

weird I read the same article and saw the same (1)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007146)

weird I read the same article and saw the same comment. I didnt download it though.. Tell me how it is! looks cool.

hmmm (1)

dotgod (567913) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007157)

back in the day when pc's started coming standard with HD's, everyone was like "cool, now we don't need to boot from a disk" Isn't it odd that we're now back to being impressed by an OS that can be booted from a removable medium?

Re:hmmm -but which is odder (2)

vik (17857) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007169)

Is it odder that Linux boots of a CD, or that Windows does not?

Vik :v)

Re:hmmm -but which is odder (1)

domninus.DDR (582538) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007188)

I know its not an OS, but the win xp cd does come with a decent recovery console.

Re:hmmm -but which is odder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007191)

I've never tried it, but if you can boot DOS and Windows Setup off a CD, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to boot Windows 9x. You would just have to be a little creative (perhaps use a RAM Disk for anything that had to be written). It wouldn't be practical or useful for anything, but I think it's definatly possible

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007185)

Right, but how many pc's "back in the day" could be booted from a removable medium with as much functionality?

Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007220)

... how celebrated booting off a CD is. Macs have been doing it for YEARs. Big whoop. ^_^ Okay, so with OS X install CDS, that did change, unfortunately. Hopefully Apple with fix that with the release of Jaguar.

Rescue is not the only use!!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

What about SuSE? (2, Informative)

Mr. Pibb (26775) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007178)

My (IBM Deskstar) hd died the week before finals last year. Luckily, I had ordered a free SuSE 7.2 LivEval CD (not sure if it's still offered). StarOffice, as well as Mozilla and Konqueror were all I needed to get my work done (and ftp my files off my comp). My K7V Dragon's onboard LAN and Sound were supported right off the bat, and I didn't have to have the 100mb of swap space on my HD it wanted for it to work well. You can get the ISO from here [ibiblio.org]
Thanks, SuSE!

Re:What about SuSE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007393)

SuSE live evaluation CDs are available even before the corresponding installable version hits the ftp servers. SuSE uses them to advertise their product. BUT: SuSE live eval CDs write to the HD if they find "free" space. A filesystem container is created on DOS partitions and mounted as rw-storage. They do this so you don't have to go through hoops to save your configuration, but it also means that the SuSE live eval CDs are almost unusable for saving data from damaged filesystems, recovering deleted files and analysing compromised systems.

Some more "LiveCD" Distros... (5, Informative)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007179)

Some more linux live cd distros:

* DemoLinux - http://www.demolinux.org/
Dedicated to bootable Linux CD distributions.

* LNX-BBC - http://www.lnx-bbc.org/
Business Card Sized Open-Source Bootable CD.

* Mondo Restore/Rescue Utility - http://www.microwerks.net/~hugo/
Use a live bootable Linux CD for your system backups and recovery.

* Linux - Live on CD - http://www.ocslink.com/~blunier/
Linux - Live on CD. Hard disk not required

* Dyne Bolic - http://lab.dyne.org/DyneBolic/
Complete GNU/Linux operating system working without the need for any hard-disk.

* Diskless Nodes - http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/Diskless-HOWTO-3.htm l
Includes information on creating your own live CD.

* Virtual Linux - http://sourceforge.net/projects/virtual-linux
Bootable Mandrake Linux distribution with 1.6 gigs worth of tools and toys on a single CD.

FreeBSD LiveCD -- http://livecd.sourceforge.net/

NetBSD LiveCD -- http://www.netbsd.org/Changes/#live-cd

Re:Some more "LiveCD" Distros... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007218)

And which of these don't write to HD?

Re:Some more "LiveCD" Distros... (1)

Russellkhan (570824) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007363)

If you mean which of these don't need to write to the hard drive in order to run, The answer is all of them.
But one of the advantages of these is that they can write to the HD for rescue repair work, or, at least in the case of Mondo, for restoring a backup.
Russ

Re:Some more "LiveCD" Distros... (0, Offtopic)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007360)

This reminds me a question:

Does anyone knows a backup tool (for CD-R, not tape) that can incremental backup? mindi/mondo combo is good - until you need incremental backup, my Linux partitions are 40 GB and I cannot afford tape right now. full backup with CD-R is ok for first full backup, but each week a full set of CD-R's?

Re:Some more "LiveCD" Distros... (3, Informative)

IDkrysez (552137) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007366)

Don't forget PLAC, the Portable Linux Auditing CD, which is very cool: Project Homepage [sourceforge.org] ... be sure to check out the design, they use a compressed system image on the CD, to fit a 200+ meg image into ~50megs! Tight.

And the tools it comes with are designed for recovery and forensics, not demonstrating your sound and video cards.... so beware and enjoy!! The partitions are mounted read-only by default, for instance, and there are tools for undeleting files as well as for copying all data to a network-mounted filesystem, includes nfs samba ssh etc ;^]

The most convincing Linux Evangelizer (5, Insightful)

rickymoz (533931) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007199)

When talking of Linux, a lot of people think it is still like DOS. When I tell them to boot the computer and in the meantime inserted Knoppix, they go like "wow! that's Linux?!?!" Usually the boot takes 3 minutes and I guarantee them I don't change anything on their disk. Telling them that they have 8000 USD value software on this disk and show them things like OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, The GIMP, KOffice, the games, they can't utter a sound.

Even me, when I discover a new Knoppix CD, I cannot believe my eyes: every latest version is on it and it's running rock solid.

No Big Deal (5, Informative)

archnerd (450052) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007228)

Linux Boot CD are not difficult to write. Here's how you can write your own in a few hours:

1. Compile the system. There's a fanastic guide at linuxfromscratch.org [linuxfromscratch.org] .
2. Set the fstab up to place all read-write hierarchies on a tmpfs filesystem. This include tmp, var, and portions of etc. Have copies of the initial state of thse filesystems in a separate directory on the CD and set the bootscripts up to untar them at bootup.
3. Compile a highly compatible kernel. Basically, enable most things that cannot be compiled as modules and compile all modules.
4. Use devfs with compatibility links. it cuts down on confusion as to what devices exist.
5. Create an ISO of the filesystem, being sure to enable all options required for bootable CDs.
6. Install lilo into the boot sector of the ISO.
7. Burn the CD.
8. Reboot and pray.

Re:No Big Deal (4, Interesting)

Mr. Mosty-Toasty (449993) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007384)

It is a big deal if you do it like Klaus Knopper, the author, did it: He uses cloop [knopper.net] to transparently decompress the CD-ROM image. Thus he can stuff 1.8GB on a 700MB disk.

Timo's Rescue Cd Creation Set (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007239)

Timos Rescue CD [sourceforge.net]

This probably isn't as well suited for a super demo, but you can get the source, tweak it up as you want, and burn. Though the prebuilt iso is great as is for a rescue disk if you aren't into customizing it. Optionally the whole thing will load into RAM, freeing up the CD drive, say for if you've got data on CD that you want to access as well.

perfect for showing win users it's their fault (4, Funny)

Sankt_Nelson (459558) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007273)

We are runnning a Network in a large Student Apartment House, with about 500 PCs connected.
Whenever someone starts shouting: "Hey my network doesn't function and it's all your fault!"
You just go there, pop the knoppix CD into the drive, surf to slashdot, download some mp3s and tell him: "Nope, it's yours."

You would not believe in how many ways you can misconfigure a personal firewall!

our rescue disk (3, Informative)

jsse (254124) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007277)

for our windows OSs is actually a Linux boot disk with parted [freshmeat.net]

(any major distro has parted) parted can copy, resize, move etc. partitions like a command line Partition Magic.

Can't resize NTFS though, but we can still move it with dd.

FreeBSDToGo (2, Interesting)

zanzar (33471) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007292)

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. [sourceforge.net]

Knoppix for training purposes (4, Interesting)

kubla2000 (218039) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007299)

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

Mini-CD linux demo distribution (1)

faqer (224080) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007309)

Did any of you heard about a demo distribution which fits on a 180MB Mini-CD disk ?

That would be nice to carry everywhere a small disk with linux :)

Re:Mini-CD linux demo distribution (5, Informative)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007320)

This is what you want...

Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox [linuxcare.com]

It will fit on one of those oddly cut business card sized CDs, so will of course fit on a 3 inch CD. Enjoy!

Re:Mini-CD linux demo distribution (1)

faqer (224080) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007332)

I was thinking about a 180MB sized iso diribution. Linuxcare is for recovery as http://www.hrlug.org/cddistro.html says. And I don't wanna spend time customizing it to fill the 180MB. Any other 50/180MB live distributions ?

Re:Mini-CD linux demo distribution (1)

mr3038 (121693) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007358)

so will of course fit on a 3 inch CD

Do you also use 85mm floppy disks with the Lehnux operating system? There isn't such thing as a 3 inch CD. CDs come with the diameter of 12 or 8 cm and the credit card sized things only have some pieces cut off and can contain roughly 50MB. You know, that never-heard-of SI measurement called centimeter.

Yup. (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007330)

I've been playing with this for a bit, its coolish. It set up a working X environment alot quicker than I think I ever will be able to.

And now the handful of mirrors are going to be permanently slashdotted... :-\

bla (-1)

terriblekarmanow tm (592883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007333)

blabla

Re:bla (-1)

terriblekarmanow tm (592883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007335)

blablabla

SuSE? (1)

haukex (229058) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007338)

Call me ignorant but I don't see how this is any different from SuSE's [suse.com] Live Eval CD's... they've been around for years...

recursive post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007339)

recursive post! [slashdot.org]

sorry to be anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007341)

I see that a lot of people here use linux and know a lot about setting it up. I am however curious about what most linux distributions are used for. Is it mostly philosophy, or is linux a better programming env or what. If you are just getting e-mail or whatever and spend most of the day maintaining the system the main attraction has to be philosophical...

I don't think you need to be anonymous (1)

Russellkhan (570824) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007381)

...to ask that question. But you will get a better response if you ask in a forum where it's not off topic. I think Ask Slahdot is a better bet. Give it a try there, I think it could genreate some good discussion. Russ

Demo (1)

kasperd (592156) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007347)

Nice with a demo bootable straight off the CD and no need for using the HD. This can be used to show all this Window$ users, what Linux is without having them repartitioning their harddisk.

But there is a drawback. The CD is not a writable media, so the only writable storage this distribution has is RAM. This is bound to increase the need for RAM to more than what is the case with a HD install. Another problem is the performance, a CD is not as fast as a HD. The performance is going to be better on a HD. Some of the performance decrease can be circumvented by copying stuff to RAM, but this would increase the RAM usage and boot time. And probably you'd rather have the kernels caching handle this anyway.

No matter how they do it, we will have people trying this CD and saying: "Linux boots slower than the OS on my HD, Linux requires more ram than the OS on my HD, and Linux generally perform poor compared to the OS on my HD."

Some people might understand this, if the system on boot tells the user about this fact, but not everybody is going to understand it.

Re:Demo (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007402)

No matter how they do it, we will have people trying this CD and saying: "Linux boots slower than the OS on my HD, Linux requires more ram than the OS on my HD, and Linux generally perform poor compared to the OS on my HD."

The SuSE Live CD tells the user about slow bootup when starting. Also, it creates a couple of files on c:\ (they can be deleted afterwards) that contains your home directory and a swap file, so they don't have to worry about it using up all the RAM and they can even save documents with it! SuSE definately has this done very slickly indeed.

Useful for workstations (1)

fluedke (283541) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007375)

I am using the "Superrescue" Distribution which is also a CD-Distri in my company when I need to start up another Linux workstation, so I do not need to delete those wondonze stuff nor do I need to install a complete Linux on a computer I am using only once a month. The distri is a little slow in the first boot-up but it also brings Gnome and KDE with most programs. And when that's not enough you can just use it for a "diskless" workstation.

I found the "Superrescue" here: http://www.kernel.org/pub/dist/superrescue/v2/

anyone else see the security issues here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4007380)

im no expert, but couldn't you throw this into almost any pc and go through all the files on the hard disk, erase or copy anyhting you wanted, remove the disk, and bugger off without a trace?

Re:anyone else see the security issues here? (1)

MrDBCooper (210244) | more than 12 years ago | (#4007394)

Well, duh, there's no security except physical one.

Political Success (2, Interesting)

senfman (207535) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.
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