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Four Linux Live CDs, The Executive Summary

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the guerilla-marketing-tool-of-choice dept.

Operating Systems 243

prostoalex writes "ExtremeTech published a review of 4 Linux live distributions that do not require installation and run off a CD. Knoppix, Feather Linux, Gnoppix and MEPIS Linux were researched, with Knoppix winning the competition (and Gnoppix not graded, since it's still in beta)." One more (of the seemingly infinite number of live distros) I've recently tried and been happy with is called Slax, and is what it sounds like -- a live Slackware distribution. Slax worked great with my finicky older Toshiba laptop. (However, slax.org appears to be down.)

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GNAA Interviews CowboyNeal (about 4 cds) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080418)

GNAA Interviews CowboyNeal
by GNAA staff

UPDATE! UPDATE!
Since the original posting of this article there has been some doubts about authenticity of CowboyNeal. Rest assured, however, he was indeed the real CowboyNeal. We could tell by the smell coming from his pants.

On January 17 2004, select members of the GNAA interviewed CowboyNeal on IRC channel #caoine at irc.caoine.org.

We will be right back after this commercial break!
According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com] , there are about 80% of Internet Explorer 6 [microsoft.com] users. The only platform supporting Internet Explorer 6 is, of course, Microsoft Windows. These statistics are consistent with the earlier presented graphs of the operating systems used to access Google, with the Windows family consistently taking the top 3 ranks. Out of remaining 20%, the split is even between MSIE 5.5, MSIE 5.0, both Windows-only browsers. Netscape 5.x (including Mozilla) counts for only a measly 5% of browsers used to access Google. As you can see from the graph, this sample was calculated starting from March 2001 until September 2003.
According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com] , there are about 80% of Internet Explorer 6 [microsoft.com] users. The only platform supporting Internet Explorer 6 is, of course, Microsoft Windows. These statistics are consistent with the earlier presented graphs of the operating systems used to access Google, with the Windows family consistently taking the top 3 ranks. Out of remaining 20%, the split is even between MSIE 5.5, MSIE 5.0, both Windows-only browsers. Netscape 5.x (including Mozilla) counts for only a measly 5% of browsers used to access Google. As you can see from the graph, this sample was calculated starting from March 2001 until September 2003.
And now we return to our scheduled broadcast...

The following are select portions of the chat transcript kept by official GNAA stenographer (and Ringmusculaturis II Leader), Captain B. Dick

---
GNAA Member AbdullaH introduces himself to CowboyNeal

[5:09:26] AbdullaH: Hello, Sir! My name is Abdullah Ihram Mohammad Bin Zular Krokar Tehroham Kumr, I am a TERRORIST. My father was on the first plane that crashed in the World Tarde Center. I get a boner every time CNN plays that tape. If you wish to help me in my quest for WORLD SLAVERY, please purchase a kalashnikov at your nearest kalashnikov store and HELP ME KILL ALL AMERICANS!

[5:09:29] CowboyNeal: if this is part of that jihad I keep hearing about, it's a pretty fucking lame part of it
---
CowboyNeal is questioned about his feelings towards civil rights; uses both the N, and K-words

[5:21:11] timecop: CowboyNeal: do you have something against niggers?

[5:21:24] CowboyNeal: nay, some of best friends are nigs
[5:23:47] CowboyNeal: like all my kike friends too?

---
GNAA Member timecop inquires about Slashdot [slashdot.org] moderation policies. CowboyNeal admits to cleaning peoples' shit up for a living.

[5:16:04] timecop: I have a problem with my slashdot account
[5:16:09] timecop: it has Karma: excellent
[5:16:10] timecop: but I post at -1
[5:16:12] timecop: WHAT THE FUCK?!

[5:16:19] CowboyNeal: yeah, sucks, don't it?

[5:16:26] CaptBDick: wow that can happen?

[5:16:41] timecop: CowboyNeal: mind to explain what the FUCK is going on?

[5:17:00] CowboyNeal: you got downmodded into oblivion at least once, and there's no second chances

[5:17:17] timecop: no, i got a better theory
[5:17:35] timecop: some nazis downmodded a bunch of my comments and set a flag to fuck all my posts
[5:17:41] timecop: because someone doesnt agree with my OPINIONS

[5:18:05] CowboyNeal: you are complaining to the janitor, not the vice principal
[5:23:08] CowboyNeal: I don't have any modpoints
---
CowboyNeal admits hatred for Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda [cmdrtaco.net] , and pretends to have a girlfriend.

[5:25:27] CowboyNeal: hey, I hate malda just as much as you guys. If it weren't for him making me work saturdays, I'd be with my gf right now.
---

This IRC Transcript brought to you by a proud GNAA member.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.
By moderating this post as "Underrated", you cannot be Meta-Moderated! Please consider this.


About GNAA
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which
gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [klerck.org] ?
Are you a NIGGER [mugshots.org] ?
Are you a GAY NIGGER [gay-sex-access.com] ?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!
Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY NIGGER community with THOUSANDS of members all over United States of America. You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today!

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!

First, you have to obtain a copy of GAY NIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [imdb.com] and watch it. (Click here [idge.net] to download it using BitTorrent).

Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA "first post" on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website

Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on EFNet, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today!

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is EFNet, and you can connect to irc.secsup.org or irc.isprime.com as one of the EFNet servers.
If you do not have an IRC client handy, you are free to use the GNAA Java IRC client by clicking here [nero-online.org] .

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.
By moderating this post as "Underrated", you cannot be Meta-Moderated! Please consider this.

.________________________________________________. fucking
| ______________________________________._a,____ | CmdrTaco
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | will
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | he ever learn that
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA is totally
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | unstoppable? Teamed
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | up with the other troll groups,
| _________#1__________?________________________ | GNAA will absolutely own
| _________j1___________________________________ | the shitty place that is slashdot.
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Just remember, the longer the lines are,
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | the smaller CmdrTaco's penis.
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | This logo is (C) 2003, 2004 GNAA
` _______________________________________________' [1] [idge.net]

(C) GNAA 2004


j00 suck g4y 455 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080430)

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Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (4, Interesting)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080420)

Remember to tell people that before you evangelize them on Live CD's, or they'll come away thinking that it's Linux that's slow.

Sadly, it's a mistake I made at the apartment complex where I live. They have two computers connected via cable modem to the Internet for use by the residents. One's running Win2K, the other Win98. Needless to say, the Win98 machine started crapping out after every single piece of spyware on the planet was eventually installed. They knew I was into computers, so they asked me to take a look. I sold them on the idea of using a Live CD (Knoppix) on the premise that never again would they have to worry about residents screwing around with the system.

For awhile, this worked, but eventually people started getting frustrated. I think the speed in loading applications was the major factor (another was fear that one of the residents would walk away with the CD.) They've since gotten management to buy another copy of Win2K.

Yes, I failed it. I assumed that they would understand that since it was running from a CD, that the experience would be slower.

In hindsight, I should have exploited Knoppix's ability to be installed to the hard drive. It would have given them most of what they wanted, and it would've run at an acceptible speed.

(yes, I know, *all* Linuxes can be installed to the hard drive, but the Knoppix install is basically the CD image sitting on the hard drive as read-only, which for this application had its virtues.)

It's tragic in another sense... the apartment complex has a large number of people from all over the world who generally end up staying for relatively short periods of time, so their English isn't first rate. Good--and easy to use--i18n support would be a great help to many of them to be sure. I could have actually gotten interested in working on this aspect of Linux (really, KDE) as I've torn out quite a bit of hair trying to come to terms with this problem set, and having people who actually *use* foreign languages as my testers would have been invaluable, to say the least (I don't know a foreign language.)

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (1)

Negative Response (650136) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080486)

but the Knoppix install is basically the CD image sitting on the hard drive as read-only, which for this application had its virtues.

I fail to see said virtues. If you are going to write to the harddrive, it might as well be a full featured Linux distro, such as SuSE or RedHat. Why the hell not?

i18n support would be a great help to many of them to be sure. I could have actually gotten interested in working on this aspect of Linux ... (I don't know a foreign language.)

With all due respect, you probably should know some foreign language to do i18n--doing stuff in English hardly qualifies as internationalization.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (4, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080539)

If you are going to write to the harddrive, it might as well be a full featured Linux distro, such as SuSE or RedHat. Why the hell not?

Because the Knoppix image is /read only/ - so you cannot possibly install crap on it, or corrupt/delete system files, etc. I don't know how stuff like home dirs work (as I've not used Knoppix personally), but at the very least you can't mess up the system for other people.

doing stuff in English hardly qualifies as internationalization.

No - internationalisation is the process by which you prepare an application to be localised. Localisation means using icons, images, text, etc that is appropriate for a given country/culture. Internationalisation means making these things configurable - ie having text strings, image paths, etc come out of a config file, instead of being hard-coded. It is localisation that requires translators, but internationalisation needs to take account of things like direction of writing (right-left or left-right), what colours should be configurable (red in some countries is lucky, not danger/warning), etc. You need people from other cultures to point these things out, or you may miss something, and create an application that can only be partially localised.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (1)

fab13n (680873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080621)

Because the Knoppix image is /read only/ - so you cannot possibly install crap on it, or corrupt/delete system files, etc.

This is what root account and files ownership is all about in UNIX: not letting regular users messing up the configuration.

<blasphemy>Except if you're used to work logged as root...</blasphemy>

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (2, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080676)

A normal Linux installation is also read-only, for non-root users. It's probably not quite as bulletproof as a mounted read-only disk image, but I believe that FHS-compliant distributions should always work with /usr/ mounted read-only, at least.

If there are things an unprivileged user can do to screw up the system, they are normally security holes, and should be fixed. (Not saying they don't exist - read-only mounts can still be useful if you are really paranoid.) (One thing you might worry about is hitting the reset button and corrupting the disk - a CD-ROM is certainly immune to that, though journalling filesystems should be robust against it too.)

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (3, Insightful)

ParadoxDruid (602583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080687)

I fail to see said virtues. If you are going to write to the harddrive, it might as well be a full featured Linux distro, such as SuSE or RedHat. Why the hell not?

Knoppix installs a complete version of Debian, which I would say qualifies as a full featured Linux distrobution. I installed Debian testing via Knoppix over 5 months ago, and I've never looked back-- I left my computer dual-booting into WinXPpro, and I think I've booted into it maybe twice.

Go Knoppix!

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080529)

Think Knoppix is slow? Imagine a bootable gentoo cd. It compiles the applications when you click on them. But its faster. Or something like that.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (0)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080615)

the Knoppix install is basically the CD image sitting on the hard drive as read-only

WTF? Are you kidding? Knoppix install creates a perfectly working debian system, I have a k6 as my little server out from an hd installed knoppix and works GREAT, I only have to reboot when upgrading the kernel!

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (4, Interesting)

halfnerd (553515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080622)

IIRC Knoppix does _not_ install the image on the hard drive. Instead it lets the user partition the hard disk and copies over the files from the cd. Once installed on the hard drive, Knoppix is as read/write as any other "normal" GNU/Linux. Knoppix can even be up/down-graded to an ordinary Debian installation using apt, because it's Debian-based.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (2, Informative)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080665)

See for yourself. [knoppix.net]

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (3, Insightful)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080633)

Slow is slow. Maybe they understand, maybe they don't. The windows 2000 machine is fast. The knoppix machine is slow. Reasons are irrelevant.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080680)

I'd like to evangelize for Linux though, so I don't want to do Linux installs that only serve to make people think Linux is slow.

I'd like people to walk away thinking, "Hey, that Linux is pretty cool!", and then when they walk into a Walmart a year later, and they see the Linux PC selling for less than the Windows PC...

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080697)

I'm using Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org] right now, and it's on a Toshiba 4015CDS Laptop. Only one partition on this box, so I started at the boot prompt:
boot: knoppix tohd /dev/hda1
and the cd was copied to a folder c:\knoppix on the
win 98 fs. I use a boot disk, and now do not need the CD at all. I restore from a Memory Stick, and have MozillaFirebird, about 10 mb of files in a tarball on the usb stick. There is a menu item in fluxbox for DSL that automatically installs Mozilla Firebird and Flash 5. When done, all you have to do is edit your filetool.lst on the stick to have all that backed up.


It's fast and stable, and the scite editor included is way better than gnotepad for editing html pages for my web site. Right now, I am using the glinks web browser, which has to be seen to be believed. It is much better than dillo, but of course no match for Moz 7.

Big problem in moving my CD and stick around to various machines. Modem has to be reconfigured with #wvdialconf wvdial.conf, and of course you might not be able to get X to run.
One can start with "knoppix 2" to start in text mode and work up from there.

I installed on the HDD as I wanted more speed, and got a little tired of having the cdrom drive spin, although it's not really that bad, I just wanted more...

This setup runs almost as fast as my P4 2.8 1GB XP box, but not quite. It's not slow by any means.

One idea is to back up to a second memory stick (remove the original) then if your stick pulls a "mars lander" item on the flash memory, you still have your stuff.

I have my menu file(yes, I changed it) on the 'net at:
fluxbox_menu [angelfire.com] so you can see what this litttle distro has. I have not added anything but Moz 7 to it, yet. As you can see this setup is stable enough to make this post, using Slashdot's online "comment box", with the corrections, and additions one must make. There is no "paste" in glinks, that I could find, so I couldn't just write this in scite, and paste it here.

Re:Live CD's run slowly, users don't understand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080872)

It's tragic in another sense... the apartment complex has a large number of people from all over the world who generally end up staying for relatively short periods of time, so their English isn't first rate.

Is this one of those slum apartment buildings I hear about that have their own metro housing police force?

Windows 4 Eva (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080421)

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Artical Text (-1, Informative)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080426)

A Taste of Linux

January 23, 2004
By: Jim Lynch

The modern PC is a marvel of technology. One of its more useful capabilities is the ability to use the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive as a boot disk. Many Linux distros use this feature to launch their installers, but if you can boot off the CD, why can't you run off the CD? In fact, you can. The cool thing about all this is that you don't have to install anything on your computer.

In our other articles this week, we've looked at distros that had to be installed to your hard disk before you could use them. But that's not always necessary--there are Linux versions out there that let you just pop a live CD in, boot your computer, and go. They give you a chance to use Linux without the headache of installing everything. If you're totally unfamiliar with Linux, these offerings are a great way to get a taste of Linux and use some Linux-based applications. If you decide you don't like Linux, just take the CD out, reboot your machine and you'll be back in Windows once more.

Some of these versions aren't for everybody, so read carefully before deciding to play with one. All you'll need to try them out are some recordable CDs, an Internet connection, and a CD burner. You won't even need you credit card--every one of these distributions is free for the downloading.

Note: These are not full-blown reviews. Rather, they are geared toward giving you a sample of what you can expect from each distro, particularly if you are a Linux newcomer who just wants to see what they're like.

Performance and Installation

When using these distros, bear in mind they aren't running off your hard disk. So, sometimes it might take a bit longer to load an application off the CD than it would if you had actually installed the OS. If you decide to take the plunge with Linux using a distro like SuSE, Xandros, or Ark, you'll probably find that a hard drive-based Linux and assorted applications will load a lot faster.

You can install some of these onto your computer directly, rather than running them off the CD, but we're primarily interested in what kind of experience they provide by just booting off the disc. If you want to try installing them directly, be sure to check each site for specific instructions.

One last note: You should make sure your system is set to boot of the CD drive. This is a setting in your system BIOS setup, which you can access during the boot process. Most systems default to booting from either the floppy disk drive or the hard drive. You'll need to make sure the CD drive is the first boot drive listed in your BIOS setup. These settings are handled slightly differently from one system to the next, so consult your system or motherboard manual for specifics.

Knoppix 3.3

click on image for full view

Knoppix is the granddaddy of live Linux offerings. It has spawned a number of offspring, some of which we cover below. A great way to experience Linux for the first time, Knoppix comes with plenty of applications and requires nothing more on your part than putting the CD into your drive, booting your computer and hitting "Enter" at the command prompt.

Booting

We loaded Knoppix on our little Microtel test box (800MHz, 256MB of RAM) and it worked very well for us. It took just a couple of minutes for Knoppix to boot into a slick KDE desktop. If you're totally new to Linux, KDE will remind you somewhat of Windows, and it's very easy to use once you've had a chance to explore it for a little while.

KDE Desktop & Applications

click on image for full view

Knoppix comes with a lot of software. Here's a sample of what you'll find:

KDE 3.1.4
OpenOffice.org
KOffice
GAIM
KMail
Wine
Mozilla
Konqueror
Games
XMMS
Xine
There's quite a bit more, which is quite amazing considering it's bundled onto one CD. Most everything you need to get a reasonably good taste of the Linux desktop is here, ready to go when you boot to the KDE desktop.

Final Thoughts on Knoppix

We don't have much in the way of criticisms of Knoppix. It did what this kind of distro is supposed to and it did it well. We didn't bump into any problems the way we did with Gnoppix (see below). It was stable and ran well, even on our relatively slow test box.

We recommend Knoppix for those totally new to Linux. It's an easy way to get their toes wet without installing or configuring anything.

Product: Knoppix

Web site: www.knoppix.com

Pros: Slick KDE desktop; lots of applications.

Cons: None really. It worked well for what we wanted to do with it.

Summary: This distro is a great way for the curious to check out Linux without installing it on their current systems. It gives newbies a taste of some of what Linux has to offer.

Price: Free

Score:

Feather Linux

Another offshoot of Knoppix, Feather Linux redefines minimalist distros by weighing in at a petite 70MB. Yup, you read that right--only 70MB. When you boot into Feather Linux, you get to choose a few options such as your mouse and preferred screen resolution. You are then dropped at the command prompt.

click on image for full view

If you want to work via a GUI, you'll need to type startx at the command prompt. From there, you'll see the Feather Linux desktop. If you are comfortable with the Windows desktop, KDE, or Gnome, you might be a bit freaked out at how truly minimalist the Feather Linux desktop is. There are just a few apps and not much else. It helps if you've already used some of the lightweight window managers that are available in Linux as alternatives to Gnome and KDE.

We don't recommend Feather Linux for complete Linux amateurs. It's not really geared toward that audience and doesn't offer much in the way of hand-holding. It also doesn't really give you an idea of what to expect from a full-fledged Linux install. For one thing, there aren't that many apps. You don't get to use Gnome or KDE, as you would with Gnoppix or Knoppix, so it's best that newbies probably try one of the other offerings.

If, however, you are a developer or other experienced user and you want a svelte distro you can quickly fire up, Feather Linux hits the mark. For its tiny weight, it packs a pretty good punch for those who know what they want to do with it. It's a good alternative to some of the chunkier Linux live offerings.

Product: Feather Linux

Web site: featherlinux.berlios.de/

Pros: Extremely light (weighs in at 70MB)

Cons: Not many applications; minimalist desktop environment

Summary: This is a good offering for experienced Linux users who know exactly what they need, but not so great for newbies.

Price: Free

Score:

Gnoppix .6.0 Beta 4

click on image for full view

Gnoppix is based on Knoppix. The big difference is that it's a Gnome-only environment. You won't find KDE on this CD. We were very excited when we downloaded Gnoppix-- we loved the idea of just popping a CD into our PC and booting right into Gnome. Unfortunately, we ran into a few problems.

Booting

Gnoppix comes with a full-blown Gnome 2.4 environment. When you put the CD in, Gnoppix starts to load automatically. After you pick the language you want to work in, you'll be taken directly to your Gnome desktop. Boot time was reasonable, even on our slower test machine, though it does take a while for apps to load and the rest of the desktop to appear (more on that later).

The Gnome Desktop & Applications

The Gnome desktop is ready for you to start to work on it immediately. Just click the Applications menu at the top of your desktop and you'll find a well-organized selection of menus. Here's a sampling of Gnoppix's wide range of applications:

OpenOffice.org
Mozilla
GAIM
Evolution
Bluefi sh
XMMS
Xine
GIMP
gFTP
Pretty much everything you need to do the usual computing tasks is there and ready to go when your Gnome desktop loads. It's a solid selection of software.

Problems with Gnoppix

We couldn't get Gnoppix to connect to the Internet. It found our router and we could connect to our Windows box via Samba after logging in, but we weren't able to access the Web. We tried changing the network settings but nothing worked. This was quite disappointing, since we had been really looking forward to using Gnoppix.

Additionally, Gnoppix sometimes takes a while to load apps, even on our fast box with 700MB of RAM and a 2GHz Athlon XP. At times, things just stopped working altogether and nothing would load at all. Given that Gnoppix is still in beta, we're going to be kind and not harp on this point, but we sure do hope it gets a lot better than this.

Final Thoughts on Gnoppix

Right now, we wouldn't bother with Gnoppix unless we needed a quick way to show somebody Gnome who had never seen it before (with the caveat that Gnoppix performance isn't indicative of what Gnome is like in other distros that get installed to your hard disk). We need to be able to use the Internet and we need to have apps load reliably and reasonably fast, particularly given that we had it on a fairly fast box during our test.

We'll be keeping our eyes on Gnoppix. We're looking forward to the release version and hoping that the bugs get worked out quickly. The idea of a Gnome desktop on a CD is just too good to give up on at this point. We have our fingers crossed for Gnoppix.

Product: Gnoppix

Web site: www.gnoppix.org

Pros: Gnome-only desktop; lots of applications

Cons: Buggy

Summary: This is potentially a great distro--if they can work the bugs out.

Price: Free

Score: No score (still in beta)

MEPIS Linux

MEPIS Linux can be run off the CD or installed onto your PC. After boot-up, we were taken to the login prompt, where we hit enter to begin loading MEPIS Linux. When you arrive at the login screen, you can opt to use either KDE or the lightweight window manager IceWM. We picked KDE initially and a few seconds later we were in a KDE 3.1.4 desktop environment.

Applications and the KDE Desktop

click on image for full view

MEPIS, like Knoppix, comes with a lot of software that is ready to go from the minute you load up your desktop. There's plenty here to get you started doing all the usual stuff you need your computer to do. Here's just some of what you'll find:

KDE 3.1.4
Kopete
Mozilla
OpenOffice.org
KOffice
K Mail
KNode
GIMP
KSnapshot
Xine
RealPlayer 8
XMMS
Games
QTParted
As with most KDE-based desktops, MEPIS isn't too difficult to navigate, even if you haven't used KDE before. Click the "K" on your taskbar and an applications menu will pop up, similar to the Start button in Windows. Applications are grouped in the usual categories such as Internet, Multimedia, and the like.

IceWM

click on image for full view

If you're on a slow machine, you might want to skip using KDE and opt for IceWM. After we played with KDE for a bit, we logged out and then started an IceWM session. Although not nearly as pretty as KDE, IceWM is an efficient and easy to use window manager. Best of all, it has very low system overhead, which is particularly nice if you are on an older system with a limited graphics card.

You can launch all the apps that are available in KDE from within IceWM. All the software listed above (plus lots more) can be launched with a couple of clicks or you can opt to do it directly from a terminal window using the command prompt. If you decide to play with MEPIS, be sure to give IceWM a shot. It's lightweight and has a clean, efficient interface.

Final Thoughts on MEPIS

We found MEPIS extremely easy to boot and use, it worked as well for us as Knoppix. It has lots of software and we had no problems running it on our test box. It's definitely a viable choice if you just want to pop in a CD and start exploring Linux.

Product: MEPIS Linux

Web site: www.mepis.org

Pros: Lots of software; KDE and IceWM

Cons: Rather ugly-looking fonts

Summary: This is a good choice for those who want to play with Linux without installing anything, though you can install it to your hard disk if you want.

Price: Free

Score:

Final Thoughts

Linux has been criticized in the past for being too difficult to install and too hard to understand. The distros we've looked at in this article certainly disprove that old canard. More than that, they provide a quick and easy way for anyone to get a taste of what operating in Linux is like.

The overall best of the bunch right now is Knoppix, particularly for folks that are new to Linux. MEPIS is also nice, but Knoppix currently provides a better user experience. More experienced users might want to play with Feather Linux, particularly on old or slow machines. Gnoppix, unfortunately, needs a bit more work before we're ready to recommend it to anyone but, if you're a Gnome junkie, it's certainly worth checking out.

Re:Artical Text (-1)

timecop (16217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080441)

sir, did you get bitchslapped?
You seem to be posting at -1 all the time, just like me.

wow. (5, Funny)

SinaSa (709393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080439)

"However, slax.org appears to be down."

Obviously the sysadmin for the slax.org webserver is some sort of psychic and chose to take the site down than receive a slashdotting.

Bittorrent knoppix link (5, Informative)

alt.fan.slashdot (745074) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080562)

Before the knoppix server dies, here's the tracker [uni-kl.de] for the bittorrent [uni-kl.de] so everyone can download knoppix.
here for the bittorrent client.
Also, MandrakeMove torrent [mandrakelinux.com]

DSL? (5, Informative)

crache (654516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080440)

Im surprised they left out Damn Small Linux (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/). It packs a complete desktop package in 50 megs. This includes:
browser
word processor
email client
picture viewer
image editor
file manager
instant messenger
spreadsheet
PDF viewer
mp3 / cdplayer
irc client
ssh clients games
sql database
web server
vncviewer
nintendo emulator..

really knoppix packs a lot of stuff, but do you need it all? 50 megs will fit on an infamous "business card cd"

Re:DSL? (5, Informative)

crache (654516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080446)

almost forgot; Dsl is small enough to load into ramdisk, eliminating the speed problems of a cd, and even outperforming your hard drive.

Re:DSL? (2, Insightful)

FePe (720693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080450)

Im surprised they left out Damn Small Linux (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/).
Maybe it has something to do with its name? ;-)

Re:DSL? (2, Informative)

Walkiry (698192) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080524)

DSL is absolutely great. All the power of Linux in the small business card CD.

It does have a small con, and that is the hardware support, which is somewhat a bit more limited tham the latest Knoppix. I've run this on a few machines and ran into a bit of trouble with some of the more exotic hardware, but it really shines when running in old boxes (we got a Pentium 100 to boot with this thing).

I'd highly recommend this if you are going to go around showing Linux to people, giving it a try first while having the full-blown Knoppix as a backup.

Damn Small Linux (5, Informative)

JThundley (631154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080531)

You've got to be careful with those mini CDs. I got a copy of Damn Small Linux on a Business Card CD stuck inside the CD-ROM drive behind the tray. This went on to break the whole CD rom drive and probably the CD.

Re:Damn Small Linux (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080565)

At which point you rename it:
Small Linux--Damn!!!

Re:DSL? (1)

amembleton (411990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080905)

Damn Small Linux is very usefull. I have a copy of Knoppix with me at home, but its not something you can keep on you at all times as its too big. CD is larger than pocket.

However DSL fits onto a buisness card CD that I can keep in my wallet. If someone is having problems and Windows won't boot for whatever reason then I guess its geek to the rescue. Normally I'd have to go home to pick up the Knoppix disk but now I can use DSL. Tis good.

SuSE Live (0, Redundant)

FePe (720693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080443)

I once tried SuSE Live (I think it was version 7.0, but I don't remember). It didn't work. That is my experience with Linux Live CD's :-)

Re:SuSE Live (2, Informative)

Fafnir_b (558392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080763)

I once tried SuSE Live (I think it was version 7.0, but I don't remember). It didn't work.

You sure do know what you're writing about... Actually, knoppix works more than fine. When my university was hosting the particle physics conference of the national phyisical society, we set up two "internet cafes", one featuring ordinary PCs, the other a bunch of notebooks, all running knoppix with no problems. And that was a year ago. I used knoppix when I bought my notebook, which came without windows preinstalled, but I wanted to see it worked before I took it home, so trusting in God or whoever else is responsible for making things work, I just popped in the knoppix CD and bootet the computer. Actually, I was an idiot and didn't see the pixel failure in the middle of the screen, but I won't blame that on knoppix ;-)

If you want to have a gnome desktop from a live CD, try the Morphix [sourceforge.net] Gnome module. Last time I downloaded it, it worked nicely, definitely better than Gnoppix. This distro's work seems to have been interrupted for a while but they are just reemerging from the sort-of-dead.

my Well, as a software engineer on MECD experience (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080444)

I had an old PPro 200 running Win98 that I brought back from the dead with Linux.

I tried Knoppix, but Christ, that thing ran slow, perhaps because it keeps going back to the CD.

Then I decided to take the plunge for real, and holy crap, SuSE is the greatest EVAR. First time I'd ever tried to install Linux of any sort (besides the aforementioned Knoppix) and everything just worked. And despite some dire warnings I got from friends, KDE runs fine on a PPro 200. I love KDE - its similarity to Windows means that I find things where they are supposed to be.

Propz to SuSE and KDE!

Re:my Well, as a software engineer on MECD experie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080893)

First time I'd ever tried to install Linux of any sort (besides the aforementioned Knoppix) and everything just worked.

It's understandable that Linux would install fine on an 8-10 year old machine without any problems since it would have the most stable driver support. The trouble are people who want to install Linux on their shiny new systems and have trouble with Linux not recognizing their brand new ATI Radeon video card or the on-board NIC and sound. Up until a couple months ago putting Linux on an nforce2 board was a pain in the ass. You still need to make sure you disable APIC to get a stable system.

None of these work for PPC (3, Interesting)

radicalskeptic (644346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080449)

Has anyone had luck getting a Live CD for PPC to work? I've tried Gentoo's [gentoo.org] , and it didn't boot properly on my PowerBook--but oddly enough booted up in my roommate's CD drive just fine... which is really odd considering we both have the exact same model PowerBook!

Re:None of these work for PPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080616)

... which is really odd considering we both have the exact same model PowerBook!

Does the back of your PowerBook say "made in china?" Sad to point out, but probably yours is Chinese clone, BowerPok.

Peace...

Re:None of these work for PPC (3, Informative)

pvdabeel (302559) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080714)

Probably your roommate hadn't applied the OS X update which installed a broken firmware, incompatible with linux.

Current livecds should be compatible :-)

Slashdotted? (4, Funny)

zonix (592337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080452)

Slax worked great with my finicky older Toshiba laptop. (However, slax.org appears to be down.)

So, slax.org seems to have been slashdotted before the actual story was posted? Hmmm, I'd say that's a rather curious temporal anomaly? :-)

z

Re:Slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080599)

Not really. I am developing a new program to figure out what future slashdot posts are going to be so that you can view the site before it gets slashdotted. I guess too many people downloaded the code:-(

Re:Slashdotted? (2, Funny)

t0ny (590331) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080605)

So, slax.org seems to have been slashdotted before the actual story was posted? Hmmm, I'd say that's a rather curious temporal anomaly? :-)

Maybe somebody used a r00t exploit on 'em...

Morphix (5, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080461)

Personally I've tried Morphix [sourceforge.net] and I liked it very well. You can also install it to an Hard-Drive by double clicking an icon on the desktop if you dont want to boot from cd. It's based off of Debian GNU/Linux as well as Knoppix.

There's 4 Official 'Flavors' of Morphix including:
  • LiteGUI - a small, lightweight desktop, that provides things like a wordprocessor, spreadsheet, browser, email client, IM-software and media player (avi / mpeg).
  • Gnome - a desktop for people that want more than the basic tools. However, there is little you can't do with this cd image (full printing support, photo-camera tools, a few games and OpenOffice to work with Word-documents, for example)
  • KDE - a desktop that is between LightGUI and Gnome when it comes to the amount of tools pre-installed. Like Gnome, there is support for multiple users, but it doesn't contain OpenOffice, and hence doesn't deal with Word-documents as well.
  • Game - a small lightweight desktop with only a browser and a lot of Open Source games, and one or two Free commercial demo's/games.

In addition to those 4 Official 'Flavors' there's quite a few Derivitves [sourceforge.net] including ones for HAM Radio users and a MAME system.

Re:Morphix (2, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080522)

Games? Try Dosbox: http://dosbox.sf.net

Re:Morphix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080569)

I found knoppix worked, whereas Morphix didn't set up my sound card right, wouldn't connect to the internet because it set up my ethernet, two other bugs, so I canned it.

However if I was not so lazy I would have gone to the website and downloaded the right modules for my box.

You can tailor your iso by selecting modules, thereby reducing the dowload to as little as 150 mb which could be done on a modem (if you have all day).

Slax (5, Informative)

crache (654516) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080470)

The poster mentions Slax, and its website being down: It is currently accessible at http://slax.linux-live.org/ but not for long..

ftp.linux.cz (1)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080657)

You can also find it here [linux.cz] and here [linux.cz] .

Q.

Re:Slax (1)

kev82 (526371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080699)

And of course google cache... http://66.102.11.104/search?q=cache:w17OTCNWWHgJ:w ww.slax.org/+slax&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

How to get Linux on the desktop - Games and Utils (3, Informative)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080473)

The great thing about Linux (as far as home users go) is the number of 'free' games and utilities installed by default. It's something to play around with.

People aren't going to install Linux and jump into a spreadsheet for the boss - they want to stuff around - and that's whats good; there are a heap of small games and odd utilities to keep the newbie amused for a reasonable amount of time.

With the live CDs, this is a great way to show home users *easily* what sort of stuff is installed for FREE with Linux.

Now, if there was just an easy way for them to access their Outlook email...

Knoppix CD torrent (2, Informative)

alt.fan.slashdot (745074) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080542)

You can download Knoppix with BitTorrent here [uni-kl.de] , it should be faster than FTP.

Re:How to get Linux on the desktop - Games and Uti (1)

rotciv86 (737769) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080546)

Ximian Evolution rocks fer email.

Re:How to get Linux on the desktop - Games and Uti (3, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080592)

Mildly off topic, but one use for these live CDs is hardware detection and kernel configuration.
I'd like to try out some of the source distributions, or even do Linux from Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] , but wading through kernel configuration is rough on an FNG.
Not sure how to extract the kernel parameters from a live CD once booted, though.

Re:How to get Linux on the desktop - Games and Uti (1)

WhiteDeath (737946) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080918)

Most of the info you need should be lurking in /proc somewhere.... even the parameters from the boot loader are available....

If you want the actual kernel configuration to compile one the same, you're out of luck unless it's a 2.6 kernel with that info compiled in.

Slashdot editors... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080476)

timothy: However, slax.org appears to be down.

Need I say more?

Live CDs are almost a killer application (5, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080480)

The speed of live CDs is becoming less of an issue as RAM sizes get larger. On my 512Mb notebook, Knoppix runs just fine.

What I find more interesting than "standard Linux on a CD" is the concept of packaging a specific application along with a live CD. For example, the systemrescueCD boots up and gives a good set of tools for doing backups/restores of your disks.

What works for backup/restore also works for games, demos, even large-scale applications that do not require intensive local data storage. The advantage of a live CD based on something like Knoppix is that it will run on practically any PC out there, booting in less time than it would normally take to install and configure.

There is little reason why a lot of software should be hard-installed onto PCs, and many reasons why it's a pain in lots of cases.

The counter argument is that "yes, but I want to be able to switch back from my game to my other applications." But this ignores the huge market for single-purpose kiosk-style systems, in home, in shops, and in business.

I would estimate that 30% or more of all PCs run only a few specific applications, and that most of the future expansion is into kiosk-style areas where live CDs are a perfect answer.

Why is this interesting? Because Linux has a significant lead in this technology mainly thanks to Knoppix. Thus a large part of Linux's future growth may well come from a native technology, which is much nicer than trying to win market share by imitating Windows.

Re:Large amounts of memory (1)

JThundley (631154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080574)

The speed of live CDs is becoming less of an issue as RAM sizes get larger. On my 512Mb notebook, Knoppix runs just fine.

I wonder if there is a way to load the whole Knoppix CD into RAM just like Damn Small Linux does.

I know that Knoppix is 699MB (I just checked) and Damn Small Linux is only 50MB, but I was naive when I built my Windows gaming rig so I bought 1.5 gigs of RAM :)

Some examples of kiosk applications (4, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080583)

Here are some instances I can think of:

- home entertainment systems
- small office use (with data saved on network disk)
- education and training (data on USB drives)
- standardized corporate desktops (data on network)
- cybercafe workstations
- point-of-sale terminals
- industrial kiosks
- voting systems
- automated tellers
- DJ workstations
- application demos (both standalone and interactive)
- games

Re:Some examples of kiosk applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080667)

The "games" part sounds very interesting, except that most games these days require hardware accelleration. I just checked nVidia's driver license; it appears they have a special "Linux Exception" allowing distribution of the binary drivers. ATI, I think, uses the X system's DRI, so that's the "main two" down (correct me if I left something out).

Except for the "legality" of distributing a kernel which loads a non-libre module. Where do we stand on that?

Non-libre modules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080780)

AFAIK this is not an issue so long as the module is not derived from a GPL'd work. So if nVidia allows people to repackage their drivers on a live CD there are no problems.

Remember that the GPL covers derived works, and there is a lot of work done to ensure that commercial code can coexist happily with GPLd code.

Re:Some examples of kiosk applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080827)

How about a Live CD that loads XMMS with a playlist aimed at one of di.fm's playlists.

Boot PC, music plays.

Coool. But imagine a beowulf cluster of these, all playing the Deep Trance channel at the same time... I'm having an eargasm!

Custom Live CDs? (4, Informative)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080666)

I feel I should put in a plug for Linux Live [linux-live.org] at this point.

Although I haven't used it myself it is what the slax distribution was created with.

To quote from their website:
"Linux Live is a set of bash scripts which allows you to create own LiveCD from every Linux distribution. Just install your favourite distro, remove all unnecessary files (for example man pages and all other files which are not important for you) and then download and run these scripts. "

Q.

Where's MandrakeMove? (5, Interesting)

turkeyphant (648612) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080481)

The article only seems to mention using these distros as a means to introduce oneself easily to Linux. While this is an obvious use of Linux-on-CD type distros, it's by no means the only one. Personally, I've found these things to be fast enough for the difference to be barely perceptible from proper installs.

I've been using Knoppix [knoppix.org] for a while now and have found it to be really rather awesome. The possible uses are almost limitless and this will improve even more if the ability to write to NTFS volumes is ever introduced.

For example: Recently a friend managed to fuck up his Window XP install beyond repair. I burned him a copy of the ISO and Knoppix sorted it out in minutes. It's blisteringly fast, the hardware auto-detection has to be seen to be believed and the amount of software on that one disc is mindblowing. It's certainly worth keeping a CD copy handy...

However, I'm intrigued as to why MandrakeMove [mandrakesoft.com] wasn't included in the article. I much prefer to use Knoppix because of its ability to mount hard drives, but MandrakeSoft have been very perceptive in their implementation of USB keys. By carrying around configuration options and personal data on a USB storage device, anyone equipped with a MandrakeMove disc can convert any CD-bootable PC around the world into an equivalent of their home desktop. Many people have predicted that this could become a lot more commonplace in the future where computer users would have to rely a lot less on a home workstation-centric lifestyle. I haven't investigated, but I would guess that persistence can be gained in Knoppix by somehow copying the contents of the ramdrive somewhere more permanent.

Re:Where's MandrakeMove? (3, Informative)

cxvx (525894) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080519)

As for getting knoppix to do the same, it's just a matter of adding a home=/dev/sda1 (or your actual pendrive location) parameter during startup.

It could be that this is automated/autodetected with mandrake though.

Re:Where's MandrakeMove? (5, Informative)

yellowcord (607995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080579)

I do it already. With Knoppix 3.3 theres a program that will make a permanent home directory. Point it at your USB key drive at boot and you are laughing.
"knoppix home=/dev/sda1 screen=1280x1024"

If you figure out how to edit the ISO (I'm guessing loopback device) you could even get the CD to do this automatically.

Re:Where's MandrakeMove? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080626)

you're guessing right:
mount /tmp/knoppix.iso /mnt -t iso9660 -o loop,rw

Re:Where's MandrakeMove? (2, Insightful)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080881)

Unfortunately, the iso9660 filesystem module doesn't support writing. It wouldn't work at the last step.

The two alternative choices for editing an ISO image are
a) Copy all the files to another filesystem, edit, then create another ISO
or
b) If you just need to change one line, you can load the entire ISO image into a text editor and search for the line you need to change. I'm not sure if you could do that in this case, since LILO compiles the options into the binary.

Knoppix remastering (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080689)

There's a guide to remastering Knoppix [knoppix.net] that could help. I mean, while you're at it, you might as well tweak the application set.

Re:Where's MandrakeMove? (2, Informative)

Frodo420024 (557006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080681)

I much prefer to use Knoppix because of its ability to mount hard drives, but MandrakeSoft have been very perceptive in their implementation of USB keys.

Actually, MandrakeMove mounts the hard drives just fine. The beta had icons on the desktop for it, but they took them out for the final (which I think is good). Over the holidays I used MandrakeMove on PC's of friends and family, and it worked very well, got much done. It's slick, fast (!), Just Works (TM).

Yes, MandrakeMove is a glaring omission.

Gnoppix review (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080482)

So their beef with Gnoppix was that they couldn't get to the Internet. And yet, they could get to a local Samba share? I don't know, this doesn't sound like Gnoppix's fault to me.

Create your own (4, Informative)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080487)

I followed these instructions on the Linux Journal site to create a Fedora and RedHat 9 based live CD:
[linuxjournal.com]
http://linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=7233

Only sticking point was the initial partition. I tried with a loopback mounted ISO but there were permission problems. Then went to a NFS mounted share. It worked but required a second machine. Finally just stuck another drive inside and created a bunch of 700M partitions.

Knoppix down too? (0)

pphrdza (635063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080488)

At least the link [knoppix.com] in the stofy doesn't work.

Any alternatives, or do we wait til the evident slashdotting is over?

Re:Knoppix down too? (2, Informative)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080507)

Try www.knoppix.de [knoppix.de] , seems still to work (for how long is the question though)

Knoppix for nforce mobos: Kanotix (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080491)

http://kano.mipooh.net/kanotix/
It is made by a german Knoppix hacker named Kano, who has a big page of patches for Knoppix here:
http://www.kano.mipooh.net/
It comes with kernel 2.4.23 patched with forcedeth and XFS.
It uses grub, Xfree86 4.3, is based on Debian/sid.
ACPI and DMA enabled by default (can be disabled with acpi=off respectively nodma)

The forum (german and english):
http://kanotix.mipooh.net/index.php

Download:
http://debian.tu-bs.de/knoppix/kanoti x/
Torrent:
http://kano.mipooh.net/kanotix/KANOT IX-X-MAS-2003- PREVIEW.iso.torrent

Re:Knoppix for nforce mobos: Kanotix (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080726)

Unlike Knoppix which ships with kernel 2.4.22, Kanotix's kernel 2.4.23 contains nvidia drivers, which makes Kanotix fully ready for nForce2 mobos.
No need to install drivers, to patch the kernel, at all.
Forcedeth patch is a GPL driver for the ethernet card built in nForce2 mobos.

Executive summary (2, Funny)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080501)

To: CEO
From: John Smith, IT Manager, MCSE
Subject: Four Linux Live CDs

Dear Sir:

I know your time is precious, so I'll just provide an executive summary.

* Linux doesn't run Microsoft Office
* Linux doesn't make Bill Gates any money
* Linux users are commies. (I read it from my friends on the Microsoft newsgroups. They're always right.)
* Running Linux makes us Unamerican (possible fear of PATRIOT Act backlash?)

SUMMARY: Avoid Linux. Buy Windows. (No, this has nothing to do with the fact that Microsoft just offered us a huge check because they heard we were considering Linux...)

Re:Executive summary (-1, Offtopic)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080527)

I heard Israel has switched back to Microsoft Office on the TV:


http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5145332.html [com.com]

Israel's Finance Ministry recently threatened to move thousands of PCs to open-source software, until Microsoft agreed to its demand to purchase individual applications from the Microsoft Office package.

I think most organizations are using Free Software against Microsoft as bargaining leverage,
or at least more than truly prefer Free Software.

Re:Executive summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080558)

I heard Israel has switched back to Microsoft Office on the TV:

Perhaps Israel was threatening to bulldoze three more Microsoft settlements unless Microsoft agreed to push prices back to their 1973 positions.

Giant leap forward (4, Interesting)

saphena (322272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080560)

The ability to run linux straight from the CD with no low level hard disk interference may not be enough of itself to encourage investigation and/or take up of linux by Windows users but it certainly represents a leap forward.

Most Windows users are not computer nerds, they're just people who *use* computers - installing an operating system onto a hard disk, with or without risk to their existing setup, is just way beyond their skills or desires.

Speed issues can be helped out if not resolved by use of RAM disk as demonstrated by http://www.goosee.com/puppy/

Two Knoppix-based in Brazil: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080585)

Kurumin and Kalango (yeah, like I was going to give the links... lamer!).

They're pretty much Knoppix adaptations, knoppix options still present and all, but an interesting fact:

Some small VARs here sell computers without OSes and they demo their computers with Kurumin, which not only eases the selling process (try telling your customer to believe the computer will work), but also require much less work, since there's no installing to do... and more importantly, no uninstalling, too!

Kinda of a frightening experience, to see Linux in TV... to M$, of course! ;-D

Great for working types (4, Interesting)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080600)

I suspect that there are a lot of people like me who work long hours and don't have time to do a lenghty install. Knoppix allows me to enjoy and explore Linux in the little time I have available.

java desktop? (5, Interesting)

roqetman (217708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080601)

I got a copy of sun's java desktop from the linuxworld expo. It is basically a gnome desktop that boots from a CD; not too bad although I haven't played with it much.

Linux live is ideal for laptops (5, Informative)

branchingfactor (650391) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080618)

Given the high chance of hardware incompatibilities when installing linux on laptops, linux live cds are fantastic for laptops. You boot the live cd, fiddle with the options, and see if the hardware you care about works (eg., display, external display, ethernet, wireless, etc.). If not, you try another distribution. I tried knoppix, gnoppix, morphix, as well as straight debian on my ibm t40p. Only knoppix was able to get everything working. After I got it working, I installed it to the harddrive. The biggest problems with knoppix are (1) it uses kde instead of gnome and (2) it has its own package structure that is incompatible with debian. So apt-get dist-upgrade or even apt-get upgrade will break everything. I've only had success upgrading individual packages with apt.

Re:Linux live is ideal for laptops (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080660)

The biggest problems with knoppix are (1) it uses kde instead of gnome.

Why is that a problem?

apt-get breaks everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080778)

I wouldn't say that. The laptop that I'm typing on used to be Knoppix that I then upgraded to Debian sid. Just start up aptitude and start getting rid of packages with "knoppix" in their name and replace them with the appropriate standard packages. After the broken packages are resolved, do the install. Just remember that going from Knoppix, it is cleanest to switch to sid.

The thing that I considered amusing about Knoppix was it's lack of support (they may now include the drivers, I used an older version) for my orinoco-based wireless card.

Re:Linux live is ideal for laptops (3, Informative)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080830)

> The biggest problems with knoppix are (1) it
> uses kde instead of gnome and (2) it has its own
> package structure that is incompatible with
> debian. So apt-get dist-upgrade or even apt-get
> upgrade will break everything. I've only had
> success upgrading individual packages with apt.

I've done both apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-upgrade several times (over a period of a few months) on my installed-to-hard-disc Knoppix box, and haven't had a problem with it.

I've also installed an extra zillion games via apt-get for my kids to play on the same box, and they work fine too.

If you're having problems with this, it might be worth reporting it to the www.knoppix.net. The PC I used is a grey box clone running an old Celeron 533 with no "tricky" hardware whatsoever; maybe you're hitting problems with the specific hardware you're using.

2.6 Kernel Live CD (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080625)

Is there a Live CD which uses any version 2.6 kernel?

For that matter, (I am quite new to Linux, like using it a lot but don't know much about the underlying code), how does one go about compiling a LiveCD ISO image with specific software?

Ideally, I would like to take Knoppix, take out a lot of the stuff I don't use much, add in a couple of specialized progs, and get some config options which suit me more than the defaults, and then continue using this as a read-only LiveCD. Anyone to point me in the direction of a decent (beginners level) tutorial?

I realise this isn't Ask Slashdot, but its not too far OT. Sorry anyway.

http://www.linux-live.org/ (4, Informative)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080679)

http://www.linux-live.org/ [linux-live.org]

Q.

Re:2.6 Kernel Live CD (4, Informative)

Okneff (522357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080683)

The next version of jollix (to appear in 2nd quarter) will include kernel 2.6.1, kde3.2.
http://www.jollix.de
It has german language support only so far but our scripts to build the liveCD are available via CVS: http://cvs.berlios.de/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/jollix/j ollix/
Most of the bash-script comments and utility-documentation (cloop, mkisofs) is in english.

What's with the number ratings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080628)

Does anyone else see skewed numbers for the ratings? Knoppix, the relatively perfect distro received an 8/10 and MEPIS which was rated equal to Knoppix only got a 7/10. What the heck?

what about MandrakeMove? (3, Insightful)

marafa (745042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080637)

what about MandrakeMove? from mandrakelinux.com

new to linux again [a slightly offtopic question] (0, Offtopic)

-Maurice66- (728513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080641)

Hi guys,

Nice... those live DEMO's but that's not what I need.

A question I have had for a while now is: what linux to install...

I am not new to linux, I just have not had a version installed since RH 5.2 I totaly lost contact with linux for a while.

I'd like to have a system for my standard office work and doing some small website developments...

What would be the, easy installable, distro for me?

Cheers,

M

But what can you do with live CDs ? (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080650)

I use knoppix a lot for testing hardware. In 2 minutes you can tell what's wrong with a PC, if it's worth keeping and more.

I also learnt about Quantian right after I finished building my 24 processor cluster [gdargaud.net]

But how can you work with one of those ? You can surf the web but that's about all. You cannot write to NTFS partitions, so that precludes their use on a Windows machine as an alternate OS. If you can't save files it's useless as far as I can tell.

Please, please, disprove me.

Re:But what can you do with live CDs ? (2, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080696)

Knoppix and many of the others allow persistent data, either by saving to an existing partition or things like USB drives. Knoppix in particular allows you to mount FAT and NTFS, though I have not tried writing to NTFS.

MandrakeMove, another LiveCD, has support for USB drives so you could maintain your working environment (settings, documents, etc.) across any PC.

You can also configure some to automount an NFS home partition.

Re:But what can you do with live CDs ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080786)

Ask and ye shall receive!
http://newsvac.newsforge.com/newsvac/04/ 01/10/1940 217.shtml

Re:But what can you do with live CDs ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080880)

I use a 64 mb memory stick and save my files automatically when I backup in Damn Small Linux. It keeps about a 10 mb tarball for all that. I edit my web pages with DSL, the scite editor, and upload them using MozillaFirebird. No problem at all keeping your files on the usb stick. Also, I did this at the boot prompt:
boot: knoppix tohd=/dev/hda1
and the directory c:\knoppix is created with the entire 50 mb cd in it, ready for use with a DLS boot floppy, no need to use the cd.

Gnoppix for me (4, Informative)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080655)

while it doesn't seem to use all of the most advanced technologies that Knoppix provides, which makes load times slightly longer, Gnoppix is rather good, and as far as user experience goes it really outdoes Knoppix with the GNOME desktop.

Knoppix does more than just KDE (4, Informative)

ParadoxDruid (602583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080670)

Straight from boot from the CD, Knoppix can use something like 6 or 7 different GUIs, including KDE, Gnome, IceWM, FluxBox, and more.

That's a useful capability that's often overlooked-- On an older machine of mine, running Knoppix in KDE-mode was pretty slow, but it ran fast as anything in FluxBox mode.

CD is too small. Where is Live DVD? (3, Interesting)

axxackall (579006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080743)

700MB is certainly not enough for modern system, even if compressed. But where to get Live DVD? I understand that mostof linux distributing sites still afraid bandwidth problems, but what about live dvd making instructions at least?

Right now it looks like Linux community stack to CD. Is it because nobody needs Live DVD and I am the only one here with DVD-ROM hardware?

How long until pen live distros? (3, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080765)

Given that pen drives are now at the 256M to 512M range, and a CD is 680M, how long until we see USB pen-drive distros?

And given that READING flash is pretty quick, if the drive supports 480M USB2.0, then it *should* be pretty quick, unlike an older, slower CD drive.

Of course, a modern CD drive should be pretty fast on read time (though seeks are still slow), so maybe a pen drive wouldn't be much better (except for being read/write).

Anybody have any experience in this?

I don't agree.... (0)

chadm1967 (144897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080815)

I just don't agree with the article. I have the latest versions of Knoppix and MEPIS. For me, MEPIS is far more responsive and useable than Knoppix. Plus, when you do a hard drive install of both, there are apps in Knoppix that don't work. I haven't had that problem with MEPIS.

MandrakeMorph? (4, Interesting)

Frodo420024 (557006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080833)

As others noticed, omitting MandrakeMove is strange. It's very slick, even the beta was solid as a rock, and I got a lot of work done.

Now, this and Morphix ("Unfortunately, noone can be told what the Morphix is") got me thinking:

It should be technically feasible to automate the creation of customized .ISO files for live Linux distros:
Suppose MandrakeSoft sets up some heavy servers with a shop frontend (pricing just an example):

  1. $20: Choose packages and have ISO created for download.
  2. $10 Have a CD burned and mailed to you.
  3. $10 Reconfigure your package choice and get a fresh ISO.
  4. $10 Have a fresh ISO made out using the current kernel/KDE/OpenOffice/whatever.
  5. $20 Upgrade to DVD size image.
  6. $?? Support (not much to do here)
  7. $20 Printed manual
You'll have your name put somewhere into it so you won't have to type it in (thus you won't like to redistribute it wildly, either), and you'd set the default language, permanent storage options etc.

Advantages:

  • Never install or update applications manually.
  • Update whenever you feel like it - often or rarely.
  • Never have a failed dependency or inconsistent versions after getting an update.
  • No product activation or other licensing hassle.
  • You can't mess up your install (except by physically destroying the CD :).
  • Hackers can't put backdoors on your machine.
  • Virus infection not possible.
  • Even a harddrive crash doesn't destroy your install.
  • You can even run without any hard drive in the first place.
A public library could run their computers off a stack of these and not have to worry about people hacking the config - nothing to hack. Even a stolen CD is not a problem, you just bring out a backup copy. It's all Free Software anyway, you can let anyone steal it.

The selling of individual ISO's is automated, the distributor merely maintains the packages on the server and collects the money. Sends a donation to OSDL once in a while :)

Any reason this should not work?

Free CD distribution scheme (0)

mm0mm (687212) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080865)

If you are a billionaire willing to burn some of your cash to save the world (of computing), make 100-million copies of Linux Live-CDs and distribute them for free just like AOL free CD. This will give more people an opportunity to see and find out what Linux is. Live CD is perfect for those who do not want to hard install, but want to see what Linux is and can do. If we have a free distribution system available, it will help Linux be recognized by those who don't have 'time and patience' to download ISO, burn CD and reboot. Linux's market presence will increase as a result of mass distribution.

Needless to say, if you are concerned, you are not obligated to $699 binary-only license per copy, as you are not a 'user' but distributor of Linux.

More is not always better... (4, Insightful)

Dr. Faustroll (745092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8080868)

At LinuxWorld last week, John "Mad Dog" Hall gave an excellent talk that, among other recommendations, made a crucial point about introducing newcomers to Linux:

Don't overwhelm them with ten different applications to do the same thing - pick one, and pick well.

This is the problem I've seen with distros like Knoppix - while they're great resources for experienced Linux users who want to have all of their favorite tools available anywhere, the number of apps is too much for newbies to handle. If you want to turn someone off Linux, just tell them "Well, for word processing you could use Abiword, or KWord, or OpenOffice. And look, you can use Dillo, or Mozilla, or Konqueror, or Firebird as your web browser. Isn't this great!" - I guarantee eyes will rapidly glaze over. The "let them explore the CD" approach is no better - the menus are cluttered and unintuitive to the newcomer, and the plethora of application interfaces with wildly different visual styles and conventions will finish confusing and scaring them.

If you really want to introduce people to Linux using a LiveCD, I recommend taking the time to make a custom CD that carefully selects a subset of the available applications that will be both interesting and accessible to your audience. This is actually quite easy and fun to do, starting from Knoppix (or Damn Small Linux, or Morphix, or...), and is one of the most useful things you can do to help Linux gain acceptance by a broader audience.

Help needed converting friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8080879)

I have used Knoppix for about 2 months - regularly. I think friends are ready to be switched onto it. I have the resonsibilty of being a friendly geek to about 30 or so people who all treat me as their 'computer guy'. Until Knoppix I have always held back at converting them to *nix for the obvious reasons, but now I think its ready.

Now I want to convert friends machines remotely so that they can boot from a floppy disk which will do a network install from customised images (customised persoanally for them with applications etc) I put up on an FTP site.

Does anybody know of such a floppy based network install script or am I going to have to write it myself?

The script should be very thorough in WARNING the user what is happening (that their windows system is about to be ERASED). After that fdisk, making filesystems and partitions, detecting hardware, establishing a net connection via dhcp, downloading and installing the build, must all happen automatically without any further action.
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