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Knoppix Hacks

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the props-to-klaus dept.

Books 190

norburym writes "The publishers' blurb on the back cover describes Knoppix as 'a veritable Swiss Army knife in CD form.' Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin is no less astounding in revealing the hidden versatility and power inherent in this unassuming tool." Read on for the rest of Norbury-Glaser's review.

Most Linux users will recognize Knoppix even if they've never given it a whirl, but this book goes beyond the simple "how to create and boot from a Knoppix Linux Live CD." Rankin displays the raw power that lies beneath the surface of simply running a clean distro of GNU/Linux free from fear of installation issues. Proper Knoppix books are lacking in the wild, with mere chapters in general Linux volumes mostly dedicated to larger issues for both the novice and the intermediate user. One or two Knoppix books are out there (and one by Samuel Hart, Knoppix Komplete, is in press) but what sets Knoppix Hacks apart is not that it is one of the few available on the subject, but rather Rankin's skill in exposing the underutilized potential in the Knoppix tool set.

This book begins with a forward by Klaus Knopper, creator of Knoppix. It's always entertaining and enlightening to read a first-hand account of some clever soul's chance involvement with an "experiment" that turned out wildly successful and this is no exception. The "Knoppix Story" is engaging and leaves the reader with a sense of awe at the ingenuity of this dedicated and resourceful individual.

Rankin has collected a "who's who" of Linux hackers to contribute to this book: John Andrews, creator of Damn Small Linux; Fabian Franz, creator of FreeNX server; Alex de Landgraaf, creator of Morphix; Simon Peter, developer of klik; Wim Vandersmissen, creator of ClusterKnoppix and many others no less accomplished, all of whom have contributed to the future of free software/open source development.

As is expected with the O'Reilly Hacks series of books, the chapters are structured with clean typographical conventions identifying URLs, directory/folder/file names, code examples and excerpts, sample text delineation and cross-references. Tips and warnings are clearly identified with pushpin and screw graphics, respectively, and indented. There are a helpful number of tips without getting too overwhelming or annoying by breaking the flow of the text. The thermometer icons next to each hack indicate the level of expertise required: beginner, intermediate and expert. Screenshots are placed where needed but again, the reader isn't left distracted by unnecessary filler.

The nine chapters cover hacks ranging from beginner to expert: "Boot Knoppix," "Use your Knoppix Desktop," "Tweak Your Desktop," "Install Linux with Knoppix," "Put Knoppix in Your Toolbox," "Repair Linux," "Rescue Windows," "Knoppix Reloaded" and "Knoppix Remastered." The book includes a CD with v.3.4 of Knoppix (3.6 having just been released; the author wisely chooses to stay with the tried, true and debugged version).

The first two chapters are pitched to beginners, with Chapter 1, "Boot Knoppix," leaping directly into downloading Knoppix and creating a bootable CD. It then covers "cheat codes" - options passed at the boot: prompt to work around hardware detection and support failures. Tweaking X settings, desktop and laptop scenarios, language settings and optimizing the Knoppix CD are also included here. Chapter 2 introduces details of the KDE desktop and encourages the reader to become familiar with the Knoppix desktop, the applications included and connecting to the Internet (even via GPRS over Bluetooth!).

Chapter 3 concentrates on saving settings and documents, using Knoppix as a kiosk or terminal server to boot multiple computers over a network from the same Knoppix CD, and how to use the live installer feature to add extra packages directly to ramdisk.

Chapter 4 covers the inevitable situation when you will find yourself using Knoppix so often that you decide to install it onto your hard drive. Rankin includes single and dual boot system installs.

Chapter 5, "Put Knoppix in Your Toolbox," is where admins should head. The full list of 15 indispensable hacks in this chapter include running remote desktops via rdesktop or xvncviewer, running X remotely with FreeNX, browse Windows shares, create an emergency router, emergency file or web server, wardriving with Knoppix (including how to capture GPS coordinates along with data), audit network security, check for root kits, collect forensics data, clone hard drives, wipe hard drives, test hardware compatibility, and copy settings to other distributions.

"Repair Linux" (Chapter 6) is for those of us who spend a lot of time "breaking" things in the course of experimenting and need to recover the system. Rankin shows hacks for repairing both lilo and grub, how to: back up and restore the MBR, find lost partitions, resize linux partitions, repair damaged file systems, recover deleted files, rescue files from damaged hard drives, backup and restore, migrate to a new hard drive, create Linux software RAID, reset Linux passwords, repair Debian and RPM packages, and copy a working kernel. We will always break something along the way and these hacks help minimize the frustration.

Chapter 7, "Rescue Windows"...well, need I say more? Put these hacks into practice and you'll probably be using them every day. Use Knoppix to: fix the Windows boot selector, backup files and settings, write to NTFS, resize Windows partitions, reset lost NT passwords, edit the Windows registry, restore corrupted system files, scan for viruses and download Windows patches securely. A must for any systems administrators with Windows machines lurking everywhere.

Knoppix Reloaded, in Chapter 8, takes on Knoppix variants Morphix, Gnoppix, Mediainlinux, Freeduc, Damn, Small Linux, INSERT, L.A.S. Linux, Knoppix-STD, distccKnoppix, ClusterKnoppix, Quantian, GIS Knoppix and KnoppMyth. There is also a well-deserved pitch at the conclusion of this chapter to become a Knoppix developer and contribute to the ongoing work.

The final chapter includes seven hacks that help the reader create their own customized Knoppix CD. Knoppix Remastered walks the reader through the steps of customizing and personalizing a live CD.

This is one of the liveliest technical books I've read in a long time. A few of the easier hacks can be found on Knoppix.net or elsewhere but I think Rankin has managed to put the majority of Knoppix related material in one book that could be subtitled the "First Knoppix Manual." The admin hacks, in particular, will add a whole new arsenal of Knoppix wonders to an admin's repertoire. Kudos to O'Reilly for publishing such an outstanding volume, to Rankin for compiling some damn useful material, and to MacGyver for inspiring many of us to look for simple solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.


You can purchase Knoppix Hacks from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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190 comments

Correct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844440)

Just fyi, there is more information found here at http://www.payfornothing.com/ [payfornothing.com]

Enjoy. :)

Is that site yours? (-1, Troll)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844531)

Another idiot "portal" that someone bought and filled with stupid links while he waits to get the big money from some other idiot wanting to buy the DNS name.

Hope you didn't pay too much for it; enjoy the wait.

Re:Is that site yours? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844631)

No, actually, it's a mate's of mine. :)

Re:Is that site yours? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844941)

Your "mate" is a grade "A" fuckchop, and so are you.

Knoppix rocks. But... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844444)

But...

Correction (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844812)

It sucks. I meant it sucks. As in "BLONDE WHORE SUCKING OFF 79 BLACK STUDZ *HOT*"

so true (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844468)

as a camp counselor I used knoppix to save a child's movie files off a camp computer where windows had incorrectly written the boot sector.

I'm sorry, (5, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844572)

I thought you were going to say "as a camp counselor I used knoppix to save a childs life when they where drowning; it makes a great rescue cd!"

Re:I'm sorry, (5, Funny)

archen (447353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844602)

I think that would be a BSD rescue disk.

child: "Help I'm drowning!"
guru: *throws cd at kid* . "RTFM"

Re:I'm sorry, (3, Funny)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844773)

*BSD Child: "Help I'm dying!"

Troll : Have another crippling bombshell! You don't need to be a Kreskin!

Re:I'm sorry, (2, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845433)

I thought you were going to say "as a camp counselor I used knoppix to save a childs life when they where drowning; it makes a great rescue cd!"

I tought he was going to say that he saved a child from being skewered by Jason Voorhees.

Re:so true (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844645)

Uh, just to let you know, as a counselor you should be careful about what "movie" files the kids are looking at on the camp computer.

saved by CD burning under knoppix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844685)

I lost any access to a Windows machine by a power failure. It wouldn't boot at all.

I rescued the data from its hard disk by:
1. make the existing cd rw drive a slave
2. installing a cd drive
3. booting knoppix from the newly installed cd drive
4. burning critical data to the cd rw drive.

Re:saved by CD burning under knoppix (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845518)

Almost easier than that, if you have a second computer available:
  1. Boot the second computer in Knoppix, and start the Knoppix Terminal Server.
  2. Many new computers now have the capability to boot from the net via pix. For those that don't you can create a boot floppy or CD via rom-o-matic [rom-o-matic.net].
  3. Boot off of the net
  4. If you used a net boot CD, you can now remove it (or just re-use it if it is a cd/dvd-rw)
  5. write your data to your CD
No need to install a second CD, as long as you have a built-in CD-RW. When you're done, you can reboot the Knoppix Terminal server, and nobody's gonna know the difference.

One thing to note is that this setup starts a DHCP server... If you already have a DHCP server on the 'net then you'll have to either disconnect your boxes from the existing DHCP server, or copy the DHCP info to official server. When your box is fixed, this won't cause a problem with regular boots. It just provides extra info for net boots.

How many copies? (1, Troll)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844476)

Out of curiosity, how many copies of these types of books does O'Reilly expect to sell? I would predict less than a thousand based on this partiular subject matter, but I could be totally off.

interesting (-1, Redundant)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844478)

This book seems like it has everything about knoppix, only thing to make it more complete would be if it includes a guide to knoppix STD, the security version.

Re:interesting (1, Redundant)

acvh (120205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844508)

"Knoppix Reloaded, in Chapter 8, takes on Knoppix variants Morphix, Gnoppix, Mediainlinux, Freeduc, Damn, Small Linux, INSERT, L.A.S. Linux, Knoppix-STD"

your wish was granted.

Jobs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844487)

Steve Jobs invented knoppix. It was originally a branch from OSX, but it evolved into linux because OSX couldn't quite run on everything.

Umm, using a tool is a hack? (-1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844499)

I would say that this book is more about Knoppix Forks or Knoppix Distributions not necessarily "hacks".

Using Knoppix as an emergency router, for wardriving, or for a Swiss Army Knife isn't exactly a "hack". It's using a tool.

People starting projects like KnoppixMyth etc are more of a fork or a seperate distribution rather than a hack.

That's IMHO at least.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844576)

All of the '* Hacks' books are simply collections of tips with very few if any actuall hacks. I guess 'Knoppix tips' and the like just didn't make the book seem interesting enough.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (3, Insightful)

mogrify (828588) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844623)

Seems along the same lines of calling legitimate boot-time kernel options "cheat codes."

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844643)

Yeah, but real hacks like using Knoppix to get Mode X graphics to play Rise of the Triad with double-buffering is a little dated.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844764)

Rise of the Triad, you say? The source port for Windows on icculus.org doesn't even work that well. I would love to play it again, but it's really bitchy when it comes to running the vanilla version in 2000/XP despite messing with VDMSound.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (3, Interesting)

jaylee7877 (665673) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844687)

Take a look at How to become a hacker [catb.org] by ESR It's the basis of Oreilly's hack series. The books goals are to stimulate "hackers" and get them started. Often the hacks will offer ideas to "hack the hack" but leave it up to the reader to figure out how. I've got Linux Server Hacks [oreilly.com] and I've found it to be an invaluable resource, a reference book, but much more as it gives me all types of new ideas for my servers.... Nice job Oreilly.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844906)

Okay, mod me OT, but since you've pointed to whta looks like a quite useful book for the linux-initiated, here's question for you:

What is a a good beginners book for linux? I'm not talking about the various O-reilly books on the different flavors of Linux (I have two, I think, though I can only find the RedHat one). I mean something that will walk you through the command line and internals, without being a reference for sysadmins.

---you can stop here to avoid a boring rant ---

You see, I grew up on the Apple II and DOS (IBM PC). I understand how it works and I cry a tear everytime I see Windows go farther from some of the simplicity of DOS. Luckily, I can still get to the command line. I started learning AIX a decade ago, but never got the hang of it (I'm still scared of vi, truth be told).

What I need is that background info on Linux. Some nuts and bolts info. I don't want to know how to install a CD and pick on pretty graphic widgets. How is the file system organized, and where do things go. I can infer only so much, and I hate wasting time guessing. I need to know how to get around, or I'll end up just giving up. I don't have hours a day to read the endless forum discussions, hoping to glean five minutes of knowledge, but I do have 30 or 40 minutes to read a chapter before bed.

I swear, I feel "that close" to being able to use Linux, but without a good foundation I know that I'll never really learn how to use it, and it will never take over my desktop.

Thanks

(yes, in the case of Linux, I'm one of the people I complain about in my sig...but at least I know it)

You want Slackware. (1)

RangerElf (32760) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845180)

Slackware is for people like you.
Simple, clean, unobtrusive, great.
Not to start a distro flamewar, and before any Gentoo fans chime in: no, Gentoo is definitely NOT "Simple, Clean, Unobtrusive".
You can find it here [slackware.com],
hope you finally can understand Linux, it's a great tool/toy/idea.
-gus

Re:You want Slackware. (1)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845332)

I'm going to second that. Slack is my all around favorite distro (I use Debian on occasion for certain things). IMNSHO, it's also the best documented of the distros.

However, lately I've been using OpenBSD more and more (I started using it for a secure server, then a packet shaping router, etc). It's a little more daunting to install then Slackware but it's even better documented.

Pick one or the other, they'll both help you learn the ropes of unix far better then any book.

Re:You want Slackware. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845379)

Slackware was one of the first distros I downloaded (I've got RH, Knoppix, Slackware, Mandrake, and, um, one other I can't remember, luring in my CD folders). It sounded like what I was looking for, but I never got a chance to really get into it at the time (work always seems to get in the way of things I want to do ;-)

That was a couple of years ago, and I hadn't really looked back at it. I should have taken more time to read the book that goes with it. I just cliked over, and I think I'm going to take a few evenings to read through the whole thing, as it seems to be what I'm looking for.

BTW, is there an easy way to get the slackware "book" as a single chunk, either as linked html or some printable format? If not, my assistant is going to have a lousy afternoon ;-)

Oh, and thanks for the suggestion. I've been online for 10+ years, and in the last three or four, I've encountered a lot of "newbie, go home" attitude on the ne. It's good to see that it's not everyone.

Re:You want Slackware. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845437)

Okay, bad form to reply to your own post, but all I have to say is...

"newbie, go home"...and do a freakin' google search. Found it in a single file in the top five hits.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (1)

Daytona955i (448665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845522)

First I would learn most UNIX commands. UNIX Powertools is an excellent book.

Then I would also learn an editor. I would recommend learning the minimum ammount you need to get by in either vi or emacs as this will save you time.

Then skim through the linux from scratch HOWTO.

After that try and find howtos or books for specific programs. After figuring out how say apache works, you will have a better understandinng of how other programs work in linux.

Remember, most programs come with their own documentation and that will usually tell you where those programs are. If XFree86's log is in /var/log/ I'd take a look in there and see what else is in /var/log/. Hey look at that, logfiles. Sure it takes a while to learn, but that's what they mean when they say there's a steep learning curve.

Re:Umm, using a tool is a hack? (2, Interesting)

sanctimonius hypocrt (235536) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845469)


I've had this book for a week or so now, and I've found it pretty good. The basic 'hacks' are at least bullet resistant, and should get a newbie started right. The more advanced hacks are not recipes you can just follow and get good results.

For example, you can boot up Knoppix, use the live installer to download the fprot virus scanner and current updates, and virus-check a windows partition. It worked, but the graphical front end to fprot kept hanging up at the same point. It was easy enough to read the man page and run the scan from the command line, but an inexperienced user wouldn't necessarily be able to 'improvise' like that.

There are a few other hacks like that, of the half-dozen I've tried out so far. Not a knock against the book, just that it's maybe more hackish than immediately apparent. Probably the best thing about it is suggesting uses (or abuses) that I hadn't thought of.

One criticism I will make is that the lay-flat binding doesn't, which is mildly annoying.


Sounds comprehensive (3, Interesting)

mogrify (828588) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844518)

I've used Knoppix a few times to rescue hapless Windows installations -- seems like every time I look for some needed utility, I find it somewhere in Knoppix. I'm sure it can do things I've never thought of, so it's nice to see a user manual of sorts for what's become an indispensible tool in the ol' repair kit. Put this on my Christmas list.

Re:Sounds comprehensive (1)

ween14 (827520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844604)

Definitly agree as to the usefulness of Knoppix. It is one of those tools that you don't realize how useful it really is untill nothing else seems to work, but by booting Knoppix you can usually find the problem and hopefully fix it. Nice to see a book that helps people use this tool to it's full potential.

Sheesh (-1, Flamebait)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844545)

Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin is no less astounding in revealing the hidden versatility and power inherent in this unassuming tool.

The pages will stick together if you don't wipe them off.

Knopp... what ? (-1, Redundant)

lecuyerjm (778596) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844554)

A book for hacker, hum interesting indeed. A must have. !!! Seriously Knoppix saved my azz dozen of time, so having someone who wrote a book to help the community, that's really nice.

Knoppix saved me (1)

alarch (830794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844616)

Knoppix is really powerful tool. I use it often (or its Czech clone called Danix) but recently it saved me really. After my computer broke down not being able to boot from HD i use Knoppix for my everyday work. If it was not here, I would be in deep trouble, because I cannot afford a new computer now. Thanx for Knoppix!!

Re:Knoppix saved me (1)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844952)

its Czech clone called Danix

Wait - its Czech clone is called Danix? So the Hungarian clone is called Norwix and the Bulgarian one Swedix? What's the pattern (for those of us not living in Eastern Europe)?

Danix (2, Informative)

alarch (830794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845160)

LOL :)) You made me laugh. Danix stand for DANIels's linuX i believe, which is name of the main developer. Similar case as with Knoppix itself. BTW: I do not live in the eastern Europe. I live in central Europe. You woudlnt say that Austria or Germany is in eastern Europe, would you?

Re:Danix (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845532)

Depends. Do you know where, say, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon or Wisconsin are in relation to the rest of the US? East, west, central? Many Europeans are just as ignorant on our political geography as Americans are on theirs ;)

Danix (1)

xdc (8753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845086)

Until now, I had assumed that Danix [danix.cz] was a Danish distro. Thank you for turning me on to this Czech version.

I think a good name for a Czech version of Knoppix would be Knoppicz. :) Of couse, then Czechs might pronounce it, "knoppits," so that probably wouldn't work.

Re:Danix (1)

alarch (830794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845206)

Yes it is a Czech distro, a clone of Knoppix although they are planning to make a full desktop distro not based on Knoppix. It stands for Daniel's LinuX - the main authors name. ppicz is in pronounciation simillar to a word which means "cunt" in Czechm so it wouldnt be a nice name I think :)

Great Book (0, Redundant)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844619)

Good review here also:
Knoppix is a portable Linux distribution with a collection of hundreds of programs and utilities--a veritable Swiss Army knife in CD form. This practical and flexible Linux distribution runs on the fly from a single CD with no need to install anything to your hard drive. Knoppix's excellent hardware detection, collection of programs, and ease of use help explain why Knoppix is radically changing the face of Linux. Though Knoppix is the most popular live CD Linux distribution available, until now there have been no books on the topic. A weighty theoretical tome or a book for dummies won't do--the perfect Knoppix book, like Knoppix itself, must be as useful and clever as a Swiss Army knife. Clearly, Knoppix calls for an O'Reilly Hacks book. Knoppix Hacks is a collection of one hundred industrial-strength hacks for new Linux users, power users, and system administers using--or considering using--the Knoppix Live CD. These tips and tools show how to use the enormous amount of software on this CD to troubleshoot, repair, upgrade, disinfect, and generally be productive without Windows.

By the by, you can save some money by purchasing the book here [amazon.com].

Re:Great Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844733)

Wow, an Amazon-affiliate link right in your "personal" URL. How quaint.

Not to mention the one in your post...

Re:Great Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844760)

Wow, a pasted review followed by an affiliate link. How about fuck you, you subhuman money-grubbing spammer piece of garbage?

At least be up front that you're trying to fuck people for dough, eh?

Repeat Amazon referral whore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844876)

Excellent referral whoring.

You [slashdot.org] seem [slashdot.org] to [slashdot.org] do [slashdot.org] this [slashdot.org] often [slashdot.org].

Re:Great Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844932)

By the by, you can save some money by purchasing the book here.

...and you can save some of your soul by purchasing the book here [powells.com].

Re:Great Book? Yes. (2, Interesting)

UnderScan (470605) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845099)

Mods!


While the book is great, the parent copied his "review" from http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978059 600787&Catalog=Books&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zx ac=1 [indigo.ca] and also links to a has a amazon.com referer account.

If you want it cheap, addall.com (the book search engine) lists bookpool.com with the lowest price. [addall.com]

Bookpool! (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845348)

I worked on my thesis with a Web Service integrator, and for example I used amazon+barnesnnoble+bookpool. One (unwritten) conclusion of my work was that Bookpool always had the best prices on tech books.

Duality of l337ness versus Stupidity (1)

HenryKoren (735064) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844646)

A hack... a "worn-out horse for hire". "harsh coughing", a "rough, irregular cut". a "quick job that produces what is needed, but not well".

These books might not be all about hacking... But the title might make the reader feel special about themselves.

Are these hack books trying to Capitalize on 'leet-ness, or are they simply the antipathy of the "for dummies" series?

Is self inflation and self deprecation really such a critical component to technical literature sales?

Re:Duality of l337ness versus Stupidity (1)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844926)

It's all in perception. But you're right. It's much better for "hacking" to be thought of as the computer equivelant of armed robbery instead.
Face it: What we used to think the word "hacking" meant has long been depracated by the world at large. At least a series like this might bring the meaning of the word a bit away from the dark side. Maybe.

Re:Duality of l337ness versus Stupidity (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844991)

The jargon file also list:

"2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed. "

And

"6. vi. To interact with a computer in a playful and exploratory rather than goal-directed way"

Re:Duality of l337ness versus Stupidity (4, Interesting)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845166)

Those aren't the only definitions. [google.com]

A hack can also mean a way of using something in a clever way, including the way it was intended. Using Knoppix to repair a Windows machine is a hack, because it uses the tool to solve the problem in a clever way.

Kinda like using duct tape to 'resize' a metric socket to fit on a standard nut.

It's not about 'leetness,' it's about solving the problem, and then communicating that solution to others.

OT Cnn.com (-1, Offtopic)

BubbaTheBarbarian (316027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844667)

WTF is going on with cnn.com right now? Anyone else seen the cool web-mail interface?

Re:OT Cnn.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844829)

What webmail interface?

Re:OT Cnn.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844836)

I though i was the only one being redirected...
"Welcome to Horde..."?
This aint MS, IE either!

BioKnoppix & VLinux (5, Interesting)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844700)

BioKnoppix and VLinux are indispensable toolboxes for every bioinformatician out there, especially if you do lots of consulting (or need to travel from lab to lab, without having a laptop). Both distributions contains tools for sequence and protein analysis, 3D structure viewing software... etc. Very handy...

"Screenshots are placed where needed but again, (2, Interesting)

Sai Babu (827212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844708)

the reader isn't left distracted by unnecessary filler."

Excessive screenshots has been one of the main reasons I stay away from the 'hacks' books, so this is good news.

It will be worth a sawbuck if it and a knoppix CD get my 'Windows Flumoxed'(TM) brother interested enough in Linux to ditch the Mr. Softy OS product.

Great introduction to Linux (4, Interesting)

MysticalMatt517 (772389) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844715)

This sounds like an interesting book, I may have to pick it up next time I'm at BN.

I think one of the most fantastic things about Knoppix is that it provides a safe gateway for people to get into the Linux world, especially young people. At some point (around 8th grade) they realize there's more to life than Windows, but don't know enough to create a dual boot system. Knoppix is a great way for them to get their feet wet.

It's nice to see a book out on this. Regardless of whether these are truly "hacks" or not is irrelevant. The information it brings forward is interesting.

Re:Great introduction to Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844883)

"At some point (around 8th grade) they realize there's more to life than Windows, but don't know enough to create a dual boot system".

That's what parents are for. My six year-old daughter is wild about her "Penguin System" (i.e Debian Sid) as long as I keep it running properly. Granted, most kids don't have parents that get up at 5 AM and do a dist-upgrade, compile a new kernel, tinker with Grub, and the like.

Re:Great introduction to Linux (1)

chitselb (25940) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845269)

I've got a 5th grader and an 8th grader living in my house, and after seeing pr0n splashed all over the screen back when it was booted to Windows for the last time, and reinstalling Windows to remove virii and trojans and browser hijackers for the last time, I installed Linux (SuSE 9.1, no dual boot). They like the games, the Open Office is fine for their school projects, and my 5th grader is happily learning how to code HTML. Life is good.

New Knoppix user sings praises (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844735)

I just started experimenting with Knoppix recently. It was extremely cool to boot into a full KDE desktop with only 128M of memory and no hard disk support. I could even launch Open Office and Mozilla, but not at the same time. Extremely refreshing to realize that I do not have to have a system with 1G of memory and a 400G hard drive to get a very useable machine.

It also came in handy for offloading files from an unbootable Windows 2000 machine to another machine. This can easily be done even if you know nothing about Linux.

Regarding the Swiss Army Knife metaphor (5, Interesting)

mogrify (828588) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844750)

that everyone is happily using, how about we just buy the USB-key-equipped Swiss Army Knife and boot Feather with it? Now I can open the PC case with my Linux distro -- hmmm, no more metaphor.

Try before you buy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844763)

http://www.lokitorrent.com/download.php?id=42129

I know kyle, IRL! (2, Interesting)

donniejones18 (749882) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844774)

IRL, Kyle is the person who got me to start using linux! :-)

Thanks kyle, I've never looked back.

-Donnie

Morphix (2, Informative)

quamaretto (666270) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844810)

I'm a big fan of Morphix. I've used Morphix Lightgui (Comes with XFCE) and GNUStep [linuks.mine.nu] (The distro) at various times and I think the project is headed good places. But then, I haven't used the original Knoppix in quite awhile. I should pick it up again.

Knoppix on a HD? (4, Interesting)

siliconjunkie (413706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844843)

Hopefully this is on topic enough:

Ever since I saw the Mandrake Globetrotter [slashdot.org] I have been really wanting to roll my own "portable linux virtual machine". I don't want to pay for the overpirced Globetrotter, so I bought a 200GB drive with an external Firewire/USB2.0 enclosure.

Now, I have found some excellent resources on installing Linux on an external firewire drive [ibm.com], but the thing is, this (and other articles) are written with the idea that the end result will be used on one system, my goal is to have something like the Globetrotter which is a FULL distro of Mandrake 10, with the awesome hardware detection of Knoppix at boot time (so it can used it on multiple machines with no problem, like a Knoppix disc).

My question is, how would one go about doing this? I have considered just using the Knoppix "install to hard drive" feature, but I would rather have a more robust fully featured distro from the get go. Mandrake does not make it clear on their site if Mandrake 10 has the inherant ability to detect hardware at bootime like the version that comes on the Globetrotter does...any ideas?

Re:Knoppix on a HD? (1)

ltbarcly (398259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845036)

First of all, the ability to detect hardware at boot time is pretty much taken care of by linux. However, things like the fstab and so on need to be updated. With that said, even Mandrake 9.2 (the last version I used) had the ability to detect hardware changes at boot time. I removed a HD from a computer, and installed it in another computer, every piece of hardware being different, and it booted and loaded X without any problems, or any need to configure anything.

Re:Knoppix on a HD? (1)

siliconjunkie (413706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845315)

Thanks, that's good to know. I constantly hear folks touting Knoppix's "advanced hardware detection" and assumed that the version of Mandrake on the Globetrotter incorporated something similar. I have used Linux a bit and am comforable installing it and such but I wasn't too sure about being able to "plug and play" on different hardware.

I have left a nice solid 40GB partition unformatted on the disk, so I guess I know what my weekend project is going to be.

Koppix saved my ass (3, Interesting)

goodrob (204257) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844887)


I once lost all data on my D:\ 80 GB drive when i reformatted my C:\ due to a virus..

I tried so many utilities to rescue it.. Norton, partition magic and a bunch of others i had never heard of and never looked at again..

nothing worked..

finally i booted to knoppix and changed the flag of the partition to what it was supposed to be and presto! i had everything back again!

i love knoppix!

Knoppix is easy entry linux (5, Interesting)

landimal_adurotune (824425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844903)

I work at an all girl private college, and we put in a Perfigo box. Many of the students had a tough time getting windows patches and spyware was wreaking havok.

So I modified the startup html of Knoppix to tell them how to get GAIM going and do internet browsing. Tons of these girls are happy linux users, and have gone on to 'the hard stuff' like gentoo.

The disk is indespensible as a system rescue as well.

Re:Knoppix is easy entry linux (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844953)

I think most of the crowd here just turned green with envy. And it had nothing to do with your ability to modify HTML.

Re:Knoppix is easy entry linux (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845295)

if you stopped at "all girls", i'd probably buy it.

"all girls" + "Private college" sounds a little fishy ...

"all girls" + "private college" + "using linux" = a typical /. poster, still living at home & daydreaming with his keyboard.

Re:Knoppix is easy entry linux (1)

j1bb3rj4bb3r (808677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845441)

I doubt it. My friend is a network admin at an all girl private college (where my ex-gf happened to go). It wouldn't surprise me if the original poster worked there. Said college will remain nameless but it rhymes with Count Rolycoke :).

Re:Knoppix is easy entry linux (4, Interesting)

j1bb3rj4bb3r (808677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845537)

I think I should also add that an all girls private college is not what it's cracked up to be. I've never felt like such a complete outsider before in my life. My ex-gf and her friends were great to me, but any parties I went to, I was often the only guy. While that may sound like heaven to those social rejects who've never spent much time with girls in the first place, it's actually a very uncomfortable feeling, because you really just don't fit in, don't belong, and are pretty much just tolerated (and that's by the straight girls). Don't get me wrong... I met lots of very cool people there, it's just the social environment of an all-one-gender place is very different than coed environments.

Finally, all those work PC's... (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 9 years ago | (#10844939)

The final chapter includes seven hacks that help the reader create their own customized Knoppix CD. Knoppix Remastered walks the reader through the steps of customizing and personalizing a live CD.

Aha! Finally, I'll be able to create a bootable BZFlag CD-ROM [bzflag.org], and I won't have to ask permission before bringing my friends to the office on the weekend for a fragging session. Power goes out here regularly, so as long as everyone has to power up in the morning, nobody will be the wiser. Heh.

Now, where's that "Post Anonymously" check bo

Saving Windows Machines (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10844998)

Windows can do this too ya know, have a look around the net for BartsPE.

My favourite hack... (2)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845061)

Knoppix-STD is only ~460 mb, which leaves 240 mb you can use to your advantage. Put some "normal" files in there - I use a set of mp3s and play them on my mp3 cd player, alternatively some "work"-type files or a set of ebooks. Then create the iso with mkisofs -r -J -hide-joliet KNOPPIX (and -hide-joliet index.html etc. if you leave those files in there) Now you have a bootable cd full of security tools which, when viewed on a windows pc, looks completely innocuous.

Re:My favourite hack... (1)

j1bb3rj4bb3r (808677) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845566)

I read the post just above this... Brain mixed them and I saw Fallix-STD Not what you want to call your standard distro Falcone.

Where have I heard that name before? (5, Funny)

crawdaddy (344241) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845069)

Rankin has collected a "who's who" of Linux hackers to contribute to this book: John Andrews, creator of Damn Small Linux; Fabian Franz, creator of FreeNX server; Alex de Landgraaf, creator of Morphix; Simon Peter, developer of klik; Wim Vandersmissen, creator of ClusterKnoppix and many others no less accomplished, all of whom have contributed to the future of free software/open source development.

I emailed Simon Peter for information about klik, but he denied involvement with it. I pointed to this review in a followup email as evidence. Again, he denied it in his reply. Upon my pointing to him being listed on the klik site, he replied "I don't know this klik you're talking about," denying his involvement a third time. Then a rooster crowed twice.

Re:Where have I heard that name before? (1)

Sparkle (131911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845596)

Groan.

Sorry I lack mod points crawdad, or you would have them for funny!

My best use of Knoppix (2, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845238)

When I worked as a sysadmin, I used Knoppix several times to errorcheck Windows computers. At home, I have used it to run Linux from Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] on a clean computer. It's great to have all tools available and no fear of removing or messing up an important partition by mistake. Also you can surf and play games while compiling.

Customize (-1, Offtopic)

Ann Coulter (614889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845271)

I like the prebuilt Knoppix CDs. They are very useful, especially when one needs to touch up an installation. What I like more than Knoppix is Gentoo. The main reason why Gentoo in better than Knoppix, in my opinion, is because Gentoo gives me a lot more choices than any other distribution I have encountered. One of the best examples of customization is catalyst. Catalyst is a tool that lets one build Gentoo LiveCDs. All one has to do is build three seed stages, select packages that are appropriate for the LiveCD, build the stage one of the LiveCD, select files to overlay the LiveCD, and build the stage two of the LiveCD. This process will give a Gentoo LiveCD containing anything covered by portage. What is amazing is that these LiveCDs can be just as useful as a Knoppix CD while being optimized for a particular target (I have not tried to use the Intel C/C++ compiler to build any Gentoo distribution ... yet). Gentoo supports more platforms than Knoppix. Building a LiveCD takes place on a machine that is compatible with the target. Examples of applications for LiveCDs include: adding features to a Gentoo installation LiveCD that is not covered by any Gentoo Release (I have reiser4 support on my first catalyst generated LiveCD), diskless platform with arbitrary packages (download porn in the lab with specific tools already on the CD), reliability and security testing (include hacking tools in the CD), diskless encryption box (disable the hard drives and purge the physical memory on the way out), demonstration of a software product (with a little more effort, anything can be put on a LiveCD), and having a toolkit in your jewel case, just to name a few uses for custom LiveCDs. Although one can create custom LiveCDs with Linux From Scratch methods, the Gentoo Catalyst is one of the most balanced methods for creating LiveCDs.

newbie article (1)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845451)

I'd like to see an article where someone takes popular "Windows fix it tools for admins" (like this one [winternals.com]) and write an easy-to-undertand tutorial for newbies.

Until then, these hacks will only be available to the uber geeks (not that that's a always a bad thing).

Knoppix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10845486)

hehe

Now using root console:

dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hda
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hdb
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hdc
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/hdd
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/sda
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/sdb
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/sdc
dd if=/dev/null of=/dev/sdd

MetroPipe: Knoppix for flash drives (4, Interesting)

lucidvein (18628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845501)

I just downloaded http://www.metropipe.net/ProductsPVPM.shtml [metropipe.net] which uncompresses to an executable Knoppix environment. Runs on top of Windows or Linux so no need to even reboot the client machine.

Could use some updating now that Firefox 1.0 is out, but overall I found it to be a very compact and usable resource. Look forward to the release that supports Mac OS X.

Personally (1)

Skiron (735617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10845626)

When I first downloaded Knoppix and ran it, it was a really "WOW" moment. Perhaps one of the first best things to come out to promote Linux ever - I hand out Knoppix disc's all the time at work, even though the users haven't a clue ("Will it fuck my memory up?". "I have a windows monitor, will that work?" et al ad naseum).
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