Run Linux without installing
by Klaus Knopper
What is KNOPPIX®?
KNOPPIX is a compilation of GNU/Linux software, run completely from CD.
It automatically recognizes and supports many types of
graphic cards, sound cards, SCSI devices and other peripheral
devices. KNOPPIX can be adapted and used as a Linux demo, a training course
CD, a rescue system or as a platform for commercial software product
demos. It is not necessary to install anything on fixed disk.
Using transparent decompression, up to 2 gigabyes of executable software
can be put on a CD (this CD, for instance, has 1700MB of software on it).
Since this is a genuine open source project, subject to the GNU General Public License,
the source code for the KNOPPIX-specific packages is available via the Internet at
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/sources/. You may find the sources for the installed Debian packages on the various Debian mirrors. Additionally, you can order the sources directly from Knopper.Net for the cost of material, copying, packaging and postage. This offer is valid for 3 years, counting from the build date of this CD-Rom.
- Intel-compatible CPU (i486 or better),
- 20 MB of ram for text mode, and at least 82 MB for
graphic mode with KDE. (To run various Office applications,
at least 128 MB is recommended),
- a bootable CD-ROM/DVD drive, or alternatively, a boot floppy and
a standard CD-ROM/DVD drive (IDE/ATAPI or SCSI),
- a standard SVGA-compatible graphics card,
- and a standard serial or PS/2 mouse, or IMPS/2-compatible USB Mouse.
Question: "My computer does not have that much RAM, so
I can't run some of the programs on the CD (or they load very slowly). Is
there a trick I can use to run KDE and the Office programs, Videos, and Games?"
Yes. By use of a "swap partition" missing RAM
under Linux can be replaced by an area on the fixed disk reserved for this
purpose. KNOPPIX detects and automatically uses swap
partitions that are already available.
Only experienced users should consider creating a swap partition, however,
since to create one it is necessary to re-partition the hard disk.
Starting with version 1.5 of KNOPPIX a "swapfile"
for Linux can also be created on an existing DOS partition
(command mkdosswapfile). This allows KNOPPIX to run with less real RAM.
The file created on the DOS partition (knoppix.swp) can be deleted
later, if the space is needed for other things.
Where can I download other versions, or order a KNOPPIX CD?
Due to the large amount of data (and the download time which can be
expected), we recommend ordering KNOPPIX from various distributors,
(e.g. those who also put out the LinuxTag CDs), rather than
to transfer the complete current CD by WWW or ftp. At
you will find some mirrors on the Internet,
which, to a limited extent, provide a download area for the current KNOPPIX
You can also order a version adapted to your requirements on the
How do I run KNOPPIX?
In order to start the CD, first adjust the boot list in the BIOS Setup of your
computer to boot from CD (before the hard drive). Put the CD in and restart
the computer. If your computer does not support this option,
you must use a boot diskette, which you can create with the help of
the boot image /KNOPPIX/boot.img available on the CD. Use the
mkfloppy.bat script for the regular boot
image (German version). Use the command rawrite2 -f boot-en.img -d A
(in the KNOPPIX directory) to create an English boot disk.
What software is on the KNOPPIX-CD?
In addition to a standard Debian based GNU/Linux distribution
the following "highlights" are available on this CD:
Please check the internet for the overview
of installed packages and the CHANGELOG
with information about current changes and developments. The real version number (=build date) of your CD-Rom is
shown on the boot screen at the upper right corner. Please always state this number when you
have a question or comment.
- KDE V3.x as the standard desktop, with KOffice and the
Konqueror WWW browser.
- X Multimedia System (xmms) with MPEG video and MP3 support as well as the
Ogg Vorbis Audio Player
- Internet-access software kppp and isdn-utilities
- Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) Version 1.2
- Tools for data rescue and system repair
- Network analysis and administration tools
- OpenOffice(TM) 1.x, the GPL'd version of the well-known StarOffice(TM) office suite
- Many programming languages, development tools
(kdevelop, among others), as well as libraries for
- Altogether, over 900 installed software packages, comprising over 2000 executable user
programs, utilities, and games.
Tips & Tricks
There are some notes
(summarized in the file Knoppix Cheatcodes)
that describe options that can be passed to Knoppix
to handle special situations and/or problematic hardware.
Some of them require more
detailed knowledge of the Linux operating system, others are simply
useful extensions of the KNOPPIX autoconfiguration system.
Many of the most frequently asked questions have been collected in the
file KNOPPIX-FAQ-EN.txt on this CD-ROM and
on the internet.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL SOFTWARE. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY KNOPPER.NET OR LINUXTAG E.V. BE HELD
LIABLE FOR DAMAGE TO HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE, LOST DATA OR
OTHER DAMAGE EITHER DIRECT OR INDIRECT CAUSED BY USING THIS SOFTWARE.
IN SOME COUNTRIES, CRYPTOGRAPHIC SOFTWARE MAY BE SUBJECT TO IMPORT/EXPORT
RESTRICTIONS OR SUBJECT TO SOFTWARE PATENTS. THIS SOFTWARE MAY NOT BE
USED OR DISSEMINATED IN THOSE COUNTRIES.
OTHERWISE, IT IS SUBJECT TO THE
USUAL RULES OF THE GPL LICENSE. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO ABIDE BY THESE
RULES, YOU MAY NOT USE OR DISSEMINATE THIS SOFTWARE.