Knoppix LiveCD

The last build was in August, so I got the new one dated 8 December. Last time, although I could get it to run, it wouldn’t see my wireless nic. 4 months on….

It still doesn’t. Shame, maybe I shouldn’t have picked a card from that tiniest of manufacturers Belkin, or at least made sure that they used a chipset from a maker who works out of something larger than a shed – BroadCom obviously don’t. So after trying various LiveCD’s through this year, and with Knoppix being touted as the mother of all LiveCd’s, I’m still left with what used to be a doubt, but is growing to become a firm belief that Linux isn’t just created by a geek, the geeks are keeping it for the geeks thankyouverymuch. I mean, I’m fairly clued up but when I try to install another driver but get an error where the full path to a ‘not writable’ area is not displayed, wtf am I meant to think ? I’m going to give Ubuntu ONE chance to work – and if it doesn’t, screw Linux.


Why do I want to use Linux ? The answer is that right now I don’t, but I’ve not been able to get a good crack at it. The next question would be why, if it’s all nice when I do, would I want to use it ? Answer is I don’t know.
It’s not software cost – I use freeware almost exclusively.
It’s not security – my machine is protected and I know the stupid stuff to not do.
It’s not the OS itself – Windows may fall apart regularly and need updates, but so does every single Linux variant without fail.
Games – dual boot would sort that.

So I suppose in the end I just want to play and see what this big fuss is about – but even then the geeks will call me out – “But you should have used SUSE”, “Fedora3 is the mutt’s nuts”, “Gentoo or nothing !” and similar geek-outgeeking-geek statements πŸ™‚

Some animals are more equal than others down on Bill’s farm ?

12 thoughts on “Knoppix LiveCD

  1. Try Ubuntu linux, they have a live CD, and if it goes well, you can download the latest stable release (aka Warty) and install that. It’s Debian based as well, but unlike Knoppix, it is GNOME based, as opposed to KDE. They put out a new stable release once every 6 months and security updates for the past 3 releases. Free with a capital F and all that jazz too. (If you want to see what little I’ve written about them, check the Ubuntu category on my site.)

    Disclaimer: I haven’t used the Live CD myself, but assume it handles just as well as the installed version.

  2. Problem with Linux is that somebody has to sit down and create the drivers for it as manufacturer support is still atrocious. Luckily somebody had written drivers for my adsl modem and audigy2 soundcard as these are both unsupported on Linux platforms by the manufacturer. Problem (as with anything open source or tackled for free) is that instructions and documentation can be a bit lacking, or the assumption is you are supremely comfortable with the command line (where a missing / can cause all kinds of merry hell). This leads to real problems sometimes.

    Don’t let Linux drive you mad though. Just keep dipping your toe in. It’s great as a development/server platform, but it has a long way to go before it’s truly a multi-purpose replacement for Win32.

  3. Brian – it’s like Gary says, I need a driver for it first.
    I’ve since checked, and apparently I need to run ‘sudo knoppix installer’ and make sure a ‘Lilo’ gets out into the MBR.

    It’s a LiveCD, I don’t want it anywhere near the MBR !

    Thing is this: If LiveCD won’t easily work with my NIC, then neither will a full install. And if a full install will only give me an offline machine, then why go to the time hassle and other bother that will creep in ? Linux is being hyped as some sort of alternative, but until it becomes even more user-friendly (and that’s a subjective term) it stands as much chance of denting the Redmond income as I do of surfing with an iceberg.

    I will keep looking, and if I were to get another machine I’d be tempted to install it, but until then ? Nope…

  4. Here’s the thing, I suggested Ubuntu becuase I use it on a laptop and the intergrated Intel 2200 Wifi worked out of the box, that’s something that I’ve never seen a linux distro do. I like Ubuntu because my schedule is quite full these days, working at an office during the day and going to school at night. I switched to Ubuntu because everything just worked. I plugged in a USB device and it automagically appeared, no editing the fstab, no man mount, no googling for how to make it work. Yes, Linux requires some more work than Windows, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not for everyone, but the folks behind Ubuntu have made a huge step forward in that direction.

    Their Live CD does not touch your harddrive, and I doubt it will even take a peak at your MBR. You didn’t specifiy what NIC you used, so I can’t tell you if I know if it will work.

    I wish you the best of luck in your linux journeys and if you use windows, I won’t shun you and complain how you use something that isn’t “free” or anything. To each their own.

    (Thank you for all the work you do around WordPress)

  5. Could I maybe suggest that you’re looking for a lot out of Knoppix? It’s a full distro on a disc, which limits the amount of things it can handle straight off, due to storage space. Now, I know it’s not an obscure wifi card, but they can’t support EVERYTHING off the bat (tho it does work with a netgear one I have here!)

    I’d give the aforementioned Ubuntu a go, but remember that a live cd will always fall short of a full install… it’d only take 2 gigs of hdd space or so, and everything would work!

  6. AJ – No, I don’t think I am.

    Why are they making LiveCD’s ? Because they want to spread the word about this apparent ‘OSS Goodness’ that is Linux. Fine, I can see and apreciate that. But if they want to acheive their goal, or even get slightly closer than they are today, it has to work out of the box.

    We all slag M$, but it’s pretty damn rare that something plugged in doesn’t auto-install, and for a LiveCD to NOT be able to configure a NIC – the code for which must be tiny compared to the size of other great chunks on there – is pretty fatal.

    I’ve seen the Linux people “Yea.. all I do is ’emerge net’ and it backs up and installs the lot to my HDD” type stuff. Wonderful, but only if you can connect to the bloody net in the first place. The LiveCD should offer auto-detect then a dropdown with no CHMOD dependencies on your system.

    Linux people may say that all M$ is bloat (and I agree with stuff I won’t use) but bloat is subjective. If I don’t use it, don’t need it, don’t want it – then it’s bloat.

  7. I get what you’re saying, and hell, I’m no defender of Linux… I have it, and use it for things it’s better at, but then I use Windows for things IT’S better at, and OSX for things it’s good at… Did your wireless NIC work straight off on windows? I’m imagining that you had to install a driver? Now that’s extra to the s/w. Expecting a live cd to pick up every possible hardware combo out of the thousands available is maybe stretching it, after all, not everyone has wifi at home, and the failings of linux on a laptop is quite well documented as being suck it and see, which includes wireless. Hopefully a later release may cover it, or a different distro, but does this fall on the side of complaining about something that’s free? :p

  8. “does this fall on the side of complaining about something thatΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ’β€žΒ’s free?”
    Yup, that’ll be the case :grin::razz::wink:

    But then Linux wants to take over the world πŸ™‚

    And update wp – the latest code is looking gooood

  9. I was already forming a comment in my head when I read AJ’s remark about having to install a driver for your wireless card after installing Windows. I ranted a while back on my blog about how all you get on a Windows CD is some basic apps like notepad and paint, but on single-disc Linux distro you can have all that, a a few full-blown office suites, support for a dozen or so archive/compression formats and more, more, more. But,since AJ stole my other comment, I don’t really know what else to say other than “don’t give up” and share my experiences with you.

    I can’t tell you how many times I attempted to switch from Windows to Linux over the past two years. I can’t even count how many different distros that I tried over a six-month period. In the end, Xandros Deluxe 2.5 was my true “gateway drug” that pushed me over the edge. When I got my laptop, I fell back to SuSE which I had tried previously and liked. Hardware support is the worst though. I cheaped out originally and bought a cheap WiFi card on eBay, but in the end I just got a Cisco Aironet 350 series and it works out of the box.

    The real trick to “switching” (if that’s what you want) is to have a Linux guru on retainer. πŸ˜‰

  10. I’ve been reading up on your posts regarding Linux, and recently just posted myself that I’m really interested in trying it out. So I’m hoping you get it sorted out and report back the good news about your favorite distro, since that’s my main question at the moment. (-; I’m curious to know which distro each of your commenters use. I thought you were leaning away from the dual-boot option as you mentioned here. Any must-read reviews you’ve read yourself in the process of Linux hunting that I should check out?

  11. michaelm, asking for favourite distros is like asking ‘What’s your favourite sandwich’ πŸ˜‰

    Your best bet is to go to and read up on them. Suse and Mandrake are considered good for starting out on.

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