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Book explores live-CD Linux distro

Nov 16, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

O'Reilly is shipping a second edition of Knoppix Hacks. Kyle Rankin's book explores the latest features of the Debian-based live-CD Linux distribution, with a special focus on new “remastering” features.

(Click for larger view of book cover)

Rankin says he has updated the book to provide tips and techniques for all the major new features of recent Knoppix versions. Stated the author, “Knoppix has had a number of advances, most specifically in the addition of UnionFS (now AuFS) which allowed a user to 'write' to the live CD just like it was a hard drive while it was booted. This alone opened up a whole new world of uses for Knoppix and made some hacks already in the book even easier.”

The book includes numerous hacks both for the standard Knoppix live CD and the DVD “Maxi” distribution, which is included with the book. Topics include:

  • The KDE desktop and its Internet applications
  • Saving settings and data between reboots
  • A multitool to replace failed servers
  • Rescue discs for failed files-systems, including Windows systems
  • Automatically detecting and configuring hardware
  • Remastering Knoppix to include favorite software and custom branding
  • Survey of other live CDs based on Knoppix

According to the book, Klaus Knopper initially developed Knoppix because he didn't want to hassle with lugging a laptop to his various tech projects. He made a bootable Linux CD distribution so he could take his favorite open source tools with him wherever he needed to work, without needing to install software on every new computer. Eventually, he improved the hardware support to the point that Knoppix could recognize and automatically configure much of the hardware it encountered.

Today, Knoppix is commonly used by independent software vendors wishing to create demonstration versions of their wares. Knoppix is also fairly easy to install on CompactFlash, as described in this Knoppix-based solid-state CF music recorder project.

Stated Rankin, who is president of the North Bay Linux Users Group, “There are a lot of live CDs out there these days, but I believe that Knoppix, especially with all of its current features, is still the best all-around live CD.”


The 420-page Knoppix Hacks, Second Edition is available now for $34.99 at the O'Reilly web-site.

Rankin previously authored two other O'Reilly books, Knoppix Pocket Reference and the upcoming Linux Multimedia Hacks.

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