Re: New to linux..looking for program I can boot and run off CD

From: moma (
Date: 04/05/04

Date: Mon, 05 Apr 2004 21:27:15 +0200

> Jan Stedehouder wrote:
> Op Mon, 05 Apr 2004 12:28:03 -0500, schreef Jerry:
> I'm new to Linux. I saw a demo given by a young man
>>and he was using a windows os but booted and run Linux programs off a CD. Does
>>anyone know where I could download a Linux program and use a floppy to boot and
>>then run Linux on a windows mach off a CD, so that I can try it out with out
>having to do a dual boot thing on my current machine.
> That would be Knoppix or one of it's derivatives. You can find it on
> Jan


You may also try PCLinux OS. It is a CD-bootable Linux distribution.
Read: "How to create an installation CD..."

// moma

Additional reading:
--Intro to Knoppix Linux by ~Beowulf (Randall Oelerich)--

I have been working on a document to provide to people I give a copy of
Knoppix to. Here is the document. Please feel free to copy it,
distribute it, modify it, put it on webpages, add to it, wrap your
sandwich in it, whatever! (smile). Pertains to latest distro of Knoppix
(v3.3). Second half of document is very general, pertains to linux,
unix etc.
  ~Beowulf (Randall Oelerich)


Knoppix CD-ROM Usage
[freely distribute, modify, or add to this document]

What is Knoppix? or Knoppix is a
"live" version of Linux in that you can boot and run it from your
computer CDROM drive. You do not need to install it to your computer hard
drive. Because it runs off your CDROM, realize it runs slower than if it
were installed on your hard drive. Knoppix is a full, free, unrestrained
version of the Linux operating system, complete with a graphical user
interface (GUI) and lots of useful software. Linux is an alternative
operating system to Microsoft Windows, and yet is able to access and use
your data on your Microsoft Windows hard drive (word processor documents,
Excel and other spreadsheet data files, image files, etc.).

Why use Knoppix? It comes with lots of free open source useful software
(games, word processors, image editors, internet browsers, spreadsheets,
mp3 music player, command line terminals, and lots more!). Check out the
game Chromium - a great arcade action game. Check out OpenOffice-- a
clone of MS-Office with a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet, and
clone of MS-Powerpoint. Check out the GIMP - a full-featured clone of
Adobe Photoshop image editor. All this software would cost you thousands
of dollars, but it is all on the Knoppix CD for free!

What's the Catch? None. This is what open source software and the free
software movement is all about - free software and free operating
systems for people.

To Run Knoppix: Insert the CDROM disk into your CD drive and then reboot
your computer (or shutdown Windows and then turn your computer back on);
if Knoppix loads, fine. If Knoppix does not load, then your computer is
not configured to boot an operating system (like Knoppix/Linux) from a CD
and you will need to reconfigure your computer BIOS (not as hard as it
might seem).

If you insert the Knoppix CD into your drive while running Microsoft
Windows and you may see a screen of instructions appear explaining what
Knoppix is, how to run it, etc.

If you need to reconfigure your BIOS to boot a CD (hopefully you will not
need to do this-- most computers are set up to boot a CD so you can rescue
your computer if it crashes or if you need to reinstall MS-Windows,
etc.)-- either get a geek friend to help you, or when you power up your
computer look at the screen to see if it says something like "Press DEL
to enter BIOS" (or maybe Press F1... etc). You need to find the key to
hold down immediately upon turning on your computer that will let you get
into your computer BIOS menu; usually the key is F1 or DEL or ESC or one
of the other function keys (F5, F10, F11, etc.). Once you get into your
BIOS menu, look for the option to specify the order of Booting (Hard
Drive, Floppy, CDROM) and make sure that CDROM is first in the order for
booting. Save your BIOS settings and reboot! That's all!

Advanced Knoppix usage: (ignore this if you wish!)

When you boot (run) Knoppix off the CD, you see "boot:" for a few
seconds on the screen - this is a command prompt that gives you a chance
to type some extra information to modify how Knoppix runs. Press the F2
key when you see "boot:" to see a list of options that you could type
at the "boot:" prompt.

One of the options you might try typing is an option to change the default
GUI that runs. By default, Knoppix boots and displays the KDE graphics
user interface (GUI, 'desktop'). KDE resembles Microsoft Windows and you
will likely be most comfortable with this.

Knoppix can run using any of several different GUI desktops - KDE,
Fluxbox, Ice, Window Maker, and others. KDE (looks like MS Windows) loads
by default. To load the Fluxbox desktop instead of KDE, when you see the
"Boot:" prompt during booting of the CDROM, type knoppix
desktop=fluxbox (and press the [Enter] key) and Knoppix will boot with
the Fluxbox desktop graphical user interface.

At the "boot:" prompt, type knoppix desktop=icewm (and press the
[Enter] key) and Knoppix will boot with the Ice desktop graphical user
interface instead of the KDE gui.

You can specify a language other than English, for example to use Spanish,
at the "boot:" prompt you would type knoppix lang=es (and press the
[Enter] key)

You can specify a screen resolution. For example, at the "boot:"
prompt type
    knoppix screen=1280x1024

You can specify failsafe startup (almost no hardware detection attempted).
At the "boot:" prompt type failsafe

You can specify text-only (like in the old days before MS-Windows or Mac!)
mode. At the "boot:" prompt type knoppix 2

You can combine boot: options. For example, to boot Knoppix in the german
language, using the Fluxbox desktop graphical user interface, with a
screen resolution of 800x600 type

   knoppix lang=ge desktop=fluxbox screen=800x600

Desktop Menus
Unlike Microsoft Windows, some Linux GUIs, like Fluxbox, allow you (and
sometimes require you) to access the system menu by clicking the mouse
anywhere on the screen. Generally in such cases you click the mouse's
right mouse button. The KDE desktop, however, acts much more like
Microsoft Windows, in that you utilize a "Start" menu button in the
lower left (that should have a tiny vertical triangle on it).

Regardless of which GUI you use, experiment by clicking the right or left
or even middle mouse buttons - different things will happen depending on
the GUI you are using.

Virtual Desktops
Unline Microsoft Windows, Linux desktops have several virtual desktops.
Each virtual desktop can have application programs running it. You can
freely move between the virtual desktops in different ways depending on
the GUI (KDE, Fluxbox, etc) you are using; with KDE, you will see on the
taskbar along the bottom of the screen the numbers [1], [2], etc. --
clicking these numbers will take you to that virtual desktop.

MS-Windows Data
Even though you run Linux (Knoppix), you can access your data files on
your MS-Windows hard drive or off a floppy or CDROM drive. Microsoft
Windows refers to computer drives as "C:" (hard drive), "A:"
(floppy), perhaps "D:" or "E:" for CD-ROM drives.

Linux does not name drives with letters; instead, your MS-Windows drives
will be accessed as /mnt/floppy, /mnt/cdrom, /mnt/winxp, or perhaps
/mnt/hda1 or /mnt/hdb4, etc. (hda refers to your primary hard drive",
hdb refers to your second hard drive if you have one) So if you want to
see your drives, use one of the Linux file managers (like Knoppix or
Nautilus) and look at "/mnt" to see your listed drives (that you can
then click on to see files on). Or if you are using OpenOffice Writer (a
clone of MS-Word) and want to load and edit an MS-Word file off your
Windows hard drive, you will "open" a file and look for that file off
a drive named perhaps /mnt/hda (or perhaps /mnt/winxp).

"Help!": If you need help, you have several recourses:

--Find a geek friend and buy her a bag of Cheetos and a 2-Liter of
caffeinated pop and have her come over and help you out.

--Post a help message on a linux newsgroup such as alt.os.linux (go to
Google Groups and you can locate this group and read and post messages).

--Get thee to a local linux user's group (In Duluth, there is DSLUUG a
local linux/unix user group-- see for more info or to
sign up on the email discussion list where you can get help).

--Websites: (knoppix discussion board) (Duluth user group for open source / linux / unix)

Linux and KDE Desktop (=window manager) Lessons:

1. KDE Desktop Window Manager
* Click lower left icon that looks like a big "K" or maybe an "up
arrow" -- this is analogous to the Microsoft Windows 'start' menu
button. Clicking the "K" will cause a popup menu to appear, so you can
choose software applications by category much like you would after
clicking the MS-Windows start button.

*Notice along the bottom of the screen the taskbar has a number of
shortcut icons, AND notice also something very unique-- four tiny numbered
panels numbered 1,2,3 and 4; these are the "virtual desktops" of linux.
Each virtual desktop can contain running applications, have its separate
color scheme and wallpaper, etc. Just click on a virtual desktop panel
thumbnail (tiny icon) to go to that virtual desktop. You can configure
each desktop's color scheme, wallpaper, etc.: Start
Menu->Configuration->KDE->LookFeel->Background. (you can even configure
multiple wallpapers that change every few minutes!)

You can also custom configure your desktop windows style, theme, etc.
(e.g. make it look like a Mac or MS-Windows, or something more unusual).:
Start Menu->Configuration->KDE->LookFeel->ThemeManager (or Fonts, etc.)

*KDE also has a Trashcan, similar to the Trash/Garbage icon of Macintosh,
or the Recycle bin of MS-Windows. Clicking on the Trash icon accesses
files that you have "trashed" (but if you "delete" files, they are gone
forever-- well pretty much-- there are sophisticated file recovery
applications but do not count on them to recover deleted files).

*At the lower right is a clock showing the time. Left click on it to bring
up a calendar. Left click the clock again to make the calendar disappear.

*Just to the left of the clock in the lower right is a tiny icon that
looks like a grid-- left click it once and wait a few seconds-- an
application called kOrganizer will appear. This application ("app") can be
used to plan yor schedule, etc. To cause it or any other application to
close, you can just as in MS-Windows use the titlebar buttons to close,
minimize, maximize, or dock any application; or you can use options from
the applications File menu (File->Close, etc.).

*On the lower taskbar look for an icon that has a tiny "house" or "home"
as part of the icon. If you click the 'home' icon you will see files and
folders that are part of your 'home' in linux. In linux, 'home' is a
folder where all users' reside. If your linux username is 'geek' then your
userspace and all your files and folders are on the linux hard disk in a
folder called /home/geek but there is a quicker way to refer to
/home/geek, that is your userspace, in other words your home directory,
and that is with the keyboard symbol '~'

*Along the bottom taskbar, just to the left of the virtual desktop panel
icons, is an icon of a piece of paper and a fountain pen. Click it to
activate KWrite, a simple but good word processor ('text editor'). KWrite
is somewhat like MS-Windows' MS-Word. However KWrite documents can only be
saved as KWrite documents-- but luckily other word processors of linux can
open and edit KWrite documents and then save such documents in many
popular file formats (MS-Word, etc.).

Type something, anything (if only a few random characters) using Kwrite,
and save it under the filename 'mydoc' (omit the quote symbols of course).
Do this, because you will need a sample document to work with later in
this tutorial. Notice when you save your KWrite document (see top of
KWrite) it is by default being saved to a folder in your home folder
(directory) called Documents; you could override this, but let's not for

*Along the bottom taskbar look for an icon that looks like a globe with
some spikes on it-- this is the icon to activate Konqueror, a powerful
internet browser as well as file manager. If you are connected to the
internet you can use Konqueror to type in website addresses and surf the
internet. Or, you can simply use Konqueror to browse files on the hard
disk(s) of your computer (and cut, copy, paste, delete, trash, move, or
rename files, and much more). [Remember though, linux is a multiuser
operating system-- so you can only damage files that are yours, that are
in your home folder; you can perhaps read files that are not in your home
folder, but you can not save any of your documents into folders outside of
your home folder. You can not delete or trash files that are not in your
home folder. This prevents you from harming important system files, or
files of other users (and they from harming your files).]

*So what can linux do? Lots! Need a full-featured word processor on par
and compatible with Microsoft Word? Then click the K icon, then Office,
then Wordprocessors, then Writer. Need a full-featured
spreadsheet on par and compatible with Microsoft Excel? Then click the K
icon, then Office, then Spreadsheets, then Calc. Need a
full-featured presentation application on par and compatible with
Microsoft PowerPoint? Then click the K icon, then Office, then
Presentations, then Impress. By now you should have
figured out that linux has a powerful opensource (free) application suite
called, on par and compatible with Microsoft Office.
OpenOffice can read and write files from MS-Word, MS-Excel, and

*Along the bottom taskbar look for an icon that looks like a TV monitor
with a clamshell on it-- this is the shortcut icon for a 'terminal', also
known as a 'console'. You can also access a variety of terminals by click
the K button, then Terminals. All terminals have the same basic
functionality, so choose whichever one you prefer. Once you have a
terminal activated you will see screen showing your username, perhaps the
date, and some sort of keyboard command prompt (like a $ sign, or perhaps
# sign). The terminal is keyboard driven, meaning you use the keyboard to
type commands followed by pressing the [Enter] key.

*NOTE: CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE key combination will exit you from the Desktop
back to the login screen. This is useful if the Desktop graphical user
interface ever freezes up, which is rare, very rare compared to Windows.
And if an application every freezes up, you can 'kill it' by first
double-clicking and running the Xkill application (see icon on desktop)
and then clicking your mouse on the title bar of the frozen application
you want to 'kill'.


Let's do a few simple terminal commands so you can see an alternative way
of working with linux other than using the mouse and graphical user
interface. Click the left mouse button in the terminal window to be sure
linux knows you want to use the terminal window. Then start typing the
following commands (comments are in parentheses-- do not type them, nor
the command prompt which we will symbolize here by the '#' symbol):

   #ls (you will then see a list of files and folders in your home folder,
   that is your linux userspace; notice a folder called Documents/, which
   likely contains mydoc, the KWrite document you created earlier.

   #cd Documents ('c'hanges to 'd'irectory called Documents)

   #ls (do you see mydoc in the listing, you should)

   #clear (cleans up the screen, clears the terminal display)

   #ls -l (shows 'l'ong listing, i.e. detailed listing, including file
   sizes, owership of files, date of file creation, etc.)

   #less mydoc (shows contents of mydoc; IMPORTANT: you will need to press
   the 'q' key to exit the display of the file contents and return to the
   command prompt. less is a very powerful and common terminal command)

   #cp mydoc mydoc.backup (copies mydoc to a new file 'mydoc.backup')

   #ls (do you see mydoc and mydoc.backup?)

   #rm mydoc.backup (removes mydoc.backup, that is deletes it)

   #mv mydoc somedoc (renames mydoc to somedoc, i.e. moves contents of
   mydoc to a new file called somedoc)

   #ls (mydoc is gone! it is now called somedoc)

   #cp somedoc anotherdoc (makes a copy of somedoc, called anotherdoc)

(Ok, you may be thinking "This terminal stuff is geeky, but is it useful?
And it seems like you have to type a lot!" Linux has a very cool gizmo
for eliminating lots of typing in the command mode-- it is the [TAB] key
on your keyboard... try this:)

   #cp an[TAB] mydoc (notice how linux figured out the rest of the filename
   once you type just 'an' and pressed the [TAB] key? Pretty cool!)

   #cd ~ (changes directories to your home folder, your userspace)

   #pwd (shows where you are, 'prints working director')

   #ls (do you see the folder called Documents?)

   #cd Docu[TAB] (use that cool [TAB] key shortcut!)

   #ls *doc (wow! the power of the 'wildcard' feature! Using the '*'
   symbol is like a wildcard in a card game; here, we are telling linux to
   list all files in the current folder with a filename ending in doc, so
   we will see files listed such as somedoc, anotherdoc)

   #mv *doc ~ (moves all files ending in doc to home space; this is a
   powerful command, the ability to mass move large numbers of files
   matching certain filename criteria!)

   #cd ~

   #ls (notice the new location of the files you moved?)

   #mkdir mydocs (create a new directory folder called mydoc in the current
   directory which is currently home)

   #mv *doc mydocs (moves sampledoc and anotherdoc to mydocs folder)

   #cd mydocs


   #rm * (deletes all files in current directory! This is a very powerful
   but very dangerous command! Be careful! It permanently deletes all files
   in current folder. However, linux has a safeguard-- for each file you
   will be asked if you want to delete it-- this safeguard can be
   overridden easily, but for now it is best not to know how to do this. In
   fact, you might be better off answering 'n' when asked whether to delete
   these files, at least for now. Alternatively, try something new-- when
   you do the 'rm *' command, cancel it by pressing the key sequence
   [Ctrl][c]. Ctrl+c is the keyboard shortcut to cancel a linux command
   that is currently runnin-- very useful to know.).

(Whew! Give youself a pat on the back if you made it this far-- you
learned how to use quite a few of the most common linux terminal mode
commands! You learned to use cd, ls, mv, cp, pwd, [TAB], rm, clear, and
the powerful wildcard symbol '*').

   #xmms & (runs application called xmms in background mode, that is
   multitasking mode, as a process; xmms is a common mp3 music player;
   notice you will need to click your mouse again in the terminal window
   because linux things you want to use xmms as your current application.
   This examples shows you how you can activate applications from the
   terminal command line in addition to using the graphical interface menu

   #mozilla & (runs application called mozilla; mozilla is basically
   Netscape, a powerful browser).