Knoppix – Instant Linux

Sunday I found a few minutes to try out something I’ve been wanting to try out for a while now. KNOPPIX – Live Linux Filesystem On CD is a very complete running version of Linux that boots from a CD. So, you can take a machine that currently runs Windows or some other Linux, boot it with your Knoppix CD and it will auto-detect your hardware and bring up a running Linux environment complete with graphics and lots of useful software straight off the CD without it installing anything to the hard drive of the machine.
When I tried it on my own PC I was amazed to see that it worked perfectly and it automatically mounted all my hard drive partitions (both an NTFS for Windows 2000 and Linux partitions) as well as a USB flash memory key I use to move files around. The audio worked and I was able to find a movie on my hard drive and play it easily. I was also able to tell it that I wanted it to switch the USB key from read only (the way it normally mounts all the drives so you can’t accidentally change anything) to read-write so I could delete a file. I tried software that was included on the disc like Mozilla, OpenOffice, SSH, and GIMP. All worked without installing or changing anything. If you ever want to try out Linux without installing anything, or you would like to show Linux to someone without their having to go through an installation, or you just want a copy that you can carry around as an emergency “fix-it” disc, this is your ticket!

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