Some First Hand Experiencesd With Knoppix

Started by Donald Darden, December 07, 2007, 09:40:48 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Donald Darden

Using Knoppix and the Opera Browser I installed, I used BitTorrent to download the 4.3 GB DVD ISO image for Kunbuntu 7.10.  I tried playing a board game while this took place, and the mouse action was exceedingly jerky.   Multitasking like this puts a lot of demand on an OS, and is a pretty good way to judging how well it handles real time events.  A good method of getting better performance is to upgrade to a faster PC.  It is just not necessarily something we are ready to do,
so learning to adjust to what our systems will allow us to do is the other alternative.  The download took about five hours.  The reason is, that BitTorrent is a sharing protocol - while I may be downloading from available sources, there are others using the same protocol who may be downloading from me at the same time.  So the transfers are bidirectional.  I found that you will not "see" the resulting file on the PC until it is complete, then you have to tell Opera to stop the transfer.  Then it shows up.  There will also be a resulting .torrent file on your PC as well.

I then clicked on the ,ISO file, and was prepared to burn it to DVD, but alas, the Kanguru QuickSilver DVD+-RW drive attached by USB shows up as unknown media type.  Turns out that Kanguru does not offer a device driver for Linux, just for Windows and the Mac OS X operating systems.  Too bad.  Another case where vender support for Linux is low or non existent.  I searched further, but while many requests for a device driver were found, nobody seems to have found a workaround.

The solution here would be to replace my internal DVD-ROM drive with a DVD-RW drive, and pick one where the vender supplies a Linux device driver.  That is the sort of thing you become conscious of when you delve into alternate OS choices.  Otherwise, as an alternative, I can copy the downloaded .ISO file over to a partition that can be accessed by Windows, then reboot to Windows and use it to access the Kanguru drive and burn the DVD.  That is what I am currently attempting.

While Knoppix will recognize and mount the partitons I have that are FAT, FAT32, or NTFS, it has an odd (from a DOS or Windows standpoint) way of identifying them.  So determining which was originally any specific drive letter above the first one for a given hard drive is not so easy.  You do not always see the volume name when running from Linux, and may have to depend on other clues, such as the drive size, amount of free space, the names of files and folders to help you make the matchup.

Another thing, which is probably a good thing, is that Linux will mount these volumes as Read Only.  You can tell it to change this to read and write, or back to read only, by right clicking on the desktop icon for each drive.  But you also have to go to properties, change the permissions there, and also uncheck the box that is marked Read Only.  Right now I plan to leave my boot disk for windows set as read only where Linux is concerned, and only allow read and write to a few of the FAT32 partitions.  That will serve to let me move files back and forth from one OS to the other.  Had I realized earlier that I would not be able to use the Kanguru drive to burn an image from within Linux, I could have tried to download and burn it from within windows, or could have still downloaded it from within Linux, but to one of the FAT32 partitions.  That would have saved me time from having to copy a 4.3 GB file from one partition to another.

Donald Darden

Something I accidently discovered about Knoppix on DVD is that I can boot from the LiveCD image, and with the DVD mounted in an external USB DVD drive, it will automatically switch over and allow me to install from the DVD image rather than be limited to just what is on the CD image.  That's neat, and from my experience, only found with Knoppix.

But installing from DVD turns out to be a mixed bag.  The main problem is that it keeps wanting to revert to german instead of english.  Even if I change the region and language settings so that it reflects only english, undeneath at the Terminal Console level, it is still in german.  That makes it virtually unusable to me.

Another aspect of Knoppix is that it seems frozen to kernel release 2.6.19.  It's even set that way in grub.  This is despite numerous updates and upgrades.

A third problem is that the KDE menu system becomes seriously overloaded when you get all those apps installed from the DVD.  I have to adjust the screen size to 800x600 at 85 Hz on a 19" monitor because my aging eyes are not that good, and it is a rough fit, the system can't seem to remember this as the default size, and the menu's are set so big that when they expand to four columns, the second column overrights the first column and the rightmost column is off the screen.  It there were a way to change the width of the columns, either manually or automatically, this would not be a big problem.

A feature I find particularly appealing in Ubuntu is that it checks of updates automatically by default.  I haven't yet figured out how to turn that feature on in Knoppix. 

Right now I am thinking that I may be forced to reinstall Knoppix just from the LiveCD to see if some of these problems can be corrected, particularly the problem with it switching to german unexpectedly.

Knoppix does not recognize drive letters or volumn names as given under Windows, something that Ubuntu is able to do, so identifying which drives appear as what under both operating systems is a bit challenging.

Right now, if I were pressed to recommend one Linux distribution over another, given the problems found thus far, I would tend to suggest the people go with Ununtu over Knoppix.  That is despite the fact that I've found a lot to like about Knoppix.

Donald Darden

Okay, I reinstalled Knoppix from the LiveCD, trying a few things differently, and things did not go well.  I finally went pretty much along the lines of what I've described before, and followed up with apt-get update, then apt-get upgrade, and everything looks fine.  I tried apt-get install kvm and was able to get the VM software to install with no problems.  I also used apt-get install fontforge and got it installed as well.  I could not add the Opera web browser this way, but I used Firefox to use Google to search for it, got the Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon package, downloaded it to the desktop, then opened it with kpackage and installed it.

One interesting problem was that while still running from the LiveCD (before using the terminal mode to enter knoppix-installer), I tried to copy the old menu..lst file in /boot/grup to one of the partitions, but the LiveCD version of Knoppix could not be set to write to any partition, even after I changed the permissions in properties.  But I was able to save menu.lst to the desktop, and after the install and reboot, it was still on the desktop, where I was able to use the terminal mode again and su access to remove the new menu.lst and replace it with the old.

No sign of the problem with getting german instead of english at times.  I may have found a way to prevent that - when Knoppix starts up, it gives you an intro in which you select the language you want to use,  I believe I failed to do this on a couple of attempts, and that might have been the reason I later had problems with sometimes getting german words instead of english.

The LiveCD version is also a better perfomer than the DVD version, at least on my older PC,  I guess the number of apps that come on the DVD loaded it down too much.  Thinner is sometimes better, right?