Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Jyoti Bansal, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

A Linux you can try before you even install it

Plus, a reaction to reader's flames about our Windows vs. Linux installation comparo

(LinuxWorld) -- It's strange how things work out sometimes. I was feeling a bit burned out by the install wars. I don't mean the difficulty of getting an OS to lay down politely on a system. I mean seared by the flames from those whose belief systems were shattered by my column last week. There were more than a couple Windows users who became "excited" by my report that Red Hat 7.3 was a better, faster, and easier install than Windows 2000.

"It's an unfair comparison!" was the most common whine. It wasn't unfair at all -- it was an honest, uncontrived real-life experience. However, I do agree with the readers that there are many unfair things in the whole scenario.

First, it is unfair of Microsoft to force the OEMs to use restore media instead of including an OEM CD version like the one they used to be able to do. As bad as most Windows users I heard from believe the restore process to be, and in spite of their desire to blame Sony for that, it seems to me that Microsoft is trying to gouge its consumers by getting them to pay for a second copy of Windows in order to avoid the dreaded Windows "restore experience." I was amazed at how many Windows users felt that was the best course of action.

Next, it is unfair that I have to explain the facts of Microsoft's business practices to its users. Count each and every angry, red-faced Windows user writing in to tell me I was a clueless idiot (or worse) for using the restore disks as a person completely ignorant of the impositions Microsoft places on the OEMs. For this sizable and special group, I offer to them whatever solace and encouragement they might find in the words of Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer: "Eat the dogfood."

Of course, it is unfair for the vast majority of Microsoft users, those who have gotten their Windows preloaded, using the restore disks as I did is the only legal way they have to reinstall Windows. That is unless they fall into that category of user with enough money and so little good sense as to rush out and pay for a new retail version. All that in order to save the extra 5 or 10 minutes the restore actually takes.

The unfair thing of all is the evil EULAs with which Microsoft binds its victims. Customers buy Windows under one license and then find that the license is actually living document that can be updated and changed unilaterally by Microsoft. One thing is certain. Microsoft's dot Net project must really be hurting. Otherwise they wouldn't be trying to steal their customers' right to free speech, they would be paying customers to publicize it.

After the hundreds of emails I got on the column, I was tired of discussing installations at all. I needed a quick fix. Something easy. Something good. I noticed some folks on a mailing list I subscribe to talking about Knoppix. Then a reader commenting on last week's column mentioned it as well. I had to try it. I found it to be all I needed: quick, easy, and good.

Knoppix, the painless Linux test drive

Knoppix is an "instant demo" distribution. You make (or buy if you don't have a CD burner or the bandwidth to download the ISO image) a bootable CD, plop it in your CD drive (for you newbies, CD drive is the technical name for the coffee cup holder that slides in and out on the front of your computer), and reboot.

Voila. THAT is your install. Now you are running one rad Linux, dude. On your Knoppix desktop (built atop a Debian base) you'll find Knoppix provides KDE 3.0.2 with its Konquerer browser, the GIMP for images, Kdevelop for coding, and - hold on to your hats, folks -- Open Office 1.0. In all, more than 900 executable programs are included in the ISO image. It's amazing.

In about 2 minutes time, including the boot sequence, Knoppix has sniffed all your hardware, configured itself for you video card and your Internet access, and loaded the KDE 3.0.2 environment. A svelte female voice announces the KDE startup. When you exit the demo, the same voice tells you it is beginning to shut down. Shut itself down it does, turning off the machine as it leaves.

Knoppix doesn't interfere with anything on your hard drives. Makes no never mind if you are running Windows or Linux. Any partitions it finds are opened in read only mode. This makes it perfectly safe for even the rawest newbie to surf and explore Linux right from their own machine.

You can, however, unmount a partition and remount it in read-write mode. You're on your own then, however, as you can certainly mess something up if you're not careful. You can do it with a couple of mouse clicks in the GUI. No MSG (Masters degree in geek) required.

See the image below? That is of me running Knoppix on this very machine. I was using vi from Knoppix to edit this story. The text file lived on my hard drive. I captured the screenshot using the GIMP and saving it to the /tmp directory on that same drive.

All I had to do was right-click on the icon representing my disk partition, select the properties tab, and un-click the Read-only property. Then I mounted the drive by clicking on Mount. It's very easy.

Knoppix desktop view
Editor's note: The above image is reduced in size and color palette to allow it to load quickly. Click on the above image to see the original. Or, you may view a full-sized, reduced-color version that will load more quickly.

Of course just because you can write to the hard drives doesn't mean you should. Knoppix is, after all, a "live demo" distribution and it isn't meant to be a way to run Linux on a fulltime basis.

The real message is this: if you've wanted to give Linux a whirl but were afraid to ask, don't be any longer. Get Knoppix. Boot the CD. You're there, baby. Surfing, playing, checking out Open Office, the KDE desktop, the development environment. Whatever. It is a great learning tool. When you're finished, you are right back where you started without a hair out of place.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Adipex 03/21/04 12:40:59 PM EST

wouldnt have believed that it would've been soo damn simple

Joe Ferrare 03/13/04 08:39:42 PM EST

Try this url http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-knopx.html It's an IBM developerworks article called System recovery with Knoppix. It might not have exactly what you want, but it's a start.

David Caradoc-Hodgkins 03/13/04 05:32:31 PM EST

I have purchased the Knoppix 3.2 CD to use as a 'Data Recovery Tool',I ordered the CD from the USA as a special recovery tool called "Hot Fix" and received the Knoppix 3.2 cd.
I am a Linux RAW BEGINNER and very much want to learn much more, I am a Windows user but this looks really great!
Where can I obtain a BOOK/INFO on how to use the Knoppix Linux KDE system etc for ie: Mounting int & ext CD/DVDs,Floppies,Printers for moving/copying the recovered data etc from someones PC/Laptop.
Thanks to any help offered
David

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...