Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

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
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, 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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...