Use Knoppix to Its Full Potential – O’Reilly Releases “Knoppix Hacks”

Sebastopol, CA–Knoppix fans are familiar with the story of its creation: how Klaus Knopper created a bootable Linux CD distribution so he could take his favorite open source tools with him wherever he went, rather than opt for the expense of a laptop and the additional the worry of losing or damaging it. With Knoppix, as he called his distribution, Klaus was able to go from computer to computer and get right to work with an operating system and environment that were familiar to him, without the need to install software on every computer he encountered. Over the years, he improved hardware support for Knoppix until it was able to recognize and automatically configure much of the hardware it came in contact with. “Many people only view Knoppix as a Linux demo disk, a job it does perform quite well,” notes Kyle Rankin, author of “Knoppix Hacks” (O’Reilly, US $29.95), “but even from the beginning, Knoppix was used to get real work done.”

And people continue to use Knoppix to get real work done–at a rate that’s growing by thousands daily–but, as with many open source tools, documentation is scarce. “Knoppix is a very flexible CD and is useful for anyone from a beginner to an expert,” says Rankin, “‘Knoppix Hacks’ follows this idea by creating a range of hacks that the beginner trying out Knoppix for the first time can learn from and the expert in his day-to-day job can use to add to his knowledge.”

Rankin’s book shows readers how to use Knoppix to its full potential, including the steps to use it as a desktop distribution, a rescue CD, and more. “You’ll find ways to use Knoppix that you may have never considered, and you may even think of ways to use Knoppix beyond what this book covers.” Rankin claims that he started his work on the book as a Knoppix fan but by the time he had finished writing down the number of things it could do, he wound up a Knoppix zealot.

“I have used Knoppix and other CDs for rescue purposes for years and loved the idea of putting together all of the different problems you might encounter with a computer with the solutions to the problems all using the same CD,” says Rankin. “In ‘Knoppix Hacks’ I wanted to create a book that a sys admin would reach for first in a crisis because both the tools and know-how to use those tools would be in a single place.”

“Knoppix Hacks” includes everything new users need to get started, including Knoppix on CD-ROM. The tips and tools in the book show readers how to use the software on the CD to troubleshoot, repair, upgrade, disinfect, and get work done on any computer with a CD drive. With Knoppix, users can:

-Test drive a Linux desktop without the need to install Linux
-Troubleshoot and repair Linux and Windows systems
-Create a thin client network with just one CD
-Replace a web server or firewall in an emergency
-Perform a security audit on your entire network
-Virus scan a Windows computer from the safety of Linux
-Customize Knoppix for personal or business use

From beginners to gurus, readers of “Knoppix Hacks” will discover ingenious tips, clever customizations, and time- and resource-saving tips. If you didn’t carry a Knoppix CD around with you before reading this book, odds are you’ll find yourself carrying one when you’re done, if not passing out copies to your friends.

Early praise for “Knoppix Hacks”:

“One or two Knoppix books are out there…but what sets ‘Knoppix Hacks’ apart is not that it is one of the few available on the subject, but rather Rankin’s skill in exposing the underutilized potential in the Knoppix tool set…This is one of the liveliest technical books I’ve read in a long time. A few of the easier hacks can be found on or elsewhere but I think Rankin has managed to put the majority of Knoppix related material in one book that could be subtitled the ‘First Knoppix Manual.’ The admin hacks, in particular, will add a whole new arsenal of Knoppix wonders to an admin’s repertoire. Kudos to O’Reilly for publishing such an outstanding volume, to Rankin for compiling some damn useful material, and to MacGyver for inspiring many of us to look for simple solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.”
Rating: 10/10
–Mary Norbury-Glaser,, November 2004

“This is probably the first Hacks title that transcends the Hacks philosophy and becomes a ‘user manual’ on Knoppix. There just isn’t anything out on the market like this book, and once you read the material you quickly realize how much you’ve been missing by not having a Knoppix CD in your CD case. This is an incredible book on an incredible tool that is much more than what meets the eye. Highly recommended.” –Thomas “Duffbert” Duff,, November 2004

“Many techies and hackers recognize that Knoppix is a great tool and have added it to their toolset. ‘Knoppix Hacks’ is a wonderful complement to Knoppix. I recommend it to both experienced sysadmins and newbie hackers.” –James Pryor, NewsForge, November 2004

Additional Resources:

Several sample hacks, including “Free Your CD to Make Knoppix Run Faster,” “Install Knoppix as a Single Boot System,” “Migrate to a New Hard Drive,” and “Scan For Viruses,” are available online at:

For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bio, and samples, see:

For a cover graphic in JPEG format, go to:

Knoppix Hacks
Kyle Rankin
ISBN: 0-596-00787-6, 336 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA

About O’Reilly
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