View Full Version : Differences between one Debian and one HD-Install Knoppix

03-27-2005, 09:04 PM
Hi everybody!

Just ask that differences, and the pos and cons of the two distros.


03-27-2005, 09:24 PM
It's a big question, but once installed to HD, Knoppix is Debian.

The pros of Knoppix: it's easier to install, quicker to install, you get later stuff, it's a smaller download, the hardware detection is exceptionally good, you don't need to know much about your system.

The cons: Knoppix is designed for reasonably modern hardware with quite a lot of ram. Knoppix can get into trouble with apt-get update (for this reason, Kanotix may be a better choice for a HD install).

Harry Kuhman
03-27-2005, 09:57 PM
It's a big question, but once installed to HD, Knoppix is Debian. Except that it's not really, it's a mix of different versions that would never happen with a "real" Debian install, and this has the result that you point out in Cons.

...The pros of Knoppix: ...... you don't need to know much about your system..... The cons: ...... you don't need to know much about your system.....

03-27-2005, 10:33 PM

Can you answer me these questions?

Can you install apps in a HDKnoppix (like Firefox, or anothers)??
Can you get the same performance of Debian or another HD specific distro?
Can you get Wireless connection?

Thank you.

03-28-2005, 01:02 AM
Yes to the first 2, the third I've never done: my guess is that it depends largely on your wireless hardware.

BTW, you install stuff by opening a Konsole and doing:

(prompt for root password)
apt-get update
(hang around for a while and we'll assume that you'd like a graphical front end to (most of) apt-get)
apt-get install synaptic

apt-get is perhaps the killer reason for using Debian -- that and the availability of just about any package as a .deb.

03-28-2005, 01:08 AM
The cons: ...... you don't need to know much about your system.....

For me, that's definitely a pro (although I do know a fair bit about my system, I built and speced the damn thing). I'd just that it sooner be autodetected than answer a load of questions!

03-28-2005, 12:29 PM
apt-get is perhaps the killer reason for using Debian -- that and the availability of just about any package as a .deb.

Could you explain me that failure?

03-28-2005, 02:25 PM
Could you explain me that failure?

You mean feature? That's a long one. Maybe later tonight.

Later tonight.........

This (http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/apt-howto/ch1.en.html) is probably the best and most authoritative thing on apt-get.

Evil One
03-28-2005, 08:18 PM
I found a way to do the wireless for hd install. I'm guessing that the wireless is for a laptop right? well, some things are allready supported by knoppix and there is a good deal of howto's on the web. I configured a linksys instant wireless pcmcia card v3, after descovering that the v4 that I had would only work if you recompile the kernal to use ham radio. if all of the tutorials for what ever you have are like this, buy something that is supported by knoppix.

03-28-2005, 09:14 PM
No, it isn't a laptop.
I have to possibilities:

Conceptronic PCI Wireless Card
Linksys USB adapter WUSB54G


03-29-2005, 05:44 AM
This is probably the best and most authoritative thing on apt-get
Yes, I attempted to read the #*!~ Manual and Docs, but they are way over my head.
I have been running aHD install of Knoppix 3.6 for a couple of months, but have lost my KDE Desktop and can't get it back. My tale of woes is on a couple other threads.

I tried a Net install Debian this morning, on a different HD. when I booted it, I found myself in Bash. I tried startx, program not found. I've been floundering around with APT-cache, AAPT-get, etc but I don't know what package I need and I'm not sure that my NIC is configured. Knoppix does it automatically, connecting me to my router so that I download as soon as I enter a URL.

1. Can I do a Knoppix-RE-install on top of my broken version?
2. How can I find out what driver/pkg Knoppix installed for my NIC?
3. How do I read the cryptic syntax of the Manual to update pkgs in my Knoppix/Debian HDinstall?

Is there a Dummies Guide to Knoppix?


03-29-2005, 09:41 AM
Welcome to Linux, Kayen! And watch us disagree! :D

apt-get is perhaps the killer reason for using DebianThis means that it's very good, not very bad. :)

The pros of Knoppix: ... hardware detection is exceptionally goodThis is true - it's not perfect, according to some people who post here, but it's exceptionally good. In my opinion :wink: Debian has made lots of progress and is now somewhere around very good.

... it's easier to install ...It makes more decisions for you, and all of them - or almost all - are very probably right.

... you get later stuff ...Knoppix 3.8 hasn't been officially released yet, so we have:- Knoppix 3.7 - 2004/12/08;
- Debian woody ("stable") 3.0 r4 - 2005/01/01;
- Progeny Debian Developers Edition 2.0 - 2005/03/01;
- Debian sarge ("testing") 3.1 rc2 from CDs - rebuilt weekly;
- Debian sarge ("testing") 3.1 rc2 from installer CD + net-install - whatever's current at that moment.Release dates don't tell the whole story - much of woody is pretty old, and it will be retired soon. But security fixes for woody are issued immediately.

... it's a smaller download ...For similar desktops you need:- Debian sarge from CDs - 3 CDs (from a much larger set);
- Debian woody - 2 CDs (from a larger set);
- Knoppix 3.7 - 699 MB CD (a DVD edition is in the works);
- Progeny Debian - 653 MB CD (from a set of 2);
- Debian sarge from installer CD + net-install - 108 MB CD + 530 MB live download.
The cons: ...... you don't need to know much about your system..... :D Heh!

I've played with computers for 35 years. I showed my young son how to mod a Tandy Color Computer to change its RAM from 128k to 512k, and now he's the one in the family who makes his living by ripping the guts out of other people's computers and putting them back together.

I used to do it for a $15 billion-a-year computer company (which no longer exists - ah well). But now I'm old and feeble (especially in the brain :wink: ). So I make the computers do the work for me. The desktop I'm using cycles its clock 2 billion times per second faster than the Color Computer and its later cousin the Model 100 - why let that go to waste?

If the computer's so smart, let it figure things out for itself! Does the computer own me, or do I own the computer? :D

By the way, Progeny is almost pure Debian sarge with a little of the "unstable" (sid) release thrown in. It's from a company co-founded by Ian Murdoch, who founded Deb-Ian. (Deb is his wife - get it? :wink: ) So Progeny is as Debian as Debian.

-- Ed

03-29-2005, 09:43 AM
Instead of reinstalling Knoppix, you might consider downloading and installing Kanotix (http://www.kanotix.com). The issue with Knoppix is that it's a mix of packages from Debian stable, testing, and unstable*, so trying to upgrade your system to Debian unstable ("dist-upgrade") can be tricky. The good thing about Kanotix -- which is based on Knoppix -- is that it's completely based on Debian unstable. There's an installation howto here (http://forum.kanotix.net/viewtopic.php?t=180), on the Kanotix forum.

Anyway, regarding your net installation of Debian: If you successfully installed it (you would know, since it would take a good while to download and install), then, obviously, it detected and installed the correct driver for your NIC.

Sounds like you didn't get your video card configured correctly. Use the command

dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86

to do it.

Yes, the Knoppix installer (and the Kanotix installer) wipes your partition, so it really is an installation, not an upgrade. You can lessen the pain by keeping /home on a separate partition, and remounting it after each install.

* Reference: Knoppix Hacks, pg. 108

03-29-2005, 11:02 AM
P.S. Getting root and typing

dmesg | grep eth

should tell you what kind of ethernet card your kernel detected, and typing


should tell you the status of active network interfaces.

03-29-2005, 12:42 PM
I tried startx, program not found.
Actually, this may indicate that the net-install CD (also called the Debian Installer or the sarge installer) didn't detect your NIC....

If the installer did find the card, it would have offered to connect to the net in order to configure DHCP, then asked you to name your computer and domain (and for me it suggests the name of my broadband provider - so for sure it finds my router and gets a valid address).

Then when you choose which groups of packages to install, even if you de-select all of them, the installer still has to connect to the net to download 72.6 MB to bring the system up to a base configuration. After that, if you type $ df your partition should have about 340 MB in use.

If instead you choose just the desktop environment, the installer has to download a total of 530 MB. Even though this is less than a typical CD, the download will take as long as your usual time to get a full CD because it has to stop/start, stop/start to retrieve 718 separate packages rather than just hitting a groove like you would with a single CD file.

And then Debian's automatic installing and setting up of all that stuff would take another 10 minutes or so, and $ df would show about 1.7 GB in use.

X would get installed as a result of this desktop download. No X, no startx. No startx, maybe no download because maybe the NIC wasn't recognized.

But like eco2geek said, if net-install did find your NIC, you'd know it. Or now you would. :wink:

Is there a Dummies Guide to Knoppix?
:D Heh! Almost. In the actual "... for Dummies" series, there's one for Linux. I haven't looked at it, so aside from saying that "for Dummies" books are usually pretty good, I can't comment on it.

Almost all the rest of the books in the same area of the computer section of the store (and I was just at Borders today, but have been at Barnes & Noble so many times that I can read the titles with my eyes closed, a blindfold on, and a pretty assistant to distract your attention) are on unix-type operating systems in general, or Linux in general, or one of the Big Four Linux distros: Debian, Fedora/Red Hat, and possibly Mandrake and SuSE.

Except for (almost) anything from O'Reilly, the quality of the books ranges from good-to-great, to outdated, to absolutely wretched. Neither price nor thickness is any indicator. :evil: But you were asking about Knoppix....

There's only one book about Knoppix that I know of, and eco2geek refers to it in one of his posts: Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin (who hangs out on this forum from time to time).

The good news is that it's from O'Reilly. So, for example, there are fewer typos in the entire book than on any five pages of something red and yellow from Hungry Minds. (Too many times I've found three typos per page - and that was when I could get past the flaws in the writing.)

The not-quite-as-good news is that O'Reilly brought it out in their "Hacks" series, which burdens Rankin with the cover garbage, "100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools," which is on every Hacks book.

Rankin's first three entries are: Boot Knoppix on a Desktop; Get Knoppix; and Use Knoppix Cheat Codes. He doesn't make it as simple-minded as, "download it, burn it, reboot with the CD in your drive, see the F keys" - but these just aren't hacks, never mind industrial-strength tips or tools.

What they are is a way to bring up to speed people who are just considering an alternative to Windows (or Mac :wink: ) - maybe someone they commute with has been raving about Knoppix, so how do they even begin without encouraging the loudmouth to drone on and on?

But Rankin picks up the pace very quickly. By the end of the book he's gone beyond simply rescuing a crashed Windows, describing a few of the many Knoppix derivatives (actually, he gets the distro compilers themselves to write about them), and showing you how to make your own "remaster." He has you saving the day at your company by using Knoppix as an emergency router or as a server for files, websites, DHCP, DNS, or MySQL.

Altogether this is a great book that covers an amazing number of topics. Because of that, though, it's not a Dummies book. It's not even what I think O'Reilly wants the series to look like - Dummies books for people who are too hip to be seen with an actual, screaming-yellow-and-black Dummies book.

(Now that I think about it, I do have more Hacks books than Dummies books...! :D)

Linux for Dummies - and I'm purely guessing here - might well tell you how to figure out whether your NIC is being detected, whether it's even a brand of board that's likely to be detected, and a few things you can do about it.

Ditto for your keyboard, video card, monitor, and mouse, and some ins and outs of XFree86. Also the common uses of apt and how much more fun the GUI versions (like synaptic) are.

Well, Rankin does cover a bit of apt - a few sections after covering dpkg, which I dislike pretty intensely. But for the most part the book is about how to use a functioning Knoppix.

By the way - if you buy Knoppix Hacks and the cover falls off after an hour of reading, tell the store that there was a known-bad shipment from the bindery. I went through all three in-stock copies at B&N and then told Rankin here in the forum that I liked his book so much that I was on my fourth copy. :D He knew about the bad shipment.

So - those are my thoughts. I hope they help!

-- Ed