View Full Version : Differences Between Knoppix HDInstall & Woody?

12-30-2002, 07:56 AM
I've got an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon, which has been a sticking point on installing Debian 3.0 (Woody). I've tried many combinations and I can get Woody to install, but X NEVER worked w/ the card.

I did a Knoppix HDInstall and it worked great! No problem with the video card.

So now I have a few quick questions:

1) If I have used Knoppix for a HDInstall, then run apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-upgrade (as indicated elsewhere on this forum), what is the difference between what I am now running and Woody?

2) What does Knoppix do differently that lets X Windows work with my video card that Woody could not do?

3) The Woody Installer included a section where I could select modules for the kernel, which helped me, since I have firewire (for video transfer), and a USB ramdrive. How can I access a similar menu on Knoppix or get those modules added to my kernel permantly?

I used to program in assembler back in the early 80's, and was programming even before that, in high school. I'm not new to computers, but I found the Debian install VERY frustrating and, even with help, could not get my card to work with it. I am trying Debian because I've got so many friends that keep raving about it, but so far I can't stand it (except for Knoppix) because I can't even get X to work.

Then I decided to try a Knoppix HDInstall. Wow! It was easy, and went a lot smoother than installing Woody! I hope the Debian programmers and packagers are able to look at Knoppix and pick up a few things!

I haven't decided yet whether I'll keep this install (I can't get Blender to work -- it says it's missing some libs it needs, although Demudi is supposed to include Cinelerra, I can't apt-get it or find it w/ apt-cache search, and I still have yet to get ANY verison of Debian to recognize my ram drive properly or pass the test for firewire -- Mandrake 9.0 does all this), but I think the Debian folks can learn a LOT from Knoppix and the hardware detection.

01-03-2003, 05:30 PM
Sorry for wanky language but that's the word: spot on. This post has covered everything I've been thinking about knoppix.

I'd also like to know the main differences between Knoppix/Debian.

Differences I've noticed but unsure how to fix/change:

- the CD drive is given a very high priority. Try coping a file from CD to somewhere, you'll find that X slows and nearly freezes.
To fix this may be something quite simple as re-nicing a task (nice is the priority of a task) .
But I think it's more than that, knopper has done some magic at a lower level, driver level even perhaps?

- the X GUI is a bit slow loading icons? due to memory organisation perhaps? (caching?)

- the pointer in X is such that the hot spot point (the part you aim with) doesn't seem to be aligned with the top of the arrow. It seems to be a bit lower than expected. I know this is certainly true if you try to move a window in KDE.

- on "apt-get update":
"Reading Package Lists... Error!
E: Dynamic MMap ran out of room
E: Error occured while processing libxaw6-dbg (NewVersion1)
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/people.debian.org_%7ebranden_sid_i386_Packages
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened."

= surely a problem only I'm getting? Can't dist-upgrade atm

01-03-2003, 05:39 PM
cancel that - found answer, it just took ages

" -Sorry I didn't post this sooner; a kind soul on Slashdot helped me out with the same problem. The fix worked for me.

by Christopher Cashell (2517) on Monday December 09, @02:24 (#4842605)

> My current install is b0rked tho. I can't get apt-get update / upgrade to
work anymore (craps out with a memory error and can't parse some dpkg files)
so I'll have to reinstall using the latest ISO and knx-hdinstall. So much
for perfection...

Do you know offhand exactly what the error is?

Is it something about "dynamic memory map"?

If so, it's actually a semi-known error, and there's an easy fix. You see,
what the problem is, is that you have too many thing listed in /
etc/apt/sources.list, and too many packages being found. APT is attempting
to load and compile information for the whole set, and the default memory
cache size (6MB, as I recall) isn't enough to hold it all. What you need to
do is change a setting in /etc/ apt/apt.conf to make it larger, and then
life will be good.

If the error I mentioned is what you're seeing, or something similar, try
adding the following directive to /etc/apt/apt.conf:

Cache-Limit "12582915";

Note that what this does is double the size of the dynamic memory map that
APT uses (specified in bytes).

If it's bombing out while trying to read an APT file, it's possible you have
a corrupted packages file or something. Try clearing out the files in
/var/lib/apt/lists/ and then rerunning apt-get update.

]] "

01-03-2003, 10:06 PM
HalVaughan, I'm curious as to which version of the ATI All-In-Wonder card you used. I've been looking at these. Maybe all would work.

01-05-2003, 09:54 AM
The difference between Debian woody and Knoppix is that woody is the current stable release of Debian. Knoppix probably has some stable packages but the sources.list also get packages from testing and unstable. In debian terminology testing will be the next stable release and unstable the next after that.

As far as your ATI card and other hardware recognition, Knoppix is the best system I have used for automagically detecting hardware properly. Knoppix was designed to be run as a live CD linux system so the hardware recognition is necessary.

I have some problems with my Knoppix hdd install, "something is getting lost in the translation" also by using current non-official packages made for woody, my woody based system (my main computer), is basically as current as my knoppix install, but my woody system works a little better.


Andrew Foster
01-06-2003, 09:01 AM
Hi HalVaughan,

I agree with your sentiment with respect to Knoppix vs. Debian hardware detection - at this stage Knoppix has definitely outperformed any other distro I've seen in relation to that. I'm not sure however your problem with your Radeon would be that hard to overcome in your Debian config.

I'm not sure what you've tried - but here's what I'd do;

- Try the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 that your Knoppix generates on your Debian box. While I don't know what kind of problem you're having, if it only relates to X configuration (which Knoppix is clever at sorting out for itself), then this may be a nice blanket solution.

- Check the output of `dmesg` while booted into your Debian distro. This may provide some clues as to whether the Radeon card itself is understood by the kernel you're running. If not, you may want to recompile your kernel using Knoppix's config, since it obviously works. Here's how:


- Get the latest kernel source, which happens to be linux-2.4.20.tar.gz

- Untar it:

tar zxvf linux-2.4.20.tar.gz

- Get the config file for your Knoppix distro kernel (mine is /boot/config-2.4.19-xfs)

- Put it in the source tree you've created by untarring the kernel source as .config (linux-2.4.20/.config)

- As root, install Debian's kernel-package tools (awesome): `apt-get install kernel-package`

- As root, recompile your kernel using the config Knoppix has been using:

cd linux-2.4.20/
make-kpkg --arch-in-name --revision Hal1 kernel_image

- Now install your new kernel:

cd ..
dpkg -i kernel-image_2.4.20-Hal1_i386.deb (or similar)

- Your bootloader Lilo should take care of configuring your backup (old) kernel in case something goes wrong with this one, but make sure somewhere in your /etc/lilo.conf there's a line that just says `prompt` without a hash (#) character in front of it - this will ensure it asks you which kernel to use before booting.

If you had to change lilo.conf, be sure to run `lilo` as root to update your MBR.

- So now reboot, and see what happens ;)


To actually answer your question about what Debian and Knoppix do differently, it's just different software which performs the [auto]configuration steps. Perhaps in light of its success rate, the Debian maintainers should consider switching to the package Knoppix uses, or offer it as an alternative (which they may already do).


- Andrew
andrew (at) solutionsfirst.com.au