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Thread: Knoppix 6.7.0: A View from the Forest

  1. #1
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    Knoppix 6.7.0: A View from the Forest

    Hi utu,

    Thanks for letting me know a new Knoppix was out. I've been busy playing with Debian and thinking I'll get back to Knoppix when a new release came out. Of course I wasn't looking when it did.

    I read the thread http://www.knoppix.net/forum/threads...noppix-V6.7.0? with interest until it wandered way off topic. You raised a number of questions I felt where not answered. No point in replying there.

    So, 6.7.0 is not all that different from 6.4.4. People sounded disappointed. Is that because it's 6.7.0 and not 6.4.7 ? I think the Open Source community are trying to standardise the significance of version numbers. Under that scheme 6.4.7 would be bug fixes only and that, I guess, is not true. I guess Knoppix 7 will be based on Debian Wheezy.

    Yes, there's probably all the bugs fixes between Debian 6.0.0 and 6.0.2.

    Yes, there's a new kernel (2.6.39.3 instead of 2.6.37) but I don't know what that means. There is one new kernel cheatcode on the bootline (hpsa.hpsa_allow_anty=1) but I don't know what that means either.

    Yes, there's a new X server (1.10.2 instead of 1.9.4 RC 1) but the experimental nouveau driver hasn't got a version bump. Maybe folks with Nvidia drivers will notice an improvement since the Knoppix releases notes don't really warn about this any more.

    Firewire has reappeared in the kernel configuration. There used to be two firewire implementations in the kernel. Knoppix stuck to the old one until it was withdrawn in 2.6.37 and along with it went the Knoppix support. I don't have any firewire devices so I can't report that it is working.

    The majority of changes in knoppix-autoconfig are beefing up of the recognition of the graphic and sound 'cards'. I also saw the comment:

    Code:
    # For now, it is OK to start network-manager before udev is complete
    So that's why your system starts quicker. For now.

    I note also the keyboard has been fixed for those who use a UK keyboard. I don't but I tried it anyway and the cheat code lang=uk doesn't lock up the keyboard the way it did with Knoppix 6.4.4.

    The cheatcodes ? Well, lang=uk wasn't documented and it still isn't. I checked the EN edition, CD and DVD. I downloaded both using the torrent. Along with the iso file, the torrent also downloads a copy of the cheatcodes. This file still lists home= so it has not been updated. Oops. However, when you get into the iso file, the copy in the KNOPPIX subdirectory was updated in February. There is no description of home= but the description of bootfrom=, which isn't in Knoppix 6.4.4 either, is still there. Hmmm ... so I still would not trust the file.

    However, it isn't all bad ...

    The changes in init are almost all labelled GvR. The biggest is an implementation of bootfrom= Hurray !

    The withdrawal of home= and bootfrom= made Knoppix 6 so much less flexible than Knoppix 5 and other Live CDs that I've wondered if it was a deliberate attempt to make Knoppix unfashionable.

    What's the big deal ?

    OK. I download the Knoppix iso. I want to do a USB install but with Knoppix 6.4.4 and earlier I have to burn the iso to CD/DVD first. The first thing I'm going to do is remaster the USB. I'm never going to use the CD/DVD again - not without a home= cheatcode - so it's a waste.

    The bootfrom= cheatcode allows one to boot the iso directly without burning a CD using what is called a loopback.cfg (see http://www.supergrubdisk.org/wiki/Loopback.cfg). The loopback.cfg are what those folks who try to put 100 distributions on a single disk use.

    So, using my Debian installation, I copied the Knoppix 6.7.0 CD iso file to the root directory of a disk partition with enough space - it happened to be /dev/sda9. I added the following to my menu.cfg file:

    Code:
    menuentry 'Knoppix 6.7.0cd' {
            set root='(hd0,msdos9)'
            loopback loop /debian/KNOPPIX_V6.7.0CD-2011-08-01-EN.iso
            echo    'Loading Knoppix 6.7.0 ...'
            linux   (loop)/boot/isolinux/linux bootfrom=/dev/sda9/KNOPPIX_V6.7.0CD-2011-08-01-EN.iso [other cheat codes from the syslinux bootline for knoppix]
            echo    'Loading initial ramdisk ...'
            initrd  (loop)/boot/isolinux/minirt.gz
    }
    I reboot and select Knoppix from the grub boot menu and Knoppix booted. From there I could install the USB flash as normal.

    Neat, if you run a proper Linux: I used the grub2 bootloader. I don't think you can do this with the syslinux bootloader used by the Knoppix LiveCd or LiveUSB and I know you can't do this with what is now called 'grub legacy'. Oops. Even Knoppix 6.7.0 still uses 'grub legacy' so if all you've got is Windoze and Knoppix installed on your hard drive this won't work for you.

    Perhaps Knoppix uses 'legacy grub' because the install to HDD script needs it and no one wants to upgrade that old script. I tried removing 'legacy grub' and installing grub2 but Knoppix wasn't having it. Oh well.

    The obvious change in 6.7.0 among the applications is the withdrawal of the browser and e-mail client I've used for 10 years now ever since their first beta and my first dial-up internet connection. That's progress I suppose.

    I still think Knoppix is a good distribution considering how much effort goes into it.

    Ciao.

  2. #2
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    Nice to have you back, Professor Forester.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    The changes in init are almost all labelled GvR. The biggest is an implementation of bootfrom= Hurray !
    Are you acquainted with GvR?

    Also, hope you'll help me get my homework corrected on a new re-mastering thread
    I've started. I've got a lot of questions for you.

    Ciao.

  3. #3
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    uk keyboard

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    I note also the keyboard has been fixed for those who use a UK keyboard. I don't but I tried it anyway and the cheat code lang=uk doesn't lock up the keyboard the way it did with Knoppix 6.4.4.

    dyfi could probably use your help:
    http://www.knoppix.net/forum/threads...ht=uk+keyboard

  4. #4
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    Iceweasel, Icedove and LibreOffice Backports

    Hi Utu,

    I see that some folks aren't too happy that Iceweasel/Firefox disappearing from Knoppix (and that KK has even asked for their opinion !). I also read mutterings that some are unhappy with the size of LibreOffice and wondered about chucking bits they did not want.

    I had similar issues with Debian Squeeze but I didn't get Firefox direct from Mozilla nor did I start mixing packages from Wheezey and Sid in with my nice stable Squeeze. I went to Debian backports instead. This ensures I'm using packages built for my system so, I hope, minimises the risk of incompatibilities and sub-optimisation. So, I thought, why not do the same with Knoppix 6.7.0 ?

    Iceweasel and Icedove

    My understanding is that these are Firefox and Thunderbird simply re-branded for 'copyright' reasons. Otherwise nothing added and nothing taken away. Only they tend to be out-of-date versions and set to be more so as Mozilla intends to crank out a new release every three months.

    You can find the Debian Mozilla Team's response at http://mozilla.debian.net/. There are some simple instructions there that allow you install up-to-date-as-you-like (yes, there's a choice) versions of Iceweasel and Icedove built for Squeeze, which is what Knoppix 6 is (was ?) largely based on.

    Following the instructions, I added the backports repositories to my sources.list by adding a file I named backports.list to the directory /etc/sources/source.list.d:

    Code:
    deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports iceweasel-release
    deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports icedove-release
    deb http://backports.debian.org/debian-backports squeeze-backports main
    Following the instructions, I then added the additional key for the mozilla.debian.net repository:

    Code:
    wget -O- -q http://mozilla.debian.net/archive.asc | gpg --import
    gpg --check-sigs --fingerprint --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-keyring.gpg 06C4AE2A
    gpg --export -a 06C4AE2A | sudo apt-key add -
    sudo apt-get update
    If you try this, following the original instructions on http://mozilla.debian.net/, not my copy.

    I then installed the 'release' versions of Iceweasel and Icedove:

    Code:
    apt-get install -t squeeze-backports iceweasel icedove
    That got me Iceweasel 6 and Icedove 5. I was able to install the (en-gb) internationalisation for Iceweasel but not for Icedove (it seems the latter is still for Icedove 3.2).

    I hope this has stabilised. When I tried a couple of months ago I got Iceweasel 5 (no internationalisation available) and Iceweasel 3.1 (with internationalisation), which came from the main backports repository, not the Debian Mozilla repository.

    LibreOffice

    Debian Squeeze hasn't got LibreOffice so Knoppix uses the Wheezy version. I took off the Wheezy version and put on the version from Squeeze Backports and I did it so as to determine how much space you might save by installing just the word processor and spread sheet applications. This process regressed from LibreOffice 3.3.4 to 3.3.3.

    Now for the bad news: it took three attempts. The first failed because of repository incompatibilities, second because I ran out of 'persistent' store. It failed when I started with an empty 'persistent' store of 512 Mb. It was OK with 1 Gb.

    First I removed the existing LibreOffice:

    Code:
    libreoffice=$(dpkg -l | awk "/libreoffice/"'{print $2}')
    sudo apt-get purge ${libreoffice}
    That, it told me, freed 301 Mb of diskspace.

    Next (don't do this) I did:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get autoremove
    To remove other 'no longer required packages'. That freed another 42.2 Mb.
    This was a mistake: most of these packages need reinstalling when I put on the Squeeze Backports version and that failed due to some version incompatibility.

    Start again. Put back just the word processor and spread sheet applications.

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install -t squeeze-backports libreoffice-writer libreoffice-calc
    This used 256 Mb of space suggesting a saving of around 45 Mb.
    Just to confirm:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install -t squeeze-backports libreoffice
    sudo apt-get install -t squeeze-backports libreoffice-l10n-en-gb
    sudo apt-get autoremove
    Added an extra 35 Mb and another 11 Mb and freed 1 Mb giving a total of 45 Mb to the nearest Mb.

    If you want to save some space when remastering and your English happens to be an American dialect, remove all the German language internationalisation, help and spelling packages. That's all as in not-just-for-LibreOffice-but-for-all-packages.

    Repositories

    The really bad news is the repositories. Especially if you are using an installation with 'persistent store'.

    Just doing a:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get update
    uses 160 Mb and after the installation of the Squeeze Backports version of LibreOffice alone a further 167 Mb of packages are sitting in the apt cache. You certainly would not include the latter in a re-mastering and I doubt you'd include the former.

    Then

    Code:
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    tells me that already 142 packages are out of date. Ouch. Most of these will be from Wheezy or Sid as there is a lot more churn in these respositories than in Squeeze (by definition).

    Worse the upgrade would only upgrade 63 of these: the other 79 were held back. I suspect this has something to do with a pending upgrade to the gcc compiler and the C++ libraries. To my mind one thing 'stable' means is you don't go messing with the compiler.

    To complicate matters further, it wanted to upgrade the LibreOffice packages but half of them would be held back. Install the Squeeze Backport version made no difference. I'm sure I could pin LibreOffice to 'workaround' this one but that is beyond my current experience.

    My conclusion is that upgrading, and therefore remastering Knoppix, is for braver men than me with far more spare time to burn.

    Have fun.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    Nice to have you back, Professor Forester.
    Don't count on it.
    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    Are you acquainted with GvR?
    No. I've lived in Flanders (and can recommend it) but I never met anyone called Gilles van Ruymbeke.
    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    ... a new re-mastering thread I've started.
    What yet another thread ? I haven't read all the others yet.

    The long thread (that started on Knoppix 6.7.0 and wandered off topic) I read at times reminded me of the four blind men describing an elephant. I'd like to suggest that if you're going succeed in your efforts you will need to come up with a description that not only KK recognises as an elephant but that the great majority of Knoppix users, young and old, would recognise too.

    And you should come up with the description before you try to make the elephant.

    Too often (and I count myself among the guilty) folks go off and make something in the belief that when it is done it will be self-explanatory. Saves all that thinking, designing, explaining, and convincing that ought to go before the doing.

    I think you need to define what you are doing before you start. A quick glance at your new thread and I see you've tried. Well done. But a second glance and I see it is all about 'how', not about, 'what' or even 'why'.

    Am I making any sense ?

    You start with:

    Re-mastering will require many gigabytes to accomplish.
    Oh.

    Please don't give me any credit at all in your efforts. My effort was carefully construction NOT to require any external disk space. That was the only original contribution I made. The rest was plagiarised from elsewhere.

    It was just another view of the elephant. Obviously not a popular one.

    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    Also, hope you'll help me get my homework corrected ...
    Could you explain the special properties you attribute to ntfs-3g ? At the moment I only see a stick with two wrong ends. I'm sure there is a ramble of thread somewhere I could read if I wanted to get really confused but that wouldn't really help you.

    Ciao.

  6. #6
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    Greetings, Forester

    I wonder if we might return to your thread,
    http://www.knoppix.net/forum/threads...light=forester
    and specifically your program doremaster.

    Of the nine views, three are mine.

    I like all the windworks leading up to the program,
    but I can't make it work. Stuck at square one.

    I have two 2 Gb SanDisk LiveUSBs both made from Knoppix 6.7 LiveCD
    one at /dev/sdb1, one at /dev/sdc1. Both boot ok by themselves

    Can't survive the first test of 'tri-state logic'.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    And you should come up with the description before you try to make the elephant.

    Too often (and I count myself among the guilty) folks go off and make something in the belief that when it is done it will be self-explanatory. Saves all that thinking, designing, explaining, and convincing that ought to go before the doing.

    I think you need to define what you are doing before you start. A quick glance at your new thread and I see you've tried. Well done. But a second glance and I see it is all about 'how', not about, 'what' or even 'why'.

    Am I making any sense ?
    Greetings again, Forester

    I was tempted to respond in kind and define some elephants, but
    my quest is not that grand. I'm only asking for the addition of
    two modest additions to the Knoppix menu. These two scripts would
    use already built-in elements of Knoppix for the most part.

    We all use the menu function 'Install KNOPPIX to flash disk' from
    the Knoppix LiveCD Menu. Have you tried it from the LiveUSB menu?
    That's another story. I want you to focus on this customer's
    request for just a couple of NEW menu items.

    One new LiveUSB menu choice, actually produce something useful for
    an improved clone, which would create (1) a new-and-improved compressed
    KNOPPIX file containing the net combined net contents of the source's
    KNOPPIX file and the source's persistence file; and (2) a renewed 'empty'
    persistence file. This product should be bootable.

    The second LiveUSB menu choice would produce a similar LiveCD product,
    but we will forego the persistence aspect (for now, anyway).

    I don't personally care any more whether these results require additional
    storage to PREPARE the magic for the LiveUSB. I still want the PRODUCT
    to fit on a 2 Gb LiveUSB started initially from a LiveCD iso.
    I want to make as good a use of the LiveUSB real estate as Klaus does
    with the LiveCD real estate.

    The new LiveCD from LiveUSB menu choice is to provide some belt-and-
    suspenders back-up to tide us over those times we clobber our r/w
    media we've come to rely on with our clumsiness. 'us' and 'our' are royal singular.

    Your doremaster idea seems to be about as elegant an idea as I could ask
    for. But I can't make it work.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    I never met anyone called Gilles van Ruymbeke.
    You might be interested in this thread:

    http://www.knoppix.net/forum/threads...ight=ruymbeke:

    Ciao.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by utu View Post
    I wonder if we might return to your thread,
    and specifically your program doremaster.

    Of the nine views, three are mine.
    I had a very quick look at the script over on your thread http://www.knoppix.net/forum/threads/29435-Re-mastering-Proof-of-Principle-Effort and at the scripts I have here in my archive.

    Here's the irony ... the script I published for you and dinosoep to try out was very much a cut down version and it seems that folks have been busy ever since trying to add back what I took out.

    It wasn't that I didn't want to share. The script was flexible and powerful. The more powerful, the more rope with which one could hang oneself and the greater the difficulty of describing how to use it safley.

    So I dumbed it down for you. It seemed I hadn't dumbed it down enough but I couldn't see how I could dumb it down any further. I was flummoxed.

    I have tried, on and off this forum, to help people who are not exactly 'computer literate'. Their very best attempt to articulate their problem is "It doesn't work". You have to be very patient with such people. After asking them a lot of dumb questions you figure out that "doesn't work" means that their PC boots Windows when they expect it to boot Knoppix and that by "it" they mean Knoppix, not Windows or their PC. After a lot of heading scratching, you suggest they open the CD drive, turn the CD over and try again. Surprise, now it works.

    The feed back I got from you was along the lines of "It doesn't work. When you fix it could you add the following features ...".

    I was nonplussed. I expected something more constructive from a Senior Member on this forum. My mistake. I apologise.

    Had you written "I've changed the script as suggested. Here's a diff -Naur showing my changes. Can you see where I've gone wrong ?" I expect I would have (then, yes, now, maybe not).

    Had you written "When I run the script I get the following output ... [copy/paste]. This doesn't look right. What should I expect to see ?" I expect I would have been able to tell you immediately.

    Instead I get "Stuck at square one". All that told me was you hadn't got far enough to have a new LiveUSB that wouldn't boot (I expected that one) or you'd run out of 'disk space' half way through (which I now expect you'd hit first).

    Folks I have helped spread out on a wide spectrum. At one end are those who genuinely want to understand their problem so they can solve it themselves. I have all the time in the world for them. At the other end are those who want someone else to take responsibility for their problem. Not interested in helping them and I'm not sorry to say so.

    On this occasion you definitely came over as being at the wrong end of the spectrum.

    There may be feedback on that thread from other people. Their feedback might be more useful but I'm not interested. I published the script for you. All I know is it doesn't work. Forget it. Life is too short.

    There are several people on these forums who have meddled with remastering and are computer literate enough to make their own way. They perhaps don't have much incentive to collaborate. I guess I'm one of those and you aren't. I sympathise but I cannot empathise. Somewhere on the long, rambling, thread that started talking about 6.7.0 someone replied to a question of yours with the suggestion you try it for yourself. I can empathise with the irritation that prompted that response but I can't sympathise. You deserve better. But then so do we all.

  10. #10
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    I can see you are exasperated, Forester.
    Cool off. This is a hobby for some of us.

    I'd hoped to tap into your obvious professional expertise.
    If I'd found anyone else using your magic technique,
    I would have tried to get some help from them, having
    already had a similar ration from you before.

    The only others I am aware of working the problem
    seem either to need or to prefer a separate, and to my mind
    LARGE, workspace to do their remastering. Some intrepid
    souls even use Windows OS partitions with abandon.

    I am primarily interested in how you manage to do otherwise.
    I'm impressed at your cleverness and programming clarity.
    Only six other downloads of the program I'm complaining
    about. Have you heard anything from the others about your
    unique take on remastering?

    Have you approached KK with your idea? I'm sure he has
    the chops to read and execute your code and give you an
    opinion. I'd really like to follow such a dialog between
    yourself and KK on the advisability and genius which your
    scheme exemplifies.

    There does exist an intelligent, friendly, civil level of
    discourse between 'elephants' and professional level bash
    scripting.
    You haven't found it yet. I'm here to help you in that regard.

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