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Knoppix Hopes Dashed...At First

Posted 03-20-2006 at 05:00 PM by mowestusa

For pastors, teachers, and volunteers in the church, trying Linux is made easier by the Live CDs. Live CDs boot from the CD-ROM drive, and offer the chance to run Linux without having to touch the hard drive or removing your Windows install. By far the most popular Live CD is Knoppix. As a Linux user I have tried a number of Live CDs like SimplyMepis, DSL, Slax, Puppy Linux, and Kanotix while learning Linux.

What brings me to this post, is a recent experience with Knoppix. I have the book "Knoppix Hacks" which gives you to opportunity to learn some wonderful benefits of Linux, by using Knoppix. "Knoppix Hacks" also opens up a world of uses for Linux that perhaps the new user would not consider. So I decided that I would try using Knoppix as a "dual boot" system on my Windows laptop at the office and on the road. I would use it to gain a deeper knowledge about Linux, and perhaps find new uses for the machines that I have at home and in the office running Linux already. Since Knoppix is a Live CD I could basically take my Linux "system" with me without taking the laptop too. So if I want the same desktop I can take the Live CD home and boot my Linux computer with the Knoppix CD.

In order to use Knoppix as a system, the creator gives you the chance to make a persistent home directory. Normally, with a Live CD any documents you create or changes you make to the system are not saved, and erased when you reboot or shutdown the computer. However the persistent home directory gives you the chance to create a place on a hard drive or removable flash memory device where your data and settings can be stored and restored the next time you boot the computer.

I decided to do the suggested method which uses a USB flash memory stick. I had a 128meg one that gets little use, now that I have a 512meg version. I followed the instructions in Knoppix Hacks which basically says to click on the Knoppix menu in the panel (penguin icon), select "Configure", then finally select "Create a persistent Knoppix disk image". A script is started which lets you chose the location (my case harddrive or USB stick), whether you want the file encripted (I chose "no"), and asks you to specify the size (I chose 100 leaving 16 megs to be used for little text files that I want to read off of the USB stick in other OS's. Everything seemed to work perfectly. After it is done the script gives you the "cheatcode" you are to use when you reboot, and encourages you to reboot immediately to start using the home directory.

Trouble started when I rebooted. I used the suggested cheatcode "knoppix home=/dev/sda1" as suggested. When Knoppix finished the boot there was nothing to suggest that it was using the persistent home directory. I saved a file into the home directory. When I rebooted again using the same cheatcode, the file was not in the home directory. It looked like nothing had worked.

Well, I erased the knoppix.img file off of the USB flash drive, and began again.
1. This time I booted up fresh without cheatcodes.
2. Right clicked on the USB drive and selected "mount"
3. Right clicked on the USB drive and "changed the read/write mod"
4. Ran the "Create a persistent Knoppix disk image" again
5. Rebooted with cheatcode "knoppix home=/dev/sda1", but Knoppix wasn't using the home directory on the USB drive.
6. Rebooted again with cheatcode "knoppix home=scan", it found the "knoppix.img" file on the USB stick, mounted it as home, and then things were saved to it.
7. Rebooted again without any cheatcodes but the USB device was plugged in. The "knoppix.img" file was found automatically, and I selected "OK" to use it, and once again it mounted and used it correctly, by saving my changes.

I'm lead to believe that my best practice is not to use the specific cheatcode, because that doesn't seem to work when I enter "knoppix home=/dev/sda1". I will just let it find it automatically, and it should work just fine from now on.

I hope this helps anyone who might be having issues with the "Persistent Home Directory" option in Knoppix.

mowestusa
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    I have PC running Linspire/Linux.
    I am about to add a second hard drive to experiment with different GNU/Linux OSes and Knoppix is one.
    I will also try Ubuntu, Kubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Gentoo and maybe Mepis.
    Is the "cheatcode "knoppix home=scan" a mod to GRUB or LiLo?
    How many Partitions, what size Partitions and which file system works best for Knoppix 4.0.2?
    Separate SWAP File Partition needed?
    Thanks.
    Posted 12-31-1969 at 07:00 PM by mowestusa mowestusa is offline
  2. Old Comment
    I'm sorry that I have not responded before now. I should try to keep up with my blog which has a total of one entry. I'm sure you probably know by now, but for a system to run off of a hard drive I would suggest Ubuntu which is what I use.

    The cheatcode is for if you use a "persistent home" option, which kind of turns your LiveCD experience into a full system install, however still running off of the LiveCD.

    I would always include a swap partition in your install. For my hard drive installs I use a two partition set up for an easy installation. One for the distro to install and one to use for swap (that being the size of about double my ram, but no more than a gig of swap is needed, that is my rule of thumb others would say differently.)

    Posted 12-31-1969 at 07:00 PM by mowestusa mowestusa is offline
 

  



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