Good news, the Atmel chipset on the card is supported in Knoppix. Here's a setup page link (from Google cache, as the main site for the driver seems to be down).
I could not find when the Knoppix devs began to include this driver, so can't tell you whether going to 3.4 is required.
You could download and compile the driver without upgrading, but would need to get the Debian sources.
The root password question, from the Knoppix FAQ:
"Q: What is the root password?
A: There is none; all passwords are locked by default. There are several
sections you can read dealing with this subject in