Introduction: s #1-9

Introduction: Hacks #1-9

Throughout this book, Knoppix is ascribed as the system administrator's Swiss Army knife. Like a Swiss Army knife, Knoppix has many handy tools, both general-purpose (like a knife or a screwdriver) and special-purpose (like a corkscrew). Some of these tools are used for specific repairs, while others are used for routine maintenance.

You should not use a Swiss Army knife for the first time when you are locked in a room with a bomb that is just seconds away from exploding—we can't all be MacGyver. Likewise, you should familiarize yourself with Knoppix before you use it to attempt to rescue the company's failed accounting server. This chapter starts you on the path to Knoppix mastery by beginning at the beginning: booting Knoppix. By using the cheat codes and boot time options covered in this chapter, you should be able to get Knoppix to boot on almost any x86 computer.

The first hacks in this chapter highlight the basics for obtaining the latest version of Knoppix and getting to the boot: prompt. All new computers should support booting from the CD-ROM drive, and most computers attempt to boot directly from a CD rather than from the hard drives on the system. In case your computer doesn't support booting directly from a CD, I have included instructions for booting Knoppix from a floppy disk.

The second part of this chapter covers cheat codes—options you pass at the boot: prompt in Knoppix to change its behavior. When talking about cheat codes, I'm really talking about ways in which Knoppix's hardware detection and support might fail and how to work around such failures. By the end of this chapter, you should be comfortable with booting Knoppix on a variety of computers and be ready to use the desktop environment.

I remember introducing a friend of mine to Knoppix on a laptop. We were at the university library, and he couldn't get his wireless card to connect to the library's wireless network with his current Linux distribution. We decided to give Knoppix a chance. Without using any cheat codes, we found that Knoppix booted with full video and sound support, and his wireless card was not only detected, but Knoppix automatically connected it to the wireless network!

I certainly hope your experience with Knoppix is as straightforward as my friend's experience. If not, it will be good to know that these cheat codes are at your disposal. They are quite like the can opener on a Swiss Army knife—something you don't usually reach for day to day, but when you do need it, you really need it!

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