First Time Linux

Being persistent

Booting fresh each time is fine at the beginning, but after you have explored the options a bit, it's annoying to have to change your settings back again after every boot. Fortunately, saving a profile with Knoppix is easy, as long as you have a writable drive on which to store the data. A USB drive is ideal, so you can use any PC as long as you take your Knoppix CD and your USB drive with you! The configuration data is pretty small, so there'll be plenty of room left on the USB drive to take your personal files as well.

Saving settings is easy - just go to the K menu, then KNOPPIX, then Configure, then "Save KNOPPIX configuration". Specify which parts of the configuration to save, and where to save it, and you're done. Using the configuration at boot time is then just a question of specifying a config= parameter to the Knoppix boot, for example knoppix config=/mnt/sda1. Or even easier is to give knoppix config=scan and then it will just scan all the available drives for any that contain a Knoppix configuration.

Another alternative is to use the "Create a persistent KNOPPIX home directory", which saves not only the configuration but everything that's in your home directory. If you then boot with a parameter home=scan then it will load this home directory up again.

Buffering to RAM

Loading each of the applications from the CD each time is slow, especially for the larger applications like OpenOffice. One way to speed up the responsiveness is to copy the CD contents to RAM at boot time, so that when you click on the application it's already in memory and doesn't need to be loaded from the CD and decompressed. This is easily done by specifying at boot time knoppix toram. This also allows you to use another CD in the CD drive, because Knoppix no longer needs it. However it also has two disadvantages - firstly it obviously swallows up a whole lot of RAM, and if you have less than 800MB of RAM in your machine then it won't work at all. Secondly it makes the boot ridiculously slow, taking several minutes to load and decompress everything. And since there are a lot of applications on the CD, chances are you're not going to be using all of them, and they'll just sit there taking up valuable memory.

Buffering to hard drive

It's also possible to buffer the CD contents to the hard drive (obviously you must choose a writeable partition) and then use that saved copy again next time. Simply specify at boot time which drive to buffer to, for example knoppix tohd=/dev/hda4, and it will spend a few minutes copying and decompressing. Next time you boot Knoppix, you'll still need the CD to boot from, but then you can specify where you saved the buffer, eg knoppix fromhd=/dev/hda4 and then the rest of the boot takes the files from there instead. At least that's the theory, although it's never worked here - on this system it fails to recognise a valid Knoppix system there.

Just running the console

It might be the case that you just want to "pop in" to Knoppix to do a quick task, and you just need the console, not all the windows. In that case it's a lot quicker to boot straight into a console with knoppix 2, without starting X and the window manager and all the other stuff. The only tricky bit is shutting the machine down again (without doing an init 5 to launch the full window system and then shutting down from there) - oddly you can't just do an init 0, and you can't just do a shutdown (or even a shutdown now) - the magic word you need is halt.