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Knoppix is available as a DVD or CD that runs Linux direct from the disc, with no need to install anything unless your computer is extremely short of RAM (if that is the case it will request permission to create a temporary workspace which it will remove on exit). It is excellent for learning about Unix compatible facilities, with the added advantages that it can normally access any existing files, even if their normal operating system has failed. It will investigate and show its environment ready for use. Some earlier versions provided the KDE desktop, later versions have provided the Lightweight X Desktop Environment, LXDE. There is also a CD version specially designed for blind users, named after his wife Adriane who is totally blind, with screen reader and other specialised facilities.
Note that Knoppix defaults to using the English US keyboard layout, so some characters are selected by different keys.
Do read the information on the initial screen and those selected by F2 and F3 which give details of extra facilities such as memtest and alternate methods of booting available in case of problems. For example, some older computers are not able to use Direct Memory Access (DMA) for the CD ROM drive. Knoppix may fail to complete its load unless it is started usingknoppix nodma /dev/hdx
where x is the CD ROM drive reference, between a and d
a is IDE 0 master
b is IDE 0 slave
c is IDE 1 master
d is IDE 1 slave
If at the end the screen just goes blank, try selecting a different screen mode using either ControlAlt+ or ControlAlt-
There are many useful packages on the disc which can be used in a variety of ways, see the documentation both on disc and on the Knoppix website, http://www.knoppix.net including the wiki, and its Rescue_FAQ
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