Knoppix Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools
By Kyle Rankin
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2004
Pages: 336

Knoppix is a portable Linux distribution with a collection of hundreds of programs and utilities--a veritable Swiss Army knife in CD form. This practical and flexible Linux distribution runs on the fly from a single CD with no need to install anything to your hard drive. Knoppix's excellent hardware detection, collection of programs, and ease of use help explain why Knoppix is radically changing the face of Linux. Though Knoppix is the most popular live CD Linux distribution available, until now there have been no books on the topic. A weighty theoretical tome or a book for dummies won't do--the perfect Knoppix book, like Knoppix itself, must be as useful and clever as a Swiss Army knife. Clearly, Knoppix calls for an O'Reilly Hacks book.Knoppix Hacks is a collection of one hundred industrial-strength hacks for new Linux users, power users, and system administers using--or considering using--the Knoppix Live CD. These tips and tools show how to use the enormous amount of software on this CD to troubleshoot, repair, upgrade, disinfect, and generally be productive without Windows. With Knoppix you can:

  • Test drive a Linux desktop without the need to install Linux
  • Troubleshoot and repair Linux and Windows systems
  • Create a thin client network with just one CD
  • Replace a web server or firewall in an emergency
  • Perform a security audit on your entire network
  • Virus scan a Windows computer from the safety of Linux
  • Customize Knoppix for personal or business use
  • Easily install the popular Debian GNU/Linux distribution with all of your hardware detected and configured
Knoppix Hacks provides ingenious fixes, clever customizations, and time and resource-saving tips. If you want more than the average Knoppix user, this invaluable book is a must-have.
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oreillyKnoppix Hacks

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evolution of linux learner to expert

By jim bob

from Luton, Beds

About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker, Sys Admin


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Knoppix
  • Speed
  • Tape
  • Well-written


  • Difficult to understand
  • Not comprehensive enough

Best Uses

  • Expert
  • Intermediate
  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Knoppix Hacks:

I began in Linux with Mandrake, then: Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu 6 to 10,04 then the killer Unity (12.04 ubuntu )arrived, so urgent action required. I tried slitaz, puppy 5.2.8, then rested at Knoppix. This is more stable than puppy, with the speed of running in RAM as puppy, with full debian repositories of skype, transmission, firefox/iceweasel with flash.

My Craptop would not run Ubuntu 12.04 with a 1.6 Ghz processor with 2 Gb of RAM, i now have a 32GB USB to boot into and have ALL the functionality of any FULL PC, with the speed.

LXDE finds networks with ease, bootup scripts, startup programs are easy, JWM and openbox are fast but so is LXDE, which feels like a faster simpler gnome.

It seems the more popular linux distros ruin the essence of speed when hacked at too much. (

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


Review of Knoppix Hacks

By Soumyadip Modak

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Knoppix Hacks:

Knoppix is a Live-CD distribution. You burn it to a CD, put the CD into the CD drive and reboot into a Linux environment. When you are done, take out the CD and reboot. It is a swiss army knife of utilities useful for many tasks. However very few books have been so far written exploring its full power. One of the best books on Knoppix is Knoppix Hacks. The author, Kyle Rankin, explores all the factes of this versatile distribution in his book. The book is an essential reference for anyone who has to fix computers, whether SysAdmin, or the family "Computer Guy".

The book has 9 chapters, each covering a certain aspect of Knoppix. It's grouped by subject, and each hack stands on its own, without depending on any other hack. However there are a lot of cross references. The book includes a CD of Knoppix 3.4, which is currently a little dated, the latest version of Knoppix (at the time of writing) being 3.6.

The first chapter introduces Knoppix as the premier Live CD Linux distribution. It teaches newbies to download the iso image, burn it to a disk, boot off the CD and then describes various kernel options that can be passed at boot time to get Knoppix to detect all the hardware.

In the next two chapters users are then quickly introduced to the KDE desktop. Office applications, multimedia, Internet and email applications are described. Users are taught to customise Knoppix and save their settings and documents onto permanent storage. Advanced topics like connected to the Internet via GPRS/Bluetooth, setting up Knoppix on a kiosk or as a terminal server and installing extra packages onto ramdisk are also covered.

Chapter 4 teaches how to install Knoppix onto the hard disk. Linux installation has been a major area of concern for newbies. The easy-to-use Knoppix installer is introduced and partitioning is explained with QtParted and lots of screenshots.

Chapter 5 starts the part that will be interesting to System Administrators. Chapters 5 through 7 have 43 different hacks. Chapter 5 covers, among other things, accessing X remotely with the bundled FreeNX server, browsing Windows shares, creating emergency servers, audit for network security, check for rootkits, test hardware compatibility and, like a true detective, collect forensics.

Chapter 6 helps readers repair things broken during experimenting with Linux. Topics covered include repairing both lilo and grub, backing up and restoring the MBR, finding and rescuing lost partitions, resizing linux partitions, repairing damaged file systems, recovering deleted files, rescuing files from damaged hard drives, backing up and restoring, migrating to a new hard drive, creating Linux software RAID, reseting Linux passwords, repairing Debian and RPM packages, and copying back a working kernel.

Chapter 7 focuses on repairing Windows. Rankin shows readers how to fix the Windows boot selector, backup files and settings, write to NTFS, resize Windows partitions, reset lost Windows NT passwords, edit the Windows registry, restore corrupted system files, scan for viruses and download Windows updates securely.

The 8th chapter covers Knoppix derivatives, and are usually described by the respective creators. Distros covered include Gnoppix, the GNOME equivalent of Knoppix. Morphix, a modular distro targeted towards the custom Live-CD segment, KnoppMyth, a distro targeted at the Personal Video Recorder segment, distccKnoppix, to run distributed compile farms and ClusterKnoppix, which combines machines on a network into a cluster.

Chapter 9 teaches aspiring Knoppix hackers howto modify Knoppix and Morphix to create custom Live-CDs.

Overall the book is extremely well written, and adds a lot of skills to the repertoire of the budding SysAdmin and the casual computer support guy. Highly recommended

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


A must have for security professionals


from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Knoppix Hacks:

Before I read this book, I heard about many live CDs are built on Knoppix; therefore, I knew that Knoppix is a very powerful system. But as to exactly how powerful, I didn't know. I didn't know much until I had an opportunity to read about Kyle Rankin's book called "Knoppix Hacks" by O'Reilly.

This is a fascinating book full of beautiful tricks. These tricks can help many people save a lot of time, and frustrations, including ordinary users, system admins, to security practitioners. This is definitely a book full of treasures - something for everybody.

I am looking from a security practitioner's point of view: how Knoppix can help in network security, such as using Knoppix to help investigate a compromised machine, defending the host with the use of network vulnerability scanner, to collecting evidences for system forensics, to name a few. They are indeed very useful tips. Just these topics alone, I think the book has paid back on the investment.

In addition to the above mentioned topics, the book goes into detail on how to save a Linux system, how to rescue a Windows machine such as recovering lost passwords. This is indeed truly a wonderful Swiss Army Knife. With all the handy cheat codes, the author has done an excellent job with lots of examples and explanations. No wonder, Knoppix is a popular choices for many, including hackers and security professionals alike. Knoppix is truly a lifeline for many.

Kyle did an excellent job!

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Perfect Compliment for the Perfect Distribution!

By Charles Rowe

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Knoppix Hacks:

Knoppix Hacks is the perfect companion for Knoppix, the bootable Linux-on-CD distribution that no Linux enthusiast should be without. The hacks found within run the gamut from simple boot-time options, to performing security audits on your network, to fixing broken Windows systems, and even the normally tricky task of building your own customized Knoppix CD.

I found myself simply amazed at the number of things that you could do with all the software included on this one little CD, and I would heartily recommend this book to any others who are interested in exploiting the full potential of Knoppix.

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