Skip to main content

A quick review of Knoppix 5.1, part 1

It's been my dark secret for years that I used Windows 9x, then Windows 2000, then XP, to 'bootstrap' Linux. I'd download an ISO for a given distribution, then use Windows (first Roxio, then Nero) to burn the CD. Then I'd boot into the distro and give Linux a whirl. Up until Suse 10 I never seemed to have the same level of success buring CDs with Linux that I had with Windows. But all that's changed now. Suse is the workhorse that does everything for me now.

Using KDE apps found within Suse 10.2 (and found on other distributions with current KDE tools), I downloaded and burned the Knoppix 5.1.1 DVD ISO and gave Knoppix a whirl. The apps I used were KTorrent to grab the ISO and K3b to burn it. I find the latest KTorrent to be every bit as good as Azureus, and K3b is absolutely great for burning any type of CDROM or DVD.

Why go to the trouble to download and boot the various distributions? Because you learn something new every time, and you get an opportunity to check advances and new features not available with your distribution without having to install anything and breaking a perfectly good installation. I like to keep tabs on Knoppix because it was one of the first 'modern' live Linux distributions available. Knoppix was pretty hot when I first grabbed version 3.1 in 2003. Unfortunately I think Knoppix looks pretty rough around the edges these days when compared to Suse, Fedora Core, and Kubuntu.

Knoppix 5.1.0 was released around late December 2006. Then version 5.1.1 was released in early January 2007, apparently to correct some rather serious flaws. I ran into one of 5.1.0's more serious flaws with the Desktops applet; if I switched away from Desktop 1, I couldn't switch back. There were stability issues as well, but I was able to work around the flaws in 5.1.0 enough to get some screen captures and appreciate some of the applications crammed into the DVD. Knoppix 5.1.1 fixed that flaw and more, as well as making the overall 5.1 release a lot more stable. Knoppix 5.1.1 is the release to burn and boot.

Screen Shots

The following screen shots are a mix of 5.1.0 and 5.1.1. Note that in both cases Knoppix booted into 1280 x 1024 resolution. Unless specifically noted, I will refer to both releases as Knoppix 5.1. I'll only refer to the complete release number to point out something specific to that release, otherwise my comments refer to both releases.

The first screen shot is of Iceweasel (a.k.a Firefox) under 5.1.0. I laughed pretty hard when I saw the 'About' dialog. It still had the Firefox name, and a funky blue-themed logo. I guess this is what you get when you get your knickers twisted over the Mozilla project's branding demands.

Next is Firefox (a.k.a Iceweasel) with the 'official' ice weasel logo running on Knoppix 5.1.1. At least it's consistent now.

I was a bit surprised to be reading German on the Iceweasel intro page, especially as I had downloaded the English DVD ISO.

While still running Iceweasel I decided to hit YouTube and see if I could view any of the videos. The answer, predictably, is no. Being Debian it has no Flash plugin to support YouTube, or any other site that uses Flash.

I'd like to make an observation at this point about the screen captures. The captures look a lot better than the actual images on the screen. The fonts under Knoppix 5.1 are jagged and poorly proportioned in comparison to how Suse 10.2 renders them. Suse 10.2 looks much better on my Viewsonic P90f than Knoppix 5.1.1 does.

The Knoppix 5.1 live DVD is just chock-a-block full of content. As an indication of this I opened up the Development menu and just looked at the selection. You should note that transparency is turned on to good effect.

Next: Sampling Some Development Applications


  1. Can it support doulbe-byte characters? Such as Chinese or Japanese.

  2. strange. When I booted knoppix 5.1.1 I found I had 9 languages to choose from on the welcome page. The first is German [DE], the second is English [EN]. I certainly wasn't greeted with a German welcome page straight away as you were.

    Also the font smoothing and graphics look just great in Knoppix 5.1.1 as far as I can see. I've tried it on 3 different machines (one old P3 and two more modern laptops) and it looked equally great on all 3.

    Also one other thing to note: Iceweasel is what the Debian team decided to do to Firefox. So Knoppix, being built on Debian, decided to go with their version of the browser. I agree it's kinda silly.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…