Creating a Tempting Knoppix CD

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My latest attempt at advocating Linux (getting it out there) is in targeting the local second hand stores and small computer dealers. These places often have CDs for sale (perhaps illegally) reselling things like old computer games CD-ROMs. What a great opportunity to plant some Knoppix-CD's so joe public can come along and take it home to discover Linux.

So then - what I'm trying to do is work out how the CD jacket (etc) should be presented. I need to be responsible in that my design...

  • Should have Tux Penguin on the cover. If customer has been Linux curious then the CD cover must catch his/her eye and not be bypassed like any of the other games. No question about 'is this Linux?' because of a 'Knoppix' title.
  • To encourage customer that Knoppix is worth trying out, 'No need to install on hard drive' shoud be clearly seen.
  • Not too wordy but a simple summary (advertisement) on the back with machine requirements (e.g: you should have 128Mb RAM) displayed.
  • Troubleshooting insert (slip of paper) on the inside to contain Joe Public FAQ (e.g: How to boot from CD-ROM).
  • I might also include my contact details if needing a replacement CD, still having problems etc.

Remember that the point is to sell Knoppix to the customer picking up the C.D. Hence, I don't want go get overly technical or too wordy. No debates about whether Linux is free etc etc (of course it is - but I also want to convince the customer Linux has value, it's 'free' but not 'cheap').

Please add ideas if I've forgotten something really important, but at the same time, keeping the CD jacket brief and simple.

Here's what I have so far produced. Please Add / Remove / Modify...

Table of contents


Big Title: KNOPPIX 3.2
Illustration: Large Tux Penguin
There are two bubble explosions, one each side of Tux.
Left bubble: 'Complete Linux distro on a C.D.'
Right bubble: 'Boots from C.D. No need to install on hard drive'



Knoppix is a full Linux Operating System which can be run straight from the CD without having to be installed on your hard drive.

Because Knoppix is Linux, it boasts legendary stability (it can run nonstop for months, years even, without crashing). With Knoppix, you get more than just an Operating System. You will be amazed at the number of high quality programs preinstalled on this CD...

Office tools (Word Processors, Spread Sheets, Slideshow Presentations etc), internet and network applications, graphics programs, audio tools, educational programs, loads of games, programming kits... and that's just a few. and edit documents from other Operating Sytems (e.g: Microsoft Windows) ...use Knoppix as an emergency rescue disk / data recovery tool.

Just place this CD into your computer and reboot to launch a Knoppix Linux session ...without affecting your existing system.

REQUIREMENTS: Intel-compatible CPU; i486 or later (e.g: a PC, not a Mac) Minimum RAM requirements:

          20Mb: text only (experts only - kind of looks like DOS)
          96Mb: graphics mode with KDE desktop
          218Mb: recommended minimum for efficient use with Office tools

Bootable CD-ROM drive, or a boot floppy and standard CD-ROM (IDE/ATAPI or SCSI) Standard SVGA-compatible graphics card, Serial or PS/2 standard mouse or IMPS/2-compatible USB-mouse.


Now - here's the one I'd really like help with...



How do I get Knoppix started?

Put the disk in your CD player and shut down leaving the disk inside. As long as your computer is equipped to boot from CD-ROM, Knoppix should start up when you start the computer with the disk in the player.

Can you guarantee Knoppix will work on my P.C?

No, but it does work for most standard machines. Firstly you must have the minimum specifications. Knoppix needs quite a bit of RAM which it uses instead of having to use your hard drive. Then, once it is running you may need to configure modem settings. Usually everything works fine, but some hardware may require drivers not included on the current disk (e.g: Winmodems, and some computers which have 'on board' graphics cards... this means they are unique to 'standard' P.C.) Some brands like Compaq change chips on their hardware, which can confuse the Knoppix setup process.)

Hey! It didn't work! My computer still boots up just like it always does? Where's Knoppix?

Most likely your BIOS has not been set to boot from CD-ROM. As the computer is starting Try hitting the DEL key (you should see a message at the bottom of the screen as your computer starts saying 'Press DEL to enter setup'. Sometimes this might be another key such as F1). The BIOS will not look exactly the same for each computer, but generally speaking if you go into 'standard settings' or 'boot order' you should be able to change options to boot from CD-ROM, Floppy Drive or Hard Drive. All standard PCs have this function somewhere and only a few very old machines cannot boot from CD-ROM. The important thing is to choose options to boot from the CD-ROM first, then the hard drive.

I get a Knoppix title screen which has 'Boot:' written at the bottom.

That's right. This should only stay for a few seconds or so. If you get impatient, just hit the ENTER key.

I got a whole list of what look like screen resolutions (480x640 etc) what do I do?

Pick one. This just means that on your particular hardware, Knoppix was unable to determine the best resolution for text (non graphics) mode. The lower options mean you get big letters, high options mean you get small lettering. This is just for when Knoppix starts loading so you can read all the things going on.

It said it needs more RAM and wants to use my hard drive! Is this thing really safe?

You do not have enough RAM to run Knoppix to its full potential, so Knoppix would like to be clever and use a small part of your hard drive as RAM while it runs. When finished, Knoppix will leave a small file called 'Knoppix' on your hard drive. You can delete this in your other Operating System when you are done. One small caution: if you are running a System with an NTFS formatted drive, it's not a good idea to allow non-NTFS systems to write to that drive. FAT 32 is ideal.

I'm in! Where do I start?

First of all, you will see an Internet browser with some information about Knoppix. You might like to switch this off (by clicking the X in the top right corner) and click on the 'Start Applications' icon at bottom the bottom left of your screen (it looks like a 'K' with a gear wheel behind it).

Some of these applications are slow. I clicked the Open Office icon heaps of times to get it going. Then when it did start up it was open literally many times... what's going on?

Because you're running from the CD you can expect applications to load in slower than they would from a hard drive install. Once they have loaded into RAM (are up and running) they should go at a sensible speed.

Wow! This is so cool! It's better than what I'm running on my computer! Can I install Knoppix onto my hard drive as the main system?

Yes. That would mean slower applications (like Open Office) would load up much faster. Instructions can be found at Basically when you see the early boot: prompt type knoppix lang=us 2 and then knx-hdinstall to begin the process.

Hey - some of the programs and and documentation are in German!

Yes. That's where Knoppix got started. Most applications are in English so this should not affect you using Knoppix effectively. You can get an easy to follow guide here by reading this website:

Isn't Linux free?

Yes and no. Linux is distributed under GPL which allows users to make copies and give them away or even sell them. Linux is known as an 'Open Source' system. What this means is that if you're a programmer, you're allowed to make your changes without fear of infringing copyright. You can add your own extras to make a complete new package if you like. The main restriction under GPL license is that you cannot restrict the next person from reselling or even giving the product after they got it from you. They have as much right to the product as you do, regardless of alterations you have made. /**This is why Linux has been nick-named the 'hacker' system./** If this is aimed at 'newbies', in a world were the media creates hackers as being evil, should this line go in? Linux is 'free' in the liberal sense of the word, but that does not mean it should not cost money. Some Linux distributions can cost hundreds of dollars. At the time of writing this, I notice a 'cheap linux' Australian vendor distributing Knoppix-3.2 for just under AUD$10 not including shipping fees.

I need more help! Something's not working or I'm confused!

Try the Knoppix web site at If you live <<my locat town>> and would like personal assistance, email me at <my antii-spam email for Knoppix>> or ask for Lance on <<My Phone Number>> (Not Sundays please).

Hopefully the above will explain Knoppix to a customer who casually picks up the C.D. without giving them too much info so as to put them off trying it out. I'm hoping the C.D's will sell for $10NZ, with me gathering $5 (after the store fee for shelving them / customer cut), only making about a dollar or two for each C.D. My objective is to get Linux out there (not to make a huge profit - I will run at a loss, given that not all C.D's will sell and because I will replace defect C.D's free of charge). Please make changes to the above with the new-user Joe Public in mind, so I can improve what I've currently got on my outgoing C.Ds