Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Knoppix 3.2 was recently released. Along with including updates to KDE, XFree86, OpenOffice and other applications, it includes the ability to store a session on a USB based removable media reader.

In other words, if you have a USB based memory stick reader, you can plug the reader + media into any random PC, boot off the Knoppix CD, and the system will automatically use the removable media to store the Knoppix session. In this context, 'Knoppix session' is equivalent to a user account.

I'm going to pick up a 128MB+ piece of removable media (about $20) and a USB based media reader (another $20). The media + reader + Knoppix CD will take up permanent residence in my bag. As such, I can make any random somewhat modern PC into a useful Unix workstation with a simple reboot.

As a test, I tried booting a random IBM ThinkPad with the Knoppix CD. The ThinkPad has a Lucent 802.11 card in it as the only way to connect to the net. Not only did Knoppix boot, but it did so flawlessly including detecting the 802.11 card and automatically connecting to my 802.11 network. Power management even works!

There is also a tool built into the CD that will build the PCs hard drive with an optimal Knoppix configuration based on what was detected as the CD booted. Talk about potential for the viral spread of Linux... ;-)

Knoppix is a highly refined debian based distribution.

I actually grabbed the ISO via HTTP when it first came out. But I see that it is now available via BitTorrent.

To contribute my bandwidth to the spread of Knoppix and to see what would happen, I have started a BT session to see if BT would recognize the image that I had previously downloaded. Turns out, it was simply a matter of choosing the directory that contained the previous image. BT first verified that the image I had previously downloaded is actually valid. If any part (or all) of the file did not pass the validation process, just that chunk would have been downloaded.

However, the file did pass and within a few milliseconds of doing so, I'm now contributing 80 to 120 kilobytes/second bandwidth to everyone else downloading Knoppix via BitTorrent.

How completely elegant.

I also have an OS X Boot CD that I keep in my backpack for similar reasons. I could reboot any Mac with said CD and be dropped into an OS X environment with all the tools I need. Included on this CD are some random disk tools, a web browser, Terminal, and-- of course-- asr (Apple Software Restore). Booting from this CD, I can quickly reinstall my OS X baseline (OS + Dev Tools + WebObjects + Apps + Fink) in around 20 minutes on a fast connection.
12:36:40 PM  pontificate    

All just a figment of our collective imaginations....
9:45:38 AM  pontificate