Book Review - Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin
OK... I'm impressed! I just finished reading Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin (O'Reilly), and I really didn't have a clue as to the power of Knoppix...
Chapter List: Boot Knoppix; Use Your Knoppix Desktop; Tweak Your Desktop; Install Linux With Knoppix; Put Knoppix In Your Toolbox; Repair Linux; Rescue Windows; Knoppix Reloaded; Knoppix Remastered; Index
I'm going to guess I'm like most non-Linux junkies when I say that I had heard of Knoppix and thought I knew what it was. It's a distribution of Linux that runs from a CD, and allows you to load Linux on a computer without installing anything. Just boot from the CD and five minutes later you're running Linux. Remove the CD and reboot, and you're back to your original configuration. A nice safe way to play with Linux and decide if you want to go any further. End of story.
In Knoppix Hacks, Rankin covers 100 "hacks" that you can do with the Knoppix distribution. Beyond just trying out Linux, I quickly learned that a Knoppix CD is like a Swiss Army knife of tools that you can use to do all sorts of cool things. You learn in the first chapter how you can launch Knoppix to load up in a number of different configurations. Using Hack #8, you can use Knoppix to find out if your laptop is going to work well with Linux before loading it for good. But the further you get into the book, the more Knoppix becomes a safety net the likes of which you may never have realized. Hack #41 covers using Knoppix to build an emergency file server, and #42 is how to build an emergency web server. Chapter 6 goes into how Knoppix can be used to repair existing Linux installs, like #59 where you rescue files from damaged hard drives. Even if you're a Windows person, you can use Knoppix to repair Windows installations, like with hack #79 which shows you how to download Window patches securely. He even covers how to build your own custom version of Knoppix with Linux software selections that are important to you. The book comes with a Knoppix CD, so you can try out many of the hacks without having to go hunting for a Knoppix download.
This is probably the first Hacks title that transcends the Hacks philosophy and becomes a "user manual" on Knoppix. There just isn't anything out on the market like this book, and once you read the material you quickly realize how much you've been missing by not having a Knoppix CD in your CD case.
This is an incredible book on an incredible tool that is much more than what meets the eye. Highly recommended.