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knoppix, knoppix.org
Knoppix /knɒpɪks/ KNOP-iks, often styled KNOPPIX,2 is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD Live CD or a USB flash drive Live USB, one of the first of its kind for any operating system Knoppix was developed by, and named after, Linux consultant Klaus Knopper When starting a program, it is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly

Although Knoppix is primarily designed to be used as a Live CD, it can also be installed on a hard disk like a typical operating system Computers that support booting from USB devices can load Knoppix from a live USB flash drive or memory card

There are two main editions of Knoppix: the traditional compact-disc 700 megabytes edition and the DVD 47 gigabytes "Maxi" edition Each main edition has two language-specific editions: English and German

Knoppix mostly consists of free and open source software, but also includes some proprietary software, so long as it fulfils certain conditions3

Knoppix can be used to copy files easily from hard drives with inaccessible operating systems To quickly and more safely use Linux software, the Live CD can be used instead of installing another OS


  • 1 Contents
  • 2 Hardware requirements
  • 3 Saving changes in the environment
  • 4 Boot options
  • 5 Popularity
  • 6 Versions
  • 7 Derivatives
    • 71 Adriane Knoppix
    • 72 Other variations
      • 721 Unmaintained projects
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Notes
    • 91 Books
    • 92 News article
  • 10 References
  • 11 External links


The classic Knoppix start-up process

More than 1000 software packages are included on the CD edition and more than 2600 are included on the DVD edition Up to nine gigabytes can be stored on the DVD in compressed form These packages include:

  • LXDE, a lightweight X11 desktop environment default for 601 and later, or KDE 3, a more feature-complete desktop which is the default for 531 and earlier releases
  • MPlayer, with MP3 audio, and Ogg Vorbis audio playback support
  • Internet access software, including the KPPP dialer and ISDN utilities
  • The Iceweasel web browser based on Mozilla Firefox
  • The Icedove e-mail client based on Mozilla Thunderbird
  • GIMP, an image manipulation program
  • Tools for data rescue and system repair
  • Network analysis and administration tools
  • LibreOffice, a comprehensive office suite
  • Terminal server

Hardware requirementsedit

Minimum hardware requirements for Knoppix:4

  • Intel/AMD-compatible processor i486 or later
  • 32 MB of RAM for text mode, at least 128 MB for graphics mode with LXDE at least 512 MB of RAM is recommended to use the various office products
  • 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

Saving changes in the environmentedit

Prior to Knoppix 382, any documents or settings a user created would disappear upon reboot This lack of persistence then made it necessary to save documents directly to a hard drive partition, over the network, or to some removable media, such as a USB flash drive

It was also possible to set up a "persistent home directory", where any documents or settings written to the user's home directory would automatically be redirected to a hard drive or removable media, which could be automatically mounted on bootup A single file, knoppiximg, was cached on the rewritable media and used to simulate a file system into which files were written for later use This allowed the user to transparently write to their home directory

Union mount support was added in version 381 through UnionFS This was later replaced by Aufs in 510 to improve stability5 The union mount allowed virtual updates to the data on the read-only CD/DVD media by storing changes on separate writable media and then representing the combination of the two as single storage device The writable media could be memory ramdisk, a hard disk, USB flash drive, etc This means that the user could modify the software installed on the Knoppix system, such as by using APT to install or update software The storage device containing the changes needed to be present whenever Knoppix is started, else only the original data from the disc would be used While Knoppix would scan available storage devices for a persistent home directory by default, a user could dictate a specific location with a boot option see below such as:


By carrying a Knoppix CD and a USB flash drive, a user could have the same environment, programs, settings, and data available on any computer that could run Knoppix

This functionality was only available through Knoppix 511 CD release or 531 DVD release Subsequently, the Live CD paradigm has transformed into portable operating systems that run on external storage

Boot optionsedit

When using Knoppix as a Live CD, one can use boot options, also known as 'cheatcodes', to override a default setting or automatic hardware detection when it fails For example, the user may wish to boot into a plain console, or proceed without SCSI support For this, Knoppix allows the user to enter one or more cheat codes at the prompt before booting If the user does not enter a cheat code, or does not press any key before the timeout, Knoppix will boot with its default options For example, to set the language to French rather than the default, one would type:

knoppix lang=fr6

Knoppix is a 32-bit Debian Linux based distro, but recent releases including the latest version 76 have also been equipped with a 64-bit kernel on the DVD edition, where it will automatically boot up for 64-bit computers, or by using the boot option knoppix64 manually in the command-line prompt, while knoppix will boot up the 32-bit kernel Neither PAE nor 64-bit applications are supported by Knoppix, and system memory with more than 4 GB can only be used with a 64-bit kernel

The DVD edition of Knoppix can also be loaded onto a USB flash drive, with flash-knoppix under the Knoppix system, such that "the KNOPPIX Live System starts and runs about factor 5 faster from USB flash disk than from CD or DVD!"7 Besides that, the experimental UEFI support is provided for USB flash drive rather than DVD media 32-bit UEFI firmware can only boot up the 32-bit kernel, while 64-bit UEFI firmware can only boot up the 64-bit kernel The text interface for UEFI is similar with it for BIOS, one can also press key F2 and F3 to access information on boot options


Knoppix was one of the first Live CD Linux distributions to gain popularity8 There are several factors that contribute to the popularity of Knoppix:

  • Knoppix was one of the first Live CDs available, and is known as the "original" Debian-based Live CD
  • Its extensive hardware detection allows most systems to start Knoppix without any configuration
  • Its ability to automatically connect to most kinds of networkscitation needed
  • Its utilities for system repair and troubleshooting

Knoppix works on a fairly large number of PCs or laptops, but not all The automatic hardware detection cannot cope with all hardware, and sometimes the drivers used will not be optimal Knoppix has difficulty recognizing some cards made before 1998, or motherboards with a BIOS made before 2002 In some cases, manual configuration with codes entered at boot time can overcome problems with automatic detectioncitation needed

If a PC does not have enough RAM to run KDE and other included programs, the legacy Knoppix earlier than 60 boots up a very limited twm session instead The only window running in the twm session by default is xtermcitation needed


Knoppix version Release date CD DVD
14 2000-09-30 Yes No
16 2001-04-26 Yes No
21 2002-03-14 Yes No
22 2002-05-14 Yes No
31 2003-01-19 Yes No
32 2003-06-16 Yes No
33 2003-09-22 Yes No
34 2004-05-17 Yes No
35 LinuxTag-Version 2004-06 No Yes
36 2004-08-16 Yes No
37 2004-12-09 Yes No
38 CeBIT-Version 2005-02-28 Yes No
381 2005-04-08 Yes No
382 2005-05-12 Yes No
39 2005-06-01 Yes No
40 LinuxTag-Version 2005-06-22 No Yes
40 updated 2005-08-16 No Yes
402 2005-09-23 Yes Yes
50 CeBIT-Version 2006-02-25 No Yes
501 2006-06-02 Yes Yes
510 2006-12-30 Yes Yes
511 2007-01-04 Yes Yes
52 CeBIT-Version 2007-03 No Yes
53 CeBIT-Version 2008-02-12 No Yes
531 2008-03-26 No Yes
600 2009-01-28 Yes No
601 2009-02-08 Yes No
61 CeBIT-Version 2009-02-25 Yes Yes
62 / ADRIANE 12 2009-11-18 Yes Yes
621 2010-01-31 Yes Yes
63 CeBIT-Version 2010-03-02 No Yes
643 2010-12-20 Yes Yes
644 2011-02-01 Yes Yes
65 CeBIT-Version 2011-03 No Yes
670 2011-08-03 Yes Yes
671 2011-09-16 Yes Yes
701 2012-05-24 No Yes
702 2012-05-30 No Yes
703 2012-07-01 Yes Yes
704 2012-08-20 Yes Yes
705 2012-12-21 Yes Yes
720 2013-06-24 Yes Yes
740 2014-08-07 No Yes
741 2014-09-15 No Yes
742 2014-09-28 No Yes
75 CeBIT-Version 2015-03-16 No Yes
760 2015-11-21 No Yes
761 2016-01-16 No Yes
770 CeBIT-Version 2016-03-14 No Yes
771 2016-10-27 No Yes

As of April 2008, from version 4 up until 511, Knoppix has been split into a DVD "maxi" edition with over 9 GB of software, and a CD "light" edition, both developed in parallel910

The table to the right shows the version history of major releases

The KNOPPIX 601 / ADRIANE 11 is a CD-edition again, and a complete rebuild from scratch LXDE as default desktop and a very reduced software collection in order to easily fit on CD11 No further development is being done of the traditional 5x versions

The KNOPPIX 621 release has both CD and DVD editions, and the ADRIANE 12 only has a CD-edition12


Adriane Knoppixedit

Knoppix 67

Adriane Knoppix is a variation that is intended for blind and visually impaired people, which can be used entirely without vision oriented output devices It was released in the third quarter of 2007 as a Live CD Adriane Knoppix is named after Adriane Knopper, the wife of Klaus Knopper, the developer of Knoppix Adriane has a visual impairment, and has been assisting Klaus with the development of the software13 The name Adriane is also a backronym for "Audio Desktop Reference Implementation And Networking Environment"

Adriane Knoppix is intended not only for the blind but also for beginners who don’t know much about computers It uses the SUSE Blinux screen reader with a phoneme generator and speech engine for normal output

Other variationsedit

Knoppix family tree
  • Damn Small Linux, a Live CD, just over 50 MB It is designed to run graphical applications on older PC hardware - for example, machines with 486/early Pentium processors and very little memory
  • Dreamlinux, a Brazilian distribution branched off from Morphix, centers on ease of use and graphics performance
  • Kali Linux, a live CD/USB distribution now based on Debian It is a rewrite of BackTrack, which was based on Knoppix Like its predecessors, Kali is designed for digital forensics and penetration testing BackTrack itself merged the Auditor Security Collection and WHAX distros
  • Kanotix, a live distribution now based on Debian
  • KnoppMyth, a distro that attempts to make the Linux and MythTV installation as trivial as possible
  • Musix GNU+Linux, specifically for musicians
  • Poseidon Linux, a widely acclaimed distribution specifically geared for the scientific community
  • Quantian, for numerical and quantitative analysis14
  • KnoppiXMAME, designed for playing MAME videogames
  • PelicanHPC for clustering
  • VMKnoppix for VM tools
  • TechUSB an automated computer distro produced by RepairTech, Inc

Unmaintained projectsedit

  • Auditor Security Collection, intended to test the security of networks merged into BackTrack
  • ClusterKnoppix, which uses openMosix
  • Feather Linux, 128 MB image with Linux 24, works as a Live CD and Live USB
  • Kaella, the French translation of Knoppix The most recent release is 32, from September 19, 2007
  • Kurumin, in Brazilian Portuguese

See alsoedit

  • Comparison of Linux distributions
  • Debian Live
  • Iskolinux
  • Computer science portal
  • Open-source software portal
  • Information technology portal
  • Linux portal



  • Granneman, Scott 2005 Hacking Knoppix Wiley ISBN 978-0-7645-9784-8 
  • Hentzen, Whil 2007 Knoppix Explained Hentzenwerke ISBN 1-930919-56-5 
  • Rankin, Kyle 2004 Knoppix Hacks O'Reilly ISBN 978-0-596-00787-4 

News articleedit

  • Distrowatchcom interview with Klaus Knopper 2002


  1. ^ "KNOPPIX Linux Live CD: What license does the KNOPPIX-CD use" Retrieved 2007-07-16 
  2. ^ Two Weughty Questions on Debian newsgroup post
  3. ^ "General FAQ" Retrieved 26 May 2015 
  4. ^ "KNOPPIX - Live Linux Filesystem On CD" Retrieved 26 May 2015 
  5. ^ "KNOPPIX 51 - Live Linux Filesystem On CD" Retrieved 26 May 2015 
  6. ^ a b "Cheat Codes" Retrieved 26 May 2015 
  7. ^ http://knoppernet/knoppix/knoppix760-enhtml
  8. ^ Borys Musielak "polishlinuxorg » Live CD" Retrieved 26 May 2015 
  9. ^ Knopper, Klaus 2005-07-06 "KNOPPIX 40 in issue 8/05 with DVD of “com! Das Computer-Magazin”" KNOPPERNET News KnopperNet Archived from the original on 2005-07-08 Retrieved 2009-06-10 
  10. ^ "Knoppix 40 auf DVD erscheint zum LinuxTag 2005" Press release in German KnopperNet 2005-07-29 Retrieved 2009-06-10 
  11. ^ Knopper, Klaus 2009-02-11 "Microknoppix" KNOPPIX 60 / ADRIANE 11 – Live CD KnopperNet Retrieved 2009-06-10 
  12. ^ "Microknoppix" KNOPPIX 62 / ADRIANE 12 – Live CD / DVD KnopperNet Retrieved 2009-11-18 
  13. ^ Swapnil Bhartiya "Free Operating System For Blind: Adriane Knoppix" EFY News Retrieved 2 February 2007 
  14. ^ "The Quantian Scientific Computing Environment" Retrieved 11 May 2015 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Knoppix at DistroWatch

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