Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Linux On The Go
I’ve been hearing about Knoppix for some time now, but I’ve just not had the time to look into it. A couple of days ago, the hard drive in my laptop started having some serious problems and cloning it took about 8 hours as opposed to a normal 45 minutes or less. So I decided to see if I could run Knoppix.
I’m absolutely astounded at how easy it was to get this going. I downloaded the basic Knoppix image and burned it to a CD. I booted it up on my diskless laptop and spent some time looking through the menus. Within a few minutes, I figured out how to configure my wireless card, but I needed my key which was conveniently on my USB flash drive. No problem, I spent about five minutes Googling the web from another computer to remember how to mount the device in Linux, then copied my key into the configuration. Enabling the network took all of about three seconds and I was on the Internet!
I spent a few hours playing around with the system and learning how it was all put together. I would dare say I like the interface better than the Red Hat Enterprise we’re using on a few of our servers here. My next project will be to remaster the CD and put on a bunch of software that I use regularly, including my wireless encryption keys.
But today was the real testament for Knoppix. We have a Linux application that monitors some data through the network that we were trying to use to diagnose a problem. We hand-carried a 1U server, keyboard, mouse, and monitor to an outlying site just so we could run this software. On a whim, I put the software on my USB flash drive and brought my laptop along, complete with my Knoppix CD. For some reason, I couldn’t get Red Hat Enterprise to talk correctly on our network at the site due to some weird routing issues, but I had my laptop up and running the software within minutes. I am now truly a believer!
Being the Windows weenie that I am, I’m very encouraged now to get around to trying my demo of Windows XP Embedded. It would be nice to have both a Linux and a Windows CD that I can boot without a hard drive. I’m also looking into a remastering of Knoppix called Monoppix that includes Mono, a .NET Framework implementation for Linux. If that works out, I may be able to port some of our tools written in .NET to Linux. Very cool indeed!
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