Knoppix Hacks

by Kyle Rankin

Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Copyright 2005

Reviewed by
Brian Boudreau

A Member of MELUG-Central
A division of MELUG
MainE Linux User's Group


Anyone who has ever dealt with Knoppix knows that Knoppix is a fully functional Linux distribution which may be run entirely from the CD. In running the OS directly from the CD, the user has the advantage of being able to take advantage of some of the functionality offered by Linux without ever having to disturb the OS they normally would use. In addition, a person wanting to learn more about Linux can do so without having to actually go through the pains of setting up a flavor of Linux on their hard drive.

Knoppix Hacks is another good book from O'Reilly's Hacks series. Like some of the other books in the Hacks series, Knoppix Hacks will tease readers of all levels with great information and tips on how to use the tools on the enclosed Knoppix CD as well as introduce Knoppix to a new user.


Knoppix Hacks goes beyond the “kick the tires” approach a new user would take when trying out Knoppix for the first time. The author gives enough information to allow an interested user to be able to install Knoppix directly to their hard drive. In addition, the details provided in the book in regards to the enclosed tools would be quite interesting to a systems administrator.

New users would be interested in reading the first four chapters. The user not only would learn how to install Knoppix onto their hard drive, but would also learn how to tweak their boot settings as well as how to tweak their desktop. In addition, chapter two will give a new user a good feel for what Knoppix, as well as Linux in general, may have to offer. Whether or not the reader chooses to use Knoppix as an OS, the information provided will give a new user a good feel for installing and tweaking other Linux distributions.

Systems administrators may be more interested in chapters five through seven. These three chapters focus on some of the tools that come on the Knoppix CD.

Administrators looking for root kits may want to check out Hack 46. Those who are interested in computer forensics may want to read Hack 47. Anyone who has a problem with Linux and needs tools to repair their Linux distribution may want to read chapter six. Those who may be having issues with a Windows distribution may want to read chapter seven.

More advanced users may want to create their own versions of Knoppix. These people may want to read chapters right and nine.


Knoppix Hacks is a great book for new users interested in learning more about Linux. In addition, the book does give some great details for the more advanced user who wants to “morph” their own version of Knoppix.

For the most part, Knoppix Hacks also does a decent job at explaining how to use some of the enclosed tools on the CD. A Windows administrator may find some of the tools interesting, however, my experience has been that some of the Windows tools are not quite what the book makes them out to be.

Overall, the book is a decent reference to have for someone wanting to learn more about Linux. Systems administrators may want to look at the book and the enclosed CD as another available tool they may want to set aside in their toolbox, just in case.