I can still remember the wow factor when first seeing a copy of Knoppix booting up on a Windows machine. It was many moons again and the idea of a bootable Linux CD seemed strangely miraculous. Assuming you had a BIOS that could boot from a CD, (pretty much a standard now but not so common a few years ago), Knoppix would correctly identify your hardware, configure itself accordingly and boot to a full KDE desktop in all it's glory. Based on the Debian Linux distribution, Knoppix was (and is) not just a pretty face, it comes with a full complement of applications, including a choice of browsers, games, office applications (including OpenOffice.org) and more.
These days Knoppix is no longer alone, there are plenty of other Linux live CDs available. And neither is the main use to give nervous Windows users a taste of a real live Linux system. Knoppix and the other live CDs are now established as essential techie tools - used for system rescue, temporary server usage and a host of other imaginative uses. For those who've ever wondered how it all works or have entertained ideas of creating their own live CDs then Christopher Negus has put together a book that opens the lid on the arcane secrets involved.
The book is structured in three parts.
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