KNOPPIX 6.7.0 Delivers a Few Surprises
Once upon a time KNOPPIX was the king of hardware detection and an innovator in live CD technology. Well, time passed and more distribution developers began concentrating on live images and pretty soon remaster applications let anybody with an idea release their own Linux distribution. The Linux kernel itself took most of the hardware detection and configuration burden off developers. KNOPPIX then began declining in popularity and for a while seemed to be morphing into a specialty distribution. Well, I lost track of it about then and didn't think of it again until yesterday when I heard 6.7.0 was available. I figured I might take a look and see what it's been up to lately.
It's been quite a while since I last used KNOPPIX and a few things have changed. First thing that I noticed was how fast my copy booted. I don't usually hold a slow live image boot against a distro because one almost expects this to be the case (although some are slower than others). So, it was quite the pleasant surprise to experience one so fast.
Then I was startled out of my chair by what was supposed to have been a soothing female voice informing me that the start-up sequence had been initiated. I'd heard this before, perhaps in KNOPPIX, but one forgets those kinds of things usually - or at least I did. So, surprise number two arrived and I hadn't even seen the desktop yet.
There I was met with a few others. One of those was the LXDE desktop. Last I tested KNOPPIX it was using KDE. LXDE is pretty cool too. It's a bit minimal, but it'll do. It was dressed up with a pretty wallpaper that I liked. I actually liked it quite a bit.
KNOPPIX used to strike me as a utilitarian-type desktop system. Perhaps that was just a wrong impression or it's trying to change its image. In any case, surprise number four was the dissolving Compiz Fusion logo when the desktop started. and then to find several cool effects enabled by default. One is a breaking apart of the windows at close and the explosion or disintegration of smaller dialogs. Another is the genie effect when minimizing (or restoring) windows. Others include the revolving cube desktop, wobbly windows, and fading menus. Well, everybody's seen these effects by now, but I just didn't expect them in KNOPPIX (especially using Nouveau drivers).
6.7.0 features Linux 126.96.36.199, X.Org X Server 1.10.2, and GCC 4.6.1. I don't think Chrome was even around last time I tested KNOPPIX, but I'm not surprised about it using it (Chromium 12.0 to be more exact). It also provides GIMP 2.6.10, LibreOffice 3.3.3, GNOME MPlayer, Daisy book reader, Orca screen reader, Pidgin, and Wine. KNOPPIX is based on Debian, so it uses the APT Package Management System and KNOPPIX ships with Synaptic. Hard drive and USB installers are also included.
My impression of KNOPPIX 6.7.0 is that this release seems really well put together. Of course, that isn't a surprise - KNOPPIX always was a quality system. I might even try to use 6.7 for a few days and see how it does under a full-daily-grind. For hoppers, this is a must try; for those looking for a new home, here's an idea; and for others, well, you might like it too.