Knoppix has released version 6 of their “small” distribution. You can find a download link here. As you know, Knoppix was either the first or amongst the first to be available as a livecd. It was soon apparent that the livecd could be used as a rescue disk. With the proper programs installed the livecd could be used to recover files from non-bootable hard drives and perhaps even repair them. Yes there are other tools that can do this, System Rescue CD for example, but Knoppix has a good desktop GUI and does not limit itself to rescue. The distro includes packages normally found in complete desktops such as Open Office and The GIMP and can be used as such.
My previous encounter with Knoppix were the version 4 CD and DVD that came with Knoppix for Dummies. This book devotes an entire chapter with instructions on how to perform rescue operations on both Windows and Linux systems. I am fortunate in that I have not yet needed to rescue my Linux system but past experience has taught me to be prepared. It is unfortunate that Windows users generally do not pay much attention to Linux books and software and are missing out on a very valuable tool.
I downloaded a 6.0.1 image from a mirror site, checked the md5sum and burned it to a CD. My computer hesitated a bit while it figured out that it was supposed to boot a disc and not the hard drive. After GRUB loaded the boot was surprisingly quick. For the very first time I saw the LXDE desktop. Earlier versions of Knoppix shipped with KDE, but it makes more sense for a rescue CD to use a lightweight desktop. With no difficulty at all I quickly navigated to my Windows partition and found the My Documents directory. If rescue were actually necessary it would be a snap.
Then there was a second surprise. Knoppix recognized my Atheros AR242x wireless! I could connect to the internet! This is the only distro I have found so far that could do this out of the box. On my installed Ubuntu (8.04) system I had to manually install a wireless driver from madwifi. This means that if I get into trouble and need help, I can be connected to the internet while working on my problem. Thank you Knoppix.
This distro is highly reccommended to both Windows and Linux users. You will not be using it every day but the day will come when you’ll be ever so glad that you had it.