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[linrad] Knoppix 3.8.1 CD with svgalib-1.9.21 and linrad-01.33

Sufferring from linux withdrawal after getting Debian to run on 3 machines here I decided to make a Knoppix CD with svgalib-1.9.21 and linrad-01.33 on it, configured so that [if all is well] linrad would come up running before one even got to the Knoppix attempt to start XWindows [which you can prevent by typing 'knoppix 2' at the boot prompt].

I did this because I have been impressed that Knoppix 3.8.1 [with the 2.6.22 core] has the best hardware detection algorithms of any of the distros short of Fedora that I've tried, and because there seems to be this aversion to Fedora hanging in the air.

I had tried Morphix, but its hardware detection was NOT even close to Knoppix, and by virtue of its small size it just didn't cut it, as if it didn't work 'out of the box', the tools I wanted to fix it weren't in the package. So if the network was being balky about starting, one was SOL.

I added a bit of things I wanted to the standard Knoppix distro [Opera, svgalib-1.9.21 and linrad-01.33 and a few other things], and removed OpenOffice so that it would all fit on a CD; the KNOPPIX.iso file is 682.302 MB. I have tried it on 5 computers and XWindows video works on all of them. By changing /libvga.config to use the VESA driver, svgalib video works on all of them.

The computers range from an old 900MHz P3 and an old AMD P1800 [both of which have bioses pre2001; 2000 and 1997, respectively] to a newer but still not new 1G P3 to an old AMD 2100 thereabouts, to a Dell 1.8 GHz P4. The video hardware ranges from old Radeon to newest Radeon to old onboard to newer onboard. The sound is either onboard or Creative Labs [only one card or onboard unit in each machine]. I am not more specific about all of this hardware as its been a long time since I assembled these specimens, I didn't take any of the computers apart today to check, and they are mostly not mine, but belong to each of one of us 5 in the nuclear family here, and I shoehorned my experiments in on less than enthusiastic participants, so my data collection time was sparse.

I got XWindows sound out of 3 of the 5. One of the other two hasn't had any sound for a long time, and the other may have had sound available, but it didn't have speakers attached and I didn't have time to attach them ;)

With 4 of the 5 machines linrad worked in some fashion, but it was perfect with sound in only 1. In two others I got the appropriate waveforms on the screen in all display windows, but nothing out of the speakers. In one other I didn't have time to get any sound to display; I think I ran thru all of the "U" configuration possibilities with no sucess. The 5 one was an XP P4 with USB mouse and not surprisingly that locked up. I didn't have time to play with it AT ALL as my son was in the midst of wargames. Time spent on each machine with the CD was less than 15 minutes, probably closer to 5 minutes in some cases.

I would be interested in some people trying the CD to see how it works for them. I would also be interested in having it critiqued my some of the Linux gurus on the list to see how it can be improved. I DO NOT think we should try to pare it down in size, except to get rid of the unnecessary configuration files, etc. that are probably on it.

I removed the XF86Config files as that is essential Knoppix is going to go thru its hardware detection routines, but I don't know if there are other similar files for audio or other subsystems that I should have also removed, but didn't.

A brief note of what I did is at


I haven't formatted it and put it on a webpage yet, so it will be easier to read if you download it into a wordprocessor where you can set some margins.

I didn't make it up to Hilltop to try this on the real Linrad systems yet.

I did use Linrad some on the microwaves this weekend and was again most impressed by the utility of being able to see +/- 45 KHz on the higher bands.

Let me know if you are interested in the KNOPPIX.iso file, and if you have any ideas about how/where it could be made available on the web. I can upload it anywhere, but it will take 682.3 MB of space once it arrives, and comcast doesn't give me that much ;)



Roger Rehr

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