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Knoppix is a new Linux distribution (based on Debian 3.0) that includes the ieee1394 device drivers and dvgrab.

It is a Live CD: insert the CD, reboot and you have a fully working Linux system, with no changes to the existing hardware or disk drives. This is a great way to demonstrate Linux (and dvgrab) to friends, without the hassle of actually installing Linux on their machines.

The Knoppix CD comes with a lot of useful software, including a few Office packages, sound and dvgrab. I tried it on my trusty Asus A7V Athlon 1600 box and it worked right away. I must say that I'm really impressed by this product.

You can download iso images of the CD from mirrors of the Knoppix website . Persons with a mail address in Germany can get a real CD free of charge by sending a self-addressed and stamped envelope to "Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik" (Federal Office for IT-Security, a german government institution),

As explained above, this distribution does not write or modify existing disk partitions. All executables are loaded from the CDROM, and a small RAM disk is created for all temporary files. It is possible to store certain configuration data on a floppy disk or ZIP drive, so that one can customize the Knoppix distribution for internet access, local network or special hardware.

Using the Knoppix CD

Two manual steps are required to use dvgrab with Knoppix: loading the IEEE 1394 device drivers and mount at least one existing partition read/write for storing the resulting AVI files.

Here are the commands for loading the device drivers. Knoppix does not allow real root access, therefore the use of the "sudo" command.

sudo insmod ieee1394
sudo insmod ohci1394
sudo insmod raw1394

And here is the command for mounting an existing disk partition:

# replace device with the proper one on *your* system

sudo mount -o remount,rw /dev/hda3

Note that you should turn on write access only for partitions of the following file types:

It is possible to mount a NTFS (Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP) partition with write access, but it is still considered as an experimental feature. Do not use this on your Windows XP boot partition. I tried dvgrab on a separate and empty NTFS partition and ran CHKDSK after finishing grabbing and everything was fine though.

Future plans

I mailed Klaus Knopper (the person behind Knoppix) and asked for inclusion of Kino. In the mean time, I'll try to remaster the existing Knoppix CD image by copying it to a disk drive, installing Kino and then creating a new CD image. This should really help all those persons who wish to try out Kino without going through a full compile/install cycle.

Knoppix CD

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