[sf-lug] Virtual meeting notes for Sun 10/3/2021, pair of own suggestions

aaronco36 aaronco36 at SDF.ORG
Wed Oct 13 16:42:56 PDT 2021

Snippet from previous posting on topic...
Quoting Bobbie Sellers <bliss-sf4ever at dslextreme.com> from [01]:
> Victor needs help with setting up a dual boot machine with a programming
> environment running in a virtual machine if I understood him correctly.

...and much further along...
> Aaron had shared a few current references with us and I am sure will be
happy to do so here.

Glad to oblige however belatedly ;-)

There was also some discussion of using KNOPPIX [02] for Victor's needs.
Conveniently, the head KNOPPIX maintainer Klaus Knopper released the CD
version of KNOPPIX v9.1 back in February of this year; see [03] and [04]
Specific benefits of the KNOPPIX v9.1 liveCD include
- ability to function on a wider range of optical drives other than solely
- ability to boot on fairly low-spec i386 and amd64 hardware
- useful wide gamut of utility, systems administration, and
developmental/programming tools (a veritable Swiss Army Knife liveCD!)


While linuxmafia's awesome Rick M has graciously included several links to 
Knoppix in his Debian Knowledgebase of [05], [most of] those links don't 
seem to have been updated in quite some time.  IMHO, a better source for 
more up-to-date Knoppix information is rather the Knoppix Wiki; see 
reference [06].

Getting back to establishing developmental/programming tools within Linux.

Besides performing a _full_ installation of Debian GNU/Linux or another 
distro for the purposes of programming/development under Linux -- whether 
that's as a virtualbox machine, a dual-boot setup alongside Windows, or as 
a replacement-for-Windows installation -- another feasible method for 
installing+enabling such programming/development without significantly 
disrupting a previous Windows installation on Victor's 8 GB and others' 
comparatively "low RAM" 5yr+ machines is to use a Knoppix 
liveCD/liveDVD/liveUSB as an optimized Poor man's install [07].

Snippet from previous posting on topic minus its internal references...
As shown in reference [] for installing dual-boot Ubuntu with Windows
installed first, there are several preparatory steps before Linux (in this
case, Debian) can be installed alongside.  On the hard drive with the
pre-existing Windows OS, Victor and others should _most certainly_ backup
as many Windows data files/documents as possible to good external media
from within Windows, perform disk(s) cleanup, and then perform a complete
defragmentation of all Windows partitions. Once files are successfully
backed up, the Windows partition(s) are as cleaned-up as possible, and all
Windows partitions are entirely defragmented, then Victor and others can
reboot their Windows machines using the KNOPPIX v9.1 CD from [] (or its
liveUSB equivalent) and then proceed to run KNOPPIX's excellent GNOME
Partition Editor GParted[] to make suffient diskspace available for the
eventual dual-boot installation of Debian.  Note that the author in
reference [] recommends creating 100-150 Gb of free Hard Disk space for
this dual-boot install of Linux, "although anything above 40 Gb would do
the job".

The original internal references for installing dual-boot Ubuntu with Windows
installed first, obtaining KNOPPIX v9.1, and the "excellent GNOME
Partition Editor GParted" are respectively at [08], [09], plus [10] for the
KNOPPIX DVD, and [11].

For preparing the hard disk(s) beforehand for the Knoppix Poor man's install....
- 1st, carry out the above-listed steps of Windows Backup, Cleanup,
- 2nd, this time perform 'STEP 1: Unallocating the Required amount of Hard 
Disk Space Creating a Dual Boot System with Linux and Windows' of [08] 
using the _Windows_ Disk Management Service.  Since the Knoppix Poor man's 
install directions of [07] specify "The used disk partition can be a Linux 
format such as EXT3 but can also be FAT32 or NTFS (pre Windows 8)", it may 
be best to free up a grand total of at least 40 GB of disk space using the 
Windows Disk Management Service and to subsequently allocate and format, 
say, 31 GB of that as a FAT32 partition.  IIRC, major reasons for these 
latter partitioning and formatting steps are 1) Windows signs/activates 
its own allocated partitions for its own future use, 2) persistent 
installs such as Knoppix's Poor man's install seem to have historically 
functioned more consistently in FAT32-formatted partitions as opposed to 
NTFSx-formatted partitions, and 3) the maximum FAT32 partition size has 
historically been 32.000 GB in Windows releases before Win7 (e.g., should 
Victor and others have installed the long-outdated Windows XP?) and thus 
FAT32(vfat)-formatted partitions have acted as something of a 
filesystem-recognized lowest common denominator between 32bit and 64bit 
versions of Windows and Linux.
- 3rd, the remaining unallocated 9 GB=< of freed-up space can be eventually used
as a dedicated swap partition for Knoppix; IMO definitely quite helpful 
for Victor's and others' RAM maxed-out machine(s)!

After this initial preparation within Windows, one would then do an 
initial default boot of the Knoppix live media and determine which 
/dev/sdXn device holds the previously FAT32-formatted partition.  After 
determining which device holds the ~31 GB FAT32 partition, one would then 
optimize Knoppix by partitioning, formatting, and activating the 
unpartitioned /dev/sdX(n+1) free space as a dedicated swap partition using 
Knoppix's GParted[11] (or else by using the Knoppix commandline command 
series 'sudo fdisk/gdisk/sfdisk/cfdisk /dev/sdX', 'sudo mkswap 
/dev/sdX(n+1)', 'sudo swapon /dev/sdX(n+1)',...etcetera.)  At this point, 
one may reboot and carry out the Poor man's install described in [07] up 
to the line "Important note: "/dev/sda1" is only as an example; use your 
own value!" -- of course substituting the FAT32-formatted /dev/sdXn for 
"/dev/sda1" throughout this type of install.

Up-to-date Knoppix boot cheatcodes are listed at reference [12] and one can and
probably should optimally combine cheatcode tips, e.g.,...
- the initial 'knoppix tohd=/dev/sdXn lang=us'
- 'knoppix64 fromhd=/dev/sdXn lang=us toram'
- 'knoppix64 fromhd=/dev/sdXn lang=us 2' intended for we many commandline
aficionados adept at using vi/Vim and even the all-encompassing "extensible,
customizable, free/libre text editor  and more" GNU Emacs[13] :-} for our
scripting and code development as part and parcel of TheUnixWay[14].

While the full-fledged GUI Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) 
listed within the Debian Wiki's 'ProgrammingApplication' page [15] can be 
installed under Knoppix using Synaptic as well as Debian's other APT 
tools, very often it's much better to use lighter tools for Linux program 
development, such as the fast and lightweight IDE geany[16] and even 
XEmacs w/o mule[17] for those absolutely commandline-averse folks :-O -- 
'mule' being XEmacs' fairly large bit of code for either the display or 
input of non-European characters.
Other available non-IDE GUI programming editors for Debian-based Linux 
distros -- such as Knoppix -- include Sublime Text[18], Atom[19], and 


My humble apologies in advance to Rick M and others for any typos that may have
inadvertently crept their way into the above :-|.
Also, please feel free to describe and expound upon any factual errors 
made in any of the above or within the below references.

This also bcc'd separately to Mark, Andy, and Christine, as you're all 
more than sufficiently technically familiar with performing the above 
routine maintenance tasks on your Windows machines, you've all expressed 
specific interest in furthering your code development using Python and 
other programming languages in Linux, and you've both quite clearly 
expressed at least a working familiarity with _Windows_ Emacs[21] on your 
spare, remaining, pre-2016, "low RAM" machines.
Assuming that you still wish to keep just Windows alone installed on each 
of your machines, then I realize that all three of you are fully capable 
of running at the very least the Knoppix 9.1 CD using the cheatcode string 
'knoppix fromhd=/dev/sdXn lang=??' (using your machines' Linux swap 
partition by default, created as per the above Windows preparatory setups 
and sized as 1 to 2 x physicalRAM.)



aaronco36 at sdf.org

More information about the sf-lug mailing list