DeveloperKlaus Knopper
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial release30 September 2000; 23 years ago (2000-09-30)
Latest release9.3[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 5 May 2022; 2 years ago (5 May 2022)
Available inGerman and English
Update methodLTS
Package managerAPT (frontend); dpkg (maintenance)
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
user interface
LicenseFree software licenses
(mainly GPL)[2]

Knoppix, stylized KNOPPIX, (/ˈknɒpɪks/ KNOP-iks)[3] is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB). It was first released in 2000 by German Linux consultant Klaus Knopper,[4] and was one of the first popular live distributions.[5][6][7] Knoppix is loaded from the removable medium and decompressed into a RAM drive. The decompression is transparent and on-the-fly.

There are two main editions, available in both English and German: the traditional compact-disc (700 megabytes) edition and the DVD (4.7 gigabytes) "Maxi" edition. The CD edition had not been updated since 2013 until recently as of version 9.1, with CD images being released once again.[8]

Knoppix mostly consists of free and open source software, but also includes some proprietary software, as long as it fulfills certain conditions.[9] Knoppix can be used to copy files easily from hard drives with inaccessible operating systems. To quickly and more safely use Linux software, the Live CD can be used instead of installing another OS.


The classic Knoppix start-up process

More than 1000 software packages are included on the CD edition, and more than 2600 packages are included on the DVD edition. Up to nine gigabytes can be stored on the DVD in compressed form. These packages include:

Hardware requirements

Minimum hardware requirements for Knoppix:[10]

Saving changes in the environment

Prior to Knoppix 3.8.2, any documents or settings a user created would disappear upon reboot. This lack of persistence then made it necessary to save documents directly to a hard drive partition, over the network, or to some removable media, such as a USB flash drive.

It was also possible to set up a "persistent home directory", where any documents or settings written to the user's home directory would automatically be redirected to a hard drive or removable media, which could be automatically mounted on bootup. A single file, knoppix.img, was cached on the rewritable media and used to simulate a file system into which files were written for later use. This allowed the user to transparently write to their home directory.

Union mount support was added in version 3.8.1 through UnionFS. This was later replaced by Aufs in 5.1.0 to improve stability.[11] The union mount allowed virtual updates to the data on the read-only CD/DVD media by storing changes on separate writable media and then representing the combination of the two as single storage device. The writable media could be memory (ramdisk), a hard disk, USB flash drive, etc. This means that the user could modify the software installed on the Knoppix system, such as by using APT to install or update software. The storage device containing the changes needed to be present whenever Knoppix is started, else only the original data from the disc would be used. While Knoppix would scan available storage devices for a persistent home directory by default, a user could dictate a specific location with a boot option (see below) such as:


By carrying a Knoppix CD and a USB flash drive, a user could have the same environment, programs, settings, and data available on any computer that could run Knoppix.

This functionality was only available through Knoppix 5.1.1 (CD release) or 5.3.1 (DVD release). Subsequently, the Live CD paradigm has transformed into portable operating systems that run on external storage.

Boot options

When using Knoppix as a Live CD, one can use boot options, also known as "cheatcodes", to override a default setting or automatic hardware detection when it fails. For example, the user may wish to boot into a plain console, or proceed without SCSI support. For this, Knoppix allows the user to enter one or more cheat codes at the prompt before booting. If the user does not enter a cheat code, or does not press any key before the timeout, Knoppix will boot with its default options. For example, to set the language to French rather than the default, one would type:

knoppix lang=fr[12]

Knoppix is a 32-bit Debian Linux based distro, but recent releases (including the latest version 7.6) have also been equipped with a 64-bit kernel on the DVD edition, where it will automatically boot up for 64-bit computers, or by using the boot option knoppix64 manually in the command-line prompt, while knoppix will boot up the 32-bit kernel. Neither PAE nor 64-bit applications are supported by Knoppix, and more than 4GB of system memory can only be used with a 64-bit kernel.

The DVD edition of Knoppix can also be loaded onto a USB flash drive, with flash-knoppix under the Knoppix system, such that "the KNOPPIX Live System starts and runs about factor 5 faster from USB flash disk than from CD or DVD!".[13] Besides that, the experimental UEFI support is provided for USB flash drive rather than DVD media. 32-bit UEFI firmware can only boot up the 32-bit kernel, while 64-bit UEFI firmware can only boot up the 64-bit kernel. The text interface for UEFI is similar with it for BIOS, one can also press key F2 and F3 to access information on boot options.


Knoppix was one of the first Live CD Linux distributions to gain popularity[14] (just after Yggdrasil Linux). There are several factors that contribute to the popularity of Knoppix:

Knoppix works on a fairly large number of PCs or laptops, but not all. The automatic hardware detection cannot cope with all hardware, and sometimes the drivers used will not be optimal. Knoppix has difficulty recognizing some cards made before 1998, or motherboards with a BIOS made before 2002. (In some cases, manual configuration with codes entered at boot time can overcome problems with automatic detection.)[citation needed]

If a PC does not have enough RAM to run KDE and other included programs, the legacy Knoppix (earlier than 6.0) boots up a very limited Tab Window Manager (twm) session instead. The only window running in the twm session by default is xterm.[citation needed]


Knoppix version history
Version Release date CD DVD
1.4 2000-09-30 Yes No
1.6 2001-04-26 Yes No
2.1 2002-03-14 Yes No
2.2 2002-05-14 Yes No
3.1 2002-10-01 Yes No
3.2 2003-06-16 Yes No
3.3 2003-09-22 Yes No
3.4 2004-05-17 Yes No
3.5 LinuxTag version 2004-06 No Yes
3.6 2004-08-16 Yes No
3.7 2004-12-09 Yes No
3.8 CeBIT version 2005-02-28 Yes No
3.8.1 2005-04-08 Yes No
3.8.2[15] 2005-05-12 Yes No
3.9 2005-06-01 Yes No
4.0 LinuxTag version 2005-06-22 No Yes
4.0 updated 2005-08-16 No Yes
4.0.2 2005-09-23 Yes Yes
5.0 CeBIT version 2006-02-25 No Yes
5.0.1 2006-06-02 Yes Yes
5.1.0 2006-12-30 Yes Yes
5.1.1 2007-01-04 Yes Yes
5.2 CeBIT version 2007-03 No Yes
5.3 CeBIT version 2008-02-12 No Yes
5.3.1 2008-03-26 No Yes
6.0.0 2009-01-28 Yes No
6.0.1 2009-02-08 Yes No
6.1 CeBIT version 2009-02-25 Yes Yes
6.2 / ADRIANE 1.2 2009-11-18 Yes Yes
6.2.1 2010-01-31 Yes Yes
6.3 CeBIT version 2010-03-02 No Yes
6.4.3 2010-12-20 Yes Yes
6.4.4 2011-02-01 Yes Yes
6.5 CeBIT version 2011-03 No Yes
6.7.0 2011-08-03 Yes Yes
6.7.1 2011-09-16 Yes Yes
7.0.1 2012-05-24 No Yes
7.0.2 2012-05-30 No Yes
7.0.3 2012-07-01 Yes Yes
7.0.4 2012-08-20 Yes Yes
7.0.5 2012-12-21 Yes Yes
7.2.0 2013-06-24 Yes Yes
7.4.0 2014-08-07 No Yes
7.4.1 2014-09-15 No Yes
7.4.2 2014-09-28 No Yes
7.5 CeBIT version 2015-03-16 No Yes
7.6.0 2015-11-21 No Yes
7.6.1 2016-01-16 No Yes
7.7.0 CeBIT version 2016-03-14 No Yes
7.7.1 2016-10-27 No Yes
8.0.0 CeBIT version 2017-03-24 No Yes
8.1.0 2017-09-27 No Yes
8.2.0 2018-05-16 No Yes
8.3.0 (DELUG-DVD) 2018-06-07 No Yes
8.5.0 Linux-Magazin / Linux-User edition 2019-03-14 No Yes
8.6.0 2019-08-08 No Yes
8.6.1 2019-11-22 No Yes
9.0 (DELUG-DVD) 2020-03-05 No Yes
9.1 2021-01-25 Yes Yes
9.2 (DELUG-DVD) 2021-04 No Yes
9.3 (DELUG-DVD) 2022-06 No Yes

The table (to the right) shows the version history of major releases.

Knoppix 4.x–5.x

As of April 2008, from version 4 up until 5.1.1, Knoppix has been split into a DVD "maxi" edition (with over 9 GB of software), and a CD "light" edition; both were developed in parallel.[16][17]

Up until Knoppix 5.1.1, the CD editions contained a selection of graphical environments, including the TWM window manager, and KDE 3 — a feature-complete desktop environment default in Knoppix 5.3.1 and earlier.

No further development is being done on the traditional 5.x versions.

Knoppix 6.x

KNOPPIX 6.0.1 / ADRIANE 1.1 is a CD-edition again, and a complete rebuild from scratch. LXDE was made the default desktop environment, and the edition contains a substantially reduced software collection in order to easily fit on a CD.[18]

The KNOPPIX 6.2.1 release has both CD and DVD editions, and ADRIANE 1.2 only has a CD-edition.[19]

Knoppix 6.7.1 has the last CD version with stable touchpad drivers.

Knoppix 7.x

From June 2013 on until March 2019, Knoppix 7.2 was the most recent release with a CD edition. By 2018, its software had become very outdated, as the libc6 2.17 library no longer suffices for installation of several modern packages. The 7.x version range is known for instabilities with touchpads.

Version 7.2 still remains the most recent CD version of Knoppix in wide distribution.

Knoppix 8.x

The KNOPPIX 8.0.0 edition was released at CeBIT 2017.[20]

KNOPPIX 8.1.0 was released in September 2017 as the first public release in the 8.x series.[21] The version 8.0.0 has the dual boot, and a choice between three different desktops:LXDE as default option, KDE or GNOME.[20]

Versions 8.2.0 and newer (8.2.x, not 8.5.x) are available on Knoppix mirrors.

Knoppix 8.5 was a DVD version that was not available for download, but was published as an exclusive version only bundled with a physical edition of Linux-Magazin[22] or LinuxUser.[23] Version 8.5 no longer includes Systemd, which was replaced by elogind. Spectre and Meltdown kernel vulnerabilities have been mitigated.[24]

Knoppix 8.6 (and newer) is a DVD version available for download on Knoppix mirrors.

Knoppix 9.x

This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (November 2023)


Adriane Knoppix

Adriane Knoppix is a variation that is intended for blind and visually impaired people, which can be used entirely without vision oriented output devices. It was released in the third quarter of 2007 as a Live CD. Adriane Knoppix is named after Adriane Knopper, the wife of Klaus Knopper, the developer of Knoppix. Adriane has a visual impairment, and has been assisting Klaus with the development of the software.[25] The name Adriane is also a backronym for "Audio Desktop Reference Implementation And Networking Environment".

Adriane Knoppix is intended not only for the blind but also for beginners who do not know much about computers. It uses the SUSE Blinux screen reader with a phoneme generator and speech engine for normal output.

Other variations

Knoppix family tree

Unmaintained projects

Sorted chronologically, in ascending order.
Name Goal and notes Last version — dates back to
ClusterKnoppix Uses openMosix. 3.6 1 September 2004; 19 years ago (2004-09-01)[27]
Feather Linux 128MB image with Linux 2.4, works as a Live CD and Live USB. 0.7.5 4 July 2005; 18 years ago (2005-07-04)[28]
Auditor Security Collection Intended to test the security of networks.[29] Merged into BackTrack by early 2007. 200605-02 20 June 2005; 18 years ago (2005-06-20)[30]
Quantian Numerical and quantitative analysis. The most recent release is based on Knoppix 4.0.2.[31] 7.9.2 1 March 2006; 18 years ago (2006-03-01)
Kaella The French translation of Knoppix 3.2 19 September 2007; 16 years ago (2007-09-19)
Kurumin In Brazilian Portuguese. Poseidon Linux is a later distribution that was based on Kurumin. 8.6 18 June 2008; 15 years ago (2008-06-18)[32]
VMKnoppix VM tools 5.3.1 Xen3.2.1 27 August 2008; 15 years ago (2008-08-27)[33]
Dreamlinux A Brazilian distribution branched off from Morphix, centers on ease of use and graphics performance. 5.0 1 January 2012; 12 years ago (2012-01-01)
BackTrack Parts based on a merge from Auditor Security Collection. 5 R3

15 August 2012; 11 years ago (2012-08-15)

Damn Small Linux (DSL) Live CD, just over 50MB. Designed to run graphical apps on older PCs, such as on machines with 486/early Pentium CPUs and very little RAM memory. 4.11 RC2 26 September 2012; 11 years ago (2012-09-26)

See also



News article


  1. ^ "Knoppix 9.3 - Linux-Magazin 2022/06 (DELUG Ausgabe)". Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  2. ^ "KNOPPIX Linux Live CD: What license does the KNOPPIX-CD use?". Archived from the original on 2002-07-19. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
  3. ^ Two Weughty Questions Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine on Debian newsgroup post
  4. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2000-10-10). "Building a self-contained auto-configuring Linux system on an iso9660 filesystem". 4th Annual Linux Showcase & Conference. Atlanta, Georgia: USENIX.
  5. ^ "Introduction to Knoppix". PCMag UK. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  6. ^ Linuxiac, Team (2020-10-01). "Happy 20th Birthday, Knoppix!". Linuxiac. Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  7. ^ "Tails - Celebrating 10 years of Tails!". Retrieved 2023-11-24.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "General FAQ". Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  10. ^ "KNOPPIX - Live Linux Filesystem On CD". Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  11. ^ "KNOPPIX 5.1 - Live Linux Filesystem On CD". Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Cheat Codes". Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  13. ^ "KNOPPIX 7.6.0 / ADRIANE 1.7 - Live DVD". Archived from the original on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  14. ^ Borys Musielak. " » Live CD". Archived from the original on 27 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ Introduction to Knoppix |
  16. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2005-07-06). "KNOPPIX 4.0 in issue 8/05 with DVD of "com| Das Computer-Magazin"". KNOPPER.NET News. Knopper.Net. Archived from the original on 2005-07-08. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  17. ^ "Knoppix 4.0 auf DVD erscheint zum LinuxTag 2005" (Press release) (in German). Knopper.Net. 2005-07-29. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  18. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2009-02-11). "Microknoppix". KNOPPIX 6.0 / ADRIANE 1.1 – Live CD. Knopper.Net. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  19. ^ "Microknoppix". KNOPPIX 6.2 / ADRIANE 1.2 – Live CD / DVD. Knopper.Net. Archived from the original on 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  20. ^ a b "KNOPPIX 8.0.0 - Linux Live System". Archived from the original on 30 October 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  21. ^ "KNOPPIX 8.1.0 Public Release". Knopper.Net. Archived from the original on 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  22. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2019-04-01). "Exklusiv auf der Delug-DVD: Knoppix 8.5 Linux-Magazin Edition" [Exclusive on the Delug-DVD: The Knoppix 8.5 Linux-Magazin Edition] (in German). Vol. 04/2019. Linux Magazin. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  23. ^ "Knoppix 8.5 als exklusive LinuxUser-Edition". LinuxUsre / Linux Community (in German). Germany: businessAD. 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  24. ^ Knopper, Klaus (2019-04-01). "Exklusiv auf der Delug-DVD: Knoppix 8.5 Linux-Magazin Edition" [Exclusive on the Delug-DVD: The Knoppix 8.5 Linux-Magazin Edition] (in German). Vol. 04/2019. Linux Magazin. p. 3. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  25. ^ Swapnil Bhartiya. "Free Operating System For Blind: Adriane Knoppix". EFY News. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  26. ^ "RepairTech, Inc. -". Archived from the original on 2015-03-17.
  27. ^ "clusterKNOPPIX". DistroWatch. 2017-08-26. Archived from the original on 2017-04-18. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  28. ^ "Feather Linux". DistroWatch. 2017-08-26. Archived from the original on 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  29. ^ "Auditor". 2006-01-22. Archived from the original on 2007-01-24.
  30. ^ "Auditor changes". 2005-12-30. Archived from the original on 2006-12-31.
  31. ^ Eddelbuettel, Dirk. "The Quantian Scientific Computing Environment". Retrieved 2019-05-03. The most recent version is dated 26 February 2006 and released March 1, 2006 --- the second Quantian version based on the new Knoppix 4.0.2 release.
  32. ^ "Kurumin Linux". DistroWatch. 2017-08-26. Archived from the original on 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  33. ^ Suzaki, Kuniyasu (2008-08-27). "News". VMKnoppix. Japan: Research Center for Information Security (RCIS) / National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Archived from the original on 2012-12-11.