Knoppix Core Tools:

Browsing the internet:

The default internet browser in Knoppix is Iceweasel. This is a play on the name FireFox since Iceweasel shares the same code base and was developed from the same Mozilla software that produced FireFox. They share a lot of similarities but Iceweasel is a little more conservative. Adhering more directly to the free software way of thinking and offering a little bit more in the way of default settings for user security.

The version pre-installed in Knoppix 7.2.0 also comes pre-loaded with add-ons for Advertising and Script blocking. You have probably already found it on your panel and in the Internet part of the main menu. Provided you have an internet router connected and online you can browse the web as normal.

Editing Documents:

If your looking for a basic text editor this one is fast and simple. You will find it in the Accessories menu area 

LibreOffice was developed from OpenOffice and includes all of the OpenOffice features except the name. LibreOffice is easily the most powerful of the many word processor and spread sheet applications available for Linux. Copies are also available for other operating systems free of charge. It's main attractions are it's similarity and compatibility with other industry standard office applications. Documents and spreadsheets are created and edited using Writer and Calc. You will find these in the Knoppix main menu > Office sub-section. The panel also contains a single access button to all of the LibreOffice applications.

Managing Files:

File Manager - PCManFM:
PCManFM is a fast, powerful and lightweight file browser offering everything you need for day to day file management. You will find it on the panel and in the Knoppix main menu > Accessories sub-section.

Introducing the Terminal:

This is a BIG topic. So for now this is just an introduction. There are many different names for the Terminal (Term, Xterm, UXterm, LXTerminal, etc.) They are all basically the same. They all give you access to the shell. There are many different types of shell (C Shell, Bourne Shell, Korn Shell, Z Shell, etc.) but they all perform the same basic tasks. The most commonly used shell is the Bourne Again Shell (BASH). The shell can be thought of as an outer layer, controlling access to the kernel.

The Terminal is a command line interpreter. It accepts text commands and then calls the relevant functions. Before the Graphical User Interface (GUI), everything was done at the command prompt and to a very large degree everything still can be. New users often try to avoid using it. However, in time it's simplicity and directness will grow on you. Note: everything in Linux is case sensitive.

Call up a Terminal and lets go for a spin.
When you start the Terminal you will be in your Home Directory. Your home directory is shown as a tilde "~"
Your initial prompt "knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ " tells us who and where we are.

 ls LiSt the contents of your current directory Your directory contains two sub directories Desktop and Templates
 ls -l LiSLong format Long format, including file size, time, date, owner and permissions
 ls -a LiSAll List All files including hidden files (those starting with a ".")
 ls -la LiSLong All List in Long format all files, including hidden
 <Ctrl> + l CLear screen Quicker than typing "clear"
 mkdir test MaKe DIRectory test Creates a new directory called test
 ls LiSt the contents of your current directory Displays the new test directory
 cd test Change into Directory test Moves you into the sub-directory test
 pwd Print Working Directory Displays the current location
 cd  . . Change Directory  . . Moves one directory level up
 rmdir test ReMove DIRectory test Deletes the test directory
 ls LiSt the contents of your current directory Shows two directories again

That's just some basic functions to give you the idea.
I know you could more easily perform these functions in your file manager.

  • Tip #1 Pressing the up arrow key will scroll back through your history saving retyping common commands. You can then edit a previous line using left and right keys.
  • Tip #2 Pressing the TAB key while typing a directory name, will automatically fill in the whole name for you. eg. type "cd D[TAB]" and Desktop will be filled in for you. This is extremely useful when moving between directory names that include spaces.

Next lets try something a bit more useful like terminating a locked application. Start by running the "leafpad" application from Accessories then run a Terminal window. We will pretend that the leafpad application is locked and needs terminating.

 ps ProcesseS Current processes
 ps -A Processes All Shows all processes, you could use -e for every instead
 Kill <number> Kill process number <number> Look for your leafpad process number and kill that one. e.g. 4495

Other useful functions:
 top Show top processes Displays updating process list, use "q" to quit
 man ps Manual page for Processes command Displays manual, use "spacebar" to page and "q" to quit

  • Tip #3 Pressing <Ctrl> + <Alt> + <F1> will switch you to a text console window, pressing <Ctrl> + <Alt> + <F5>  will switch you back to the graphical interface (in most other Linuxes it's F7 instead of F5). While at the text console you can use commands like "ps" and "kill" to remotely kill unwanted processes or locked applications, including screensaver screen locks as discussed on the previous page First Look. If you were not the creator of the process you may need to use sudo kill <number>  to remove it. (sudo gives us system wide powers).
Now lets try something that you will likely come across when reading the internet forums for help. This illustrates the few steps required to execute a complex set of commands.

The command "sudo apt-get update" downloads package lists from online repositories and updates itself on the newest versions of packages and their dependencies. This function should be performed before installing programs to make sure your library is up to date. You can choose to install from 10's of thousands of applications and utilities from standard Libraries. This command will synchronise those for you. (This will take a short while to complete.)

Command Breakdown:
 sudo Temporarily gives us the Super User powers necessary to perform system changes. Your current user login of knoppix has inherited the rights to use this command by being a member of the sudoers group. Regular Linux system users are not members of this group and are not automatically given the rights to use this command.
 apt-get The Advanced Packaging Tool, or APT , handles the installation and removal of software. apt-get is a core part of the APT suite of programs.
 update update downloads and synchronises package index files for applications and utilities.

Here is a simple example, just type the following two lines into a terminal window.
 sudo apt-get update Update Package Lists Downloads and updates a huge list of packages and dependences
 sudo apt-get install galculator install galculator application Look in Main Menu > Accessories for Galculator

  • Tip #4 Super user status is reflected with a prompt of "#" regular users have a "$" prompt. Try typing "su" on the command line then enter. On other systems you will most likely need to type "sudo su" and enter a password to gain super powers.

Using the Terminal makes descriptions of procedures plain. You can simply type the command in. The alternative would be to describe which menus to find and which checkboxs to tick. if our versions were not identical my description might not match your experience exactly. Whereas text commands rarely change, they typically just add new functions rather than change existing ones. This is one reason why you often have command switches which appear to do the same thing. Script files rely on functions remaining the same.

You can gain a big advantage by stacking text commands in a text document called a script. You can perform entire sequences of commands by simply typing in the scripts name. Shell scripts often end in .sh

To execute a shell script:
  1. You typically need to be in the same directory as the script. (use the "cd" change directory command to get there)
  2. The script needs to be executable (use "sudo chmod +x") [ super power / change mode / add eXecutable / ]
  3. Call your script directly" ./" (the ./ simply means in this directory). For security reasons Linux does not default to the current directory.
OK, enough text mode already, Click Next Page for Audio & Video tools.