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2003 Apr 04 13:46

LUGOD at the Whole Earth Festival - DemoLinux

DemoLinux 3.0 CDROM

The DemoLinux 3.0 CD which LUGOD passed out during the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis in May 2002 is a bootable CDROM for IBM-compatible PCs which allows you to try out the Linux operating system without installing it on your hard disk.

Based on the "Debian" distribution of Linux, the disc contains almost 800 tools and applications, including the KDE graphical desktop environment.

Hardware Requirements

The DemoLinux disc requires an IBM-PC compatible computer (eg, 486, Pentium, etc.) with a CD-ROM drive. You'll also need at least 16MB of RAM, although 64MB is recommended if you wish to use the graphical environment. Finally, you'll need a mouse which connects to your computer using either a PS/2 connector (round) or a serial connector (DB-9).

Note: The DemoLinux CD works with a great deal of hardware configurations, but it may happen that certain devices (particularly very old ones) are not recognized by this CD. This does not mean that they definitely won't work with a full installation of Linux. You might want to look into our monthly Installfest workshops...

Loading DemoLinux

Using just the CD-ROM disc
Most modern PCs can be told to boot from their CD-ROM drive, rather than their harddrive. Typically, this option is within your computer's "BIOS" settings.

To get to the BIOS, completely shut down your computer. Turn it back on, and then look for a message like:

Press DEL for setup

Press the appropriate key (eg, the [Del] key) and the BIOS settings should appear. Find the option which allows you to set the boot order. Make sure to set it so that CDROM comes before Harddrive ("C:").

Note: If you get lost, your computer or motherboard's instruction manual should help...

Reboot your computer, and it should start loading off of the CD!

Creating a bootable floppy disk
If your computer doesn't support booting off of CD-ROMs, or you're uncomfortable altering your BIOS, you can create a bootable floppy disk using some tools on the CD.

First, either boot into MSDOS mode, or open a DOS terminal from within Windows. Insert the DemoLinux CD into your computer, and a blank 3.5" floppy diskette into your floppy drive.

At the MSDOS prompt, type the following commands (if your CD-ROM drive isn't "D:", change the following as nedded):


This command will ask you for a filename. Type: "BOOT.IBM"
Then it will ask for a floppy drive. Type "A:" (assuming that's the drive that the blank 3.5" disk is in).

After a few minutes, it will be finished creating the floppy disk. Now, reboot your computer with both the floppy disk and the CD in the drives!

Getting Started

When the computer begins booting the DemoLinux CD, it will greet you with some informational screens. You can access the various screens by pushing the [F1], [F2] ... [F6] keys. Take your time and read what you like. (If you don't touch the computer for a full 10 minutes, it will continue loading with a minimalist choice: 640x480 screen resolution.)

Choosing a resolution:

To continue, enter one of the following at "boot:" prompt: "1024", "800" or "640". This will load DemoLinux and use 1024x768, 800x600 or 640x480 screen resolution, respectively.

Warning: While this should only apply to obsolete monitors, choosing a wrong screen resolution (typically one higher than that supported by the monitor) may DAMAGE it. The monitor which came with the manual should state what resolutions it handles.

Choose a language and keyboard:
You'll next be asked to choose a default language and keyboard layout.

Booting Begins...

At this point, a picture of a penguin will appear, and the system will begin loading. This may take a while -- loading from CD-ROM is much slower than a hard disk!


Once the system has loaded, you'll be prompted to log in. Click on the penguin (the 'demo' user), then on the 'Enter' button, leaving the password field empty.


You can now play with the Linux operating system!

Using your Hard Disk

The DemoLinux CD does not touch your hard disks by default, since the whole system is running off of CD-ROM. Because of this, though, it is impossible to install any new Linux software, and any files or documents you create under DemoLinux will be lost when you turn the computer off or reboot.

Also, since Linux will only be able to run in RAM, and not use "virtual memory" on the hard disk (like Linux- and Windows-based computers do in a normal environment), you will be extremely constrained as to what you can do.

Anchoring on a hard disk

You can partially solve the space limitation problem if you accept to use your hard disk space (this does not require partitioning your disk!) If you do that, you will have some real virtual memory (swap space) and hard-disk based "/home" and "/tmp" directories.

That way you may put much more data in your home directory ("/home/demo"), and, most important, find it again the next time you run the CD. The default values are 64MB for virtual memory (swap) and 32MB for "/home" and "/tmp".

To anchor the CD, just click on the 'anchor' icon on the bottom panel. This will launch a program that will show you the different partitions having enough space for this operation. The modifications will be set the next time you boot from the CD.

Note: The 'anchor' program just creates a "linuxdmo" directory (with about 100MB of files in it) on your hard disk, which you can safely delete from within Windows once you no longer wish to use the space for DemoLinux.

If you have problems

Mouse and modem
If your mouse and/or modem are not detected, you can give hints to Linux at the "boot:" prompt when booting from CD. If your mouse is on COM1 and your modem is on COM3, for example, you might say:

boot: 1024 mouseport=ttyS0 modemport=ttyS2

("ttyS0" is COM1 (first serial port), "ttyS1" is COM2 (second serial port), etc.)

Other options for "mouseport" include "psaux" for PS/2 mice, "inportbm" for Microsoft In-Port mice, and "logibm" for Logitech parallel mice.

No floppy drive
If you don't have a floppy drive, add "nofloppy" to the boot command.

It freezes when detecting some hardware
If DemoLinux freezes while trying to detect certain components of your computer, it is probably hardware that is not handled properly by the DemoLinux CD. You can disable support for certain things at the "boot:" prompt. "nopcmcia" to skip PCMCIA, "nousb" to skip USB detection, "nomodem" to skip modem detection, and "nosound" to skip soundcard detection.

DemoLinux only sees 64MB of RAM; I have more
If you have 512MB of RAM, for example, add the option "mem=512M" to the boot command.

Graphics mode doesn't work
Try adding "vesa" to the resolution. e.g., "1024vesa"

Instead of the login screen, it flickers between graphics and black!!!
Your video card isn't supported. See the DemoLinux manual at www.demolinux.org.

Other questions
Check the DemoLinux website, mailing list, and/or IRC channel.
See: http://www.demolinux.org/

Ask for help from members of LUGOD, e.g. via our mailing lists.
See: http://www.lugod.org/mailinglists/ (specifically, our 'vox-tech' list)

Enjoy! - Get A Full Installation of Linux, Too!

Enjoy DemoLinux! If you're interesting in installing a full version of Linux (such as Debian, RedHat, Mandrake, SuSE, etc.), you should come to one of LUGOD's free "Installfest" workshops!

For more information, and to sign up, visit: http://www.lugod.org/if/

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Sponsored in part by:
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For donating some give-aways for our meetings.