Knoppix 7.2.x – The Security Blanket
Knoppix is one of the older Linux distributions out there but I still can't bring myself to remove it from my aged 2GB Transcend JetFlash USB stick. It's not just its Debian roots that make the portable distribution so dependable. There's something infinitely comforting when I boot into the plain but extremely familiar desktop. Even after all these years, I still get a cheap thrill when I hear the disembodied female voice say "Initiating startup sequence" on boot.
I started using Knoppix as my LiveUSB of choice in 2006. It took me a long time to update to 7.2 (My USB stick had previously been running 6.x). Knoppix is so dependable that I never get the urge to upgrade to a different distribution. I'm not even sure I would upgrade to 8 immediately when the next big Knoppix update comes out.
There just isn't much pressure to do anything with Knoppix other than customizing the wallpaper (I used a Summer Glau Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles JPEG for years). In fact, whenever I purchase a new backpack or messenger bag, my Knoppix LiveUSB is the first thing I toss into the small zipper pocket. Moreover, I have the admittedly bad habit of trying out Knoppix on every laptop I get my hands-on (company-issued, personal, new or old). I'm also prejudiced against any hardware that doesn't load Knoppix – although it's been a couple of years since I've encountered hardware that didn't bring me to the LXDE desktop seconds after plugging the LiveUSB.
Make no mistake; there are amazing new portable Linux distributions out there that are as hassle-free as Knoppix with updated packages and newer software that are invaluable to the IT enthusiast or professional. I also carry an updated Ubuntu variant on a micro USB stick. However, there's nothing like a familiar, tried and tested tool at your side when you need one.