original language: french
last update: 09/09/2001

Welcome to DemoLinux

The DemoLinux CD allow to use Linux without installation, disk partitioning or any other complex manipulation that still prevent many people from giving Linux a try. This CD does not install Linux on your hard disk, but it allows you to play with it at lenght before you eventually decide to proceed with a full fledged installation.

This is made possible by a set of technical features in the Linux kernel and by some other free software (notably from S.u.S.E. and RedHat) that we use here.


Our goal is to allow everybody to make by himself an idea of what Linux can offer, and also to provide software publishers with a means to give out easy to use, no-hassle demos of their Linux products.

This CD is also a wonderful means of using Linux everywhere: you can take your favorite configuration with you in a CD that fits in your pocket, sit down in front of most PCs running another OS, boot from the CD and find yourself in front of your preferred environment in minutes.

Hardware requirements

To try DemoLinux, you need an IBM-PC compatible computer with a CD-ROM drive (better if it is an ATAPI one, and if it is less than 32x, be prepared to be patient), and:

This allows you to get a running Linux system with a preconfigured desktop.

WARNING : The DemoLinux CD works with a great number of hardware configuration. But it may happen that certain devices (particularly very old ones) are not recognized by this CD, but this dos not mean by any means that they are bound not to work with a full installation of Linux. For the while, for example, printers and sound cards are deliberately not taken into account. Finally, to allow an eay use on many different computers, we use a graphics driver based on the VESA Bios compatibility standard supported by most cards, which can offer suboptimal preformances with your video card (the refresh rate may be less than with a specific driver, and unlike a specific driver, the VESA driver will not use any acceleration features your card may offer).



If your PC allows it, the easiest way to go is just to boot off the CD-ROM driver. Most recent PCs allow this via a simple modification in the BIOS settings that you can access and modify at boot time by pressing some special key (look for a message like "Press DEL to enter BIOS Setup): make sure the first boot device is the CD-Rom drive."

If you dont even know what BIOS means, then go for the nex best solution: make a boot floppy using the floppy image available on the CD, and then boot off the floppy. For that, start in DOS (or open an MSDOS window in your Windows) and insert the CD-Rom (well, if you are reading all this, you already have the CD inserted, I suppose). In what follows we assume the CD is in drive D:), if it is in another drive, change D: accordingly. Then, in the MSDOS window, type CD D:SUSE and then D:DOSUTILSRAWRITE This program will ask you for a filename, type BOOT.IMG. Then it will ask for the name of the floppy drive, type A: (or B: depending on where you put the blank floppy). After a few minutes, you will have your boot floppy ready. Reboot the PC leaving floppy and CD-ROM in place (make sure the floppy is in the A: drive).

Choosing the screen resolution

Now you have succeded in booting your PC from CD-Rom or from the newly created floppy bisk. Yoiu will see a presentation page with a few information on the DemoLinux projects that you can access by pressing the F1, F2, F3, F4, F5 and F6 function keys (copyright, screen resolution infos etc.). Take your time and read what you like: the boot process will continue with a minimalist choice (640x480 screen resolution) only if you dont touch the machine for 10 full minutes.

Now you have to choose your screen resolution by typing one of 1024 800 or 640 at the

prompt on the lower left corner of the screen.

Warning: while this should only apply to obsolete monitors, choosing a wrong screen resolution (typically one higher that the one your display can handle) may DAMAGE it. The manual that came with your monitor should clearly state which resolutions are supported.

Choose preferably the resolution you regularly use on your machine. To get 1024x768, type 1024, to get 800x600, type 800, and for 640x480 type 640 (this is the default resolution).

Choose the language and keyboard layout!

After answering a couple of questions (language choice, keyboard layout), you will see a penguin coming up, followed by a bunch of strange messages. Dont worry, wait (loading an OS from a CD is a much longer process than from a hard disk), and after a few minutes you will see a nice graphical user interface coming up with a funny background and what is called a "login panel".

Click on the penguin (the 'demo' user)  then on the 'Enter' button, leaving alone the password field.

Using the disks

The DemoLinux CD does not touch your disks. As the whole sistem is running off the CDROM, it is obviously impossible to install new applications or to modify most of the configuration files.

The demo user has almost no right to write outside its own /home/demo directory and on hard disks or floppy disks.

Unless you take care to copy the files you create to a disk or a floppy, everything you do will be lost once you reboot the system, so take care of saving anything important on your hard disk or floppy!

Also, please remmeber that you have only limited memory available when running off the CD without touching the hard disk,