I upgraded one of my network file servers, yesterday. I replaced a hard disk that was setting off occasional error notices, and, while while I was at it, I replaced the current operating system (Mandrake Community 10.1) with Knoppix 3.7. Knoppix is the Linux distribution that I use in class to demonstrate how simple Linux is to use, because Knoppix is a fully-functional operating system with common applications that can boot from a single CD. So, with the bootable CD, I can quickly convert any computer to Linux without the risk of deleting any existing files from the Windows operating system.
The installation was much quicker than I expected. I usually set aside three or four hours to install and configure a server’s operating system, but Knoppix cut that time down to 30 minutes. I then tinkered with a few minor configuration options (screensaver, background colors), but the necessary functionality was up and going in well under an hour.
If you’re interested in trying Knoppix, yourself; download it from either the developer’s website or LinuxISO.org. When you’re burning the single-file download to a CD, pay attention to be sure to you properly configure the CD to accept the ISO image, otherwise the CD won’t have it’s self-booting property.
BTW, Knoppix is free for both personal and commercial use.