Ati and Nvidia have both released new binary drivers for Linux very recently and both were supported on Kanotix within hours of being first spotted. Both are trivially easy to install on Kanotix, whether you are running from an installed system or a compressed one (e.g. from LiveCD)
With Kanotix all you have to do is be online and run two scripts, first one updates the local scripts to the latest version, second one takes care of the complete driver install.
This is just one of the things Kanotix has gotten right (or at least as close not to matter imho), if you are having any hardware/driver problems I’d recommend it over Knoppix, especially for installations/laptops/amd64, but ymmv. Note that I don’t actually run these binary drivers myself, but do try out installing them every few months just to see if it’s still as easy (after the pain and suffering it took to get ati drivers up the first time I ever tried). For people who want to just play games (perhaps using cedega) and don’t care about the licensing of their drivers (or do but just want to play anyway) it couldn’t really get much easier.
For those who don’t know … Kanotix was fathered by Knoppix but from the outset diverged back towards a much purer Debian sid but with even more hardware support, especially wireless cards, (and in recent times has ventured a little into experimental e.g. for KDE 3.4.1). It takes the approach that if the only good/working way to support something is a non-free way it will try and make it easy (ndiswrapper, slmodem, java, ati/nvidia, unfortunately XP SP2 made a mess of captive-ntfs even if it was horrifically slow). It’s certainly not just Yet Another Knoppix Remaster, but perhaps it could reasonably be called _the_ Knoppix successor.
In an ideal world we could do as Debian are planning and ignore all this non-free code, but the facts are that in the real world some of these pieces are frequently needed, so if you just want to get going with the least fuss give Kanotix a whirl. Of all the non-free parts, the only optional one imho is sun-java, but hopefully we’ll be seeing a free java up to the task soon enough (and everyone trying changing now may help it get there).
BTW everyone’s favourite Ubuntu is now planning to use the Kanotix/Mepis model (live cd is the desktop install cd) for their next release, though I don’t know yet just what they are planning to do for this installer (vis-a-vis cloning the running system or installing a pristine system). For anyone who just can’t wait I have heard Kano say he would do a “Kanotix Ubuntu Edition” if the interested parties forked out a very reasonable sum (less then the price of one MS OS and Office Suite no matter what price you get them I suspect, though the MS employees reading this may be able to get Windows+Office cheaper)
Remember all this the next time your thinking of downloading Knoppix or you feel like trying a binary video driver (or ndiswrapper or …) without actually tainting a real system … Append (or insert) “unionfs” on the Kanotix grub boot command line to have a writable system (all changes get stored in ram, unionr[ow] to store them on a drive) and lang=ie to get an Irish keyboard/timezone/language setting and join #kanotix or freenode for answers to questions (or the forum via kanotix.com).
It’s all choice, it’s all good If you really want to you can try most of this on Knoppix, but ymmv in a way it won’t with Kanotix!
And if anyone wants to help write record the Kanotix Song let me know