Cheat Codes

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What is a cheatcode?

A cheatcode is an option which can be passed to DSL before it boots. They can be used to change the way DSL operates. Since DSL is based on Knoppix it inherits a number of cheatcodes from Knoppix. Over time a number of options unique to DSL have been added.

How do I use a cheatcode?

Boot DSL from the Live CD. At the first boot prompt type dsl followed by the cheatcodes you wish to use. DSL will then boot with your selected options.

If you run DSL from your harddrive using the Grub bootloader, you can put your cheatcodes into Grub's menu.lst and have them set permanently. The file is located in the boot directory on the partition where DSL was installed. You will need to be root to modify this file. Find the section containing the default DSL system, which is probably the first part of the file, and insert your cheatcode(s) into the kernel line. See nofstab in the table below if you use a persistent / frugal install.

You can also temporarily modify Grub's boot options at boot time. When Grub's menu appears, select the system you want to boot and press e to edit. Select the kernel line in the next screen and press e again to edit that line. Make your changes and then press Enter to accept or Esc to cancel. Finally, press b to boot with your changes. These changes apply to the current session only, and will revert when you reboot.

If you run DSL from your harddrive using the LILO bootloader, the file to edit is lilo.conf and is located in /etc/lilo.conf. The line to edit is the append line. After making changes you must run the lilo command to write the changes to the boot record. Since DSL does not use the standard /etc/lilo.conf for a frugal system, you must tell lilo where the config file is. For example, if DSL is installed on hda2, the command would be (as root) lilo -C /mnt/hda2/boot/lilo.conf

What cheatcodes are available?

2Runlevel 2, Textmode only
baseSkip myDSL load only the base system.
checkfsfscks unmounted filesystems.
nofstabSkip /etc/fstab Update or creation on each boot. Without this, during each boot the auto-configuration scripts will overwrite any changes you've made to the /etc/fstab file.
desktop=Choose your window manager; options: fluxbox, jwm.
dmaTurn on DMA acceleration for all drives.
dosswapfile{=hda1}Scan or Specify dosswapfile
fromhd=/dev/hda1Boot from previously copied CD-Image.
home=hdaXUse /mnt/hdaX/home/dsl for your home directory. Commonly known as "persistent home".
host=web123Set hostname.
lang={us / cs / da / de / es / fr / nl / it / pl / ru / sk...}Choose language / keyboard.
legacyBoots without unionfs
mem=xxM Specify the RAM in MB. If you are getting seg faults in the boot process, or if you are running on a machine with very low RAM, use this code to tell DSL the total memory available (where xx is your RAM in MB). For example: for a machine with 24 MB RAM use mem=24M ("mem" must be lowercase and the "M" at the end must be uppercase).
minimalDSL will use the 'minimal' fluxbox theme.
mydsl={hda1 / sda1}Restore myDSL apps (default to cdrom).
nodhcpSkip automatic network setup.
noiconsIf booting to X use plain desktop.
norestoreTurn off the automatic restore.
no{scsi / pcmcia / usb / agp / swap / apm / acpi / mce / ddc / firewire}Disable HW-detection.
opt=hdaXUse /mnt/hdaX/opt for your opt directory. Commonly known as "persistent opt." Note that .uci's which mount here will not be here on reboot, because they are aren't really written there. tar.gz's, on the other hand, are really written here, and so will still be here on reboot.
protectOn boot DSL will prompt for an encryption password and then triple-DES encrypt the backup file.
restoreLoad previously saved configuration.
restore={hda1 / sda1 / floppy}Specify saved configuration location.
sataEnable support for SATA drives.
secureOn boot DSL will prompt for passwords for dsl and root.
{ssh / lpd / nfs / syslog / monkey / ftp}Start various daemons at boot.
waitusbwait a bit longer for slow usb devices on boot.
tohd=/dev/hda1Copy CD to HD partition and run.
toramLoad CD into RAM and run (requires at least 128 MB).
root={hda1 / sda1/ floppy }Specify root device / partition. In frugal / persistent installs, specifies where the linux cloop file KNOPPIX resides. Without this as a cheat code or boot menu parameter, the kernel will panic.
knoppix_dir=<path to dir w/o leading "/">In frugal installs, specifies the directory name of the linux cloop file KNOPPIX if other than /KNOPPIX/. Use in conjunction with root=
knoppix_name=<cloop file name>In frugal installs, specifies the filename of the linux cloop file KNOPPIX if other than /<knoppix_dir>/KNOPPIX.
vga={normal / XXX} Sets the video mode to use. For more information on video modes see vga=xxx
xmodule=fbdevFollow this with the frame-buffer designation your system may require, such as fb1024x768. The designation will now be treated as a dsl option, and you can include other options along with it. Example below.
xsetup Causes X Setup to run before X, giving you the opportunity to select your resolution, keyboard, and mouse.
fuse Supports creation of file systems by regular users, merged with the Linux kernel with v2.6.14.
modules-disk Causes DSL to prompt for additional kernel modules via a disk.
atapicd / idecd Uses native ide cd drivers instead of scsi emulation (Thus disabling cd-writing 'cause of 2.4 kernel), a little lighter ram usage than normal scsi-emul.
noideraid ???
alsa ???
acpi=offuse this if your machine hangs at: ACPI: IRQ10 SCI: Level Trigger
frugal Remounts root as rw and prevents "remove cd" message at shutdown
noeject Prevents the ejecting of CD on shutdown. The "remove cd" message is still shown, but without action.


Suppose you wish to run DSL from memory and your MyDSL applications are stored on hda1. Then you would use the cheatcodes:

dsl toram mydsl=hda1

Frame-Buffer Example

If your system only displays properly when you boot with a frame-buffer label, such as fb1024x768, you probably discovered that you can't add any other cheat-codes as boot options along with it. Now you can. Make the fb1024x768 become a valid dsl boot option, rather than a boot label usable only by itself. The trick is to preceed it with xmodule=fbdev. Here's an example line with multiple boot option cheat-codes:

         dsl fromhd=hda1 xmodule=fbdev fb1024x768 home=hda3 alsa

Additionally, you could try booting in text mode (2) and using the vga codes from F3
dsl 2 vga=789

Other boot labels

You may also choose labels other than dsl to boot with a different set of default options. The following boot labels are available:

expertInteractive startup/setup
failsafe(Almost) no hardware-detection
fb1280x1024 / fb1024x768 / fb800x600 Framebuffer mode (for notebooks). See xmodule=fbdev above if you need to include other cheat-codes as well.
install Menu based install system for easy access to all possible installs
lowram Low RAM usage GUI with Minimal Desktop
ide1=0x180,0x386 ??? (This is needed when booting DSL or Knoppix on some Sony Vaio machines)
pci=off ???
ide2=0x180, 0x386 pci=off ??? This is needed when booting DSL-Live CD on some Sony VAIO laptop computers with External PCMCIA CD-ROM drives (usage: dsl ide2=0x180, 0x386 pci=off)

Note that these other boot labels are NOT appended to the dsl command. In other words:

dsl fb800x600

is WRONG, while


is correct.

Finally, if lowram fails, you can create a super low RAM text mode that is useful for creating a swap file or swap partition:

     dsl 1 vga=normal atapicd noideraid nosound noapic noacpi acpi=off noscsi noapm nousb nopcmcia nofirewire noagp nomce