I am attempting to use Christopher Negus's book "Linux Bible, 2008 Edition". In attempting to use the
accompanying DVD to do a direct boot (live as opposed to install to hard drive), the following is put out:

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Linux kernel 2.6.19
Loading Linux..............
Loading minirt.gz.........
(message re memory scan)
(message re USB detection)
Can't find KNOPPIX filesystem
Dropping you to (very limited) shell
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This is on a gateway desktop, purchased 2007.

System info summary:

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OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer GATEWAY
System Model GT5238E
System Type X86-based PC
Processor x86 Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 6 GenuineIntel ~1864 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date Intel Corp. MQ96510J.15A.0251.2006.1009.1659, 10/9/2006
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Windows Directory C:\WINDOWS
System Directory C:\WINDOWS\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"
Total Physical Memory 2,048.00 MB
Available Physical Memory 1.41 GB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 3.83 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

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Also, do you know of anyone who is successfully using this book/dvd; can you
suggest a desktop or laptop suitable for running (various flavors of) Linux?