[lug] compact linux distributions

Hugh Brown hugh at math.byu.edu
Mon May 16 18:59:48 MDT 2005

On Mon, 2005-05-16 at 13:05 -0700, Brian Stiff wrote:
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 21:27:51 -0600
> > From: David Anselmi <anselmi at anselmi.us>
> > Subject: Re: [lug] compact linux distributions
> > Brian Stiff wrote:
> > > I'm looking for a fairly flexible,
> > recently-maintained
> > > compact distribution, hopefully based on Red Hat
> > or
> > > Debian.  I want to build a compact streaming media
> > > player for the garage so I can listen to my mp3's
> > > while I twist wrenches.
> > 
> > What do you mean by compact?  If you have 1GB of
> > disk space you can run 
> > Debian testing out of the box.  I have a web & mail
> > server in <700MB of 
> > disk with 64MB of memory on a machine that's close
> > to 10 years old.
> Sorry, I should have been more specific WRT the
> "compact" label.  I'm hoping to avoid using a hard
> disk, so a small read-only compactflash-based
> installation is more along the lines of what I'm
> after.  Lori Reed's suggestion of using Damn Small
> Linux is looking like the winner so far.  I'd run
> across it earlier and dismissed it for some reason,
> but apparently I've been breathing enough brake
> cleaner fumes or something to have re-arranged my
> priorities, so upon re-visting, it's looking good.  
> > 
> > I think that Debian is easier to minimize than the
> > RH distros, based on 
> > my experience with RH9 and FC2.  And aptitude's
> > tracking of 
> > automatically installed packages rocks for just that
> > (let me know if you 
> > want details).
> > 
> It's looking like Damn Small supports apt-get, so I'll
> be able to put together the image I want, then fairly
> easily get it up to date.  
> I realize that most distributions can be pared down to
> a "minimal" sort of installation, but I've had limited
> success with that sort of endeavor.  I had hoped for
> something that was already pretty well put together,
> so I wouldn't have to spend too much time playing
> hit-and-miss with the software.  Call me lazy, but I
> prefer to play with hardware more than software. 
> -B

I believe Damn Small Linux is a stripped down version of knoppix which
is a stripped down version of Debian.

You might also look at Compact Flash Linux (http://www.cflinux.hu/ and
http://freshmeat.net/projects/cflinux/ for quick info).

I've used a stripped down version of Knoppix on a 256MB USB thumb drive
(it only needed a browser/sshd and not much else).  I think I was able
to squeeze it down to about 160MB, so there was room to add back in a
few things if needed.

Back when I checked (about 2yrs ago), DSLinux had about a 50MB


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