[lug] The slow-lowmemory-headless-server-with-plenty-of-disk distro?

Chris Riddoch riddochc at gmail.com
Tue Nov 14 16:16:06 MST 2006

Hi, everyone.

As some of you know, I got a Soekris 4801 [1] to replace an aging
system that died a couple months ago.  It's a cute little box, which I
intend to use to run my OpenVPN server, household wiki, and perhaps
mail.  Not very powerful (or high-power, which is part of the point)
but powerful enough for the little things that should always be up.

It seems that most distros try to target the Desktop system, or the
Big Server system, or the really teensy server system that can only
run a floppy or so worth of stuff.  This is somewhere in between.

I have a 2 gig compact flash card for the main drive of the Soekris
box, and there's 128 megs of memory soldered on the motherboard.  I
might get an external housing for the 300 gig drive that was in the
aging system to be a simple file server or something.  So it's not
like I'm limited to running busybox and dietlibc or the like.

But there's no video card, no audio, no keyboard input...therefore a
very large portion of the software that most distros include would be
pointless.  The processor speed and memory are much more limiting than
the disk space.

I'm inclined to use Debian on it, and I've looked at Gentoo, and
Ubuntu, but I'm waffling.  Does anyone know of a more specialized
distro that might be more suitable?  What are your experiences with
such systems?

[1] http://www.soekris.com/net4801.htm

epistemological humility
  Chris Riddoch

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