The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

You don't always need the biggest, baddest machine to get the job done well—slim down the numbers.
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Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Hey everybody check out the tiniest single file X servers as small as around 1 MB!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Hey everybody check out the tiniest single file X servers as small as around 1 MB! at www.rule-project.org/en/sw/kdrive

Another good article on this subject

Anonymous's picture

Boom!

Anonymous's picture

Hi I am trying to take a tiny bite of redhat 8 distro and make a mutant called MMLinux aimed at mp3 and video freaks evrything is fine except that i get an 'no job control in this shell' or somethng like that please help me with this. once i get this problem done, i can open ,more than 1 ttys and can keep a mixer open. I am trying to make it as simple and user freindly as possible. It has come to around 18 MB I am using Kdrive for Xserver instead of the usual X server. You can find about it in RULE (Run Updaed Linux Everywhere) 's web site. Mplayer for the mp3 playing ,vedio, ogg vorbis etc., etc., cdp for playing audio cds. My root file system is a heavily modified initrd of the RH8 package
Laxminarayan kamath
kamathln@rediffmail.com
p.s. i wll register, but not now . I am tired of typing this on a mobile fone.

Minimal Resource Linux Distribution : Tiny Linux

Anonymous's picture

Tiny Linux:

http://tiny.seul.org/en/

This distro is tailored for systems with few resources

Minimal Hardware Requirements:

------------------------------

* processor : i386 or better

* hard disk : 50 Megs, 80 Megs is best

* ram: 8 MB minimum, 12 MB or 16 MB is better

* floppy drive :3"1/4

It supports X windows ( GUI environment ) and networking.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the excellent article.

Here is an interesting faq on WordPerfect 8.0. Runs in 6MB (AbiWord also, KWord about 17MB).

http://www.linuxmafia.com/wpfaq/introduction.html

Suggestion for another article (or probably there already are?): Expand on the last paragraph in the article to explain in more detail what services (from the default install) are really required, and which can be turned off, for example sendmail, Apache server. Specifically I use Netscape mail, do I also need sendmail running? Or does netscape bypass that?

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

You basically described Vectorlinux to a "t". I use it for the same reasons you stated, on my laptop.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

johnno's picture

I did a similar story a while back, it's at:

http://users.netwit.net.au/~pursang/lofat.html

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

LoFat, desktop background-holic

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

www.edmunds-enterprised.com sells Mandrake for 486. Anyone like this small 'puters?

Qtopia and QtEmbedded

Anonymous's picture

Try using Qtopia (with the Linux framebuffer) and the QtEmbedded apps. I have alot of software installed on my Zaurus that will run really well on older x86 hardware.

Anyone interested in creating a distribution (I had originally thought this would be a great way to give away Internet connected waste PCs - one's that business thought were unusable - to needy kids and organizatoins)? Post back!

Re: Qtopia and QtEmbedded

Anonymous's picture

I've just gotten into working with older computers, and I had the same idea of creating a distribution created solely for older 486s and Pentiums. Now this article has given me some inspiration to create one........

My ol' computer:

Pentium MMX 200mhz

32MB SDRAM

3.2 gig hard drive

Matrox Millenium 4MB video card

Coincidentally, I was flipping through some old wireds yesterday, and there was an article on what happens to older computers; Linux would be perfect for them because of Microsofts stupid licensing that requires the media to stay with the computer.

Re: Qtopia and QtEmbedded

Anonymous's picture

All we need now is a way to run NetZero for a free ISP and the those with minimal resources (in the U.S.) can have net access.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

"Small" systems are really good to work with and to learn about good sysadmin and system building practices. A few years ago I obtained a Compaq LTE5100 60-some Mhz, ~32M RAM, 700M HD, and external cdrom. I ran debian with fvwm for a while, but it just got to the point that debian was slower than molasis in january so #puts on asbestos longjohns# i switched to NetBSD. NetBSD with fvwm2, numerous xterms, and an X-session to my NIS/NFS/Firewall/Fileserver/everythingelse box on another virtual console causes little or no performance issues on the little fella. i can go on happily working (I use it for managing my little pile of machines) with almost no grinding or pauses (minus those that would be expected from a machine of this type). All in all making small systems work for you should be a required experiment for nearly all *nixers

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Where do you get NetBSD? At one time I wanted to try

it, but I couldn't find anyone selling CDs. I see now that

CheapBytes, etc, selling NetBSD... I like OpenBSD and

also dabble in FreeBSD, does NetBSD offer anything

over OpenBSD?

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Being the Potatoe cooker, let me say that you don't need the asbestos johnnies on. What footprint did you get NetBSD into? Or is 400mb resonable? I have never tried any BSD but am more than willing...

Thanks

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Sorry, but are you implying that Debian is a lighter OS? Know your facts fool!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Slackware roolz!! A base install of Redhat 7.3 (no X, no networking, no dev tools, no nothin) weighed in at 149 MB on disk. Slackware 8.1 came to the rescue at 47 MB. Then I added tcpip, ppp, X, and Fvwm95 (no IceWM on the iso) for around 115-120 MB, still below the RedHat base install. Installing slack is still not as shiny as some of the others, but for getting the job done on a diet (budget) nothing else comes close.

Oh yeah, for partition juggling, GNU parted roolz too.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Oh yeah? :-)

Gentoo base install is around 16 MB.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Interesting patches to dillo (dillo compiles under FreeBSD even with the patches applied):

http://bobuk.ipost.ru/packages/dillo

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Ah yes, this is on my menu, and is a dish that I like alot. I have a 486 with 400mb hd, and 32mb ram. Dselect is my main tool, and I can easily get Pototes simmering quite nicely!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

To give a better idea, I spent some of my spare time this year optimizing a P233 laptop with 32 Mo of RAM, and 4 Go of harddrive.

Window manager:

I started by using blackbox, but this is just not the kind of interface I am fond of, so I switched to Icewm-light.

File manager:

Have a look at Rox-filer, a great app!

Email client:

Sylpheed, a complete and fast email-client

Browser:

Opera, though it is not GPL, less ressource-hungry as any recent browser.

I happened to use Dillo as well for simple web-sites. It's deadly fast, but quite rudimentary still.

Office:

Abiword, Gnumeric and Lyx. Forget about Openoffice with 32 Mo of RAM.

As you can see, most fast-running programs (if not all) where based on GTK+. And they are still quite user-friendly.

Hope it helps some people.

Yann

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

ROX-Filer is the best file manger I've ever seen.

http://rox.sourceforge.net

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Just try Endeavour Mark II and you'll see a difference.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

IceWM 1.2 was released a few weeks ago.

I have tried it: it's faster than 1.0.9 version!

(I don't know about its footprint but it should be the same)

also look at Ted, a great little word processor

antskip's picture

In the "small is beautiful" fashion of Dillo, Sylpheed, and Windowmaker, Ted is a fine word processor that takes up half the footprint of abiword, reads and writes rtf files better than any, and even caters for footnotes.
Info and downloads at http://www.nllgg.nl/Ted/.

Links 2.1pre2

Anonymous's picture

Links 2.1pre2 aka gLinks is also a nice light browser with good rendering in graphics mode as well as js, cookies, frames, and SSL support.

Dillo and Links2 are both great feather weight browsers.

Re: Links 2.1pre2

Anonymous's picture

O heck. Just use lynx.

Re: Links 2.1pre2

Anonymous's picture

Does lynx have a GUI now? I just saw that links2 does - and I'm using it right now. It's pretty good. BTW, I'm running it in cygwin, since I can't install Linux on my PC at work :-)

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Don't forget openoffice.org!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

>Don't forget openoffice.org!

That has to be a joke. Great program, but it is about as light as lead.

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

brianlane's picture

Great article Marcel! But I think that your memory use estimates are a little on the low side. Maybe you are only counting the direct KDE and GNOME programs. I've found that if I install a basic RH 7.3 GNOME system and then try to do 'normal' things like compile programs, use a browser and email client (sylpheed) that it pretty quickly ends up hitting swap on my 256MB machine.

My solution has been to do a RH 7.3 install and then use the individual package selection system to remove everything (even when you don't select some features they are included!). I end up with about 350MB footprint on the disk, but still need X, etc.

I then install WindowMaker and go from there. Its a bit of a hassle getting around all the dependencies on GNOME and its associated plethora of libraries but it can be done with a little bit of recompiling (or in the case of gimp, installing with --nodeps).

The major Linux distributions are turning into BloatWare, its time to take back control of our machines!

Brian

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

FreeThinkerAtLarge's picture

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the comments. As for the numbers being on the low side, you may well be right but I wanted to let you know that I actually went out of my way to provide untainted numbers on this, despite the fact that I acknowledge this is far from scientific.

For each test, I reset my .xinitrc file so that I would start up X with a specific window manager and an Xterm -- nothing else. To make sure that buffered and cached memory wasn't a factor, I rebooted each time, checked the numbers with 'free' on startup, then checked it again as soon as my graphical environment was up.

It is also possible to tweak these numbers down even more by stripping binaries or compiling with in wild and exciting ways, but this is not what I wanted to provide for a 'simple' alternative to the mega-desktops.

Anyhow, enough from me. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate the feedback.

Marcel (Writer and Free Thinker at Large) Gagn

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

Doesn't it occur to you that you are using the wrong distribution?

(Now, I'm not knocking Redhat. I don't use it myself but I don't believe that Redhat is the "Microsoft of Linux" or whatever.)

Instead I use Debian. I install the base system (some 20-30mb I haven't done it for a while so I don't remember exactly), and then just install the bits I need. The reverse of your install technique, and a very sensible way to go about it. I don't need to worry about broken dependencies, and if I see something I don't want to be installed (ie bits of Gnome or KDE or whatever) then I just look for an alternative App. If I find I can't live without something (ie Quanta for the sake of argument) I can install it knowing only the very neccessary bits of KDE are installed. Also, most apps which can either use Gnome or not (ie Abiword) exist as seperate packages. You can install either Abiword-Gnome or (or for that matter, and) Abiword-Gtk. No recompiling is neccessary.

The end result is as minimal as a mainstream distro can be. In my wife's PC's case, a total of about 300mb, including X, browsers (Opera, Netscape 4 and Mozilla, although that doesn't work so well on this P100, window manager (XFce), mail program (Sylpheed), word processor (Abiword) and too many other bits to remember. On my main machine (which is a powerful Celeron 300, a luxurios 192mb of RAM, and a spacious 6gb harddisk) I have less than 1gb installed in /usr, but with almost everything I could ever need.

If you think that the major distros are turning into BloatWare, I suggest you look around a little further!

Cheers,

Richard

Ps. To get back on topic, have a look at Rox File Manager if you want a lightening fast, but low resource, graphical file manager. This thing is excellent, and has to be seen in operation to be believed!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

very good article

i would help by pointing blackbox or is parent, fluxbox as a even ligher WM (fluxbox with a total of 2.3Mb of ram right now on my system)

this article lacks a very important program, a email client...

there are several console mail clients, mutt and pine are the best, for graphic ones, sylpheed and its dev version, sylpheed claws are the best, very fast and light, but still very powerfull and stable

for year i search for a good GUI email client but all were slow, buggy or dead

after i found sylpheed i stop looking, it was and still is perfect

instead of xterm i recomend the rxvt, its stilla a xterm, but a little lighter than xterm, and if you are like me, with several terminals opens you will start to see the diference

gnumeric is faster and lighter than openoffice, not as light as abiword but still a app to test

that it, now go test the software

higuita

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

I think you might have the blackbox/fluxbox relationship backwards. Your point is spot-on, however.

Mike

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

blackbox came first!

Re: Cooking with Linux: The Ultimate (but Small) Linux Box!

Anonymous's picture

icewm uses 1.8Mb for me... all depends on configure/compile options...

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