Spotlight on Linux: SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0

In the world of small size distributions, SliTaz is one of the most remarkable. Not only does it have one of the smallest download images, but it can also run on modest hardware while offering graphical applications with familiar interfaces. It's one of the wonders of the Linux world.

SliTaz ships as an installable live CD and features an attractively configured OpenBox window environment. Not only is it attractive, but also very familiar. Expected elements are in place on a lower panel such as an application launcher, system tray, task manager, pager, and traditional menu system. With the 30 MB ISO, one might expect only commandline applications, but SliTaz offers graphical applications for many tasks. For example, the Midori Web browser is featured and it offers many of the amenities that other more popular browsers have such as Speed Dial (visual bookmark page), tabs, and Private Browsing. Using the SliTaz Package Manager, get-flash-plugin can be installed to fetch and install Adobe's Flash Player. 

The SliTaz Package Manager is a graphical tool to install various software applications. It's appearance is similar to Sayabon's Sulfur and it offers many of the same functionalities found in other popular graphical software managers such as Synaptic. SliTaz repositories have lots of great software to outfit your newly installed SliTaz. The hard drive installer is a bit more text-based in appearance and does run in a terminal window, however, it is a wizard and asks the same sort of questions as found in other installers. You will want to pre-partition your hard drive before starting the installer though. Otherwise, it's just as easy to use as any other despite its old-fashioned appearance. 

Some other applications featured in SliTaz include mtPaint, Viewnior, Transmission, AlsaPlayer, Osmo personal organizer, Zoho document viewer, Nano, Leafpad, and a few scripts to automagically install media players, Abiword, and such. Perhaps of equal importance is the toolbox of system utilities included. You'll find tools for partitioning, viewing logs, managing files, configuring hardware and networking settings (including wireless), burning media, mounting devices, and lots more. In fact, you'll even find a Control Box, which includes configuration dialogs to set up your various desktop, startup, hardware, and system options. SliTaz sports Linux 2.6.30, GCC 4.4.1, and Xorg X Server 1.5.2. It even includes some handy documentation. (More documentation is available online as well.)

SliTaz always gets positive reviews because of all it packs into that tiny package. Small light applications also equal high performance, so SliTaz would be perfect for some of your older or lower spec hardware. The specificiations of SliTaz state it needs an i486 or x86 processor and 192 MB RAM (although there are versions for even lower RAM). Even on modern hardware SliTaz has the one element all operating system should possess - FUN!

 

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Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.

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useful on slow broadband

another andrew 's picture

I find on my slow broadband that watching online TV with ubuntu or fedora is frustratingly jerky, whereas with Slitaz I can watch a whole programme without interruption. To me this is a great use for it...

slitaz

Stephen's picture

I don't see it mentioned anywhere if it's an RPM based. What kind of packages does it use?

Slitaz uses their own package

Anonymous's picture

Slitaz uses their own package manager, TazPkg. It appears to work very well though. All of these package managers which were patterned off of apt-get/dpkg seem great to me nowadays.

RAM

Anonymous's picture

I have Slitaz on a 200 MHz Pentium-5 PC maxed out at 256 MB of RAM. I tired most all the small Linux distros, Slitaz was the keeper. I thought it loads the system into RAM thus minimizing hard drive spin and making it much faster than anything else I tried. It also boots on that old PC in 1 minute while other distros took 5 minutes. But a 200MHz PC still runs slow slow.

In Virtual Environ, installation stops @ "Configuring loopback"

N GowriSankar's picture

I have used mulinux, quite some time back (for non production purposes), which had a similar low foot print configuration. And, I was curious to see this slitaz. I tried to install it in a virtual environment under Windows 7 (using Microsoft Virtual PC 2007) and it gives a message:
tracpoint.c: failed to get extended button data
It resumes installation and stops at following message.
"Configuring loopback [Ok]"

A quick search in the slitaz site points to an article that suggests to change /etc/init.d/network file, but i don't know how to open the sh file inside an ISO image. Let me try to load the ISO image in another system and see if i can edit the file.
Anybody was successful

Slitaz Video Tutorials

metalx2000's picture

I have a bunch of videos on using Slitaz.
check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YQrBgNGQrw

http://filmsbykris.com/
Everything you ever need to know about Open-Source Software.

So true...

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for a great introduction to a wonderful OS. My daugther uses it on her Asus netbook, and I carry it on a USB key as my portable OS. I can highly recommend this as an ultra-lightweight distro with very good performance.

Slitaz

Anonymous's picture

Awesome distro. The feature I love is the built in audio editor. Very tidy indeed. And a GNU editor - like emacs. Quick and fun. GIMP installs and just snaps into place when it has downloaded.

Encouraged

Barista Uno's picture

Thanks for the wonderful review. I just downloaded today Slitaz 3.0 and it's definitely on my shortlist of distros to install on the desktop rig I intend to assemble very soon.

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