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Small Footprint Systems: Damn Small Linux

Small Footprint Systems: Damn Small Linux

Posted Jun 23, 2006 2:38 UTC (Fri) by horen (guest, #2514)
Parent article: Live CDs Part III: Small Footprint Systems

I just purchased a Toshiba Satellite 2540cds from eBay. It's relatively low-end, with an AMD K6/II-333 cpu, 96MB RAM, and a 4.3GB hard drive. But it comes with built-in floppy and CDROM drives, and a full complement of I/O ports, including a single USB and two 32-bit (Cardbus) PCMCIA slots. It needed a new battery, and a sprung for two Zonet PCMCIA networking cards: one wired, the other wireless.

Well, I downloaded Damn Small Linux's latest-and-greatest release, v3.0.1, and burned the 50MB ISO image onto a CDROM, then rebooted the laptop and proceeded to install onto the hard drive within a total of 20 minutes (including an initial boot to ramdisk, so that I could partition the 4.3GB drive into two partitions: 512MB swap, and the rest for /.

It runs great! The 13.3" screen does not reflect more modern display technologies, but working in graphic mode at 800x600 resolution is clear and all programs are easily visible. The desktop is endlessly configurable, with provision for a wide variety of user-definable aspects.

I'm waiting to go over to Starbucks, plug-in the WiFi card (802.11g), and see what's gonna happen.

On the downside, I use the FVWM95 window manager (see my desktop on "Window Managers for X"), but DSL doesn't have a compiler, so I'll have to either find gcc through apt-get, or (gasp!) compile it on my own (something I haven't done since the late 1980s).

I score it:

Cleanliness: 9
Originality: 9
On Target: 9
Extensibility: 9

YMMV. My next project with DSL is installing it on an old Compaq LTE 4/75cxl, with no CDROM, but two 32-bit PCMCIA slots, 16MB RAM, and a 340MB hard drive.

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