now playing: Tiny Core Linux

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 20
Author Content
gus3

Feb 16, 2011
6:51 PM EST
That's right, I'm posting this from a fresh install of Tiny Core Linux. It isn't perfect, and there are plenty of things I'd like to tweak, but two things stand out:

1. It's incredibly tiny: 444M after having installed Firefox 4.0b7, Wireshark, and OpenSSH, along with their dependencies;

2. It's screamingly, blindingly, hedonistically FAST. When I launch a shell window, my finger isn't off the mouse button before the window is up and ready for input. I have never ever seen any computer, running any OS, responding this fast, and this is on my woefully under-powered EeePC.

My first impression: 8.5/10.
flufferbeer

Feb 16, 2011
10:12 PM EST
@gus3

That's great that TC is so impressive for you. As a TC newbie, I found that it was horribly difficult to figure out all the READMEs and FAQs to see how to best use this on a laptop. Super fast, but NOT so user-friendly even with the forum/wiki docs! And just FORGET about installing this!

Maybe TC has changed, but I went to Puppy Linux Linux for a decently-fast and "small" liveCD. I wonder if Puppy's Barry Kauler will be integrating some of TC's improvements that you tout so highly here? Barry is now heavily promoting his lean-and-mean QuirkyPuppy, so maybe THIS has integrated similar improvements as did TC. STANDARD Puppy runs rings around TC as far as being user-friendly!

-2c
steever

Feb 17, 2011
5:16 AM EST
@gus3:

I've tried installing it on my old EEE 701, but couldn't get past wireless issues - ie no Internet connectivity. Can you give some pointers on how you went with it?
bigg

Feb 17, 2011
6:30 AM EST
TC runs well on 12-year old hardware.
tracyanne

Feb 17, 2011
7:29 AM EST
Quoting:TC runs well on 12-year old hardware.


Yes she's quite versitile.
gus3

Feb 17, 2011
3:28 PM EST
I used a wired high-speed connection to get the wireless modules and the wireless-tools packages. After that, just bring up wlan0, associate it, and then use the Network control panel app to get your DHCP.

Edit: Or, automate the network stuff with an edit to /opt/wlan0.sh. (I have yet to pull up the official Tiny Core docs.)

It's just a matter of using the available capabilities, to add more capabilities, until it has the ones you want.
gus3

Feb 18, 2011
6:10 PM EST
But, alas, it lacks one important capability, one I found no way to add without major hackery:

Passwords.

That's a show-stopper.

I dunno if I want to put Slackware back on it, or go with the better power management of Ubuntu. But I am thinking to go with Slackware, and make a btrfs root FS.

In the meantime, Tiny Core is great, for what it is: the smallest functional distro with a 2.6 kernel. 9/10 for the concept, 5.5/10 for the implementation.
hkwint

Feb 18, 2011
8:30 PM EST
No way to put in a command like login or so in the init files? I thought you should be able to fix this in inittab or something?

I'm pretty happy I finally was able to boot my computer without requiring a password, which is also a pretty daunting task - but still fun, and saves extra time booting.
tqk

Feb 20, 2011
5:40 PM EST
Quoting:Quoting:TuxChick runs well on 12-year old hardware.

Yes she's quite versitile.


Er, FTFY?!? Are you some kinda paedo-thingy, or accusing her of being one, or what!?!

Did I just say that out loud?

Ignore, TC.
gus3

Feb 20, 2011
6:34 PM EST
@hkwint:

Tiny Core has no inittab; it has an init shell script in the root directory, that handles calling the appropriate scripts for loading extensions and the like, and firing up the GUI. Very manual, like something I would come up with.
Steven_Rosenber

Feb 20, 2011
11:10 PM EST
I don't think I've run a system faster or more versatile than TinyCore.
hkwint

Feb 21, 2011
6:59 AM EST
Quoting:it has an init shell script in the root directory


But one should be able to put the '/bin/login' (or where it is) in the script, isn't it? Or agetty/ sgetty or so, which on in turn calls login, just like other distro's do I assume.

Have to admit I didn't find out how one can calls agetty and such though, have been playing around with it but it's not that simple it seems.
tuxchick

Feb 22, 2011
12:32 AM EST
Of course I run great on old hardware, I absolutely believe in reducing the waste stream.
flufferbeer

Feb 22, 2011
10:41 AM EST
re:TC @tc :hardy har har: <LOL>

Damn Small Linux at 50 MB is relatively not that much larger than Tiny Core's 10.5 MB, TuxChick. Even though DSL has been stagnant for years, it DOES work great on older hardware and it is EASY to use and understand!

I actually STILL use the old DSL, besides Puppy Linux. (As an FYI, Barry Kauler just this week came out with a new Puppy Linux "Wary" edition for older hardware, weighing in at well over twice the size of DSL (~123 MB) )

There is even yet ANOTHER mini-distro that came out after DSL, called SliTaz, which weighs in at ~30 MB in size, halfway between TC and DSL.

-fb
Bob_Robertson

Feb 22, 2011
11:01 AM EST
In my not so humble opinion, it's not the image size that matters.

A cheap IDE drive of 50GB will fit in that old hardware too, and take any size distribution. Holding on to the 4GB and smaller disk drives is silly.

Replacing a disk drive is no where near the waste that replacing a whole system is, I'm right there with you on that.
jdixon

Feb 22, 2011
11:12 AM EST
> A cheap IDE drive of 50GB will fit in that old hardware too, and take any size distribution.

While you may run into bios issues on some really old hardware, that's largely true. Memory limitations are a much larger problem with older hardware than drive space.
flufferbeer

Feb 22, 2011
2:59 PM EST
@jdixon, > Memory limitations are a much larger problem with older hardware than drive space.

My own experience has been quite the opposite.

I've found more often than not that drive space on older disk drives are lacking because of bad sectors on these drives. Such bad drives are then essentially bricks even if the BIOS should somehow recognize these drives using CHS recognition. And never mind disk crashes, these bad drives STAY broken!

Older memory sticks, OTOH, seem to stay good for MUCH longer that older disk drives. Those old 64-128 MB PC100 DIMMs just won't go bad as long as they are clean, properly stored&handled, and properly inserted when used. Even the much older 16-32 MB 72pin SIMMs can still be made to work if air-dusted and cleaned with contact-cleaner, not that there is too much use for these anymore.

My own 2c
jdixon

Feb 23, 2011
6:30 AM EST
> Older memory sticks, OTOH, seem to stay good...

I wasn't referring to the memory going bad, flufferbeer. I was referring to the fact that you can't upgrade the memory past a certain point. Sometimes as little as 32 or 64 MB. That makes installing any modern distribution a non-starter.
Bob_Robertson

Feb 23, 2011
9:33 AM EST
> Sometimes as little as 32 or 64 MB. That makes installing any modern distribution a non-starter.

Yep. Rather than the CD image, this is the real killer in older machines.

My ca. 1998 system had a max of 128MB RAM, came with 64. I had to roll the dice to get that extra bank of 64, because it was already obsolete and the newer ram modules were "faster". To have found the older, slower RAM would have been prohibitively expensive at the time, and impossible now.
vainrveenr

Feb 23, 2011
2:40 PM EST
Quoting:While you may run into bios issues on some really old hardware, that's largely true. Memory limitations are a much larger problem with older hardware than drive space.


Would concur with this for the easily-observable fact that dedicated drive space for swap space dramatically increases performance on old hardware. Two written pieces linked from LXer and their following comments discuss this "near-requirement" for swap space in further detail:

- 'All about Linux swap space' found at http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/96757

- 'Linux: Should You Use Twice the Amount of Ram as Swap Space?' found at http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/112373

There still comes a point at which trying to get away with running Linux on a minimal amount of physical RAM just cannot work, even with using 2-3 times the amount of hard drive swap space as physical RAM.

-----

Quoting:I was referring to the fact that you can't upgrade the memory past a certain point. Sometimes as little as 32 or 64 MB. That makes installing any modern distribution a non-starter.


On the one hand, there is actually installing a modern distro and then on the other hand, there is running a modern liveCD distro such as Tiny Core.

The "non-starter" point-of-no-return (so to speak) could be even lower than "32 or 64 MB" for installing even a minimal modern distro. Running a CD-installed modern i386 Linux distro on an i486 or a P I machine with the above "16-32 MB 72pin SIMMs" together with twice or more dedicated swap space will almost always be much too agonizingly slow to be of any significant use!

OTOH, there are several minimal liveCD distros that could function acceptably using the higher number of 64 MB physical RAM, albeit through significant tweaking, e.g., the "near requirement" of setting up and activating 2 X RAM hard drive swap partitions.

1. According to Tiny Core's 'Minimum System Requirements' found at http://www.tinycorelinux.com/overview.html #require , the significant reqs are
Quoting:CPU-i486DX RAM-48Mb CD Drive Wired Internet Connection TinyCore CD


2. According to the review 'SliTaz live CD: small but beautifully marked' found at http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/slitaz_live_cd_s... :
Quoting:SliTaz boot options are flexible: it can be run entirely from memory (fast) with as little as 128MB of memory, with as little as 64MB of memory (by using slitaz-loram boot cheat code) and even with 16MB when using the slitaz-loram-cdrom cheat code at boot time. Such parsimonious requirements make SilTaz very attractive for anyone with an older desktop or laptop. Programs load and run fast. Really fast.


3. According to the Puppy Linux 'Minimum Hardware Requirements' found at http://puppylinux.org/wikka/MinReq :
Quoting:* CPU : Pentium 166MMX * RAM : 128 MB physical RAM for releases since version 1.0.2 or failing that a Linux swap file and/or swap partition is required for all included applications to run; 64 MB for releases previous to 1.0.2 * Hard Drive : Optional * CDROM : 20x and up


-----

Quoting:Yep. Rather than the CD image, this is the real killer in older machines.


For those who still cannot use CD drives for such images on older machines, there remain several floppy-disk Linux distros for such antiquities, as listed at 'Linux Links - The Linux Portal: Distributions/Floppy' found at http://www.linuxlinks.com/Distributions/Floppy/

To list just a few notable ones:

- tomsrtbt, http://www.toms.net/rb/

- floppyfw, http://www.zelow.no/floppyfw/

- FREESCO, http://www.freesco.info/

Although not mentioned in this Linux Links piece, there is also Basic Linux, http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/baslinux/

-----

Quoting:Holding on to the 4GB and smaller disk drives is silly.


And yet according to their system requirements, all the floppy-disk Linux distros just mentioned can be used with older disk drives of "4GB and smaller" together with those "16-32 MB 72pin SIMMs".



Steven_Rosenber

Feb 23, 2011
6:37 PM EST
I've run tomsrtbt and a couple other floppy-only distros. Good times.

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