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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Puppy Power
5 tiny Linux distros to try before you die
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labbe5

Joined: 13 Nov 2013
Posts: 1824
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue 25 Jun 2019, 14:06    Post subject:  5 tiny Linux distros to try before you die
Subject description: Puppy not the tiniest any more; it's by far the easiest
 

https://opensource.com/article/19/6/linux-distros-to-try

Resurrect an ancient machine, boot a broken system, or ensure a safe public computing session with these tiny Linux distros.

Tiny distros have many uses, such as:

Save old and slow computers from the rubbish bin. Reject planned obsolescence and use computers until they fall apart, not just until they start to feel slow.
Boot broken or corrupted systems from a thumb drive to recover data or repair boot partitions.
Ensure a safe and private environment when on a public computer. If you boot a public computer in a hotel lobby or a library from a thumb drive, you'll know your operating environment is secure.


Puppy Linux

Before there was Tiny Core or SliTaz or AntiX or Porteus, there was Puppy Linux. One of the original tiny Linux distributions, Puppy has endured for a decade and a half as a reliable, bootable OS for old computers and new users alike.

Puppy is almost 300MB and failed to work on anything under 1GB RAM in my tests, so it's not exactly the tiniest Linux available. However, it's still a great, under-1GB operating system, and of the OSes in that category, it's one of the very friendliest.

The Puppy Installer application is also used to install apps onto Puppy. Because Puppy is based on Ubuntu, there aren't likely to be any Linux packages missing from its repositories, and if there are, you can probably use a Flatpak.

(Obviously this assertion was unverified by reviewer. Actually, some packages can not be installed from Ubuntu repositorries. This is why we are fortunate to have Dog-based OS, such as Trinitydog, Stretchdog, Devuandog, etc. Puppy Package Manager is limited in its ability to fetch dependencies. PPM, while not broken, is not optimized to fetch all dependencies required for some apps to work).

Puppy is the original tiny Linux. While it's not the tiniest any more, it's by far the easiest.

Further reading :
Top 5 Linux Distros That Are Worth Your Attention
Puppy among them
https://www.igyaan.in/192435/top-5-linux-distros-worth-attention/

Last edited by labbe5 on Sat 13 Jul 2019, 14:22; edited 1 time in total
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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 1942

PostPosted: Tue 25 Jun 2019, 14:40    Post subject:  

I think that the author gave "Bodhi Linux" the best review.
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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 5583
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 02:38    Post subject:  

Thanks for highlighting that comparison.

It made me wonder if there is a similar comparison of tiny "live" linuxes??

What I mean is this: I would like to trial tiny linuxes that are NOT focused on installation - just running "live" instead.

I am imagining a CD boot (common on older hardware) and some form of initrd that has the brains to sift through the contents of the CD to find firmware etc, but only load the absolute minimum requirements into RAM.

Ideally the CD would also contain word processing packages and browser packages (in sfs form??) that the user could access after RAM boot is complete.

Maybe this is what wanderer's tinycore/delta experiments try to do. I want to look closer.

I feel the initrd functionality and intelligence is the critical ingredient in getting appropriate modules and firmware loaded. The CD or iso size (which could be huge) is less important than the total amount of data loaded into RAM (hopefully absolute minimum) after assessment of hardware requirements is met.

And is it possible to build a bootable iso CD that also contains software packages that are only loaded later upon user demand?

Or is it necessary to carry the WP and browser software on a separate second CD to be accessed after minimalistic boot?

EDIT: Maybe the best live linux would have an initrd that had access to more than one kernel, lots of modules, lots of firmware, and for later use - an array of WP and browser packages to match the kernel.

Maybe a rebirth of "Meanpup" modified with multiple available kernels is my dream...
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 08:37    Post subject: Re: 5 tiny Linux distros to try before you die
Subject description: Puppy not the tiniest any more; it's by far the easiest
 

labbe5 wrote:
https://opensource.com/article/19/6/linux-distros-to-try


Thanks @labbe5

Always useful to look for ideas and inspiration and who knows another distro might suit some situations. I try all new run from ram/efficient distros. I always try and run Puppy on more hardware than it needs. Nothing too extreme. Whenever I run a big dog Linux, I am just not used to the laggy behaviour. I likes fast.

Puppy
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rufwoof


Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 3252

PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun 2019, 14:06    Post subject: tinycore  

Tinycore is nice for minimalists, grab the core only iso choice which is 14MB or so (their web page needs updating as that suggests its 11MB) https://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/downloads.html. That uses around 40MB of ram space once booted. Burn that iso to a cd/dvd (such as using pburn) or dd to a usb and boot that. You do need to be physically connected i.e. to ethernet. I have one of those plug pairs that uses the house mains power wiring to act as a physical ethernet connection i.e. one plug plugs into the home router, the other plug is the socket where I power my laptop and that also has the ethernet plug that I can plug the laptop into. Once booted, to command line only mode, you can for instance telnet blackflag.acid.org ... and log into a BBS for a bit of 'graphical'.

To expand that base system to instead use wireless, not needing ethernet, you need to add additional packages/firmware. I find it to be awkward to actually identify what firmware you need to install. Likely there's a easier way but the approach I used was to use Puppy and run hardinfo and then inspect the Resources section for clues as to what firmware my kit/laptop is using for wifi. Mine suggested Qualcomm Atheros. With that insight I scanned through the tinycore repo looking for a appropriate .tgz firmware package for that http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/10.x/x86_64/tcz/ (for a Tinycore x86_64 installation) and found firmware-atheros.tcz that looked appropriate, with a local copy of that - that can be installed using tci-load -i ..... if already downloaded locally or remotely installed using tci-load -wi .... You also need the wifi package and to activate it run sudo wifi.sh ... select your wireless access point from the list that is shown and then enter its password. It's also nice to have ssh so also install the openssh package (tce-load -wi openssh).

Under tinycore, if you install a bunch of packages, then they're stored in /tmp/tce/optional. If however you create a /tce folder on HDD and copy the /tmp/tce/optional folder to that then tinycore will load that HDD version at bootup (there's a /tce/onload.lst file that is used to list the packages to be loaded). For me, with firmware-atheros, wifi and openssh packages installed then combined with their dependencies the tce folder size is around 14MB, so in effect doubles up on the 14MB base only size (to 28MB combined), but that doesn't need to be hard wired to ethernet at bootup and has ssh and wireless additional functionality. Good enough to do quite a lot if you're content to just use cli/tui. Boot it, run sudo wifi.sh and connect to your wireless access point and you're good to go with visiting BBS's, connecting to a ssh server such as hashbang for mail, irc, tui style browser etc.

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wiak

Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 1484
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Jun 2019, 21:26    Post subject:  

For some time now (a year or more), my murga signature contains a link to tinycore and/or slitaz frugal installation (including wifi for my own firmware):

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=990130#990130

The firmwareXX.tcz depends on your wifi needs of course (mine was iwlwifi).

I also detailed how to use dcore in another thread howto a couple of years ago, much of which (e.g. gtkdialog installation) is relevant to anyone trying to make a puppylike tinycore distro:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=949292#949292

Determining firmware is not easy. Different names/numbers are often used by the system compared to filenames used by humans. I did start a thread, that contains some relevant info some time ago, here (currently, also in my murga signature):

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=115717

Mypersonal favourite is to use the lshw command (though you may need to install that on your system):

Code:
lshw -class network


though you can certainly use dmesg on an already working system (per post by jamesbond):

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1022839#1022839

For my HP elitebook system:

Code:
dmesg | egrep 'firmware|failed'


reveals:

Code:
[   15.070675] iwlwifi 0000:02:00.0: loaded firmware version 8.83.5.1 build 33692 op_mode iwldvm


But I still had to: google 8.83.5.1
to find the actual firmware driver (to put in /lib/firmware) for my wifi hardware:

Code:
iwlwifi-5000-ucode-8.83.5.1-1.tgz


IMPORTANT to remember that firmware and module are two different things (modprobe module will generally also load the required firmware, if needed, and if it is found available on the system). For example, the above ucode is the firmware for my iwlwifi card, the module to load is actually: modprobe iwldvm (which auto-loads dependencies including iwlwifi.ko). As jamesbond link above says, the text file /lib/modules/<kernel_version>/modules.dep lists the dependencies tree for each module.

Might still be useful for some.

Example:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1022822#1022822

https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/users/drivers

Further googling for info about detected hardware is often required to pin down what is required. Debian and Arch Wikis contain a lot of useful related info. For example, on lspci, lsusb, and lshw:

https://linuxaria.com/article/lspci-lsusb
https://wiki.debian.org/HowToIdentifyADevice/PCI
https://linoxide.com/linux-how-to/few-command-helps-to-get-linux-hardware-details/

wiak

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Check Firmware: www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1022797
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 12332
Location: S.C. USA

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 01:02    Post subject:  

Quote:
Puppy is almost 300MB and failed to work on anything under 1GB RAM in my tests

That is a bunch of BULL @#$%.

What is he testing on?
What is the computer specs?
What is he trying to do?

You can boot a frugal Bionicpup64 8.0 using boot option nocopy, so nothing loads into ram but the basic operating system.
Uses around 175MB of RAM.
Start a modern browser ( Latest Pale Moon, Firefox, etc...)
Goes up to about 275MB of RAM used.

You still have a complete full featured OS, with about any program you want to use, to do about anything.

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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 02:18    Post subject:  

bigpup wrote:
Quote:
Puppy is almost 300MB and failed to work on anything under 1GB RAM in my tests

That is a bunch of BULL @#$%.

What is he testing on?
What is the computer specs?
What is he trying to do?


Very Happy ... watch your blood pressure @bigpup ... Embarassed

Some reviewers use virtual machines, virtualbox, vmware.
Best go ask them politely how they get their results ...
... best to be Puppy (friendly). Don't go rabid on them ... Wink

We do get some less than informed reviews.
Even now we are told of the security risks of running as spot ... eh root ... eh fido ... Rolling Eyes
It has never been a problem.
FUD (bring back Nooby - death is no excuse) Shocked is our main security problem
AND javascript in browsers.

As @Smokey has reminded me, we run our computers, how we prefer; In root. Twisted Evil
Puppy is not networked, except through the browser/internet ...

Incidentally we did have years ago an ISO CD or DVD image that ran all the major small Linux from a menu. Was very good. Time for a new one?
Who is up for it?
In fact we could probably do a puppy only taster (so to speak)

Puppy Linux
Best of Breed

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rufwoof


Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 3252

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 07:57    Post subject:  

wiak wrote:
For some time now (a year or more), my murga signature contains a link to tinycore and/or slitaz frugal installation (including wifi for my own firmware) ...

Thanks wiak, useful and informative. Out of interest I loaded a bunch of different wifi firmware .tcz files and the /tce/optional folder content expanded to around 64MB (comprised of ...)
Code:
openssh.tcz
firmware-atheros.tcz
wifi.tcz
firmware-iwl9000.tcz
firmware_iwlwifi-7260.tcz
firmware-iwlwifi.tcz
firmware-ralinkwifi.tcz
firmware-broadcom_bcm43xx.tcz
firmware-ipw2100.tcz
firmware-ipw2200.tcz
firmware-openfwwf.tcz
firmware-ti-connectivity.tcz
firmware-zd1211.tcz

Which alone would, with a 14MB base, have such a cli/tui only system up at 78MB. Which is more than FatDog i.e. as per this 'midshell' http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=1031542#1031542 i.e booted to cli with wifi/net connected (initrd without fd64.sfs = 73MB).

In the way of contrast

openssh.tcz
firmware-atheros.tcz
wifi.tcz
Xvesa.tcz
jwm.tcz
opera9.tcz

weighs in at 33MB - so with 14MB Core ... around 47MB for a moderately functional tui/gui desktop (no sound - other than speaker bleeps).

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