Re: [dev] which minimal os

From: Michael Farnbach <>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 19:33:47 -0700

As with most answers, this one depends on a few things...

   1. Do you want it tiny for an alternative arch, like ARM?
   2. Do you want it tiny and fast, because it is running on something
   really old?
   3. Do you want it tiny and fast because you are running something beefy
   and common (i5, etc..) but running it into the ground with blender, and you
   just want the OS to stay out of the way?
   4. Or are you doing it just for the feeling of being spartan and free?
   How spartan are you willing to go? How much do you want to bleed? Is this
   just an adventure, or what?

Well, here's the answers I have.

   1. Debian rules on ARM. There's a number of tuned distro's to different
   ARM platforms. Wiki is your friend to investigate.
   2. Tiny Core, Goat, Puppy, Arch (crunchbang, archbang) and a few others
   really come through here. You'll find these (the ones I know of at least)
   are either Debian, Slackware, or LSF based. Although consider staying on the
   console (see note on GRML below).
   3. You can run the answers for #2 for this, or the full distros that they
   come from in a minimal mode. But for "stay out of the way" while running the
   latest obscure packages, if you know what you are doing there's nothing
   better than Gentoo -- but you have to be willing to do your own work.
   There's a lot of junk you can do away with if you start from scratch, and
   Gentoo next to that. It is a great development environment, and for all
   those reasons its a great way to have it your way.
      1. If you want to try something harkening back to the 2005 days of
      Gentoo (back when it was the brand spanking new baby of a brilliant
      programmer), try Exherbo. Its not that spanking-new clean, but its very
      reminiscent of those days.
      2. If you really want it your way (your own init scripts or even
      compiled C init, you'll have to start with LSF, and then develop from
   4. Sure, Plan9, old school FreeDOS, Qnix, Hurd, one of the BSD's ... I
   dunno .. what is the most "hurt me plenty" distro that is like a
   light-weight camping adventure roughing it under a big blue sky? Qnix and
   Plan9 have the advantage of their own novel networking models. But for real
   bare bones, then there's a the OS's written in assembly ... MenuetOS,
   Kolibri, Mike OS, BareMetalOS, etc...

Some honorable mentions ... GRML (you may never be more productive on the
command line). It is my go-to linux distro for any time I want to run on a
computer that I don't want to change the OS.
Received on Wed Feb 16 2011 - 03:33:47 CET

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