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Old 07-14-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
asilentmurmur
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Is DamnSmallLinux configurable?


Hey everyone I am a n00b when it comes to DSL. Is DamnSmallLinux configurable via command line? Also can one download linux apps and install/run it via DamnSmallLinux? Or do I need a bigger distribution to do that?
 
Old 07-14-2008, 11:48 PM   #2
gregg_a_g
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Not sure what you mean by "configurable". You can download and install/run other applications with any distribution. Some make it easier than others. For instance, in Ubuntu you would use "sudo apt-get install name-of-package", and then (assuming you have an internet connection) the package would download and automagically install itself.

I don't want to offend anyone, but a new distro that I am using is SliTaz. You can download the LiveCD (<25 MB) from http://www.slitaz.org/en/get/. It is developing a great user community and has very friendly developers.

SliTaz has it's own package manager (which is miniscule compared to Debian or other distros) but it is growing rapidly. You can also download source and compile packages yourself, but this is a little more complicated because you will probably have to figure out some dependencies yourself. All in all though, I am amazed with some of the features (and I love the tiny footprint)!
 
Old 07-14-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
asilentmurmur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregg_a_g View Post
Not sure what you mean by "configurable". You can download and install/run other applications with any distribution. Some make it easier than others. For instance, in Ubuntu you would use "sudo apt-get install name-of-package", and then (assuming you have an internet connection) the package would download and automagically install itself.

I don't want to offend anyone, but a new distro that I am using is SliTaz. You can download the LiveCD (<25 MB) from http://www.slitaz.org/en/get/. It is developing a great user community and has very friendly developers.

SliTaz has it's own package manager (which is miniscule compared to Debian or other distros) but it is growing rapidly. You can also download source and compile packages yourself, but this is a little more complicated because you will probably have to figure out some dependencies yourself. All in all though, I am amazed with some of the features (and I love the tiny footprint)!
What I mean by configurable is, can we use DamnSmallLinux in the same ways as any other Linux Distro (i.e. install programs, configure them, configure network settings, firewall settings, path settings, compile kernels etc)
 
Old 07-15-2008, 09:56 AM   #4
raymor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asilentmurmur View Post
(i.e. install programs, configure them, configure network settings, firewall settings, path settings, compile kernels etc)
Their FAQ includes questions and answers such as
"How do I save my settings?" and "How can I enter and
save my static IP settings?".

Their wiki documentation also has a section called "Saving Your Settings".

The "About Damn Small Linux" page gives a lot of information
about installing programs:
Quote:
DSL has built in scripts for the download and installation of Debian's Advanced Packaging Tool (APT), and Synaptic Package Manager, the gui for APT. Additionally Damn Small Linux provides on-demand download for large programs such as OpenOffice.org and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) as well as smaller apps like XChat by means of the MyDSL system, which allows users the convenience of 1 click download and installation of apps (although most DSL users refer to all things MyDSL as extensions). As of December 7, 2004, the MyDSL servers are hosting over 200 apps, plugins, and other extensions available for installation.
There is also a wiki section about installing software persistently
called "Extending DSL with MyDSL".

Note that I've never used DSL before. I came up with all of
this information by taking 10 minutes to look over their web site.
86 people have read your question and ignored you, possibly
because they felt you were wasting their time asking to be
spoon fed information that is readily available on the web site
for you to read for yourself. Please see:
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by asilentmurmur View Post
What I mean by configurable is, can we use DamnSmallLinux in the same ways as any other Linux Distro (i.e. install programs, configure them, configure network settings, firewall settings, path settings, compile kernels etc)
DSL is Linux, so you CAN do just about anything with it, but any
Live CD and especially Damn Small Linux is designed as a MINIMAL
Linux distribution. Because it's designed to be very small, as
the name clearly indicates, it doesn't include a compiler, most
libraries, etc. so it would be a poor choice for tasks such as
compiling kernels. Essentially you've asked "can I haul bricks
with a motorcycle" - well yes, but just about any other vehicle
would be a better choice.
 
Old 07-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #5
roystonlodge
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There are SEVERAL ways to customize DSL. DSL is my distro of choice BECAUSE of all the different ways to customize it and remaster your own liveCDs to suit different purposes. Other distros also make this process easy, but DSL seems to boot on a wider variety of hardware with little-to-no tinkering, so I stick with DSL.

Here are just a few of your options:

1) Install DSL's build-in package management system (myDSL) to install apps that have been custom-packaged for DSL's lightweight profile. If you don't like an app you've downloaded from the repository you just delete it from the myDSL folder and it's gone the next time you boot.

2) Install DEB packages like a "regular" Debian distro. This requires you download and install dsl-dpkg (and I like to install synaptic as well).

3) Use Alien to convert RPG packages to DEB packages (something I've yet to attempt).

4) Compile the stuff from source (something else I've yet to attempt).


How easy any of these options is depends on how you are running DSL. Compiling from source, for example, might not be a great idea if you're running DSL from the livecd with no storage options like a USB key.

You can download the simple myDSL extensions and then burn a new livecd ISO, or you can do a full KNOPPIX-style remaster of DSL to customize it exactly how you want. Yes, you can even upgrade the kernel, but then it would no longer be "damn small".

BACKGROUND: I'm still very much a Linux noob, having only started playing with DSL last November. I think DSL is great for noobs who want to learn more about Linux than just how to "make it work" because it doesn't make things TOO easy for you (which forces you to learn), but it has enough GUI tools to make some of the trickier stuff easy for noobs. Only 8 months since I first booted DSL on an old PIII with 128MB of RAM, I'm remastering my own livecds for a variety of purposes (reviving old hardware for non-profits with really tiny budgets - creating cheap promotional kiosk systems for trade shows - and my infamous livecd for parents who want to keep their kids occupied without just dumping them in front of a television or an XBox.)
 
Old 07-15-2008, 04:06 PM   #6
2sassy
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Registered: Mar 2008
Location: Midwest USA
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by raymor View Post
Note that I've never used DSL before. I came up with all of
this information by taking 10 minutes to look over their web site.
86 people have read your question and ignored you, possibly
because they felt you were wasting their time asking to be
spoon fed information that is readily available on the web site
for you to read for yourself. Please see:
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

DSL is Linux, so you CAN do just about anything with it, but any
Live CD and especially Damn Small Linux is designed as a MINIMAL
Linux distribution. Because it's designed to be very small, as
the name clearly indicates, it doesn't include a compiler, most
libraries, etc. so it would be a poor choice for tasks such as
compiling kernels. Essentially you've asked "can I haul bricks
with a motorcycle" - well yes, but just about any other vehicle
would be a better choice.
I never done this before in the 12 years I've been on the net: You are way out of line, condescending, and your manner is rude. The gentleman or lady asked a question; usually people ask questions because they don't know. Sometimes, what appears obvious to some/you may not appear obvious to them, even when it's under their/your nose. Eighty-six people may have passed up his/her question because they didn't have an answer or they were waiting for reply to assist them as well. You could have simply mentioned Linux forum has a FAQ section (provided the link) and inform them if they had anymore questions please feel free to comeback and someone will help. If you felt he or she was "fishing" for information you should have included yourself as the 87 person who felt, "they were wasting your time".

P.S. Asilentmurmur you should consider buying "The Official Damn Small Linux Book" Authors - Robert Shingledecker, John Andrews, and Christopher Negus. It's clearly written and would be an excellent addition helping you to understand DSL distro. Like you, I'm a newbie to Linux Disto's and it's such a whole new "language" as it were..... since I'm use to Windows OS. I hope you weren't put off from coming back or asking any more questions. I over heard an eighth grader say once, "A wise man wouldn't insult me and a fool can't." I'm sure in no time you'll be able to help others/me on this forum. Take care.

Last edited by 2sassy; 07-31-2008 at 07:26 PM.
 
Old 07-15-2008, 08:25 PM   #7
Wollongong
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Registered: May 2007
Location: Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu 12.04LTS
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Yes, I agree that raymor was out of line. It IS a good idea to do your own research before posting questions, but we should not discourage newbies on their first attempts to join in the discussions. A great strength of the linux community is the amount of on-line support available.

Regarding the original question, there are 2 methods with DSL: (1) using its own MyDSL repository, or (2) using a Debian repository. There is an application on the desktop, maybe right click on the desktop, to re-home on debian package management. If you want to get extra applications not found in MyDSL, this is the way to go. Debian has maybe the largest repository of any distribution.

Also disagree with raymor on the motorcycle analogy. DSL when based on debian is a perfectly good base for software development. You just need to get the tools such as g++, gdc, python, perl, ruby, eclipse (IDE) etc according to your requirement, and then you have a small but fully featured development environment. It is the same as a multi-gigabyte Debian install, but without all the unwanted bloat such as graphical and audio end user applications.

One final note: Have a look at DSL-N too. It is much the same as DSL, but using the latest kernels. It is good for newer hardware where DSL is good for older hardware.
 
Old 07-16-2008, 07:26 AM   #8
roystonlodge
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Registered: Jun 2008
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I just wanted to add my voice to the suggestion that y'all get The Official Damn Small Linux Book. I've found it to be invaluable, and it's a nice easy way to send a few bucks back to DSL's developers. One caveat though - keep in mind that it was written for an older version of DSL, and once in a while it might not seem to match up with the version of DSL on your computer. You can get around this by using the version of DSL that comes on the CD-ROM with the book.

Another tool I use is an OLD copy of Linux for Dummies (so old it includes a CD-ROM with Red Hat Linux version 5 or so). I tend to believe that one of the best ways to teach yourself something technical like Linux is to start with an older, less user-friendly version. That way it's much easier to learn the new stuff because you've forced yourself to learn the "old school" way of doing things. The "for Dummies" book does a nice job of holding your hand through the tough stuff.

Essentially, I "dipped my toes in the water" with the DSL livecd and then "cut my teeth" by installing and playing with the old version of Red Hat that came with the "for dummies" book. Now, when I run into a snag using DSL it's doesn't seem like nearly as big a deal.
 
Old 08-02-2008, 11:35 AM   #9
roystonlodge
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Registered: Jun 2008
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More on the configuration of DSL: I've been playing around more-and-more with DSL, and I've been discovering just how much you can reconfigure it, but learning how takes a bit of time and a lot of Googling.

Basically, almost everything is configured using text-format configuration files. If you want to change the layout of the task bar at the bottom of the screen, you open up the /home/dsl/.jwmrc-tray file and re-write it. If you want to change the "start menu", you open up /home/dsl/.jwmrc. If you want to change the format of the system monitor at the top-right corner you open up /home/dsl/.torsmorc. And so-on, and so-forth.

There isn't really ONE place to find instructions for all the different config files. Since each little element of the OS is actually a different program written by someone different, your best bet is to check the web sites for each individual piece. In other words, to learn how to play with the Window Manager, go to http://joewing.net/programs/jwm/. To learn how to play with the desktop file manager, go to http://www.kaisersite.de/dfm/. Etc, etc, and so-on, and so-forth.

And, because I've had to learn the hard way, be sure to make backups of your configurations when you get to a layout to really like. Once I started tinkering, I found it hard to stop, even when I'd get a layout I really liked. As such, I'd end up making a mistake that screwed everything up and I'd have no easy way to get back to an earlier setup. Now I remember to make a copy of my backup.tar.gz file and my mydsl folder before I start tinkering. That way, if I accidentally delete a vital config file or write a bad script that prevents DSL from booting properly, I can fix it by booting from the LiveCD, copying those backup files over from wherever I have them backed up, and then simply rebooting the computer to its earlier state.

Really, the only way to learn with DSL is to tinker. Now I think I'm at the level where I can write functional scripts to automate some of the things I do over-and-over again, and I'm just about at the level where I will start writing small GUIs to control some of the scripts. For example, instead of using SMBCLIENT to connect to windows shares, I use SMBMOUNT to have the windows shares I use the most automatically mount in /home/dsl/mnt/ at startup, and I want to create a small GUI so I can mount windows shares quickly without having to go through the process of using LinNeighborhood.
 
  


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