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Old 02-22-2010, 05:46 AM   #1
arbeit macht frei
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command-line distro with small disk footprint and large repository


I'm looking for a distro which does not use a lot of disk space when installed while still having a wealth of binary packages available.

I tried minimal Debian and Arch installs and the footprint was large compared to a minimal FreeBSD install and huge compared to what I assume is possible.
Does anyone know what is taking so much space? Maybe I'm doing this wrong (I just walked through the default installer). Are there some instructions somewhere about how to install a stripped-down Debian (or any other mainstream distro)?

I guess Puppy would use less disk space when installed but it comes with lots of stuff I don't want such as X. Maybe someone knows about a command-line version or a similar distro geared to servers, routers or some such.
 
Old 02-22-2010, 06:29 AM   #2
kaz2100
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Hya,

The tiniest Debian would be kernel and essential files. With Debian installer, you can trim as much as you want. If you do not need X, simply do not select X.

Happy Penguins!
 
Old 02-22-2010, 06:33 AM   #3
evo2
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If you don't mind trying something completely different you could have a look at http://www.tinycorelinux.com/

Cheers,

Evo2.
 
Old 02-22-2010, 11:14 AM   #4
multios
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arbeit macht frei, did you just install the Debian base and quit, or install everything on cd?
Yesterday, I installed just the debian base and added what I wanted. I'm playing with mine to possibly use as my backup system.
Have you tried the OpenBSD cd?
 
Old 02-22-2010, 11:17 AM   #5
snowpine
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What are your hardware constraints? Minimal Debian/Arch/Ubuntu/whatever should use less than 1gb. Newegg has 1TB (1,000 gb) hard drives on sale for $79.
 
Old 02-22-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
arbeit macht frei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multios View Post
arbeit macht frei, did you just install the Debian base and quit, or install everything on cd?
The "base system" plus whatever else installs when you select nothing. I used netinst.iso. Maybe that's part of the problem. Anyway the "base system" uses to much space and as a result an install as bare as I could manage with that installer ended up weighing over 380 megs. Surely it's possible to do much better. Perhaps it's possible to untangle a working Debian from that mess but I was hoping other reasonably well-featured distros would waste less space by default.

Obviously I didn't install X and whatnot or I would know why the disk footprint is so big. It should also be obvious I'm not installing to a hard drive or I would be OK with wasting a few hundred megs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by multios View Post
Have you tried the OpenBSD cd?
No. I assumed there wouldn't be much software available for OpenBSD and that it might not be compatible with stuff that works on FreeBSD and such. I figured I might driver issues as well and that it wouldn't be worth the bother when so much stuff seems to be available for small Linux distros like Puppy. Do tell if I'm mistaken. And do you know how much disk OpenBSD uses?
 
Old 02-22-2010, 12:10 PM   #7
arbeit macht frei
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Originally Posted by evo2 View Post
I'm having trouble getting how that distro works from the website but I gather there's no way to do a normal install. I don't want to load everything in RAM or to uncompress stuff at boot. I don't want a GUI and I certainly don't want to load software from "the cloud" either. I simpy want a frugal command-line OS on disk.
 
Old 02-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #8
multios
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check here for OpenBSD packages:
http://www.openbsd.org/4.6_packages/i386.html

and if you go to this next site, you can see what is available, or what you can get by with, plus the size of the "files" when installed:
http://openbsd.rt.fm/faq/faq4.html#InstMedia

You can get pretty basic
 
Old 02-23-2010, 06:54 AM   #9
cantab
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If you want seriously minimal, you're looking at using Busybox instead of the GNU utils, and maybe even a 2.4 kernel (smaller than the 2.6 I think) with only the modules your hardware needs.

It's probably possible to cut down Debian more than you did. You could also try Arch Linux - the base environment is by design 'minimal', but IIRC said minimal is still on the order of a few hundred megabytes.

As for what is possible - there are a fair few Linux distros that fit on 1 or 2 floppies. Though I doubt any of them manage to include a package manager with a big repo to download from.
 
  


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