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I'm building myself a MAME arcade machine and i was wondering what distro you'd all recomend. All i want it to do is boot directly to mame as fast as possible and to be able to accept new games from cdrom. I'll be using an old pentium 2 pc and a hacked up keyboard will be transformed into the control sticks. So any thoughts?? An embedded system maybe (i'm not sure if that's right, i'm not really sure what an embedded system is)?
Maybe Slackware, easily customizable and easily hackable to boot fairly fast. But really any distro would work in this case, just some you would have to work at a little longer and harder since they install more, etc.
If you have the time though, if I was making my own arcade type machine, I would do a Linux From Scratch, so its totally custom to suit my needs.
try out vectorlinux. smaller than slackware but still based on it, I have mine hacked down to only 200mb, its startup routines are a little hard to deal with has some of the BSD style startup, then it has something else (sysV style i think) thats much harder to deal with.
also, you aught to make your own kernel, cut out all the networking stuf and just about anything else that an arcade machine will never use. plus you could go with a few or no modules scheme for a faster bootup.