LinuxQuestions.org
Did you know LQ has a Linux Hardware Compatibility List?
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 03-21-2005, 08:47 AM   #1
adstafford
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
Minimum HDD space requirements for Linux install


I'm developing a communication system for use in the marine industry which will be incorporating a 10.4" VGA TFT with a GUI to allow the operator to control the system. The GUI development is inhand and underway, the problem I may have is that we are gong to be running the GUI on a single board computer, current spec of celeron 300Mhz, 128Mb SDRam and a compact flash based HDD. I'm going to need to install a version of Linux on the compact flash card which will allow the GUI to run under it. Does anybody know of a suitably small version of Linux which will allow the GUI to run, offer LAN connectivity, and be able to recognise USB devices? I'd like to use the smallest CF card as possible, so preferably 256Mb, but I can use larger if necessary.

Any Ideas??

Andrew
 
Old 03-21-2005, 09:17 AM   #2
tangle
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Smithville, TN
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,745

Rep: Reputation: 71
You might want to check out http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/. If runs off a 50mb cd.

Here is the link to install it on a hard drive http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/talk/node/64 .

Here is a link to installing it on a USB drive http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/talk/node/67 .
 
Old 03-21-2005, 09:31 AM   #3
magnate
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 22

Rep: Reputation: 0
Re: Minimum HDD space requirements for Linux install

Well, given that Tomsrtbt fits onto a 3.5" floppy (albeit overburned to about 1.7Mb), and it will do everything you require except the GUI, I'm sure you can find a GUI which runs in less than 253Mb ;-)

Seriously, start looking here: http://www.tux.org/pub/distributions/tinylinux/

That has a world of small distros, some up to date, some not.

Good luck,

CC
 
Old 03-21-2005, 12:00 PM   #4
KimVette
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Lee, NH
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS, RHEL
Posts: 1,794

Rep: Reputation: 46
adstafford,

Is it possible to add more RAM into that device using higher-density chips? If so I highly recommend going with 256MB at the absolute minimum if you're going to be doing any multitasking, since you won't have enough space for swap. Failing that, can your board supplier add a CF slot (you didn't specify whether your CF device was a standard removable CF card, or a fixed CF device) and let you go with a large removable CF card (which will be seen as an ATAPI HDD)? That will give you some breathing room by allocating some of the CF card as swap. Incidentally, if you do go the removable vs. fixed CF solution, it can make for providing plug & play "firmware" upgrades for your clients/users.

The reason is this: if you run out of RAM on *nix, your programs just quit without warning, losing any unsaved data.

I used to run Linux on a 386 with 80MB HDD and 4MB of RAM so it can definitely be done with older distributions - or newer ones if you care to prune the installation down manually. For a window manager you may want to go with the original, undressed FVWM or possibly even twm. This won't limit your application in any way; it would only limit window management, but in a dedicated environment where only embedded apps are allowed to run in a specific way, window decorates can be eliminated, further reducing RAM consumption.

Of course if your embedded device will not allow the user to open additional apps or multiple instances of apps, AND your programs have been fully profiled and reviewed for memory leaks, the above points are moot.

I'd check out Slackware for prototyping, and prune down everything you don't need once you've established all of your dependencies. Once the dependencies are established, there is nothing barring you from building your own distribution completely from scratch, compiling only exactly what your appliance needs into the kernel, placing only exactly your minimum requirements into the filesystem, and so forth.

Also, make sure you define cron jobs to maintain /tmp in a sane way so any temp files the OS or your applications create don't end up filling the storage chip/card completely.
 
Old 03-21-2005, 01:24 PM   #5
adstafford
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
The board is in PC104 format and the CF slot is viewed as an APATI HDD so I can use any value of CF card, but as I have absolutely no idea of what minimum size Linux I could install I put my finger in the air and guessed 256Mb would suffice, but I could increase that to around a Gb, Again with memory, the board will take 512Mb so 256Mb is easily achievable, I'm just trying to watch the costs, the rest of the hardware I'm using is pushing the cost up pretty high already.

The removable CF cards will indeed allow the firmware to be upgraded easily, and also allow any of the storage of our system data (very small sizes)

On another note, what is Linux like for USB plug and play device recognition? We're looking at allowing data to be downloaded from the CF (which will be internal to the system casing a so not easily accessible to standard user) onto a USB memory stick so that the data can e-mailed back to us for fault finding and future updates, Do you need to keep installing drivers for every type of USB memory stick (as in windows 98) **sorry for the MS reference, or is there a generic driver for them (as in windows XP) **again, sorry...

Thanks

Andrew
 
Old 03-21-2005, 01:33 PM   #6
KimVette
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Lee, NH
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS, RHEL
Posts: 1,794

Rep: Reputation: 46
With USB memory sticks, "YMMV" - I'd recommend testing the hotplug driver on a normal desktop with various sticks - some work, some don't, note which driver loads, then include the specific modules in your embedded solution along with an HCL in the release notes to "CYA"

--Kim
 
Old 03-21-2005, 01:52 PM   #7
J.W.
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Distribution: Mint
Posts: 6,642

Rep: Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally posted by KimVette
The reason is this: if you run out of RAM on *nix, your programs just quit without warning, losing any unsaved data.
If your apps use up all your RAM but still need more, then the system will write out memory pages to the swap space. That's what it's there for, but your system shouldn't crash. If it does, then I'd suspect some other issue. Granted, things may have been different on a 386 with 4Mg RAM, but on any relatively modern PC (Pentium or better, 64Mg of RAM or more) if you put a very high system load on your machine, the worst case scenario will just be reduced performance. -- J.W.
 
Old 03-21-2005, 03:09 PM   #8
KimVette
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Lee, NH
Distribution: OpenSUSE, CentOS, RHEL
Posts: 1,794

Rep: Reputation: 46
That's true JW but the apps still crash when they run out of swap - and on a 256MB CF device with 128MB of RAM, it's easy to run out of resources be it RAM or swap or /tmp space.
 
Old 03-21-2005, 03:57 PM   #9
J.W.
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Distribution: Mint
Posts: 6,642

Rep: Reputation: 69
Agreed, but just to clarify, my point is just that if RAM is entirely used up, the system will start using swap; it won't automatically crash which is what the original comment seemed to imply. In other words, running out of RAM and swap (or any other resources) is a very different thing than just running out of RAM.

Good luck with the project in any case. -- J.W.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Minimum Requirements MadnessASAP Linux - Software 2 07-27-2005 08:24 AM
What is the ABSOLUTE minimum linux requirements? sj_mdk_linux Linux - Hardware 5 02-27-2005 09:36 PM
Minimum requirements to install mySql. AnanthaP Linux - Newbie 2 08-07-2004 11:28 AM
Minimum requirements?? tacoduck Debian 2 06-06-2004 09:24 PM
Most Minimum Requirements gearoid Linux - Hardware 1 11-18-2003 01:04 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:12 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration