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Old 07-09-2014, 07:57 AM   #1
punchy71
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A version of Linux small enough to fit on an old floppy diskette


Greetings,
Is there a version of Linux that is a complete Operating System that will fit on a floppy disk such as a 3.5" or 5.25" floppy and will run fine on an old 386 or even older machine? Also; can it be installed to hard disk and does it support networking such as TCP/IP, etc.?
It seems like I've seen something similar to this in the past but they seemed to all or mostly be utilities and not a fully functional OS's...

Thanks
 
Old 07-09-2014, 08:11 AM   #2
dorian33
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check
http://www.fdlinux.com/about.php
 
Old 07-09-2014, 04:27 PM   #3
jefro
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You might be able to use a floppy to boot to some remote media to install some distro. We'd need more info specs. For the most part you won't be able to do much with this. Slitaz may work for you. Zipslack may even work OK in command line.



I can say that many people have made linux on a system like that from scratch (before LFS) and you might be able to compile a system in a few months too.



Most of the floppy based distros are getting hard to find. This was maybe the most (it did some cheats to the floppy) if you can find it. http://www.toms.net/rb/

If distrowatch or (search page cache) comes back you might search for their floppy based distro's.

You can not use any sort of modern linux.

You may still be able to get QNX's floppy.
 
Old 07-09-2014, 04:58 PM   #4
John VV
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1.4 Meg OS's
http://www.menuetos.net/

based on menuetos
http://kolibrios.org/en/index
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-09-2014, 09:47 PM   #5
jefro
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I didn't even know about kolibrios.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 08:02 AM   #6
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

Big issue would be in the modern kernel size exceeds the floppy storage available. You could use a boot floppy to init & pull in a net install.

Try using;
Quote:
tomsrtbt <- Linux on 1 floppy disk Good recovery use
Hope this helps.
Have fun & enjoy!
 
Old 07-10-2014, 08:21 AM   #7
szboardstretcher
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You can install the newest OpenBSD from floppy still.

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq4.html#DosFlop

A standard install doesnt take much space at all. Between 7Mb and 200Mb depending on what sets you choose.

Last edited by szboardstretcher; 07-10-2014 at 08:22 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 08:24 AM   #8
syg00
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No.
(the OP asked about Linux, and as @onebuck pointed out, the kernel won't even fit).

However ...
setting up a boot floppy is easy enough - I had to do this on a Toshi laptop and booted a hard disk based Ubuntu for months. Grub legacy - haven't tried grub2.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 03:16 PM   #9
selfprogrammed
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Assume the bigger floppy, at 1.44 MB.
If you strip the kernel down to minimums, it would barely fit. One of my custom kernels runs about 1.2 MB, and I expect you could strip more out. But it does not leave enough room for more than a few modules, so all that would be at least another floppy (like maybe 4 or 5 floppies depending).

That Linux is compressed and even if LILO loaded it, it probably would not be able to run a partial environment by itself that way. The list of necessary support libraries and utilities is large (libc, bash, cp, cpio, etc..). Even compressed, libc is going to occupy several floppies.
You could probably find a loader that can install from multiple floppies before
booting Linux, but I don't know which one offhand.

You got no utilities yet, and that will cost you 10 to 20 MB of floppies for a minimal set (pure guessing there).
You also need the libraries that are used by your utilities. That could run 10MB to 60MB, assuming some restraint.

That is the size of the problem you are facing. And it will be a whole lot of trouble to get working. If some attempt is still desirable then by all means try to modify one of the existing packages mentioned, even if you have to add several floppies of your own.

This is why floppies were abandoned in favor of CD-ROM.

They already got Linux on a CD-ROM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #10
jefro
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You can actually force a lot on a floppy more than 1.44mb. Tom's did just that.

It is still easier to use a very old kernel. One could make an older kernel and distro for exactly what they wanted.
 
  


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