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Old 10-13-2013, 01:38 AM   #1
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Lightbulb minimal linux distro for USB (just CLI and command line tools)

hi everyone I'm new and sorry for my english!!
this is my question:
I need a linux distro (micro or mini) with just a minimal size, just CLI, and some command line tools (I just need gcc, g++, vim, python, etc...) and easy to boot from USB.
Old 10-13-2013, 02:58 AM   #2
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Any distro that allows you to install to USB and also allows you to not have a Desktop Environment will work. My recommendation would be something like Debian or even Slackware, I would stay away from the distros that attract users who want ease of use in the Desktop Environment (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, etc).
Old 10-13-2013, 09:23 AM   #3
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Salix might be what you're looking for, if you just install the core option:
Old 10-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Are you going to use it from a USB flash drive, or install it from a USB flash drive? If installing it, I would use the Debian netinstall option, and install a no X environment. If you are going to run it from USB, make it persistent, and try one of the no-X options of the Debian Sid-based LinuxBBQ releases:
Old 10-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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Install Arch Linux or FreeBSD. These two wont give you GUI by default and if you need X11 you will have to install it yourself along with TWM.
Good luck to you
Old 10-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #6
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They used to make a few good ones made for floppy disk. Sadly those won't easily boot to a usb.

So your choice may be to just build a modern distro without a windows manager. You might wish to build what you want at It allows you to build and test and if you want you can download in some form, be it usb image or installable or vm.

As above, many good choices. Even ones that do have gui can be built and have the gui removed if needed. Many installers for server work as they don't automatically load a gui. Many installers give you a custom choice or advanced choice to do what you want.

Last edited by jefro; 10-13-2013 at 11:51 AM.
Old 10-14-2013, 05:43 PM   #7
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@JWJones: yes I want to use it from the USB, in other words, I want a installation on my USB with persistent changes) as
TroN-0074 says, I will try Archlinux, I'm using it right now on my laptop and Desktop computer.
but I was looking for a "micro distro", or a project with minimal size on focus. like ttylinux and so.
Old 10-14-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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If ttylinux does have a modern kernel that supports usb as scsi then it could be used. The problem with older kernels used in floppy based distro's is they used the old hdx access.

The main issue with trying those sort of distro's is trying to get the tools you want on them.

Unless the only usb flash drive you have is whacky small then just get a regular distro. It makes it much easier to install apps.

Might even consider freebsd.

Last edited by jefro; 10-14-2013 at 08:42 PM.
Old 10-15-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
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Why not try tinycore linux. Since you only want the CLI, download the core version, it's about 9MB.

Core - Excerpt from the site
Core is the base system which provides only a command line interface and is therefore recommended for experienced users only. Command line tools are provided so that extensions can be added to create a system with a graphical desktop environment. Ideal for servers, appliances, and custom desktops.

Last edited by UberX; 10-15-2013 at 05:01 PM.


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