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Old 09-11-2005, 11:50 PM   #1
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a distro for minimal headless install ?

Hi folks,

OK, first thing is I am pretty much a newbie, so if you reply, please be clear and be sure to define any abbreviations or programs you mention.

Early tonight I posted a message in the network forum and thought I might post a related message here.

Can anyone recommend an install that will create a lean and mean linux install that will run on a VERY minimal system, 200 MHz, 64 meg ram, Pentium S ?

Is there one that can do a headless install? That I can direct from windows XP over my small home network?

I want to run a very simple file sharing system so I can fill this box up with ata HD's and access these drives from windows. There will only be one client and security is not a concern, simplicity and ease are the concern. I also don't want to have to fill my small drives with the install!

Also, I wont leave the machine on all the time. So, since I want it headless, I want to be able to shut it down remotely and then have it up and running as soon as I power up the box.

Is this possible?

It seems to me like this must be a fairly common thing to want to do and that therefore there might be some easy pre rolled way of doing it ?

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Old 09-11-2005, 11:57 PM   #2
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I know is possible to do everything you want to do, except for a headless install. Somebody else might have better info on perhaps doing that. SSH can create a console as if you had connencted a monitor to the actual computer. A very minimal install with only FTP and SSH would probably take about 256MB. Any distro would do, but I personally like Slackware.
Old 09-13-2005, 07:12 PM   #3
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If you are really tight on disk space you should consider customizing a live CD and booting to that. Google Damn Small Linux for an example. You are probably looking for SAMBA to take care of all of your file sharing needs, it will let you connect your Windows box and SSH will give you console control using a program called putty on your windows machine.
Old 09-14-2005, 05:34 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2003
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Shutting down the box remotely is not a problem, but whether it will boot headless depends on your hardware, or more precisely on BIOS. Some machines will, others won't. For example, I have one that will boot without a monitor, but not without a keyboard attached..

What you want to do is pretty common. Unfortunately, 'small' and 'easy to set up' are pretty much contradictory, since on machine with so little RAM you'll be most likely forced to use command line all the way - no pretty GUI to help you. Perhaps the easiest for you to install would be Ubuntu; it has a minimal install mode that only gives you the basics (no desktop), and Ubuntu's installation procedure is text based, yet very simple. Only a most bare minimum of questions to answer, and you're on your way.
Old 09-15-2005, 09:49 PM   #5
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The only distro i have seen that has a headless installer controlled via ssh is gentoox for xbox. unfortunatly it doesnt install on a normal pc.

Edit: I do the same thing you want to do with a 500mhz machine with 256mb ram and a minimal debian install (installed over the network) and file access via ftp and http.

If you are really tight on disk space you should consider customizing a live CD and booting to that.
this would take up a spot that could be filled with a hard drive.

Last edited by snipes420; 09-15-2005 at 09:55 PM.


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