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Old 02-01-2001, 09:39 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2000
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Distribution: Freesco, RedHat, Debian
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 15

Is there a "good" distribution (preferaby small so it can be downloaded) that can be installed (and will run) on an i486 with only 4MB RAM???

I tried installing Slackware 3.9, it didn't work quite like it should have had to create a special boot and root disk because of the lack of memory, but after installation I couldn't get everyting working... after some "do it yourself" work I've got the kernel and stuff on the harddisk, but its only failing LILO... and after booting with a bootfloppy it complains about the abcense of /etc/fstab or /etc/mtab

So if there's an easyer way of installing Linux on that machine I would be very happy....

Old 02-01-2001, 02:34 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

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You can check out , or even tiny linux at
There is peanut linux as well which is at

Those are the smallest distro's I know of.
As far as I know though, most of the main Distro's will work, just alot of configuring, and with 4mb of RAM, I wouldn't recommend trying to use X windows.

Good Luck.
Old 02-01-2001, 06:50 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2000
Distribution: Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, Fedora, Ubuntu
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ZipSlack should also work.
Old 02-02-2001, 04:39 AM   #4
Registered: Sep 2000
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands
Distribution: Freesco, RedHat, Debian
Posts: 41

Original Poster
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I tried all of the above... most of them require a minimum of 8MB of RAM to install...

But I think I've found the answer somewhere else... most distributions do run on 4MB, its only that the installation procedure with boot- and rootdisks mostly require a minimum of 8MB because of RAM disks...
So one solotion mentioned somewhere was, install your harddisk in a machine with more memory, install Linux, and move the harddisk back to the low memory machine...

And there's one ditribution I can't seem to find, SmallLinux should be available on but that website has Restricted Access, anybody know how to find it???
Old 12-09-2003, 06:27 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2003
Posts: 750

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Don't know if you are still looking for smalllinux but here it is:
Down loaded it today and the floppies are working fine on an
old 386, now I'm trying to put it on the hardrive. No cdrom.


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