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Old 01-05-2012, 01:34 AM   #1
lothario
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Smallest non-GUI distro for sshd and openvpn


Looking for the distro that:
  • Can run openvpn and ssh servers.
  • Does not need a GUI. Only console mode.
  • Small footprint.
  • Can be installed on old cheap PCs.
  • Preferable, a distro that is still active.
What do you recommend?
 
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:37 AM   #2
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by lothario View Post
Looking for the distro that:
  • Can run openvpn and ssh servers.
  • Does not need a GUI. Only console mode.
  • Small footprint.
  • Can be installed on old cheap PCs.
  • Preferable, a distro that is still active.
What do you recommend?
what about Micro Core Linux? Haven't tried it yet, but it's on my own list for the near future to revive an old PC/104 board (a complete PC on 4" x 4") with a Pentium/133 and 32MB RAM. Windows 98 works on that biscuit, anyway ...

Tiny Core/Micro Core seems to offer ssh as well as openvpn in its list of extensions.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 01-05-2012, 05:46 AM   #3
SecretCode
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I don't know lots of distros, so I can't say which is the best, but I can recommend a general approach.

Ubuntu, and several other distros I think, have a "minimal install" version. It's like 10MB. (use whichever distro's package management system you like best.)

Install this, and then add the necessary packages ssh and openvpn. apt will pull in just the dependencies you need - possibly quite a lot, but nothing unnecessary.

This checks all your requirements, unless your "old PCs" have very limited RAM - I wouldn't count on this running in 64MB of RAM without very careful tweaking of startup services etc. But you could try it out in a virtual machine first.

If you then need to install it on multiple servers you could use something like remastersys.
 
Old 01-05-2012, 06:58 AM   #4
linus72
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I would go with Debian (very good for low ram) or Slackware/Salix, Salix having dependency resolution.
Smallest install would probably be Slackware/Salix, and easiest to maintain I think.

EDIT: you might want to look at TTYLinux
http://www.minimalinux.org/ttylinux/

that's really small

Last edited by linus72; 01-05-2012 at 07:00 AM.
 
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:01 AM   #5
jhw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
I would go with Debian (very good for low ram) or Slackware/Salix, Salix having dependency resolution.
Smallest install would probably be Slackware/Salix, and easiest to maintain I think.
Slackwares standard installation however, uses about 6GiB of HD space. Even if you strip down X it still uses more than 2GiB. So you would have to hunt down the dependencies for a minimal system before installation.
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
linus72
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I have a non-gui Slackware system that takes up only about 300MB of space, and a fluxbox install that is about 700MB
 
Old 01-05-2012, 07:32 AM   #7
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
I have a non-gui Slackware system that takes up only about 300MB of space, ...
that's not really what I would call a "small" or "lightweight" system. Using that description, I'd rather expect something that fits in considerably less than 100MB disk space and runs with 64MB RAM or even less. Like the ttylinux you suggested two or three posts earlier.

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Old 01-05-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
lothario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
EDIT: you might want to look at TTYLinux
http://www.minimalinux.org/ttylinux/

that's really small
I am looking at TTYLinux. It has sshd but I cannot find any indication of openvpn on TTYLinux.
Do you know where its package manager listings might be?
 
Old 01-05-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretCode View Post
Ubuntu, and several other distros I think, have a "minimal install" version. It's like 10MB.
You will never get a "normal" distribution down to 10 MB.

To the original question: Try it with the base (non-GUI) flavor of Slitaz, it is about 8MB in size and packages for SSH and OpenVPN are available. You can use the tools delivered with the full version of Slitaz ((about 30MB, with GUI) to make your own flavor, so that you have a minimal distro with the packages you want, which can easily be booted from harddisk, CD, USB and network (PXE boot).

Last edited by TobiSGD; 01-05-2012 at 12:36 PM. Reason: fixed errors
 
Old 01-05-2012, 12:16 PM   #10
SecretCode
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@lothario - what kind of RAM and disk space needs are you hoping for?
 
Old 01-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
lothario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretCode View Post
@lothario - what kind of RAM and disk space needs are you hoping for?
Ah, sorry for not mentioning that.
Currently we have 4 really old PCs.
  • One has the lowest hardware footprint with 32 MB RAM, 2 GB hard disk and 486 CPU.
  • Two has 40 MB RAM, 1 GB hard disk and 586 CPU.
  • Three has 64 MB RAM, 1.5 GB hard disk and Pentium CPU.
  • Four has 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB hard disk and Pentium CPU.
The above details were reported by dmesg using the tomsrtbt floppy.

Tried to install the minimal base Ubuntu 10.04 a few days ago on:
  • One - The 32 MB system but it would not even boot up. Kernel panic!
  • Two - The 40 MB system and it works. With the base Ubuntu + sshd + openvpn = it takes over 600 MB of hard disk space.

So I am looking for something that will run with 32 MB system and take less disk space.
These older IDE hard disks are harder to find OR they are expensive.

Last edited by lothario; 01-05-2012 at 02:31 PM.
 
Old 01-05-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
snowpine
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Ubuntu requires 128mb bare minimum for the basic server install (and it definitely won't work on a 586 or Pentium 1):

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...9_Installation

Personally I recommend upgrading your hardware. You can probably find better hardware in the trash or Craigslist, Freecycle, Goodwill, local companies upgrading their hardware, etc.
 
Old 01-05-2012, 02:51 PM   #13
magiknight
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This sounds like an job for LFS, (Linux from Scratch) You can cut it down to 60mb maybe even 50mb after fine tuning.
 
Old 01-05-2012, 03:38 PM   #14
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by magiknight View Post
This sounds like an job for LFS, (Linux from Scratch) You can cut it down to 60mb maybe even 50mb after fine tuning.
are you talking about disk space or RAM? If you mean RAM, that's still quite a lot.

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Old 01-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #15
jefro
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QNX would run on those all day long but it still isn't really open.

The choice of slitaz may be the best. Might consider bds based too. Freebsd should be able to be run on all of those. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/handbook/...-hardware.html
 
  


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