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linus72 03-05-2009 09:47 AM

Super-small Lenny minimal install??
Ok-I'm getting ready to try a few more experimental installs on my 2 Testbeds-my desktop PC and my laptop.
They are desktop=HP Pavillion a810n Athlon64/160GB HD/1GB RAM
and laptop=Toshiba 7000CT Portege' Pentium 2/160MB RAM/4GB HD
I've had a lot of trouble with the laptop for these reasons-
1)smallish 4GB HD
2)limited RAM=160MB
3)No CDROM/1 floppy/1 USB(won't boot from)
4)Neomagic graphics not recognized by some distro's
So far I have successfully installed Wolvix-Hunter/GoblinX-Mini/Crunchbang-lite8.04/Zenwalk5.2/DSL-N/and Puppy 4.1.2
Each distro has it's pro's and con's
Wolvix is so far the clear winner-but is limited by it's packages-although I'm sure sources can be compiled-right?
GoblinX also is close-only issue is same as wolvix and that it's not really goblin-like(dark themes,etc)
Crunchbang also rates very high due to font-size/package management/reliability.-Crunchbang's huge drawback is it's installed size of between 1.5-1.8GB(of only 4GB HD) and it's RAM comsumption(50-70MB-Idle-up to 130MB running apps).
Puppy is next-cons are limited package that's bad
Zenwalk worked good, but had major issues adjusting fonts/dpi/resolution so that window buttons could be visible.
Of the Damn Small Linux types(dsl/feather/dsl-n)-only DSL-N would not freeze at boot, but after installing the X-window could not figure itself out and so no good there.
So, right now I am installing Absolute Linux 12.2- a Slackware 12.2 variant that resides on 1CD-so maybe 1+GB installed.
If Absolute doesn't work out I'm going to Net-install Debian Lenny-and I think Lenny may be the ticket!
The laptop is going to be used for fiction writing and learning programming(scripts/python/gambas2)-so I really don't need much-don't need printing, only need necessary image apps, a word processor, and some programming tools.
Debian offers everything I need-reliable/large repositories/low-ram ability/and is upgradeable.
Only issue with Debian is the installed footprint-and that's where this post comes in--
How to install a minimal Debian install having XFCE4/Fluxbox/Abiword/etc
but without whatever is unnecessary.
I assume I uncheck everything when it askd what to install, reboot and start installing only the need things-RIGHT?
As I said, both computers are "testbeds" and are abused regularly with multiple installs and disk-wipes!
So-I appreciate any advice-Thanks gang!

the trooper 03-05-2009 10:12 AM

Briefly,i just install the base system(not the desktop option).
Then i install X, and a window manager afterwards with the following command:


aptitude install xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg xorg xdm xfce4
Or substitute LXDE for XFCE if you want a lighter option.
The following guide is worth reading:

This will explain in greater depth how to do a minimal installation.
Let us know if you need more help.

The trooper.

linus72 03-05-2009 09:19 PM

OK-so far it's at 1.23GB, that's very acceptable with everything you said except I substituted Slim for XDM.
Now, I dont need printing or sound, so can anyone suggest what I can remove in regards to those two??
Oh, and as you can see I now have 6 distro's installed on my Desktop PC!

the trooper 03-06-2009 07:55 AM


Originally Posted by linus72 (Post 3466398)
OK-so far it's at 1.23GB, that's very acceptable with everything you said except I substituted Slim for XDM.
Now, I dont need printing or sound, so can anyone suggest what I can remove in regards to those two??
Oh, and as you can see I now have 6 distro's installed on my Desktop PC!

Are we still talking Debian here?
Do you mean modules or installed packages for printing and sound?
Check what sound modules are installed,also search for "cups" packages.
Usually with a minimal install ALSA and CUPS are not installed by default.
It might also be worth compliling your own kernel,to really slim things down.

The trooper.

linus72 03-06-2009 08:17 AM

Thanks again for your help!
I haven't actually installed Lenny to the laptop yet-just my Desktop PC.
Looking through Synaptic I noticed that cups is not installed, but as far as sound is concerned I don't know(alsa?).
Anyway I used the Debian Lenny Netinstall iso, unchecked everything(no desktop/no laptop-mode/no base-system. After install, rebooted, aptitude install(your suggestions)...and added abiword, and some miscellaneous.
So far install is at 1.31GB-so still very acceptable compared to Fedora/Ubuntu/Slackware.
I think Debian's gonna be the ticket 'cause of these factors-
1-can run low-ram-especially with XFCE4/LXDE/Fluxbox
2-Moderately low installed footprint(1.31GB)
3-The power of Debian's repositories and multitude of packages.
4-Debian is easier to use(for a newbie like me) than Slackware, etc.
5-Has the Anaconda installer, which can be "tricked"-my laptop will not boot off USB/no CDROM/1 floppy, so I first installed Plop Bootmanager(, then I can boot from the USB drive, after booting Debian will ask questions till it gets to looking for the CD, now I remove the USB, insert the usb end of my el-cheapo USB-CDROM(Ebay-$20)-the power end of the CDROM is plugged into my PC USB port, and tell it to search and it finds the CDROM and off we go!
Note-this trick works with almost any "Anaconda/Text installer" except Slackware-which is too big for a 4GB HD anyway.
Anyone interested-I'm gonna write an article(if LQ ever gets back to me...)about installing distro's to USB, as I've had to do it alot with a lot of different distro's.
So-I think Deb will be the ticket on the laptop.
Thanks for all your help!
Also-if the screen res is not by default 800x600-what do I need to edit?
'cause alot of times it's set to 640x480-which is bad-unreachable buttons.

the trooper 03-06-2009 08:55 AM

What are you using for graphics,on-board or separate card?
Are you using any proprietary video drivers?
The file you may need to edit is /etc/X11/xorg.conf
I say 'may' because usually when you do a fresh install that file has little information in it.This is because a lot of hardware now is auto detected.

ALSA= Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.Unlikely to be installed,but worth checking.

How do you find your new Debian install?,i would be interested to hear your feedback.

The trooper.

linus72 03-06-2009 10:43 AM

Well-so far on my PC it's going great-no problems-says it's using only 7% of my 1GB RAM sitting idle-w/ no swap at all. That's running XFCE4, probably gonna try LXDE, but I read a post somewhere that said LXDE has a large installed foot-print-do you know?
Included is a gparted screenshot-Debian is on SDA-9.
SDA-1/2/3/7/8/ are Slackware12.2/Ubuntu Satanic Edition 8.04/SuperUbuntu 8.10/Fedora 10/and Absolute 12.2(based on Slackware12.2).
All the others are quite bloated-especially Slackware and Fedora-both being full installs of dev stuff and everything else.
The Ubuntu Satanic "Bathory" wallpaper just does it for me! ( ) (no, I'm not a Satanist).
The Lab is right now SuperUbuntu-just look at how much space has been used!
This is 'cause I use this distro to slice and dice all the linux iso files in storage on SDA6!-see screenshot!
I've downloaded almost any distro I can find to run thru qemu, extract them and start seeing what's inside-trying to figure out how it works!
I am a newbie and far from a programmer, so I'm just making my way.
I will check out the xorg.cfg file too-thanks.
Also, I found alot of distro's maybe nobody's heard about as their not mentioned on LQ-
1-Icebuntu-2.3 ( It has Icewm of course.It's nice too, but the installed size is over a gig.
2-Absolute 12.2 ( It's a CD size version of Slackware 12.2 and uses Icewm, Slapt-get/Gslapt-and is almost fully compatible with Slack12.2.
3-Pyrobot-Knoppix-based distro for robotics!( )
4-RoboHobby2007-another robotics distro ( )
-both are heavy into Python-which is what I'm trying to learn!)
5-NetbootCD-2.1 ( With this CD(62MB) you can netinstall several distro's, and the same author also has a Script to make DVD's of several different distro's-( which I have modified and used in combination with found in any slax iso under "tools".
6-Ubuntu Satanic Edition Great themes/wallpapers for the heavy Metal lover! ( )
I have now added BackTrack3/Slack-Mini-Server/Zenwalk 5.2/and a Slackware 12.2 Netinstall ( )-though you must provide the mirrors, etc-cause it asks for them-I'm trying to modify something so that the links will appear in the install GUI's window-and u just press enter-any ideas?

The netbootcd script is here-right click on link/-save link as-( )
The multicd script is here-ver.4.4 ( ).

I had to devote a whole day just redoing the isolinux.cfg files and putting it all together-mostly I just imitated the folder layout used by the till I got each working on Qemu then I burned it to DVD!Bang-the all-in-one linux toolkit!
1-Ubuntu 8.04.02 Desktop
2-Ultimate Boot CD
3-Damn Small Linux 4.4.10
4-Feather Linux 0.7.5
5-a Puplet called PupFlux412
6-Slitaz-cooking iso
9-a customized Slax-build(dev-tools)
12-RIP Linux
16-Easeus Diskcopy
17-NT Password
19-Debian Lenny Netinstall
20-Mandriva 2008 Netinstall
21-Ubuntu 8.10 Miniiso
22-OpenSuse Netinstall
23-Fedora 10 Netinstall (actually the has Fedora 9-I just used the Fedora 10 netinstall iso and changed the "9" in the URL to "10"-and it worked!Open the with "text editor", go to where it says- "# " and change the "9" to a "10"-remember to use the Fedora 10 iso too!
24-Slackware 12.2 Netinstall ( it's not complete-you gotta input full path to each mirror/package url-working on this.
26-Zenwalk 5.2 Livecd
WOW! What a list huh??
It wasn't easy for a newbie!
As in 0 programming experience/3.5 months linux experience/3yrs Windows XP experience-that's the extent of my PC experience.
Anyway The Debian-Lenny/Fedora10/Ubuntu 8.04.02 desktop were all installed using the DVD-so they all work-however I noticed the Slitaz one had issues and would not install-though it worked fine otherwise.
The issues with the are that these distro's below would not work until I manually edited the isolinux.cfg file found in the boot folder.
After editing the kernel and append sections of each-substituting menu.c32/vesamenu.c32 with the path to the real kernel/initrds-everything worked fine-Thanks Qemu!
After they all worked I extracted the working dvd iso to a folder, and started adding distro's I wanted but not included on the such as BackTrack3/Slack12.2netinstall/Zenwalk/Slampp-Mini/and Slack-Mini-Server.
I did this by adding the respective folders-imitating how the others were placed (kernel and initrds placed in their respective folders-i.e. the DSL kernel/initrd in DSL folder-which go into the boot folder-the top directory above the boot folder also labeled DSL holds the knoppix image) Some worked this way some didn't-it's a process!
Anyway-each time I added a distro I used to construct the iso-in Ubuntu it's easy-just right-click on executable-then double left click on "run in terminal"-give your iso a name"myiso.iso"(make sure you use .iso), and press enter!
Also, you must have the in the boot folder-usually with an isolinux folder or it might not work.
After making the iso I cranked up Qemu and tested each one till they all worked.
Also-I had to use the via terminal-just make sure you input "chmod +x" instead of "chmod +x multicd"-as per the website.
After a failed attempt-it does sometimes-you may have to also input "sudo chown -R user:group /path/to/newmulticdfolder"
that way you can delete the failde folder that appears.
Damn-I should write a book on this stuff!
So-I'm learning right.
Also-been trying to get ahold of LQ to see if I can write some tutorials/articles but haven't heard anything yet...
Well this is a long post-hope I didn't leave anything out!
I will gladly answer any questions and hopefully somebody learns from my experiences-Newbies take note!
Oh-the laptop has integrated Neomagic graphics-says 800x600(1024x768 virtual-whatever that means?)
Most distro's can't get the 800x600-unacceptable.

linus72 03-06-2009 01:08 PM

And here are the isolinux.cfg files-1 is the original produced by is my reconfigured one with extra distro's added.
Number 2 is a mess and I get 5 "unknown keyword in isolinux.cfg" when booting-but it works great from there.

Grobsch 03-06-2009 01:44 PM

"GoblinX also is close-only issue is same as wolvix"
You can download source code, build scripts, packages and more by visiting GoblinX's repositories... (

linus72 03-06-2009 02:43 PM

hrggggg...Had no idea I would attract your attention Grobsch! Believe me, I'm not downing your distro! Every distro is unique and fills certain purposes. Your artwork and overall small size of the distro is what attracted me to GoblinX-and I'm into heavy metal!
I have had Every GoblinX I could find on my PC-including my fav and much sought after GoblinX 2.0- ( ) as it has the goblinx themes/splaash, and is most cool.Hard to find too!
Also there's GoblinX-Xflash for USB's the download is here- ( )
Also-I just found GoblinX 'Noblin-2009-Beta-downloading it now Grobsch! ( ) I didn't even know it was out!
And I never knew about hte repositories and all the xtra stuff-I will be checking that out!
I must also say both GoblinX and Wolvix ran excellently off my USB's-and installed quickly and easily!
The contenders for the laptop right now are
2)Debian-Lenny minimal install w/ either fluxbox/lxde/xfce4
4)Puppy 4.1.2
Everyone of these distro's runs at the minimum acceptable 800x600 screen resolution I need.
Right as of now, I'm still testing Debian Lenny, but so far the leaderboard looks like this-
1)A tie between Goblinx-2.7 Mini and Wolvix Hunter-1.1.0
Note also that even a full install of GoblinX-2.7 (305mb) and Wolvix Hunter combined would be less than Crunchbang's 1.7+GB installed footprint!
2)Crunchbang-Lite 8.04-the only Ubuntu I can actually get to work on the laptop-it would be a three-way tie for 1st-but Crunchbang's installed footprint is excessive and most software cannot be removed without removing the "crunchbang-lite-desktop" as well.
3)Puppy 4.1.2-Puppy's big issue here is the limitations of it's packages-they just don't offer enough.
As I said Debian is still in testing-I'm going to try and strip it down as much as possible without sacrificing any of it's usefullness as compared to the two leaders.
Also of note is that both GoblinX and Wolvix can be manipulated easily-i.e.-take the .lzm files out of either GoblinX micro/wolvix cub, dump them into The Mini/Hunter iso's (except the kernel)and they run flawlessly!
They also come with "tools" folders containing lots of goodies-see screenshots.
Anyway, Thanks for the info Grobsch-it is rare I'm sure when a Newbie gets to bang heads with a Distro-Master!
Your distro ROCKS! and that's why it's contending for the lead.
I'm awaiting the next GoblinX release now-maybe you could send me some cool/dark/heavy-metalish goblin themes/wallpapers??(well i just found Noblin-Beta)
Also, I just read that the GoblinX project is in financial peril- -that's not cool-wish I could help but hell I'm on unemployment myself!
I would encourage you Grobsch to keep up the Good Work-as I could only dream of being able to create a computer OS!
I can, however volunteer for anything you might need Grobsch-I am a writer so maybe I can help in some way....

linus72 03-08-2009 11:59 AM

And the Battle rages on!
I have now installed GoblinX-2.7-Micro, Wolvix-Cub-1.1.0, and Debian Lenny Minimal Install to the Toshiba 7000CT Portege.
Originally I was going to just install each one using the whole 4GB HD, but instead I wanted to see how each one would perform in tight spaces.
I first partitioned the HD like this-
SDA1=GoblinX 660MB EXT3 (GoblinX-Micro=128MB/Installed=438MB)
SDA2=Wolvix 1.02GB EXT3 (Wolvix-Cub=240MB/Installed=850MB)
SDA3=Debian 2.05GB (Lenny-netinstall/installed=1.02GB)
Notes-Obviously this is not yet a fair fight, as GoblinX is stripped down and needs some apps added.Wolvix had more than I need so that will be stripped down some.
With Debian, I only checked the "laptop" option, after install and reboot, I aptitude installed LXDE, abiword-all, and Gambas2. I tried installing "Writer's-World-Maker", but for some reason I have to use "Gdebi-gtk" from the command-line and when I hit install on the GUI that appears, it has errors-

bryan@dhcppc0:~$ gdebi-gtk
/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/GDebi/ GtkWarning: gdk_window_set_cursor: assertion `GDK_IS_WINDOW (window)' failed
gksu: unrecognized option `--always-ask-pass'
GKsu version 2.0.0

Usage: gksu [-u <user>] [options] <command>

--debug, -d
Print information on the screen that might be
useful for diagnosing and/or solving problems.

--user <user>, -u <user>
Call <command> as the specified user.

--disable-grab, -g
Disable the "locking" of the keyboard, mouse,
and focus done by the program when asking for
--prompt, -P
Ask the user if they want to have their keyboard
and mouse grabbed before doing so.
--preserve-env, -k
Preserve the current environments, does not set $HOME
nor $PATH, for example.
--login, -l
Make this a login shell. Beware this may cause
problems with the Xauthority magic. Run xhost
to allow the target user to open windows on your

--description <description|file>, -D <description|file>
Provide a descriptive name for the command to
be used in the default message, making it nicer.
You can also provide the absolute path for a
.desktop file. The Name key for will be used in
this case.
--message <message>, -m <message>
Replace the standard message shown to ask for
password for the argument passed to the option.
Only use this if --description does not suffice.

--print-pass, -p
Ask gksu to print the password to stdout, just
like ssh-askpass. Useful to use in scripts with
programs that accept receiving the password on
How would I configure Gdebi so that it works like it does in Ubuntu-right-click on tar.gz-"open with Gdebi" option??
I really want to install this-as I would have to compile it from source for either Wolvix or GoblinX.
Do I also have to compile it from source for Lenny?
The WWMKR website has different options- ( ).
Anyway-I would like suggesstions on what everyone thinks-GoblinX/Wolvix/or Debian Lenny for the old laptop??
Is there such thing as a minimal Slackware 12.2 install??
The dealbreaker for Slackware or Slack-based distros are can both Gambas2 and Writer's World Maker be compiled/installed for Slack??
This laptop's only purpose is to write fiction and some low-level programming,etc.
I'm trying to learn all I can about compiling packages, scripting, Python, and Gambas2, and of course Slackware is the only choice for really trying to learn Linux in and out-as I am trying to compile my own packages for GoblinX/Wolvix now-to see how it's done. Also been doing alot of tinkering with Squashfs/dir2lzm/tgz2/lzm, etc.
So, basically this battle boils down to Slackware (GoblinX/Wolvix-Slackware-based distro's) against Debian, both having pros and cons.
I think both can do the job well-but which would be better for learning Linux hardcore?(as in lots of terminal work/compiling source/packages/, programming, etc??
The really important questions are can either truly work without major problems on a 4GB HD with 160MB RAM in an old Toshiba 7000CT?
Also, can you get LXDE for Slackware?
Thanks for the help!
UPDATE-found Gambas2.11. at Slacky ( ),
and the .tgz is here- ( )
The Slack-required is here- ( )
Do I have to compile each one or will the gambas.Slackbuild do it all??
I have Slackware 12.2 installed, so after compiling installing it, can I then do dir2lzm and install it to GoblinX/Wolvix??

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