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-   -   Zipslack; why did it exist, and why doesn't it now? (

linus72 05-30-2010 04:03 PM

Zipslack; why did it exist, and why doesn't it now?
I was just very curious as to the whole zipslack idea?
Was zipslack a rescue distro or an intro to slack for dos users, etc?

and why no zipslack anymore??


samac 05-30-2010 04:26 PM

From the slackware homepage


ZipSlack is a special edition of Slackware Linux that can be installed onto any FAT (or FAT32) filesystem with about 100 MB of free space. It uses the UMSDOS filesystem and contains most of the programs you will need. This means that you do not need to repartition your hard disk if you already have DOS or Windows installed. ZipSlack installs into a directory on your DOS filesystem. It can also be installed to and booted from a Zip disk.

This distribution is ideal for people who don't have a lot of hard disk space, do not have a fast Internet connection to download the entire distribution, or who want a Linux distribution they can carry around on a Zip disk.
Zipslack is no more because it is not really required anymore, I would guess, what with live cds, usb pens etc.


LuckyCyborg 05-30-2010 04:35 PM

Just remember that we talk every day about nice i386 princess and ugly&fat i486 elders... No USB. No CDROM. I guess... they don't invented this things in this age.

Question is... WHY? Where is my beloved zip-slack? I miss it so much... WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? :(

XavierP 05-30-2010 06:31 PM

ZipSlack was designed around floppy disks. Unfortunately, the kernel itself won't fit on a floppy any more, so you'd either need multiple floppies (which defeats the object) or the Slack team would need to develop and support a new distro that was so very lean that it would fit within 1.44mb. I think they have enough to do as it is!

If a machine is so old that it has no cdrom or USB, then it's either not designed to be installed to that way or you should grab the last release from a mirror.

gnashley 05-31-2010 05:09 AM

One of the neatest things about zipslack was the use of the umsdos filesystem which allowed two separate filesystems to co-exist in one partition without limiting the size of them (as with loop-mounted partition images).

And you could set up loadlin to load directly from a Win98 desktop -click an icon under windows to immediately go to command-line and start booting linux. There was once a 16MB linux distro which came as a windows 'exe' file installer -download under Win, click twice to run installer, click resulting desktop icon to reboot directly into linux.

You didn't need any CD or floppy at all to install it. It could also be booted on machiens with as little as 8-16MB of RAM.

zipslack cannot exist anymore because the umsdos FS is not supported under linux-2.6.

It can still be interesting and informative to study zipslack:
1. It provides a snapshot of Pat's idea of a minimal installation.
2. It was a ready-to-roll installation, so the items which were already setup show some handy tricks as compared to a package-based installation.

rkelsen 05-31-2010 05:33 AM


Originally Posted by gnashley (Post 3987159)
zipslack cannot exist anymore because the umsdos FS is not supported under linux-2.6.

Can you even buy Zip disks anymore? Even if you can, why would you carry around something the size of a CD case and a capacity of 100Mb?

USB flash drives killed Zip disks and floppy disks, for good reason.

brianL 05-31-2010 05:56 AM


Originally Posted by gnashley (Post 3987159)
-click an icon under windows to immediately go to command-line and start booting linux.

You can do something similar now with coLinux, using several distros. I've tried it once or twice on XP Pro, mainly with Debian "lenny". I got xterm running OK, but never managed to get any DE running.

linus72 05-31-2010 06:26 AM

I have been reading up on it some more...I know zipslack
isn't viable anymore...I just thought it was cool

Was zipslack like the forerunner to the Wubi-style of install?

Minus the zipdrive/floppy stuff; could a Slackware minimal install
be accomplished thru windows, etc
Like, could there be a Wubi-like install for Slackware?

or something like how Puppy could be frugally installed inside

Just asking if its possible; though it's probably not a great idea
as there are already many ways to install Linux...I was just curious?

disturbed1 05-31-2010 07:51 AM

You could look into Topologi Linux . Which is based on Slackware. Been around for 9 years or so, added coLinux to their options ~2004.

linus72 05-31-2010 08:59 AM

Thats awesome disturbed1, as actually I was looking for distros that can install inside windows for my brother!

ax25nut 05-31-2010 05:30 PM

linus72 wrote:
"....or something like how Puppy could be frugally installed inside

My reply:
Actually, Puppy has been based on different linux distros in the past, so one of them could be exactly what you want, although I can't recall which at this moment. I do recall that one version was specifically slackware-based, so visit their site and check the archives for the info. I believe the first version I actually tried was 2.15CE-Final. Happy hunting....

gnashley 06-01-2010 05:19 AM

While probably conceived for use on ZIP disks, it was not a requirement for using zipslack -all you needed was a FAT partition -with or wthout other files. It would fit in about 100MB.

A frugal installation means that a single file is used as a partition/disk image -topologi does the same thing expcept it is not frugal. Either way, the file(disk image) can exist on most any sort of files system whether windows or *nix.

colinux is completely different -it makes the linux kernel into a windows executable. Under win98, you could use loadlin.exe to go directly from the win desktop into cli-mode and boot into linux.

The umsdos filesystem allowed you to mix files for linux directly among those on a FAT partition instead of writing to a single-file partition image. When an image is used, you must choose the size of it when you create it. umsdos was able to directly use any free space on the FAT. umsdos was also slow, but it was a great idea.

There was a short time, when zipslack was available as the Slackware rescue disk -Pat had installed zipslack into a partition image. I don't remember now whether the image was using a FAT partition, or not. You can turn a zipslack installation into a 'normal' linux install(ext3/ext3,etc), by first installing it to a FAT partition. Then, (under linux 2.4!) you mount that FAT partition as an umsdos files system and copy the installed files to your ext2 or whatever. Slack-11 was the last version which was umsdos-compatible.

zipslack has no 'setup' routine, so have a look at the files which an normal setup routine would create/edit like the fstab. The list of packages is where you find the PatV minimal-install. Study the package list hard... can you find the 40 installed packages which are *not* needed to boot zipslack? The resulting package list let you create a minimal Slackware install of about 40MB.

The only other difference between zipslack and a normal installation was that in zipslack, all header files and static libs were removed after package installation (before the file was created). That helped reduce the final size -if you installed the same list of packages to an ext2/3, you'd need more than the 100MB needed by zipslack/umsdos on the FAT.

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