Sunday, June 21, 2009

DSL, Damn Small Linux

Small Linux is a very versatile 50MB mini desktop oriented Linux distribution.

Damn Small is small enough and smart enough to do the following things:
  • Boot from a business card CD as a live linux distribution (LiveCD)
  • Boot from a USB pen drive
  • Boot from within a host operating system (that's right, it can run *inside* Windows)
  • Run very nicely from an IDE Compact Flash drive via a method we call "frugal install"
  • Transform into a Debian OS with a traditional hard drive install
  • Run light enough to power a 486DX with 16MB of Ram
  • Run fully in RAM with as little as 128MB (you will be amazed at how fast your computer can be!)
  • Modularly grow -- DSL is highly extendable without the need to customize

DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device.

DSL has a nearly complete desktop, and a tiny core of command line tools. All applications are chosen with the best balance of functionality, size and speed. Damn Small also has the ability to act as an SSH/FTP/HTTPD server right off of a live CD. In our quest to save space and have a fully functional desktop we've made many GUI administration tools which are fast yet still easy to use. What does DSL have?

XMMS (MP3, CD Music, and MPEG), FTP client, Dillo web browser, Netrik web browser, FireFox, spreadsheet, Sylpheed email, spellcheck (US English), a word-processor (Ted), three editors (Beaver, Vim, and Nano [Pico clone]), graphics editing and viewing (Xpaint, and xzgv), Xpdf (PDF Viewer), emelFM (file manager), Naim (AIM, ICQ, IRC), VNCviwer, Rdesktop, SSH/SCP server and client, DHCP client, PPP, PPPoE (ADSL), a web server, calculator, generic and GhostScript printer support, NFS, Fluxbox and JWM window managers, games, system monitoring apps, a host of command line tools, USB support, and pcmcia support, some wireless support.

3.x Supports Application launching from limited icons. Application centric. Menu driven.

Current 3.x version 3.4.12, screenshots: 1 2 Older Screenshots

4.x Supports Drag-N-Drop, Folder/Document centric. Many icons. Can be run menuless.
Current 4.x version: 4.4.10, screenshots: 1 2

Where to go to from here?
Applications see what we packed inside...
Packages what DSL is made of
Download a list of various download sites
Notes our answer to a changelog
Off Site links of interest elsewhere
Milestones DSL accomplishments
FAQ have questions? look here first!
Wiki community knowledge
Forums real time community knowledge
Mini-ITX Store mini computers and components
DSL on a CD business card, 80mm, or full size
DSL on usb pen Bootable USB Pen Drives
Income Guide independent developers should read this!
DSL At Work Doing things with DSL
DSL Market If you are buying anything at all, use our links to fund the project!
Donate where we ask for your help
The Wall of Appreciation to those who help
or scroll down for DSL Goodies info

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