Opinions: Floppy Linux

Bennett Todd bet at rahul.net
Wed Feb 2 20:51:16 PST 2005


2005-02-03T02:16:56 Mike Hernandez:
> I mean the linux kernel and gnu utils [like bash and the
> coreutils, etc] are what you might consider "linux", and those are
> part of every distro.

Well, certainly most major, mainstream, popular end-user distros,
ones oriented to running off modern, gigantic hard drives, or live
CDs.

But Linux as found in e.g. appliances like the various Linux-based
Linksys routers, in sram-based handhelds, and --- wait for it --- in
distros designed to run from floppies --- don't generally indulge in
memory-extravagent luxuries like glibc and the GNU utils. The Linux
kernel is there, yes, but this turf is the home ground of smaller,
more resource-efficient libcs like uClibs and Diet Libc; and of
compact userspace utility sets like BusyBox and embutils.

My distro is Bent Linux. It includes packages for most of the core
GNU tools, but it's based on uClibc, and includes Busybox. It's
not quite cranked down tight enough to be well-tuned for making a
bootable floppy (although I think it should be possible if you could
crank the kernel down way smaller, or if you formatted the floppy to
more than 1.4MB), but it's suitable for making custom initrds.

-Bennett
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