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1  Damn Small Linux / Site News / Re: DSL coming back on: March 28, 2016, 03:59:03 PM
No luck. I booted the .rc2 distro. When I selected F2 or F3 for boot options the window is off-center to the left and, while I can see the options, I can see no way to select any of them. I was able to select text size . If I just select "boot" it loads several files then the screen gets scrambled, and while there is some kind of image displayed, it's totally unreadable. But, back to the boot options, what am I missing? Are they selected by number, tab to selection, or what? I haven't been able to find any docs on the actual initial start-up process. I can post a pic if it's any help.

I'm probably posting tech questions in the wrong section. I'll move my topic to the correct one.


Quote from: CNK
. . . . graphics problems pop with some laptops, but there are usually ways to get around them. The DSL Wiki has a section on boot codes (http://damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/cheat_codes.html), they're not menu slectable, you have to type "dsl [cheatcodes]" and press enter. With [cheatcodes] being whatever options you need.

Try "fb800x600" (you need to leave off the "dsl" bit for this command), so that DSL avoids trying to use specific video drivers that may not be working properly.

If still no joy, you can try the "dsl vga=xxx" command (http://damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/vga_xxx.html).


This kind of issue is not unusual, especially with the smaller versions of Linux.

". . . the window is off-center to the left. . ."

I've seen that, and it usually means that the display resolution is set too high. (i.e. the resolution set to 1024x768 on an 800x600 display, or even 800x600 on a 640x480 display)

Since other modes give you a totally scrambled up display, I'd go back to the first mode and see what changing the display resolution will do.

Give it a try and report results.  These are usually solvable problems, it just takes a few whacks at it.

Jim (JR)
2  Damn Small Linux / Site News / Re: DSL coming back on: March 28, 2016, 03:47:25 PM

. . . . itx boards and ide doms are so cheap on 3bay.


OK, my mnemonicia might be a bit out of tune, but you have me stumped with "itx boards" and "ide doms".  Want to 'fess up?  I'd really like to know what they are.

p.s.  It would be great if John could find the time to respond to some of this, so we know that he hasn't disappeared again.

Jim (JR)
3  Damn Small Linux / Site News / Re: DSL coming back on: January 16, 2016, 03:47:36 AM
After a long hiatus I am bring this project back to life.  The first step was to bring this site back to working order.  We now have a functioning forum (this).  The old forum is now static HTML and it available here (http://damnsmalllinux.org/static/). 

Next I'll be doing a release of DSL to fix some bugs and time-bugs and get the distro in proper working order.  For now I do not see the scope of the project changing much -- the goal will be the same, pack as much utility and applications into 50 MB as possible.


First of all, let me thank you again for breathing new life into this distribution.

Second, though I know you want this distribution to live on - you seem to be suffering from the same kind of time constraints that the rest of us do, and it seems that you don't have as much time to devote to this as you'd like.

Since I don't want to see this wither away again because you're too busy, and I really don't think forking DSL is a good idea, would you consider the idea of opening up the distribution to additional help?  Perhaps a CVS system on Github, or something like that?

Both CNK and I have discussed (briefly) the idea of expanding the scope of the distribution team, and we both think that it would be a Good Thing for both you, and the distribution.

Think about it, and let us know what we can do to help.

Thanks again!

Jim (JR)
4  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Re: How to constrain Dillo to only use the available screen resolution on: January 16, 2016, 03:40:11 AM

I had been running DSL 2.4 on my micro-system, and then installed 3.4.9.

In 3.4.9 Dillo is (more) constrained than in 2.4 (but it still leaks outside the visible area a bit).  Later I will load up the latest stable 4.n release and see what happens there.

So, let me re-phrase the question slightly:

Since my teeny-tiny micro-system seems to run more quickly on some of the earlier versions, is there some way for me to use Dillo on those versions where it is not properly constrained - so that it fits the screen properly?


Jim (JR)
5  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Re: How to disable the "Getting Started" page @ startup? on: January 16, 2016, 02:23:08 AM
One other tip:

After you've edited .xinitrc to remove dillo from there, (as noted above), you may want to edit the Dillo launcher by right-clicking on the Dillo icon and selecting "properties".

Once there, you will notice that Dillo is set to auto-launch the getting started page from there too.  If you substitute a favorite home page for the reference to the getting started page, (like http://www.dogpile.com - my favorite search engine!), it will automatically launch that page every time you start Dillo.

What say ye?

Jim (JR)
6  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Oops! My display is . . !!! How to reconfigure X on DSL on: January 16, 2016, 02:05:17 AM
Sometimes when installing DSL - especially if the install has to be done on a different machine - the graphical display may encounter problems, the mouse may not work, etc. etc. etc.

So, how do you go about cleaning up this mess?


If you are still in the graphical display, type CTL-ALT-DEL, (the Windows "3-finger salute"  Grin ), to exit the graphical shell.

If you are at a "shell prompt" (which should look like dsl@tty1[dsl]$), you type in xsetup.sh

Once you do that, you will see a series of psudo-graphical dialogs that will ask you questions about your configuration:
*  Xvesa or Xfbdev?  ("normal" vesa graphics, or do you need Frame Buffer graphics?  If you get this wrong, your graphics might be garbage, or won't work)  You scroll up-or-down to select - if one doesn't work, go back and try the other.
*  USB mouse?  (yes or no)
*  (If no USB mouse) IMPS2 mouse? (is it a PS2 - round connector - mouse?)  (yes or no)
*  (If no USB or PS2 mouse) it will ask you about a serial mouse - I've never messed with this since my mouse is PS2.
*  Number of mouse buttons?  (2 or 3)
*  Screen Resolution?  (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, etc.)  You arrow up-or-down to the one that matches.
*  Number of bits (color depth), (4, 8, 16, 32, etc.)  As before, you arrow up-or-down and hit Enter.
*  Keymap? (Here you arrow up-or-down to select the keymapping you want to use.)

After you do that, you can check your work by typingstartx to restart the graphical screen.

If everything works, including the mouse and it's buttons, you're golden!

If not, go back and try a different set of selections.

If you STILL can't get it to work, try asking a question here - include as much system and graphic card information as you can, and if anyone can help, you should hear back soon.

What say ye?

Jim (JR)
7  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / How to constrain Dillo to only use the available screen resolution on: January 16, 2016, 01:36:22 AM

When using DSL in 640x480, Dillo opens up to a size that is too large for the available screen space.  Ergo, important controls like the address bar, or the window buttons, are missing.

Is there a way to constrain Dillo so that when it opens, it doesn't open larger than the available screen size?


Jim (JR)
8  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Re: How to disable the "Getting Started" page @ startup? on: January 04, 2016, 02:44:41 AM

Excellent point.  And in retrospect, you are exactly right.  Unfortunately I was both hypothesizing, and not very lucid - it being WAY past bedtime when I wrote that.

In any event, I haven't had a chance to fuss with this yet.  However, hope springs eternal!

Re:  John not maintaining this-or-that:

First of all, I totally understand - I have a list of "I wanna do's" as long as my arm.  (Actually, both arms and both legs!  Cheesy )

Getting to things that you "want" to do often has to take a back seat to things that you "have" to do.  (Example:  John could have been a bachelor when this started, then got married, and THEN had a couple of kids to keep an eye on.)  Something like that - though enjoyable at times - really puts a crimp on the time you have to maintain a distribution.  Maybe he got a job that forces him to commute out-of-town for weeks on end?  Who knows?  He sure isn't telling.

One thing that could happen is for him to delegate maintenance responsibility to others who have both the experience AND the time to do the job.  Another option would be to share maintenance responsibilities with others.  There would have to be a way to coordinate activities so the maintainers aren't stepping all over each others shoes.  But if this is done it would serve to keep the DSL torch lit, and would provide an incentive to make things even better.

This is a big problem with any project that is a "one man band".  If that "one man" gets overwhelmed - or just develops a bad case of the fuckits, (which is absolutely undertstandable), things rapidly spiral out of control.

Just rambling. . . . .

What say ye?

Jim (JR)

9  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Re: How to disable the "Getting Started" page @ startup? on: January 01, 2016, 03:40:06 AM
Just thought of something. . . . .

I don't think setting +/- x will prevent a local html file from being displayed in the browser.  Assuming that this is true, the fix would be to rename the file to have a leading dot.  Then the script will barf with a "file not found" type error.

Either way. . . .  It will be interesting to play with.

Jim (JR)
10  Damn Small Linux / Other Help Topics / Re: How to disable the "Getting Started" page @ startup? on: January 01, 2016, 03:19:36 AM
Thanks (and a Happy New Year!

Once I get a bit more familiar with DSL, (and if I can find a good spot on the Control Panel for this kind of tweak), I might take a shot at a "preference" to enable/disable this.  Though DSL is an excellent learning environment, I am sure that there are many users who blanch at the thought of editing their xinitrc!

One thought that might really work (at the functionality level - how to implement it in the control panel is another story!), is to add a call to another script in xinitrc.  The new script would work something like this

1.  Call the "getting_started" html page
2.  If it returns "not executable", just bail.  i.e. redirect stderr to /dev/null?

The preference toggle could work like this:

1.  Create two buttons - or a "flippy" button like the mounter has - and give it two states:
  (a)  Enabled
  (b)  Disabled

2.  Create a script that would do something like this:  (pardon the Windows coding style)

         message = "enable"
               chmod +x /usr/share/doc/dsl/getting_started.htm

         message = "disable"
               chmod -x /usr/share/doc/dsl/getting_started.html

Any thoughts on:
1.  How to implement this?
2.  (assuming I get it working) How to submit "upstream" (to you?) for inclusion in the next release?

You're right about one thing - Ubuntu/Mint/Fedora/Slackware/et.al. are two "damn" Grin complicated to try this kind of nonsense on without a whole lot more coding/scripting experience than I have.  (there's less to fight with, and less to "break")  There is (also) likely to be a less obnoxious "submit" method for patches/updates.

Any other development efforts going on now that DSL has risen like the Phoenix that it is?  I'd love to just hang out and soak up the skills.

Thanks again for your advice and encouragement!

Jim (JR)

p.s.  The "Preview" functionality on the board is broken - at least in Firefox.  Is there a place where I can submit bug reports against the forum site itself?
11  Damn Small Linux / HD Install / Re: DSL frugal install fun on: December 31, 2015, 02:30:03 AM
I had run into much the same problem - and I spent much time pounding my head on my basement's cement floor trying to fix it - until I *FINALLY* figured out what the problem was:

The error message "ERROR: "/dev/cloop has no BIOS device name!" " translated from OS gibberish to human readable English is "The drive you're trying to install Grub on is not directly connected to the computer's motherboard somewhere.  Perhaps it's connected via a USB cable?"

I found the best way to get Grub to install was to take a computer and connect the hard drive directly to the computer's motherboard via either a direct IDE or SATA connection to the MoBo's (<-- geek-speak for "Motherboard"), internal connectors.  eSATA, FireWire, USB, etc. won't cut it since (in most cases) the device was not recognized as a bootable device at startup.

I did everything possible to "fix" Grub: Voodo, burning brown rice, sacrificing small rodents, threatening it with my gigantic wood-splitting maul, and so forth.  All to no avail.  It was only after I got a clue about what the error actually ment, and hooked the drive directly to the motherboard, that I had any success at all installing DSL on a hard drive.

Hope this helps someone.

Jim (JR)
12  Damn Small Linux / USB booting / Re: Cannot Access Internet on: December 31, 2015, 02:14:35 AM

And yes, I know that this thread is a bit stale. . .  However, having run into the same issue recently using several different versions of DSL, I thought I'd toss in my two centavos.

Edit the boot command-line to remove the word "quiet", since "quiet" causes all the very interesting - and informative! - boot messages to be hidden.  In cases like this where hardware may - or may not - be misbehaving, it is absolutely crucial to know what the system thinks about it at boot-time.

If you have, (for example), a 3-Com 3C589D PCMCIA card in a laptop slot on your system, and you get messages like "unrecognized PCMCIA device '3-Com 3C589D' " - then you know that messing around with the "net setup" won't get you far since this is telling you that the system has no clue what your network card is.

On the other hand, if you get messages that indicate that the system found the card, recognized it as a network card, successfully activated it, and attempted to get it working by "backgrounding" something like DHCP. . . .  if your network still doesn't work, then the net-setup page may well be your answer.

Important take-away:  Especially in Linux, and double-especially in micro-Linuxes like DSL, Boot Messages Are Your Friend!

In my case, the card would get recognized and activated, but I'd have no network connection, so I had to go to the Net Setup section and give it a boot up the arse with a #9 steel-tipped boot  Wink  by making sure that within Net Setup the network was set to "DHCP" and not "Manual" (or "static")  This is supposed to happen automagically, but often times it does not.

If your card, (or WiFi, or whatever), is NOT recognized at boot time, you will need to spend some time on the Web researching it.  Searching for whatever the text of the error message is, is often very helpful.

Hopefully this tiny addition will help someone else out there in Television Land who is banging their head against The Network Dragon.  (And now you know why Network Admin's get the Big Bucks!)

What say ye?

Jim (JR)
13  Damn Small Linux / User Feedback / Re: What does DSL get run on nowadays? on: December 30, 2015, 03:59:53 AM
Yes. . . .  I know this topic is "stale" - which means maybe it's time to freshen it up a bit! Grin

What do *I* run DSL on?

Short answer:  Whatever I can.

Longer answer:

Systems that are "mentally challenged"  Roll Eyes because it's a hoot, and you learn a lot about running a distro efficiently when you are doing it on a "sub-optimal" system.  My latest project is getting it to run on an absolutely ancient Libretto CT50 (P1, 815 meg HD, and a whopping 16 megs of ram).  And it's actually running, albeit slow as molasses.  And that's the challenge:  Can I get a system that reached its peak with Windows 95 to run DSL efficiently and well?

Even if I ultimately decide that this system is just too cramped to run any distro, I will have still learned a lot along the way.  For which I am immensely grateful.

Thanks again for a very useful distribution.

Jim (JR)
14  Damn Small Linux / User Feedback / Why *I* like to use DSL. . . . on: December 30, 2015, 03:49:54 AM

So. . . .  Here is one of the reasons I really like messing with DSL. . .

Most Linux distro's - even the "tiny" ones, assume you have (relatively) massive amounts of memory and hard-disk space.  And on those systems, if you do something sub-optimal, it is likely that you won't see the real impact of your mistake - it gets drowned in the sheer size of the distribution.

In DSL, you can try to run this beastie on hardware that is really ridiculous by any other standard.  And if you 'naff-up, the system tells you in short order by crashing, freezing up on you wile you thrash swap, or something similarly obvious.  It is because DSL is such a small distribution that it becomes useful - the small size makes it easier to see how the pieces fit together, how they articulate, and how one aspect of the system affects the others.

Also, it's a real challenge to try to get a system that is both stable, and responsive in something insane like a system with only 16 megs of memory.

And it's because you can run DSL on systems that are insane by any other reasonable standard, that you have to really pay attention.  I've learned a thousand times more about setting up an efficient system by crashing DSL, than by reading a hundred books on the subject.  And it has served me well - I have a 15 Tb server, running Mint/Cinnamon, on a system that reached it's prime in the '90's - and it runs just as well as someone else's 8-core i7 with mondo amounts of memory.  It's all about knowing where to trim the fat, and knowing what fat is important to system stability and performance.

And then, there's the sheer challenge of it:  Trying to make a system useful that someone else would not even bother to heave out, because it would be a waste of his time and effort.

And that is the main reason I admire DSL.  I don't always use it, but I sure respect the hell out of those who maintain it.

What say ye?

Jim (JR)
15  Damn Small Linux / Site News / Re: DSL coming back on: December 30, 2015, 12:26:52 AM
After a long hiatus I am bring this project back to life.  The first step was to bring this site back to working order.  We now have a functioning forum (this).  The old forum is now static HTML and it available here (http://damnsmalllinux.org/static/).  

Next I'll be doing a release of DSL to fix some bugs and time-bugs and get the distro in proper working order.  For now I do not see the scope of the project changing much -- the goal will be the same, pack as much utility and applications into 50 MB as possible.

Yipee!!!  Hurray!!!  Большое тебе спасибо!!!  Muchas Gracias!!!

"DSL" has been one of my favorite distro's since it was designed to fit on a 1.44 floppy. . .

I know that I am a "sick, twisted little man", but one of my hobbies is to take the most ridiculous, ancient, and crufty pieces of hardware out there, and re-purpose them with DSL.  My current project being an ancient Toshiba Libretto CT50 (Pentium 1, 640x480x16 bit, 16 *megs* of memory, 815 meg HD), that I am trying to bring back to life with DSL.  And!  I've just about succeeded too.

DSL is an excellent distribution for just that purpose, as it is a much lighter-weight distribution than things like Tiny Core, or Puppy. (Not that I have anything against them, they just won't work on a 16 meg system with 815 megs of hard-drive!)

Thanks so much for "taking up the torch" so to speak.  I'm glad to see this beastie is back in business!

Jim (JR)
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