Forum: Linux and Free Software
started by: dslfool
Posted by dslfool on Mar. 30 2008,15:23Has anyone seen SliTaz (< slitaz.org >), a 25MB ISO with JWM and FireFox?
From the SliTaz site:
* Root filesystem taking about 80 Mb and ISO image less than 30 Mb.
* Ready to use Web server powered by LightTPD with CGI and PHP support.
* Browse the Web with Mozilla Firefox or Retawq in text mode.
* Sound support provided by Alsa mixer, audio player and CD ripper/encoder.
* Chat, mail and FTP clients.
* SSH client and server powered by Dropbear.
* Database engine with SQLite.
* Tools to create, edit or burn CD or DVD images.
* Elegent desktop with JWM running on the top of Xvesa (X server).
* Home made graphical boxes to command line utilities.
* More than 440 packages easily installable from the mirror.
* Active and friendly community.
Posted by roberts on Mar. 31 2008,14:53My initial comments...
First off kudos to the development team of Siltaz.
Lots of commpression is used here gzip and lzma to achieve small size. We have often discussed using more compression but didn't because the older cpus would spend too much time decompressing things. Small distro does not mean run extremely fast on very old hardware due to overhead of uncompressing.
Using initial ramdisk, kinda like our initrd version. There using newer version supported only in 2.6 kernel. Boot up is a little slower as builds up the ramdisk with rootfs.gz, I like it. No unionfs/aufs which I have already stated that I would rather not use. So kudos for that. Even their modules are compressed. They have 224 compressed modules. DSL 4.x has 617 uncompressed modules, DSL 3.x has even more. DSL has more but duplicate applications, two window managers, several editors, two file managers. I have often promoted to drop some of these duplicates.
Caution Siltaz boots with open ports and known root password. I would not boot with open ports. Also firefox starts with a connection to their website, so they know your ip, open ports, and root password is not a combination that I like.
I like the simpilicty of their core architecture. I will investigate further.
Posted by roberts on Mar. 31 2008,21:20no its not DSL, but ...
I like the foundation of initramfs/rootfs.gz - very easy
I have already made a remaster. If you know cpio then it is easy.
But probably only us old guys are that familiar with cpio.
They have a different philosophy of running their system once booted. I still prefer the DSL way of doing things. But will likely adopt the foundation.
Posted by curaga on April 01 2008,16:21I'd like to say my view of initramfs vs. initrd.
Initramfs is first uncompressed, then unpacked to rootfs. It is writable, but it is also ramfs, which can overload very easily.
Initrd is similarly first uncompressed, then mounted. With ext2 there's little filesystem overhead. With the same files, initrd would take more ram. But there's an upside with ext2 initrd: it is not rootfs, so it can be freed when not needed, and it can be imposed limits to, so it can't overload your ram & swap.
Then there's the way I've been thinking of, using initrd but cramfs instead of ext2. This uses about a quarter of ram compared to either previous approach, as it is never uncompressed. And this small ram usage can still be freed after boot.
Posted by lucky13 on April 01 2008,16:38
Have you tried benchmarking the differences in any quantifiable way? My concern is cramfs and squashfs would be fine on newer hardware but the price would be how they could burn up older computers -- what you free up in RAM would suck on older, slower CPUs.
Posted by roberts on April 01 2008,17:25I have been evaluating several foundations and many with squashfs+lzma+unionfs and many still have many issues.
Perhaps with a full size distro that is the way to go, or even wait until some of the issues are resolved.
initramfs is not something unique to Slitaz but has been developed in the 2.6 kernel. It has been very interesting to read the kernel development list as to why the change from initrd+ext2 to initramfs. If anyone wants the links I will post them. For a tiny core, as I have proposed, it seems quite suitable. Then with the addition of the DSL way, i.e., factoring out static (extensions) + fine grained backup/restore would seem also appropriate.
Also, the next version of DSL is not really targeted at old hardware. Old hardware does not change. We have DSL 3.x & DSL 4.x for such.
Newer hardware has way more memory than a tiny core + a few user selected additional application extensions would require.
I am going to go ahead with a prototype and see how it sails.
Posted by curaga on April 01 2008,17:31@lucky13: No, I haven't, yet. Cramfs differs with squashfs mainly in the compression level, which is lower and so better for older comps.
Posted by Jason W on April 05 2008,04:05Robert,
Slitaz will not boot on my 64MB machine due to its trying to load into ram, where as Puppy 3.0.1 in live cd mode runs ok (without Seamonkey) and a homemade Linux Live cd will function in text mode even with it's built in overhead.
I know your long standing position on making existing hardware useful, and so this is a stupid question.
But will the new DSL try to run totally in ram or default to live cd mode?
In live cd mode, a modern kernel with basic apps will run on a 64MB machine of course.
That is a bit above the current DSL requirements, but sounds like a reasonable floor. But if it is time to move on period, then I respect that.
Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on April 05 2008,05:05
Posted by curaga on April 05 2008,08:18SliTaz will not boot in Qemu with 128mb ram.. And the lowram version they talk about is something you must remaster yourself..
Posted by roberts on April 05 2008,18:54
While I am not particularly targeting the same machine class that DSL v3.x and v4.x currently supports, I am not going to be doing things the same way as SilTaz. So the answer to your question is not known at present. Without being negative, their after boot is fairly standard. I happen to not agree with that portion of SliTaz. Each distro becomes, or at best, hopely becomes, unique in the after boot experience. I know some distros just change the window manager and call it a new distribution. Others offer very new and different approaches like Slax, Puppy and DSL.
Just as I wrote that many distros are based on squashfs/lzma compressed images with unionfs/aufs, each offers a different experience after boot.
What I am doing is try to bring the concepts that I created with DSL , e.g., memory saving mounted self contained applications to use with a simple tiny core. That has been the expressed goal in going forward. A tiny core not useful as desktop but using the mydsl tools to have it your way. The smaller the core the less memory needed. So perhaps, your way, may run in lower memory than others based on the user selected boot time applications (mydsl) built by and for the community.
I am making progress there using the foundation of initramfs/rootfs. That foundation is indeed very simple and easy to work with. The prototype will likely be based off SliTaz kernel and modules but will be eventually be replaced by our kernel. First is proof of concept.
Posted by Jason W on April 05 2008,19:14Robert,
Thank you for your reply, and I am sorry to have taken your time with such a dumb question.
Posted by roberts on April 05 2008,19:20It was not a dumb question at all. Your participation with DSL, questions, comments, and contributions is most appreciated.