About Damn Small Linux

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Damn Small Linux, also known as DSL, is a Linux distribution for the x86 architecture, originally in a Bootable business card LiveCD format. It can also be installed to and run from a hard disk, a USB flash drive, a Compact Flash card, a ZIP drive, and just about any other bootable media that can contain the required 50MB. It can also be run inside a Microsoft Windows or Linux host environment via the QEMU machine emulator and virtualizer.

Although the DSL project has maintained its 50mb size limit, it still includes many essential desktop applications and users can easily access and choose to add various "MyDSL extensions" from an online repository (see MydslPanel for more info.)

Damn Small Linux was originally conceived and maintained by John Andrews, but has grown into a large community project with many contributors, most notably Robert Shingledecker for the creation of the MyDSL system, DSL Control Panel, and tons of other stuff.


The MyDSL System, or Stuffing the Penguin

The MyDSL extensions and servers are handled and maintained by the enigmatic Ke4nt and hosted by many kind organizations, such as ibiblio and Belgium's Belnet. There are 2 areas of the MyDSL servers- regular and testing:

  • The 'regular' area contains extensions that have been proven stable enough for everyday use and is broken down into different areas such as 'Apps', 'Net', 'system', and 'uci' (Universal Compressed ISO - extensions in .uci format mount as a separate filesystem to save RAM space)
  • The Testing Area is for newly submitted extensions that theoretically work "as advertised", but may have any number of bugs.

As of December 7, 2004, the MyDSL servers are hosting over 200 apps, plugins, and other extensions available for installation. This includes large programs such as OpenOffice.org, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), and smaller apps like XChat. These extensions give users the convenience of one-click download and installation of apps (although most DSL users refer to all things MyDSL as extensions).

Expanding Further

DSL has built in scripts for the download and installation of Debian's Advanced Packaging Tool (APT), and Synaptic Package Manager, the GUI for APT.

What can fit in 50 megabytes?!

Damn Small Linux has a complete desktop, including:

  • Spellcheck (US English)

External links