Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Damn Small Linux Rises From the Dead With a 4.11 RC1 Release 101

An anonymous reader writes "Damn Small Linux is back from the dead, with a version 4.11 RC1 release announcement at Distrowatch and another at the DSL Forums! Quoting: 'Here is the first release candidate for Damn Small Linux (DSL) 4.11. The changes in this release are a step toward making DSL a friendly alternative for older hardware. I've fixed some bugs, updated some applications, and replaced others. Applications: updated JWM to 2.1.0 (now supports rounding); updated Dillo to 3.0.2 (much improves CSS support); added XChat 1.8.9; added sic 1.1 IRC client; added XCalc-color. Modified desktop functionality: it is now possible to switch between JWM and Fluxbox without shutting down X; added menu items to switch between DFM and xtdesk icon engines or use none at all." Here's the download page."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Damn Small Linux Rises From the Dead With a 4.11 RC1 Release

Comments Filter:
  • Just in time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadlyBanana ( 888719 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @01:02AM (#40883571)
    To get respun for the raspberry pi?
  • by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Sunday August 05, 2012 @01:06AM (#40883589) Homepage

    So now again my example of why it should be allowed to repeat the last word of the acronym expanded, is relevant: "ATM machine is running DSL Linux, and is connected over ATM mode DSL line".

    • by agrif ( 960591 )

      The DSL Linux CD disk is read by a LASER radiation beam.

      I initially wrote this to be facetious but laser radiation beam actually sounds cool.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by virb67 ( 1771270 )
        "laser radiation beam" may sound cool, but it's also redundant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "laser radiation beam" may sound cool, but it's also redundant.

          I think that was the point. De-acronymizing the OP, one obtains:

          The Damn Small Linux Linux compact disk disk is read by a light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation radiation beam.

          The Department of Redundancy Department

    • It can get worse; much worse. I once read a post on Usenet where somebody reported saying, "ATM the ATM is off the ATM."
  • Looking into getting a small distro for old hardware (2002). So many choices, so little time. Seems like puppy is the favorite ?

    • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @01:17AM (#40883651)

      Try both Puppy and Damn Small. I keep a copy of Damn Small in my CD wallet (not every PC boots reliably off USB) for troubleshooting since it's light and fast even on weak systems.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      debian, its got the utilities and small resource footprint you want, unlike puppy you can use apt-get anydamn thing you want, puppy is really for nerds who have too much time on their hands to fuck around with a nerd system.

      • by jma05 ( 897351 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @06:38AM (#40885033)

        Good point. DSL was light, but also felt very clunky: UI and to install extra software. I wanted something with the backing of a standard package repository.

        An year or two ago, I was looking for a light Linux to run in a VM and was balancing usability with RAM usage. Here are my numbers from some old notes. Unless specified, the numbers are for RAM usage at login to Desktop at default config (I might have removed some apps I considered non-essential - I don't recall).

        Of course, these are not exactly scientific. Was sshd running for Arch?, I didn't note down. The distro version numbers were also not noted, but all distros were roughly from 1.5 years ago. They were more for getting ballpark estimates. AFAI-recall, they were all booted in a 256 MB VM (Virtualbox).

        Lubuntu - 85 MB
        Fluxbuntu 48 MB (31 MB without X)
        Lubuntu 64 MB (41 MB without X)

        Ubuntu Server 10.04 without servers and X - 145 MB (did not expect this)
        Ubuntu Mint (Gloria) 144 MB
        Debian Mint 138 MB

        ULite Desktop - 54 MB (17 MB without X)
        ULite Desktop without GDM - 26 MB

        Non-Debian (without X)
        Suse in light server config - 13 MB (incl sshd, 10 MB without)
        Arch - 14 MB

        So, Suse took the light-weight crown for RAM usage at terminal boot. For me though, Lubuntu was the sweet-spot at that time.

        • DSL is still on the 2.4 kernel. Meant to run bare metal on very old systems where some hardware doesn't have drivers in the 2.6 series.
      • ubuntu is almost the same thing as debian, similar selection of software, same text-mode installer - which you want to be using on an old PC, giving you a text-only installation that you supplement by apt-getting a desktop or window manager.

        ubuntu mainly gives you a fresh firefox over debian ; if you're going to run firefox then the latest one will use less memory and cpu than an old version. debian may be better if this is not a big concern and you like doing in-place upgrades every two-three years. or you

    • Heck, I've run Ubuntu on machines from 2000.
      Arch Linux is pretty lean and can be configured to your liking. Arch is pretty loyal to the KISS principle too. For distros, Arch is my favorite and they arguably have the best documentation available.
      If 762MB is not too large, you could try TAILS Linux, which is a privacy-oriented distro based on (I think) Ubuntu, and is preconfigured to run all protocols through the TOR proxy. Of course, for that reason, I'd not trust the security of it. It's pretty cool thoug
      • But that brings up something I've been wondering for awhile which is what point would it be better to toss the hardware? I mean you can buy one of those E350 based kits for less than $150 and that thing takes less than 18w under load and idles in the mid single digits, I don't even remember what the Pi runs but its a crazy small number, so at what point does that old hardware become too much of a piggie to be worth keeping?

        Lets face it folks, while you may see the ancient P2 or P3 around occasionally most of those died ages ago thanks to the cheap caps they used back then so what I see the most of, and by most of i mean fricking insane amounts of, is those damned Pentium 4s. Those P4s frankly were NEVER good on power and just cranked the living shit out of the heat, so would it be better to keep it, thus paying the increased electricity and cooling, or just get something cheap that doesn't blow through power like crap through a goose?

        I know that while I've got a couple of P4s waiting on me to refurb at the shop, and probably another good half dozen or more gonna be given to me free by the super for parts or refurbing, the only older machine I've kept is a 2004 Sempron a customer traded in that frankly makes a great nettop at the shop. Its quiet, uses maybe 35w on average, and puts out hardly any heat at all. while that Pentium d I have in the corner may run rings around it it runs rings around my AC as well.

        So at what point is it better to dump? I hate as much as the rest to toss working gear, just about to carry a 1.8GHz P4 to the dumpster because i can't think of a damned thing to do with it and I hate tossing working machines like that, but at what point are you blowing through more in power and cooling than you'd save by keeping?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I asked my self the same things aswell, and here's some simple math:
          - how much is the impact on your elec bill?
          - how many years does it take to break even the upfront cost of the newer but less electricity demanding hardware?

          From there, it's your choice.

        • That's the nature of computers. They advance much, much faster than other types of electronics. The most important thing is to keep proper recycling going on.

          On the other hand, hardware released just after P4 is not in that dire situation at all. Core Duo stuff (2006 or so) are still fine for basic desktops.

          • Oh I agree, I have a couple of Athlon X2s from that period and they are just fine when it comes to power, i also hung onto that Sempron even though its even older because not only is it low power but if i want to lower the power even more i can pick up a socket 754 Athlon mobile for less than $30 that will drop right in and give me more performance while dropping the idle even lower but as long as the Sempron is doing the job i don't see the point.

            But those P4s, especially the Prescott and later, were power

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          It's usually about having something that will work on other people's old hardware so whether to toss or not is somebody else's problem.
          I get your point though, I've got half a rack full of 32 bit machines that haven't even been turned on for a couple of years at least because just about everything newer at any speed uses less power and produces less heat.
        • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @12:47PM (#40886879) Homepage

          But that brings up something I've been wondering for awhile which is what point would it be better to toss the hardware? I mean you can buy one of those E350 based kits for less than $150

          It sounds like you have applications such as networked storage or firewall boxes in mind, but for desktop use, you can can actually get quite nice used desktop hardware for less than $150 -- often less than half that. For about 8 years now, I've been buying cheap machines, putting linux on them, and putting them in my physics lab for my students to use. For a while I was going to garage sales, Salvation Army, and shops that sold used boxes. But recently I've found that really nice hardware is becoming available on ebay at very reasonable prices. Here are some examples of some recent machines I've bought:

            HP Pavilion Desktop D4100Y Pentium D 2.80 GHz 1 GB Memory /PC2-3200, $40+$23 shipping

          HP XW4400 Workstation Intel Core 2 DUO E6300 1.86GHz 250GB 1GB CD-RW/ DVD, $90+$24 shipping

          HP Compaq D330 uT Intel Pentium 4 2.66GHZ 80GB HDD 1GB DDR Desktop PC, $30+$23 shipping

          Gateway GT5637E AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 160GB HDD 2GB DDR2 CD-RW/ DVD-RW, $110+$20 shipping

          Even with shipping, it's a lot less money than you'd pay locally for the same hardware. It's also much less work to find it, and it's not in need of as many upgrades as the kind of stuff you find at garage sales, etc., where many machines have no CD drive, no ethernet, or not enough memory.

          I typically install ubuntu and set them up with xfce as the default wm. Performance is fine.

          • Dude while I appreciate you trying to help kids you might want to stay away from the P4s and Pentium Ds. Just pick up a kill-a-watt and slap it on one of those to find out why, they belch heat and suck juice like a 70s Monte Carlo with bad rings.

            The original Core chips, pretty much all the Athlons and Phenoms were MUCH better about power and can be found just as cheaply if you look around and any of the AM2 sockets can have the chip swapped for one of the low power variants in less than 10 minutes and place

            • You raise an interesting point, but the numbers don't seem to bear you out. The local cost of electricity is 19 cents per kilowatt-hour. These machines are typically powered on for maybe 10 hours a week, which is about a 5% duty cycle. At 50 W, the electricity cost for a year of use comes out to be about $4. To pay back the cost of a $50 power-saving upgrade, as you suggest, would take decades, which is much longer than these things will be in use. (My time is also worth something to me, so there's no way I

              • But you missed the point which is WHY pay that extra $4 when you don't have to? As the list showed you can get Athlon X2s and first gen cores for the same price and they suck a hell of a lot less juice and don't belch out heat.

                So its not like its pay $x or pay $x+y, its pay $x for a power piggie or pay $x for a non piggie, why pay for the piggie?

              • At 50 W

                How old is your hardware? My first computer, a 1980's era machine, IBM PS/2 Model 30, an 8086/8MHz (without heatsink or fan), had a 70W PSU, so I can safely assume that at peak load could draw this 50W.

        • by spauldo ( 118058 )

          Old hardware is only useful because it's cheap (or often free) and it's fun, if that's your thing.

          I've got a few old Sparcstation 20s that I play around with. Why? They're fun. Or at least they were, before Oracle mucked about with

          I've got some old Pentium I machines that I've used as small network servers and firewalls. As of yesterday, I'm on all modern (and much more energy efficient) machines, but a Pentium I will serve DHCP just as well as an i7. I used to keep a few old HP Vectras a

          • Be sure to wipe them, and install Ubuntu or your favorite distro, so when they pick it up, take it home and fire it up, it just works. I've had people stop back and ask what it was I left on the computer I threw out, and could I install it in their dying XP box.

            Spread the love!


        • Or don't take it to the dumpster, BestBuy takes old hardware off your hands for free and that way it gets properly recycled instead of leaking toxic metals in a dump somwhere
        • So at what point is it better to dump?

          The point at which eliminating your wait time for whatever slow application (usually Firefox...), is worth the sale price of new hardware, plus the time and effort to setup that new system.

          Power is cheap, and old hardware is much lower power than people expect, due to being single-core and having low-power GPUs and North/Southbridges. I still have a 2.4GHz P4 system up and running in an office... It draws all of 40w at idle, which means operating costs are just a few

        • by cynyr ( 703126 )

          The PI doesn't have the IO to compete with a E350. There is no SATA, dual gigabit (or 10/100 for that mater), PCI-E, or PCI on the PI.

          I keep trying to figure out what i would do with a PI, but even as a media center it doesn't have enough hardware decode codec support and I would have to re-rip all of my dvd rips that are set up for the PS3.

          If i wanted a NAS I could go This route [] or similar in a stock case. A PI as a fun nettop type toy sure, you know maybe it could save me a bunch of power when I'm just re

    • Also, I forgot to mention what might be obvious. A primary consideration when looking for a clean and unbloated setup is your desktop/window manager. Many distros could be slimmed down by using something like LXDE, XFCE, Openbox, Awesome, or even Mate. If you don't need a digital Cirque du Soleil, you can probably avoid KDE and Gnome. I was pretty impressed by XFCE on Arch.
      And to correct the typo in my last sentence from the other comment; I see no reason not to try DSL Linux.
  • TI83 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @01:19AM (#40883661) Homepage

    I just noticed that this distro uses JWM, which was written by legendary TI-83 programmer Joe Wingbermuehle []. If you went to high school in 1998-2002 and had a TI83 or TI83+, you might have had some of his programs, such as the Ion assembly shell, Boxworld, Breakout, Diamonds, Dstar, Landmine, or Jezzball.

  • Anti-X Linux, have it on a 150Mhz Pentium, DSL had some advantages like running on a 8 meg machine (with no use of X of course) and the small size, but hell its been long enough where I had to move on from DSL, and honestly its never really been a great or polished system. Just a fuckton of basic utilitarian things crammed on a disk with a janky UI, and none of the software I would actually use.

  • Xbox Version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monsuco ( 998964 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @01:47AM (#40883769) Homepage
    I'm so happy to see this project's back from the dead. I'll once again be able to make use of super-old PC's. I hope somebody updates the Xbox release called X-DSL someday. It was made for modded Xboxes and it's the only distro that ever really worked well on them.
  • This with a dedicated Steam port would be ideal for a lightweight and fast gaming system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2012 @02:47AM (#40884023)

    DSL was hugely important to me. It started me in Linux, got me understanding things, learning scripting, Perl and C. Booted all into ram it was blinding fast even on an old machine. I love small light applications and I still love the idea of a whole desktop and browser in a 50MB iso. It predates Puppy and all the others. But what version stuff is it running now?

    What kernel version is it running? libc? Apart from the dispute between its owner and its lead developer (the latter went off to found Tinycore) the big problem with old DSL was compiling anything recent became a pain because it and the gcc versions in the repo were so out of date. Leaving aside security issues this began to hamper what I could do with it. Then there was the old 2.4.26 kernel.

    Is that how it has to be if the goal is to support old hardware? How old? Tinycore claims to support 486 with math processor and it has the latest *everything*, tc kernel and apps are often very recent.

  • Soup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Sunday August 05, 2012 @05:44AM (#40884837)
    What is problematic with DSL and Puppy is that they are a mishmash of various programs with different toolkits. While somewhat heavier, I prefer XFCE or LXDE based distros as they bring a more consistent experience.
  • by monk ( 1958 )

    Glad to see it back. I loved having DSL on a USB. I've been using Arch for that lately, but I have trouble remembering how to get it setup after long periods without using it. Hopefully this will also work on my old EEE PC netbook. I'm using Arch and E there too, but never did get around to making it autosense wifi and that sort of thing. As I recall DSL did that very well out of the box.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"