Small Unix install

Darren Spruell phatbuckett at
Fri Dec 28 11:09:15 PST 2007

On Dec 28, 2007 10:56 AM, DAve <dave.list at> wrote:
> Good morning,
> I am looking for a small install for an old laptop. I have an old but
> quite reliable Toshiba 330CDT that used to be my personal laptop. I ran
> FBSD 3.x/4.x on it for years but it has been wiped and in a closet for
> years. I want to use it again just to access a few web forums and read
> my email. I don't do POV RAY or 3D, I don't need Open Office, I don't
> watch any Tubes. Mutt, Fluxbox and a minimal browser would make me happy.
> I don't have the time or inclination to roll my own again. PCBSD can't
> finish the install due to only having 96mb of memory. Desktop BSD wants
> more than 4gb of drive space just to complete the install.
> I currently have 98SE on it only consuming 300mb and it runs fine, but
> it's 98SE ;^) Does anyone know of anything ready to install? BSD, Linux,
> I don't care.

Yes, there's plenty of options for very small Unix installs. Those
you've tried have been the modern desktop-oriented distributions of
FreeBSD and they of course don't shoot for the older class of systems.
Unix has resisted bloat

For example, I've put a smaller OpenBSD build on my Soekris that I run
for a firewall on my cable connection. Fits in 22 MB:

# df -h
Filesystem     Size    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/wd0a      236M   22.1M    202M    10%    /

Granted your desktop build will be plenty larger, but 300 MB is
certainly achievable. Follow the advice for a minimal installation of
the vanilla FreeBSD 6.x or 7 + whatever packages  you need and  you'll
be rolling.

You can find similar options in any of the BSDs and GNU/Linux.


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