Sunday, May 21, 2006

Da__ Small Linux- Not!

DSL-N is a version of linux designed to run with a live boot off of a device as small as a 50 MB business card CD. It is "dang small" because they've managed to get an entire linux operating system running off of such a small device. Compare this to the typical distro requiring a handful of CD's for its installation. I'm actually using DSL-N, which means it's "not" small, as it comes in at a whopping 83 MB.

I got it running on a Cruzer Micro 256 MB USB pen drive. I even was able to get povray installed on this USB stick with a little haggling, using a solution seen here.

A number of points:

1) See image below-- it represents the cristening of the DSL installation on my pen drive. It's not the prettiest thing I've done-- I forgot to turn on AA-- but it was one of the first files I could find on the underlying HDD for this box. Note: DSL was able to see files on my HDD without too much trouble.

2) I would note that an Ativa USB Flash Drive, 1.0 GB, failed to give me a successful boot after installing DSL to it. I tried two different versions of DSL, so I blame Ativa. Ativa USB stick did not work. In other words, I had a problem with Ativa's pen drive.

3) I compared the render times in povray for the scene file which creates the above image between my USB installation of DSL and a SUSE HDD installation on another box. Although the two boxes have the same chip speed, it wasn't a perfectly controlled experiment, as I had more stuff (apps) going on in the SUSE box. Well, the SUSE box still won: 702 vs. 731 seconds. I half-expected DSL to whizz by faster, but I guess DSL's residing in memory uses up more resources.

4) I am so impressed with this DSL, in that it worked well with my wireless card on two different boxes. It bugs me to no end when other distros don't come with the main wireless drivers built-in, and expect you to jump through hoops to get it going. The fact that this mini distro does it just makes me more indignant at the others. I may blog again about DSL after I've taken more time to play with it.

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