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#1 2012-05-08 01:32:33

Gullible Jones
Member
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

The great mini-Linux die-off

Is it just me or have dozens of miniature Linux distros vanished in recent years?

The current crop seem to consist mostly of:
- Rescue CDs (e.g. Parted Magic)
- Single-user Puppy variants
- "Lightweight" spins of major distros (e.g. Lubuntu)

What happened here? Are popular demand and developer need just not as great, given the recent explosion of computing power?

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#2 2012-05-08 01:33:38

jasonwryan
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From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,830
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

The developers got old and were suffocated by their neckbeards...


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#3 2012-05-08 01:47:37

Trilby
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From: Massachusetts, USA
Registered: 2011-11-29
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

The lightest of light (IMHO), slitaz, is still going strong having just relased a new version last month.


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#4 2012-05-08 03:27:40

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,475
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

I think there's still plenty of smaller distributions (as seen on distrowatch), but the more popular ones just became REALLY popular so the tiny ones don't get talked about as much.

Also, some of the big ones you mention (Puppy, Ubuntu) make it really easy to spin off a new distribution, so it make sense to go from there instead of going all Arch-Linux like and starting from scratch.

Gullible Jones wrote:

"Lightweight" spins of major distros (e.g. Lubuntu)

I'm waiting for Garch Linux, Karch Linux, and Larch Linux.

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#5 2012-05-08 06:01:30

hadrons123
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From: chennai
Registered: 2011-10-07
Posts: 1,249

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Isn't Arch miniature ? 120mb  for net install core is miniature for me.

Last edited by hadrons123 (2012-05-08 06:02:39)


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#6 2012-05-08 06:18:47

GERGE
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From: Turkey
Registered: 2008-09-29
Posts: 157
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Not really. Check Slitaz.

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#7 2012-05-08 06:34:42

/dev/zero
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2011-10-20
Posts: 1,176
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

hadrons123 wrote:

Isn't Arch miniature ? 120mb  for net install core is miniature for me.

It would not surprise me if the Linux scene slowly crystallised into maybe three major distributions each addressing a different niche. Arch is a good candidate for satisfying the minimal and hacker-friendly niches. There are other competitors for these niches, but I speculate that Arch will win.

Other smaller distros will always be possible, but they'll be either satellites of the big distros or else rather exotic and fail to attract much serious attention.

Last edited by /dev/zero (2012-05-08 06:35:59)


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#8 2012-05-08 06:43:22

hadrons123
Member
From: chennai
Registered: 2011-10-07
Posts: 1,249

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

They already have crystallized. The (debian/ubuntu) garantutan and (fedora/RHEL)RPM world. Arch is  almost the leader of rest of the pack.
I would say Gentoo is hacker friendly too. But it lost all the grip it had once.


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#9 2012-05-08 07:06:09

/dev/zero
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From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2011-10-20
Posts: 1,176
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

hadrons123 wrote:

They already have crystallized. The (debian/ubuntu) garantutan and (fedora/RHEL)RPM world. Arch is  almost the leader of rest of the pack.
I would say Gentoo is hacker friendly too. But it lost all the grip it had once.

Well, yeah, we have these clusters, but the fact that we still have the choice of Debian vs Ubuntu vs Mint vs CrunchBang and Fedora vs RHEL and Arch vs Gentoo vs Slackware shows the crystallisation is far from complete. This is only the worst kind of idle speculation, but if it pans out the way I suggest, the clusters will end up containing not two or three related distros each significant in their own right. Instead, the clusters will contain mostly just a single distro, maybe with satellites.

Note: I wasn't trying to say that Arch should win over Gentoo or any other light, hacker-friendly distro. I haven't used Gentoo but I've heard it's great. It's just that, like you say, it appears that Gentoo is losing its hold, while Arch seems to be becoming more and more popular.


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#10 2012-05-08 07:37:33

Ashren
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From: Denmark
Registered: 2007-06-13
Posts: 1,221
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Tiny Core seems to be going strong as well.

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#11 2012-05-08 13:15:23

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

I haven't been paying attention, but that's probably because this is about as mundane as it comes.  Many of these "mini-distros" are spin-offs of more established ones, started on a larf by three or four people on the weekend, which don't really offer anything that wasn't already available in the distro they spun from.  Hence, they don't garner much attention or backing and fall by the wayside.  It's not hard to understand: if something doesn't have great practical use, or--worse yet--is entirely superfluous and offers nothing new, it's gonna disappear. It happens in social circles, it happens in markets and it happens in the natural world.  The ones that actually stand out (Puppy, Knoppix, Slitaz, Tinycore, etc.) have been around for the  better part of a decade, because they aren't just a repackaging of the same old thing and have found their own niche in the Linux ecosystem, rather than trying to compete with their own progenitors for the same resources.  Essentially, inbreeding kills projects like Lubuntu, or spin-offs from Puppy.  If Arch had just been a repackaging of Crux, rather than Crux inspiring something new, then we wouldn't be here right now.

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#12 2012-05-08 13:30:52

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,331

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Most of those "distros" are little more than custom live-cds with a small custom repository and an installer (like Crunchbang or Archbang). If it wasn't for Crunchbang's fine community, cb would probably be considered "dead" too. IPCop was "dead" for years as well, as the last productive release until recently was based on Linux 2.4.x.

I make the following claim without proof: Every Ubuntu x.04 release kills a few small Distros and every Ubuntu x.10 release revives a few.

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#13 2012-05-08 13:35:33

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 3,475
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Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Gullible Jones wrote:

Is it just me or have dozens of miniature Linux distros vanished in recent years?

Wait, you mean Linux distributions designed for small drives or low end hardware?

OHHHHHHhhhhh, I had this inkling that I was completely misunderstanding the topic. I thought you meant Linux distributions that aren't used by many people. You know. "Miniature". I was tired. sad

Edit: For what it's worth, I don't think they've really died off, but I only ever really used Puppy when I needed one.

Last edited by drcouzelis (2012-05-08 13:39:54)

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#14 2012-05-08 14:19:59

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Awebb wrote:

I make the following claim without proof: Every Ubuntu x.04 release kills a few small Distros and every Ubuntu x.10 release revives a few.

That's actually a sensible hypothesis, though I'd think it would be reversed (the LTS releases are always x.04 releases, aren't they?).  I wouldn't mind seeing some numbers on that.  Of course, it's not like I'm actually gonna look for them... tongue

drcouzelis wrote:

OHHHHHHhhhhh, I had this inkling that I was completely misunderstanding the topic. I thought you meant Linux distributions that aren't used by many people. You know. "Miniature". I was tired.

The two characteristics do often go together.  Keeping things "lightweight" after the installation--not needing to uninstall what is considered too "heavy"--is often the reason indy distros pop up, and they're still often based on another distro (Lubuntu, Elementary, Bhodi, etc.).

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#15 2012-05-08 14:30:13

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,331

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

ANOKNUSA wrote:
Awebb wrote:

I make the following claim without proof: Every Ubuntu x.04 release kills a few small Distros and every Ubuntu x.10 release revives a few.

That's actually a sensible hypothesis, though I'd think it would be reversed (the LTS releases are always x.04 releases, aren't they?).  I wouldn't mind seeing some numbers on that.  Of course, it's not like I'm actually gonna look for them... tongue

Yes, that's what I meant. Most of the x.10 releases broke something for a lot of people, because they bravely test new stuff, while the LTS usually works well and stable. That's why people return to x.04 and jump off at x.10 again. But that's just based on my hypthetical behavior.

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#16 2012-05-09 11:00:51

elliott
Member
Registered: 2006-03-07
Posts: 296

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Ashren wrote:

Tiny Core seems to be going strong as well.

It is getting fatter though, it is up to 12MB for the standard version.

I love TinyCore, now that my trusty Eee 901 has been replaced by a Thinkpad X200 as my main computer, I think I'll put TinyCore on the 901. I ran it for a while on my Eee 2g Surf with a 570mhz Celeron, 512mb of shared RAM and a 2GB SSD, but it has a broken power jack now and I haven't gotten around to fixing it.

Last edited by elliott (2012-05-09 11:05:12)

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#17 2012-05-11 11:48:46

Arch_in
Member
Registered: 2012-05-11
Posts: 18

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Nah ... tons of minimal gnu/nix around. Crunchbang being about my fav out of the box. Seemed to be getting a bit fatter too, hope the maintainer gets back to his roots. Am sure there'll always be plenty of minimal nix around. Liked Antix alright too. And if someone bothers boning up and learning about nix, then you'll ( we'll) never need worry. Even the most horribly bloated distro's known to humanity can be turned into lean mean linuxy machines. And many mas of the bigger mainstream distro's have a wide selection on offer. Including spin-offs made to run lighter, leaner and/or on older spec hardware.


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signed,
Cbizgreat! tongue

Last edited by Arch_in (2012-05-11 11:51:11)

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#18 2012-05-11 12:19:43

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,331

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Arch_in wrote:

signed,
Cbizgreat! tongue

I'd usually say "welcome Cbizgreat, have fun with Arch!", but this time it's the other way round: Arch, brace yourself and enjoy.

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#19 2012-05-11 14:17:20

sano
Member
Registered: 2012-02-11
Posts: 113

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

^Let the babbling begin... big_smile
And welcome Cbizgreat, I was wondering when you would show up here, now that you gave Arch a spin.

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#20 2012-05-11 15:36:19

Arch_in
Member
Registered: 2012-05-11
Posts: 18

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

^ Thanks much for the warm welcomes and as mentioned guess da Arch forum can consider itself warned. Babbling is coming ! tongue Yep ... Arch so far has made me a believer. Haven't managed to break anything and nothings blown up yet ( no sparks, no smoke). Always consider that a good sign.


wink

Last edited by Arch_in (2012-05-11 15:36:39)

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#21 2012-05-11 15:56:50

Iranon
Member
Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 146

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Arch's reputation for spontaneous nuclear explosions is slightly exaggerated.
I haven't yet managed to make things blow up, but I did manage to make things blow.

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#22 2012-05-11 16:10:43

.:B:.
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2006-11-26
Posts: 5,819

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Arch_in wrote:

Nah ... tons of minimal gnu/nix around. Crunchbang being about my fav out of the box.

* B chokes on his morning coffee

Ahem. Crunchbang? Minimal? What universe do you live in?


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#23 2012-05-11 17:43:17

Arch_in
Member
Registered: 2012-05-11
Posts: 18

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

tongue Has to be the same one you're in. Either that or ye have a hell of an internet connection. Guess should say ... was at the time. Things seem to be getting heavier for #!, still like it and esp the folks in the distro's community/forum. When 1st started using that distro, it packed a hell of a punch ( and was ... still is, uber user friendly.) The install I'd 1st setup for it idled at all of 38mbs/ram. For all it offered ... was blown away by it.

Still isn't massive imo anyway, still on the lighter side. Hopefully the new iso is heading back to that. Dun know, either way learned 1/2 enough about all this opensource linuxy goodness by now. Couldn't bare anything out of the box anymore. Long babbling post trying to cut short. ( ya'll were warned) Yeppers compared to a ton of other distro's, #! still fully qualifies as minimal imo. When quite a few of the biggies are using 3-5-600mbs, tons more cpu + diskspace and for all that are less user friendly, less stable than crunchbang by far.

Crunchbang blazed on this ole dinosaur w a massive 2.8ghz 1 core P4 and a mighty 512ddr2. So yeppers a distro that can do that, stand by the opinion ... is minimalistic. Sheesh ... tried to cut it short. Oh well ... shrugs. smile

Last edited by Arch_in (2012-05-11 17:55:25)

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#24 2012-05-11 18:17:10

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,331

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Crunchbang used to be as minimalistic as Ubuntu can be, now it tries to be not as bloated as Debian can be :-D

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#25 2012-05-12 05:42:00

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,832

Re: The great mini-Linux die-off

Arch_in wrote:

tongue Has to be the same one you're in. Either that or ye have a hell of an internet connection. Guess should say ... was at the time. Things seem to be getting heavier for #!, still like it and esp the folks in the distro's community/forum. When 1st started using that distro, it packed a hell of a punch ( and was ... still is, uber user friendly.) The install I'd 1st setup for it idled at all of 38mbs/ram. For all it offered ... was blown away by it.

Still isn't massive imo anyway, still on the lighter side. Hopefully the new iso is heading back to that. Dun know, either way learned 1/2 enough about all this opensource linuxy goodness by now. Couldn't bare anything out of the box anymore. Long babbling post trying to cut short. ( ya'll were warned) Yeppers compared to a ton of other distro's, #! still fully qualifies as minimal imo. When quite a few of the biggies are using 3-5-600mbs, tons more cpu + diskspace and for all that are less user friendly, less stable than crunchbang by far.

Crunchbang blazed on this ole dinosaur w a massive 2.8ghz 1 core P4 and a mighty 512ddr2. So yeppers a distro that can do that, stand by the opinion ... is minimalistic. Sheesh ... tried to cut it short. Oh well ... shrugs. smile

You ARE aware that these forums are international, and that not all the members have English as first (or even second) language? Please speak a bit more formally, less sms-language and colloquialisms and such, the above is just a pain to read.


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