Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux is my favorite “low end” Linux distribution. I recently had to dig out an old laptop to use as a simple web client. Damn Small was there to make that old PII 300 Mhz laptop useful once again. Windows 2000 or XP would be way too slow for this box. For speed purposes, I went ahead and installed it to the hard drive and it works beautifully.
We also use Damn Small Linux on our pre-provisioning server at Voxilla. The user interface isn’t used so much, except for the occasional peek at a device config using Firefox, but more for the underlying Debian-type OS, where it’s fairly straightforward to keep it updated and install things as needed (e.g. tftp server). It’s still the quickest way to get Debian installed on a box.
I also like to have Damn Small Linux on a bootable USB key, particularly to use on my work laptop when I want to “play” with it (i.e. use it for non-work stuff). Since it doesn’t touch the hard drive (which is encrypted anyway), and it will run completely in RAM, it’s just the right tool for the job. With some hacking to use the built-in Centrino WiFi stuff–hacking which I will detail in another blog entry at some point–it’s the only way to go.
Now if they’d only upgrade Firefox to a more recent version…