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Minimalist Linux distro gains easier installation, NTFS compatibility

Jun 16, 2011 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Team Tiny Core announced a new version of its small-footprint, in-memory Linux desktop distro. Tiny Core 3.7 now allows read access to NTFS partitions, includes new icons for Editor and Run, and introduces “starter packs” that simplify downloading tools, among other enhancements.

Tiny Core Linux is designed to reside in RAM, and can fit into just over 10MB, according to the project. Components that are said to reside entirely in memory include: the Linux kernel, the BusyBox tool collection, as well as minimal graphics based on Tiny X.


Configured to boot from a CD-ROM, pen drive, or "frugally from a hard drive," Tiny Core Linux boots extremely quickly, claims the project. The distribution offers minimal desktop features, less than exhaustive hardware support, and "represents only the core needed to boot into a very minimal X Window desktop, typically with wired Internet access," says Team Tiny Core.


Tiny Core Linux 3.7

(Click to enlarge)

The desktop is, however, extensible by installing applications (such as the Chromium browser shown above) from online repositories. App extensions can reside in RAM, or be mounted from, or installed into, a persistent storage device, says Team Tiny Core.

We last visited Tiny Core in July 2010, when the release candidate for version 3.0 appeared. This version introduced the move up to Linux 2.6.33.3, made an optional 64-bit kernel available, included the Ext4 file-system, and provided improvements to virtualization and the "compressed swap in RAM" feature, says the project.

The enhanced compressed swap in RAM feature was said to "run more and longer" and result in fewer crashes due to insufficient RAM. Other improvements were said to include "new tmpfs root always," which meant that it was no longer possible to exhaust RAM in an "embed" boot via files, said Team Tiny Core.

The enhancements to Tiny Core 3.7 are arguably less major, but will intrigue those who want to work with NTFS partitions. According to team Tiny Core, a new kernel module for NTFS to base allows read access to NTFS partitions; and rebuildfstab has also been updated to support the NTFS-3G read/write driver. It's even said to be possible to install Tiny Core into a single directory on an existing NTFS WIndows file system.

Tiny Core 3.7 also includes a new "multi-Core" ISO image that contains both Tiny Core & Micro Core installations, as well as the Network Tools Edition. The multi-core ISO for version 3.7 is only 45.5 MB in size. Meanwhile, Team Tiny Core adds, updated starter packs (install.gz, network.gz, and grub4dos.gz) simplify first-time installation.

Other cited changes include:

  • updated cpanel to reflect changes in the base
  • updated tc-functions to better handle tcvd virtual disk
  • updated network GUI to record udhcpc pid for services support when dhcp is requested
  • updated /etc/skel/.xsession — added -2button clause as 3 button/wheel remains functional while also supporting 2 button devices
  • updated appbrowser — added color to indicate when tce directory is on /tmp (cloud mode)
  • updated appsaudit update function to remove temporary .info files and cosmetic menu change
  • updated tce-load, rc.shutdown, and tce-removed to support named (alternate) onboot.lst
  • updated flrun — improved file name completion
  • updated wbarconf — desktop item had bad icon path
  • updated freetype fonts to libfreetype 6.6.2
  • updated iso images to add shortcut label tc and adjusted F2,F3,F4 screens
  • udded getKeyEventDevice to tc-functions (future use in the works)
  • umproved system integrity with pause when certain unsupported file types are specified during boot, home/opt/tce
  • added icons for editor and run
  • moved fluff to extension
  • removed libXaw as not needed in base and already handled by extension

Availability

The changelog for Tiny Core Linux 3.7 can be found here. General info on Tiny Core Linux may be found on the homepage, here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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