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Tiny Linux distro gets dependency fetching and simpler USB install

Aug 8, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Team Tiny Core announced a new version of its small-footprint, in-memory Linux desktop distro. Tiny Core 3.8 includes faster shutdown, updates to the BusyBox tool collection, improved searching, and the ability to re-download non-installed extensions, among other enhancements.

Tiny Core Linux is designed to reside in RAM, and can fit into just over 10MB, according to Team Tiny Core. 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. 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 3.8

(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 can be mounted from or installed into a persistent storage device, says Team Tiny Core.

We last heard from Tiny Core in June, when version 3.7 was released. It added read access to NTFS partitions, included new icons for Editor and Run, and introduced "starter packs" that simplify downloading tools, among other enhancements.

Tiny Core 3.7 also saw the debut of a new "multi-Core" ISO image — just over 40MB in size — that contains both Tiny Core and Micro Core installations, the former including a desktop and the latter offering a command line interface. Updated starter packs (install.gz, network.gz, and grub4dos.gz) were said to simplify first-time installation.

In the newly released version 3.8, the multi-Core version is now a hybrid ISO, making it easier to install the operating system on a flash drive, Team Tiny Core says. The BusyBox tool collection has been updated to version 1.18.5, and AppsAudit can now automatically fetch missing dependencies and report "stale" extensions.

The complete change log cited on the Tiny Core forum is as follows:

  • AppsAudit — dependencies menu grouping and added "Fetch Missing Dependencies"
  • AppsAudit — updated error reporting and now reports stale extensions
  • AppsBrowser — clear Search&Provides field upon results
  • Wallpaper — Improved GUI, now with a single window
  • screenshot to display file name created upon completion
  • mnttool — added a refresh button
  • wbarconf — support for no initial .wbar
  • busybox — 1.18.5 new depmod applet and audit of required applets
  • tc-audit added "fetchmissing" to fetch missing dependencies
  • tce-load — now allows re-downloading non-installed extensions to better handle download failures
  • tce-setup & tce-load to ensure busybox calls thus avoiding conflicts with various gnu utilities
  • rc.shutdown — removed sleep to improve shutdown speed
  • — improved searching by title results and support for fat file-system
  • — support for fat file-system
  • tce-setup, tce-load, and — alias for new depmod applet
  • .profile — new user login sudo issue resolved
  • rebuildfstab and tc-config for AOE support
  • tc-functions getpassword to support backspace during input
  • tce-setup for loading "tce" directory on cdrom and installable via updates to tc-install & tc-grub4dos
  • multicore.iso now uses extension directories for network, install, or grub4dos
  • new icons for AppBrowser and AppsAudit

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

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 changelog for Tiny Core Linux 3.8 can be found here. General info on Tiny Core Linux may be found on the homepage, here.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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