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Author Topic: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?  (Read 6736 times)

Offline nick65go

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what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« on: June 30, 2020, 01:50:44 PM »
It is easy to fall in love, but must be something that keep the flame alive.
Someone likes to be the coke in the kitchen. To prepare the food, to make new recipes. Others like to be the steward. To do maintenance, to arrange the table, to bring the wine. Or maybe do you want just to be the guest/client who enjoy to eat as much as you can for free?

Curiously people likes to learn how to build a house/furniture from pieces. Or how to assemble a car. I did them, it were rewarding lessons for my ego. But I will not doing again soon, if ever. Now I enjoy rather living in a house, using the furniture, driving the car.

Same is with an OS/linux. Initial attraction is about how all are linked and work together. Tinycore is open source. There are no secrets, patterns, copyrights. In the past these were novelty ideas. Today in year 2020 not so much: Compile a kernel? Run from RAM? Use busybox? Mounting squash-fs file systems?

Initially you want to understand the process, from firmware-booting BIOS/UEFI/coreboot, then a boot-loader syslinux/grub, to play with kernel or initram parameters, etc. Then probably you use these know-how to customize/optimize you old/actual computer. Maybe in few years you buy a new computer so you can quickly apply what you already know.

Is you pleasure to tune-up computers (because you have many of them, lucky you rich guy!) or just use them as a tool, like you use your phone, or you car? Are you the mechanic with dirty hands (and skills) who repair the car for money? Or the driver with the gloves driving the car for pleasure?

Tinycore is growing bigger and bigger, because the new kernels are bigger (add new drivers) and new applications are bigger, full of color/graphic/fonts/templates etc.

Summary: I understand the initial attraction. But no new ideas in the last few years, the size is bigger. It is mostly upgrade of kernel and applications. [It is not criticism, this happens with all the distro; it becomes maintenance; we can not invent things every day]. But if / after you have the know-how and skills, what KEEP you with Tinycore? The laziness, the lack of time, or the lack of powerful devices to compile?

Are you the coke / builder, the steward / mechanic or the guest / driver?
PS: My Respects for Tinycore developers. These questions are not for them.

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 03:45:55 PM »
I think for me, it's precisely because it is more of a toolkit, rather than a distro per-se although it acts like one.  So it means something different to everyone depending on how much you want to "wrench" on it. :)

Want to just make it look like some other distro and race to the browser / multimedia apps?  You can.

Maintain older computers for kicks?  Or like me, fascinated with the whole history of computing, can get a feel for what it was like when things were simpler (actually harder in many cases!) and valuable skillsets maintained other than filling in forms and checkboxes became the norm.

Here, we can see Ken and Dennis at ATT changing their TinyCore "cde" directory to "tce" :


Heh, seriously, for me TC (and relatives) give me that same kind of feeling although the hardware has changed.  I feel the spirit of a small band of hackers stuck up in the attic just doing it for each other.

When I fixed my screen resolution in grub.cfg, the feeling of the photo comes to mind.

Thing is - I'm not limiting myself to JUST Tinycore.  There are MANY other distros to my taste along the same lines.  AntiX, Porteus, the list goes on.  No matter the distro or toolkit, I think underneath we all get the same kick that Ken and Dennis and the merry band of others to come over the years did and still do.  In the end, its about the people and the spirit.

Maybe, instead of searching for a reason on why you are using TinyCore, let IT tell you why.  :)
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline Sashank999

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 06:43:21 PM »
Hi !

I am a miser in case of internet data usage  :P . The whole Kali Image is 4 GB and also, it lags my system. It may have tools, but it is a big usage of internet data (also HDD Space). Hence I removed it from my list.

Similarly, in my search for the smallest distro, I got TCL. But I have only one problem, I would have to start everything from scratch. Then, I got in. Rather than downloading all tools in Kali (out of which majorly I don't use at all), I would start form scratch and get only the required tools. This made me love TCL  :D .

Everything is in our control in TCL. We could develop anything we want. And that's what I want  8) .


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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 09:40:44 PM »
I came back to TC because of self isolation under corona virus. In WA Australia, we did not have true lock down = confined to house, unless travel from overseas or interstate within  14 days. That may change.

One of the attractions (for me) for TC is its not dependent on an init system called systemd

Offline Rubén

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 03:58:11 AM »
For the record, I work at a clinic and we have a bunch of very old computers. We are testing Tiny Core Linux to power those computers up since we only need basic tools on them (Email, calendar, webdav or equivalent, medical imaging). We have Slackware running on most, and while it works well, it has some tendency to lag when firing many programs at once.

They have told me they used one of the Tiny Core Linux computers to print the medical history of a COVID-19 victim and upload some of reports relevant to her case, so now we can say Tiny Core Linux is helping fight the pandemic. Isn't it cool?

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2020, 01:49:55 PM »
The beauty of the entire *core family is that you can't put a box around it.  What you do with it is up to you.  Leave it as is, or go hog wild.

Run it on old machines?  Sure.  Run it on modern uefi-only machines?  Sure, although if you have one made yesterday where there are no fancy graphics drivers yet for full support, you can still rely on the basics in the meantime.

I think that's a common misunderstanding that TC is for old machines, and is reflected in reviews by those that don't understand the whole concept.  How many tinycore video reviews have you seen that have never installed a full Xorg with modern desktop, but merely boot up to the default xvesa / fltk setup thinking that's all there is? :)

dCore is often overlooked.  Having a slightly different goal, many miss the more automated approach to it, and application repositories.  If you dig TC but find it just a *tad* too raw, then dCore is a great alternative.

systemd - this could easily go off the rails so I'll keep it short.  If dCore's use of systemd actually matters to you as a developer, then the simplicity of dCore could easily be respun / forked - using Devuan as a starting point perhaps.  Jason's pretty busy, so maybe someone who would want to do this could pitch in? :)

And of course piCore!  Gotta' thank Bmarkus and crew for supporting that.  Plenty of other distros that run from disk, but not many that stick to the whole point of *core by emphasizing running in ram for max speed and flexibility.

The main point is that the *core family shouldn't really be thought of as a "distro" with major predefined marketing goals.  What you do with it is up to you, and as your needs or interests change, as a tool - *core's can grow with you as your skills, hardware, and needs change.  Awesome.

That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline marcelocripe

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2020, 08:09:26 AM »
Original question:
"what KEEP your interest with tinycore?"

Original question rewritten in Brazilian Portuguese:
"Why KEEP your interest in Tiny Core?"

I started on Tiny Core Plus earlier this year 2020.

We live in times where programmed or forced obsolescence exponentially increases the amount of waste on the planet, most of which go to third world or underdeveloped countries, as if they were donations to needy people.

When they are not electronic waste (referring to the previous paragraph, those that are no longer repairable), technologies in full operation are discarded due to the increasing requirements of hardware requirements (Processor and RAM) of MS Windows and various Linux distributions that follow o the same path, the path of programmed obsolescence!

In rich countries, where economic power and conditions must be greater, I believe, are better for the population, it may even be relatively easy to acquire new hardware in Brazil, with an equivalent US $ 1.00 (US dollar) R $ 5.34 (reais) quotation of 10-07-2020, excluding taxes, we will have to reuse and repair hardware with more than 15 or 20 years of manufacture, for a few more years, or as long as it is possible to keep them running.

Tiny Core Plus allows you to choose what will be loaded or not in memory, this is something that makes this distribution unique, for ordinary users it can be something that is "complicated" or imaginable, I believe it is due to lack of custom associated with the lack of knowledge.

For now, choosing the program (or the extension) to be loaded into RAM was not the greatest difficulty for ordinary users, I taught it to people over 58 years of age and with little knowledge of computers or almost no knowledge in computer science, for children about 8 years old, how to upload via graphic mode with the App, it was not difficult for them to be able to do it or get used to it, the biggest difficulty for them and also for me, is the lack of extension to translate Tiny Core Plus and programs that do not have a Portuguese translation, the translation being for Portuguese from Portugal or Brazil, we can understand, despite the variations between languages ​​of the same language, we who do not master English we struggle to understand translations that sometimes make no sense at all. This is what hinders the greater use of Tiny Core Plus by those who need this distro the most.

I hope that Tiny Core Plus will never become an operating system that forces computers to become obsolete due to increasingly demanding hardware requirements from the point of view of processing and memory consumption. And to continue organizing the programs (or extensions) in the same directory, as it already is, or organizing each program in its respective directory.

What's more, novice users like me are able to have the support of their colleagues in this forum, which makes learning this important operating system less difficult.

I would have several more lines to type to justify or argue "Why KEEP my interest in Tiny Core?" maybe the text would get extremely long and nobody would read it.


Original text in Brazilian Portuguese, translated into English by Google translator.


Pergunta original:
"what KEEP your interest with tinycore?"

Pergunta original reescrita em Português do Brasil:
"Por que MANTER seu interesse no Tiny Core?"

Eu iniciei no Tiny Core Plus no início deste ano de 2020.

Vivemos tempos onde a obsolência programada ou forçada aumentam exponencialmente a quantidade de lixo no planeta, a maioria vão para os países de terceiro mundo ou subdesenvolvidos, como se fossem doações as pessoas carentes.

Quando não são lixo eletrônico (referente parágrafo anterior, os que não possuem mais conserto), tecnologias em pleno funcionamento são descartadas devido as exigências de requisitos de hardware (Processador e memória RAM) cada vez maiores do MS Windows e de várias distribuições Linux que seguem o o mesmo caminho, o caminho da obsolência programada!

Nos países ricos, onde o poder econômico e as condições devem ser maiores, acredito eu, sejam melhores para a população, pode até ser relativamente fácil a aquisição de novos hardwares, no Brasil, com um US$ 1,00 (dólar americano) equivalendo R$ 5,34 (reais) cotação do dia 10-07-2020, sem contar com os impostos, nós teremos que reutilizar e consertar hardwares com mais de 15 ou 20 anos de fabricação, por mais alguns anos, ou o quanto tempo for possível mantê-los funcionando.

O Tiny Core Plus permite escolher o que será carregado ou não na memória, isso é algo que torna esta distribuição única, para os usuários comuns isso pode ser algo que seja "complicado" ou imaginável, acredito que seja por falta de costume associado a falta de conhecimento.

Por enquanto, escolher o programa (ou a extensão) a ser carregada na memória RAM, não foi a maior dificuldade para os  usuários comuns, eu ensinei para pessoas com mais de 58 anos de idade e com pouco conhecimento em informática ou quase nenhum conhecimento em informática, para crianças com cerca de 8 anos de idade, de como carregar via modo gráfico com o App, isso não foi difícil para eles conseguirem fazer ou de se acostumarem, a maior dificuldade para eles e também para mim, é a falta de extensão para fazer a tradução do Tiny Core Plus e dos programas que não possuem tradução para Português, a tradução sendo para o Português de Portugal ou do Brasil, temos como compreender, apesar das variantes entre os idiomas de mesma língua, nós que não dominamos o inglês sofremos para compreender as traduções que por vezes não fazem sentido algum. Isso é o que dificulta a maior utilização do Tiny Core Plus por aqueles que mais precisam desta distro.

Eu espero que o Tiny Core Plus não se torne, nunca, um sistema operacional que força computadores a se tornarem obsoletos devido aos requisitos de hardware cada vez mais exigentes do ponto de vista de processamento e consumo de memória. E que continue organizando os programas (ou a extensões) no mesmo diretório, como já é, ou organizando cada programa no seu respectivo diretório.

Além do mais, usuários novatos como eu, conseguem ter o apoio dos colegas deste fórum, o que torna o aprendizado deste importante sistema operacional menos sofrível.

Eu teria outras várias linhas para digitar para justificar ou argumentar do "Por que MANTER o meu interesse no Tiny Core?". talvez iria ficar extremamente longo o texto e ninguém iria ler.


Texto original em idioma português do Brasil, traduzido para o inglês por Google tradutor.

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2020, 02:09:14 PM »
I'll disagree somewhat..

On the surface, this sounds great, but these days with modern hardware prices being so low, unscrupulous types can push old hardare stocks as a hidden way to dispose of e-waste / hazmat materials under the table for free.

Unless one gets a computer in pristine condition, why force disadvantaged into an endless chain of moving from one antique to another as the bios batteries dies, power supplies die, hard drives die, broken screens, even hazardous old crt's ?

Nevermind the power-consumption being about 10 times that of modern equipment!

To me it makes about as much sense as me running an old DEC 11/780, even if found in perfect condition, sucking up the equivalent of 5 hair dryers, space heaters, and a handful of vacuum cleaners?  Just waiting for part to die?

Hence my recommendation to modernize somewhat on something as easily available as an SBC, like a Raspberry Pi.  Running Pi-Core of course!  (Or, more consumer-friendly like my recommendation to the antiX guys to put something out for RPi's -- different forum.)

No bios battery to go bad.  Wall-wart for power.  HDMI monitor.  Cheap keyboard. Modern boot / storage from sd-card, or easy to find usb stick.  No big pile of trash to get rid of (or simply dump yet again).

Possibly similar to what the guys at the universities play with, and the kid working and studying his ass off to become educated won't feel like he/she himself is discarded material using some old trash for a computer.

Now there's an idea - get a community / university effort going to gather older raspberry pi's that users may have upgraded, and have sitting in their desk drawer to give away.

On the surface, I think you are on the right track, but times have moved on so much, that maybe a slight re-think is due, not only for modernization, but also a sense of self-worth with gear that the university guys are using - even if you will never be able to attend one.
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline nick65go

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2020, 06:04:12 AM »
@marcelocripe: I am an European, but English is not my native language, so maybe sometime my text sounds like from a cave-man.

The resources on this planet are finite. The [governments] desire of CONTINUOUSLY economic grow as a percentage (%) is by definition exponential, so is not sustainable in log term. I hope I will be wrong, otherwise a "hard rain will fall" on us, a black swan is coming.

How many people really understand how a microwave oven is working? Or can they repair it? Even if they have the know-how, will they have the tools to repair one? IMHO the dark age was possible because the deep knowledge was concentrated in the brains of too few peoples; and when a catastrophe hit (pandemic, meteorite, etc) then the skills were lost.
Today we have the same danger, few people know the advanced scientific things. Most of population is just zombie consumer in capitalist or dictatorial society. And the stuff they consume is produced from scarce resources.

Guess what happens when Apple can not produce more Phones, because the precious metal they need (gold, platinum) for electronic parts is depleted from mines? or the cheap labor force decimated by illness, or chain distribution is broken by war, etc.
I am not for an Apocalypse, what I say is that paradigm "more and more and more" is bullshit. It will come a time when this grow will stop if greedy capitalism will program for fast obsolesce, not repairable devices.

Therefore for me, even today may be plenty of temporary resources, I plan for minim resources request in almost anything material (linux, housing, consumption). If I am wrong, then there will be more spare reserves for me.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 06:05:53 AM by nick65go »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2020, 03:06:55 PM »
Nick - you express yourself just fine - you are not a caveman! :)

Minimalism - a nice environment which TinyCore espouses.  However you have the freedom to bulk and bloat up if you want.

SBC's, such as the Raspberry Pi's attracted me not so much as a "maker", but from a minimal computer standpoint where all the major common off-the-shelf external components could easily be replaced / repaired.  Not even a bios battery to fail down the road.  And, very minimal impact to the environment if the non-caring just dump them in the trash .. well compared to dumping and big-old beige-colored desktop box of the day...

So from a non-obsolescece standpoint alone, the SBC's of almost any flavor appealed to me right off the bat.

Of course Pi-Core appealed to me as well, one of the more appealing things being that you can load it into ram, and not put a lot of wear on the storage devices like some of the other larger pi distros.  Low power consumption, and "fast enough" for me.

So sure, put old stuff to use, but at what point do we go beyond to slide-rules which don't wear out? :)

Also, when one looks at stuff politically, look under the surface.  Apple is not a state-sponsored monopoly.  Simply vote with your closed wallet to change their ways and use something else if one doesn't like it.

Ironically, the systems we use today have a direct link to the ATT research lab where Unix was born.  Which was a rare state-sponsored monopoly in a democratic society.  Ie, 1/10th of my parent's phone bill went to supporting that lab, whether they liked it or not. :)

Well, in the 70's prior to the divestiture.  After that, fortunately capitalist judges did not rule against "look alike" systems, such as GNU even with different code, locking down unix forever.

Just sayin - whether we like it or not, we are a society with a very interconnected web of ideals, and finger-pointing to surface issues should be taken to a deeper level of cooperation and understanding.
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2020, 03:36:38 PM »
Nick - sorry you got me into a historical mood... :)

When I work with TinyCore, I always remind myself that things could have been very different ...

The emergence of a small simple o/s of Unix at the ATT research labs was a result of them pulling out of the design-by-committee Multics - which was slow and bloated, even though some of the ground breaking ideals were born (programmed in a high-level language PL/I, hierarchical filesystems with security, shells etc etc)

BUT - even if it had been successful, it was tied to a single-vendors piece of hardware - the GE 645.  Talk about lock-in!

And now, with ATT having pulled out of the Multics project, left the main core of researchers (Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie et al) twiddling their thumbs, not being allowed to resurrect os research.

But they tried anyway.  They wanted a big PDP-10 like the big-boys have, the universities have and so forth.

ATT management laughed.  Yeah, right.  Go use that obsolete PDP-7 abandoned in the hallway if you like.

Without repeating the whole history, basically the minimalism of Unix was a confluence of two things - a reaction to the overblown Multics system, and the dinky obsolete hardware of the abandoned pdp-7.

So, under the disguise or writing a text-processor for the patent-pool typists there, they eventually got a much more limited PDP-11.  Which for us today would be the equivalent of Raspberry Pi's.

The point being, had management given them a large PDP-10, it is quite possible Unix as we know it may never have seen the light of day and we'd have been playing with a huge bloated system where minimalism was not the ideal, and only the domain of commercial entities - where software freedom would be a practically unknown concept to us today.

That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline nick65go

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2020, 04:56:41 PM »
@PDP-8: thanks for the short refresh of Unix history.  :)

I like minimalism (K.I.S.S.), this is what I check-in for tiny core. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

And search to understand what others linux developers/distro have to offer. Unfortunately is mostly cloning, reinventing the wheel, wasting time and resources, because their ... vanity. "Vanity is definitely my favorite sin" - Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate movie.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 05:10:52 PM by nick65go »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2020, 02:36:53 AM »
Yeah, sorry about the lecture - I can ramble once I get started...

At least it's a reminder to devs and contributors that even after so much time (decade + if you consider dsl), we are still a very passionate bunch about TC and their efforts.  I'm grateful they still have the will to keep it supported...
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline GNUser

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2023, 08:55:18 AM »
I know this is an old thread, but it is still a relevant question and I have a funny (and true) anecdote I'd like to share with you guys:

A friend of mine is a pilot for a commercial airline. He used to fly both Airbus and Boeing aircraft when he was younger. But now that he is more senior and can make some demands, he refuses to fly Airbus. I asked him why. He said that Airbus planes have so many systems running in the background to help the pilot that sometimes it is difficult/impossible to know why the plane is doing what it is doing. My friend said that "What is it doing now?" is a common question pilots ask themselves when flying Airbus aircraft, and sort of a joke among pilots. Boeing aircraft automate relatively little and are therefore more easy to understand and control.

TCL keeps my interest because it is the Boeing of GNU/Linux distros :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2023, 09:01:51 AM by GNUser »

Offline chattrhand

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Re: what KEEP your interest with tinycore?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2023, 12:35:01 PM »
This is an old thread, I agree, and it addresses problems that are not solved by far.

For me a computer must be able to boot from USBStick. Meanwhile I have a huge collection of pendrives bootable with different kinds and versions of Linux, from Knoppix3.1 up to piCore=14.0. Every stick means a different computer, within the limitations of builtin hardware and the hardware that can be addressed by the specific Linux in use. An old DELL Inspi 7000 with 512 MB RAM can even boot tce14.0-32 and fly Flight Simulator 2.1, but the web access with IceCat isn't that funny.

Do I have the need to have all of my offline and web-related activities ready to access within two mouseclicks and running all this stuff in parallel? No I do not. Virtual machines are not waterproof and data may swap to/from one to the other or the host and from there ... I know about what I don't know.

Btw it is not very good for human brain to multitask too many jobs in parallel either. So enjoy your break while running down your computer and restart with a stick that is prepared to do your next task, to do it well but nothing else.

Observe a good separation of your data. Use a separate stick for every job and avoid combining too many on the same stick.
Online banking and Gaming are no go, even business partners deserve discretion on different sticks, while a common external drive for all of your privacy may be plugged in whenever its data are needed, and unplugged if not. Good for its lifetime too!

So your data treasure has a much better protection against hackers and malware and will even survive, if your computer breaks and has to be replaced by a new one, without a big action.
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