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Author Topic: 1996 version of Tinycore  (Read 233 times)

Offline PDP-8

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1996 version of Tinycore
« on: July 17, 2020, 01:23:30 AM »
Just some fun showing how small is relative.

How about this proto-tc user getting Slackware slimmed down to run in 3mb ram.  Article from 1996 Linux Gazette:

https://linuxgazette.net/issue01to08/linuxita_mar96.html

Ah, man, how about the TLDP project itself - readable in Dillo!

http://tldp.org/

Good times.  Maybe that's what keeps me going with the *cores because the feeling of discovery is so exciting to this day ...

Heh, makes me wonder as a pure technical goof, how small one could make TC today?  Support only monitor, keyboard, and usb stick only.  Maybe just ethernet, or skip that an rely on sneaker-net?  Of course busybox itself could be trimmed - how far could you go to be reasonably comfortable - before realizing that 199x environment wasn't as great as you thought it was. :)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 01:37:33 AM by PDP-8 »
That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline nick65go

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2020, 02:15:06 AM »
Heh, makes me wonder as a pure technical goof, how small one could make TC today?  Support only monitor, keyboard, and usb stick only.  Maybe just ethernet, or skip that an rely on sneaker-net?  Of course busybox itself could be trimmed - how far could you go to be reasonably comfortable - before realizing that 199x environment wasn't as great as you thought it was. :)
Did you read my mind?
The minim kernel linux can be less than 1.4MB (one floppy). no GUI. No Appls. Just a rescue medium.

Confort? Then Xvesa come in. Maybe a trim-down Xorg.
Text and internet? Then vi/nano and elink/dillo. But no https for today internet banking etc.
Media players? It depends on audio.video containers. So more meat on the bons for ALL formats/codecs.
I lost track of how many time I remastered Tinycore to suit my needs for only a dedicated device (my laptop).
Therfore TC can be very small as 10 MB (initial Tinycore 1.0, as the founder Robert proved).
It is the trade between small/fast/secure and usability/confort.

PS: you can have most of Appls running from intenet, such as (google/microsoft/libreofiice) docs/spreadsheets, online radio, mediaplayers etc. But you relay on untrusted network/ providers, which tomorrow can be bankrupted.
PS2: how about NO system, just UEFI/BIOS IPX from cloud :)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 02:30:31 AM by nick65go »

Offline GNUser

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 05:59:13 AM »
Heh, makes me wonder as a pure technical goof, how small one could make TC today?

Hi, PDP-8. I wondered the same thing, so created a monster: On my TC11 laptop, the OS itself provides only the bare minimum (base system plus extensions for video, sound, locale, networking) and no applications:

Code: [Select]
$ tce-audit notrequired
The following are NOT required by any other extensions:
Xorg-7.7-3d.tcz
alsa-config.tcz
Hack-font.tcz
mylocale.tcz
optbin-support.tcz
wpa_supplicant-dbus.tcz
xf86-video-intel.tcz

All my applications are in /opt/bin/ where only plain binaries (e.g., fluxbox, urxvt, sxhkd, ssh) or AppImages (e.g., xfe, geany, firefox, gnumeric, mpv) are allowed. A lot of the AppImages I had to create myself.

optbin-support.tcz is a dummy extension--its .tcz.dep file loads a handful of things that the applications in /opt/bin/ need (e.g., fuse, gtk2, gtk3, ca-certificates, wireguard-5.4.3-tinycore64).

It took me a while to put this together. The tough part was finding non-bloated alternatives to applications (e.g., finding sxhkd to replace xbindkeys).
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 06:11:59 AM by GNUser »

Offline Rich

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2020, 08:06:40 AM »
Hi nick65go
... PS2: how about NO system, just UEFI/BIOS IPX from cloud :)
Now there's a bad idea. You've just put yourself in the position of allowing a 3rd party to control whether or not you are even allowed
to boot your computer.

Have we learned nothing from Mad Max? Just Google  thunderdome embargo on
Then ask yourself whether you want to be the person who has to answer the question  "Who run Bartertown?".


Offline nick65go

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2020, 12:02:23 PM »
Hi Rich, right! PXE network-boot is a very bad idea. I intended it to be a joke, about how minim the  booting can be.
(Originated by having  a mini OS burnt into an EPROM). WTF, today we have firmware of 8 MB RAM (half 4MB is just backup) and mini spying OS in Intel CPU. I feel like Don Quixote fighting with the windmills.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 12:12:18 PM by nick65go »

Offline GNUser

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2020, 12:24:45 PM »
...mini spying OS in Intel CPU...
If you are referring to the evil "Intel Management Engine", Libreboot gets rid of it 8)

Offline Rich

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2020, 01:21:02 PM »
Hi nick65go
Hi Rich, right! PXE network-boot is a very bad idea. ...
It's alright if it's from your "Local Area Network". But when you say "cloud", you could suddenly find your OS unavailable because
that "cloud" went out of business and shut down.


Offline PDP-8

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2020, 01:23:08 PM »
I was thinking more along the lines of "once you've established a minimal level of usability"  - I guess that depends on the user of course.

How much could you cut out of the kernel?

How much could you cut out of busybox for commands no longer needed - like network related stuff if you have no network.. just a stand-alone box.

And of course recycle awk to do things like head / tail commands, that sort of stuff. 

Just thinking out loud - not seriously thinking about making it a daily-driver. :)

nick - we need to find a way to access the minix subsystem in all our pc's and use that as the main o/s. :)  I know that kind of back-stabbing by the industry really hurt Prof. Tanenbaum though.

Security?  Heh, Ken Thompson (no stranger to Multics security of course) put it best when he basically said if you want that, then YOU have to write the system compiler yourself....

rambling ...




That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline nick65go

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 01:24:53 PM »
@GNUuser: thanks, the theory is nice, but practical things are no so easy.With limited (but not small) resources (time, money, knowledge, etc) there is a maximum price that I am willing to pay for my privacy. Linux is just one weapon in the arsenal, in this guerilla war against big pockets surveillance. I can afford to lose a battle, a gambit, to win the big game.Sometimes, walking with the crowd to take cover, for avoiding to be a target.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 01:27:25 PM by nick65go »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 01:56:55 PM »
nick - the simplest answer to that is to not go online.  Cut the cord.  Use the protect boot code.

Getting waay OT I guess -  but TC just runs a *machine*.  How much could you get out of a machine that is NOT online become part of your life?  Plenty!  Marketing tells you otherwise.  Don't fall for it.

So let's wean ourselves off being online all the time.  Might be fun to physically exchange ideas and software with each other.  Might actually help society while still incorporating the norms of being social, unlike the rapid-fire stuff I'm doing right this minute anonymously.

Here's how we start the weaning process:

1) Set the forum software to be log-in only to see messages.

2) Place a 24-hour delay to see new messages in return.  (emulating Fidonet or say costly UUCP links back in the day.)

That time-delay meant that one had to find something to do in the meantime. :)  Like practice shell-scripting or learning something new on their own.  It also gave time to cool-off from generating flames or being disturbed by flame-bait.  Or travel to a friend and share your coding or files with each other manually over lunch.

But most importantly, being OFFline with your computer meant that you found out very quickly if you truly like computING with it, or if you are just an "APPliance operator" who would just be happy enough with a TV or walkie-talkie. :)

I know .. crazy talk right?  Maybe not.  I could see the day when "personal computing" offline might become a hobby in itself again.  With TC of course!


That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth

Offline nick65go

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2020, 01:58:16 AM »
@PDP-8: hmm... this is my calm answer to your incisive recommendation. flame-off.

I have been living until age 25 without internet. I felt happy, lucky, living off-the-grid.
I have been living without watching TV (neither owning a TV device) for 11+ years (from 2009). I feel lucky!
"Do you feel lucky".. PDP-8? Can you live today without internet for ... 2 years? I can do it.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 02:00:46 AM by nick65go »

Offline PDP-8

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Re: 1996 version of Tinycore
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2020, 04:54:53 AM »
I could.  But I will admit that I got hooked to online commercial services back in 1984, so I can relate to how kids who never even know what offline is, would just crack up.

Using that as a funny example, could you imagine if you had to pay $40 to join this forum, and billed $10 per hour to use it?  Maybe $6 for each TinyCore iso download?

I think I have my old USRobotics 1200baud modem around here somewhere.  :)

That's a UNIX book! - cool  -- Garth