Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs

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First of all, here's what I want to try and accomplish -- it seems
reasonable to me.  Then again, maybe it's not reasonable.

I'd like a small, compressed root fs on hand that I can load into a RAM
disk when booting, as an alternate boot device using boot options,
mainly as a diagnostics and tools root for using against a root on-disk
that needs a fsck or anything similiar.

I considered building something similar myself and thought, good grief,
there has to be a plethora of compressed root fs's very much like this
already built that I can just use and run in an 8, 16, 32 or even 64 mb
footprint (such as like what one might run from a USB drive, for
instance? that would work too since USB booting is an option on the
hardware I have in mind.)

Can anyone point to a good, ready-to-use compressed root fs or validate
this as a useful approach to root fs repairs/diagnositcs, etc.?

Cross-posted to c.o.l.embedded, since surely someone there would have a
useful handle on this approach (or why to avoid it and use a different


Re: Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs

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1. For what computer architecture? Have to ask since you posted on
    comp.os.linux.embedded ...
2. For what boot device? (You mentioned USB, but the most common is CD)

There are lots of distributions that fits.
Knoppix, full GNU/Linux system (CD) - http://www.knoppix.org /
LNX-BBC, compact GNU/Linux system (CD Single) - http://www.lnx-bbc.org /
RIP (USB flash) - http://www.tux.org/pub/people/kent-robotti/looplinux/rip /
but there are more...


Roger Larsson
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Re: Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs
Hi Chris,

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I would suggest the pebble linux distribution:
http://www.nycwireless.net/pebble /

It is really simple to install and was designed from the beginning for
running from a CF card.

Although it is specifically designed for creating "embedded" Linux Access
Points and routers you are free to do your own stuff with it likewise. I
have a custom installation based on pebble some months ago and it works
beautifully since that time. Hardware platform is a lex light case (mini itx
with via C3 500 MHz fanless CPU and fanless external power adaptor).

From Pebble README:
This is a somewhat minimal (more than 16 megs, less than 400 megs,
designed to fit on a 128 meg CF card) Debian stripped distro aimed for
use in wireless embedded devices.  It's biggest advantage is that it
mounts read-only.  You don't have to worry as much about wearing down
the compact flash, and you don't have to worry about doing proper
shutdowns.  Unplug and plug in as much as you want.  Also you get the full
Debian "apt-get" functionality allowing you to easily add additional

 - A good _basic_ understanding of Linux. You don't need to be an
   expert though.  If you only run Windows or Mac OS X, then this
   distro isn't for you.  Have a Linux geek install it for you.
 - A Linux computer to install the distro image with.
 - A method to connect to the install medium, such as CF adapter.

Feel free to ask further questions.

Regards, Dominik

Re: Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs
Chris said:

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tom's root boot disk (http://www.toms.net/rb /) fits on a single floppy.

you could also have a look at:

http://rz-obrian.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/knoppix-usb /

I used the damnsmalllinux image here to boot linux from my usb digital

http://www.niftybits.ukfsn.org /

remove 'n-u-l-l' to email me. html mail or attachments will go in the spam
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Re: Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs

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if you want to build such a little system on your own I suggest the "Pocket
Linux Guide" as a great advise. There you can get many informations about
building such a small system and how it is working. There is also a short
glance given about how to extend it.

Just have a look at it. Here you can find it.

Then look for the GUIDE section and in this for POCKET LINUX GUIDE

Re: Looking for "ready-to-go", compressed root fs
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These may be of use to you.  They are the root filesystems that are
available for running user-mode-linux.



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