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I'm looking for a small linux install (<100Mb) that can just run a browser and ideally a media player.
It's to fit in a spare recovery partition on my laptop and be a quick boot for non-work stuff when I'm on the road.

I have used Puppy-linux and DSL before but they have lots of stuff I don't need. Is there something like these that just concentrates on running a browser in the way xbmc does for videos?

ps. The size requirement was to fit in the existing 100Mb win7 recovery partition, but that can be resized. The main idea was something that booted very quickly without the 10min wait while windows does all the corporate stuff and realizes it isn't on the LAN - and could be shutdown instantly.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have a look at GeeXboX which is a media-centered Linux distribution.

GeeXboX, a small media center Linux live CD distribution, can run from any small device, such as a USB disk or a wallet CD-R, and can play both disk-based media like DVDs and online media like Icecast streams. The project has been in development for several years and has just released version 1.1. I fed it every kind of media file I could lay my hands on -- Ogg, MP3, MP4, AVI, DVDs, VCDs, and their ripped versions -- and it played them all without a hiccup. But what makes GeeXBoX a fantastic distribution is its ease of use and malleability.

GeeXBoX 1.1 is a mere 8.9MB ISO download. Its hardware requirements are minimal -- a Pentium II 400MHz processor and 64MB of RAM are enough to power GeeXBoX -- and of course you'll need a CD/DVD drive to play your media. GeeXBoX ejects its CD boot media after copying itself into memory and booting the computer. If you don't want to bother with the GeeXBoX CD every time you want to power up your media center, you can install GeeXBoX onto a hard drive as well. To install GeeXBoX you need only an 8MB partition, and it can install in a Windows FAT partition as well as Linux ext2/3 partitions. If you don't have a hard disk on the computer you want to run GeeXBoX on, you can install the distribution onto a USB disk.

GeeXBoX boots quickly into a simple graphical environment. The first screen displays controls to open and play media files, change preferences (for audio/video playback, displaying subtitles, and so on), and configure some options (such as a sleep timer and autoplay mode). The developers have done a good job of making the distribution as easy to use as a regular DVD player. Unless you're really picky about the font size of your subtitles, you'll be happy with the default settings.

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That looks perfect - except it doesn't seem to have a browser. Looking at the iso generator now to see if it can install one. –  Martin Beckett Feb 1 '10 at 15:45

Slax - your pocket operating system http://www.slax.org/get_slax.php

Slax is a modern, portable, small and fast Linux operating system with a modular approach and outstanding design. Despite its small size, Slax provides a wide collection of pre-installed software for daily use, including a well organized graphical user interface and useful recovery tools for system administrators.

The modular approach gives you the ability to include any other software in Slax easily. If you're missing your favourite text editor, networking tool or game, simply download a module with the software and copy it to Slax, no need to install, no need to configure.

If you are a beginner or you're just too busy to make it yourself, follow a few steps to build your own customized operating system by using web-based interface here.

You can even build your custom Slax by access this page: http://www.slax.org/build.php

Build your own customized Slax with all the modules you need, then download your ISO or > TAR directly from this site.

Size: 200MB for the latest version 6.1.2

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There are a few distributions like this, but the only installable one I've come across is Webconverger. It's basically a web kiosk, but it's Debian based, and you can install additional applications to it. To make things simpler, you might want an MP3 player add-on for the browser.

I'm not sure how well it fits into the size requirement, but it's sibling cl33n is a LiveCD only distro which works similarly, if you don't require an install. It's very small although development halted in November 2009.

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There is also slitaz - seems to be worth playing with.

(yes - I know, but it's more usefull as an answer)

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