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I'm looking for an small ISO for making a live CD. I need all the usual linux command line stuff (ls, dd, nc, fsck, etc.) but almost nothing more. A really stripped GUI would be nice but I can live with system terminals. Ideally, the ISO would be under 50MB so I can put it on a credit card sized CD.

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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 24 '10 at 19:42

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
Credit card CDs are overrated. Mini-DVDs are the way to go. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 23 '10 at 1:56
2  
Mini-DVDs are also overrated. What's wrong with a USB stick? –  John Gardeniers Jul 23 '10 at 2:45
    
@John because I don't have a computer that can make a bootable USB drive. In fact the whole point of this is to make one. –  BCS Jul 23 '10 at 3:09

7 Answers 7

up vote 2 down vote accepted

SystemRescueCd (www.sysresccd.org) is a good choice here. It's small enough (<300MB) but also feature-packed and one of the better "utility" CDs. Any sort of boot failure involving failed mounts, filesystem corruptions and the like can be repaired with this (unless your harddrive is dead of course). It's also got a lovely xfce GUI which is relatively light on resources.

Oops, I read 50MB as 500MB. It's way too big. Sorry. I'm investigating how much it can be stripped down at the moment, you can use these instructions to recompile it with less stuff. I imagine you won't want the GNU toolchain, xfce/x11, or portage/emerge either. Come to think of it, it may just be easier to go with DSL/Puppy. I swear by the full ISO for a mostly portable utility CD though.

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tux.org/pub/people/kent-robotti/looplinux/rip Another recovery disk, this one is ~60MB with the non-X version. tinycorelinux.com This one goes to the other extreme, very very small but should have most of what you want. Has a GUI too. –  darvids0n Jul 23 '10 at 1:59

Take a look at TinyCore - it starts around 10MB or so and you can add whatever packages and apps you need beyond that.

http://tinycorelinux.com/

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There's ivrescue which was specifically designed to fit on a business card CD. It hasn't been maintained for a while though.

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Damn Small Linux is a good choice, or Puppy

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Slitaz is a good bet - has a full GUI, basic apps, package management AND is under 30 MB

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How about knoppix. It doesnt fit on cc cd but works great on a regular one.

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You could use larch and build your own custom live cd.

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