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I've decided to start learning Linux + Ruby + RoR (Ruby on Rails). The problem is the only personal computer I have is a laptop with 1GB flash card and I can't afford to buy more hardware right now.

The laptop has dual core CPU and 2GB of RAM. Can you recommend a Linux distribution I can install? I've tried the netbook version of Ubuntu, but install failed because of lack of space. I'd prefer a more popular distribution, so I can use my skills say on a job.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are plenty choices over on pendrivelinux.

I wouldn't be to worried about choosing a mainstream linux. Most linuxes are more alike then they are different, so if you learn the basics on debian/suse you can be pretty sure you can get around in ubuntu.

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With minimal space I would suggest a distribution like Arch. Arch allows you to customize and build your toolset however you choose, starting you off very barebones. This is a great way to learn Linux along the way. You could also run Ubuntu from LiveCD and save your files to the flash card, although LiveCDs aren't the fastest experience.

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I suggest DSL (Damn Small Linux). It is made for environments like this with VERY limited space (hence the name of the OS). I suppose it's fairly mainstream since I know about it and I'm not a major Linux guru.

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My only gripe with DSL is that it hasn't been updated in over 2 yrs. Good distro though. – John T Jan 7 '11 at 19:16
That's because there is no need to upgrade a perfect OS (sarcasm)... I know what you mean @JohnT, good point. It may however be good for a learner, someone who doesn't want things going haywire just because red hat felt like pushing a bad patch one day. XD I wish they would update DSL, but then it might not be so small if they stated applying patches to it all the time. Thanks for the input on my answer. It will help the questioner with their decision. – David Jan 7 '11 at 19:20

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