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I'm looking for a way to run Celtx,a screenwriting software on a Linux Distro and nothing else, no bluetooth, internet/WiFi, media, games, nothing, not even a desktop. Just boot up the OS and Bam! Celtx. Also, a fast boot would be great.

P.S. I'd need to automount a NTFS partition.

Any ideas?


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closed as off-topic by Heptite, Kevin Panko, random May 7 '14 at 3:54

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

As mentioned by DaveParillo, any distibution can be stripped down to next to nothing. However, building a system from the ground up is probably preferable in your case. This is what Arch Linux was designed for. If you are comfortable with this idea, continue...


  1. Follow the official or beginner's installation guide to install the base system.
  2. To mount your NTFS partition automatically, open up your /etc/fstab and add the following line (/dev/sdb1 being the NTFS partition and /mnt/device being the mount point):

    /dev/sdb1 /mnt/device ntfs defaults 1 0

  3. If you want to be able to log in automatically you will need to take a few extra steps. First, install mingetty from the Arch User Respository (AUR). Here is a small guide to help you do that if you are unfamiliar with Arch Linux. Next, open up /etc/inittab and change the line that looks like:

    c1:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty -8 38400 tty1 linux

    to the following:

    c1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty --autologin username tty1 linux

  4. Install X by executing the following commands as root:

    pacman -Syu
    pacman -S libgl xorg xf86-input-evdev mesa vesa

    Configure X with:

    Xorg -configure
    cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    If xorg is giving you problems you can refer to the wiki. (If sound is also needed you can follow the steps that are given here)

  5. Edit your ~/.bash_profile so that when you log into TTY1 X will start automatically:

    if [[ -z "$DISPLAY" ]] && [[ $(tty) = /dev/tty1 ]]; then
        exec startx

  6. Edit ~/.xinitrc and include the following (replacing celtx with whatever command starts the program you want to run):

    exec celtx
    shutdown -h now

    Once you quit celtx Arch Linux will shut down.

You also mentioned that you would like a fast boot time. I'm not sure how this compares to what you are looking for, but on a ~7 year old computer I managed to get mine down to 23 seconds by following this guide.

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For anyone wondering, this is a great way to set up a dedicated HTPC as well (I've done it with XBMC and it works great). – Richard Marquez Sep 14 '09 at 22:50

You can strip any linux distro down to the bare bones - the simplest thing to do is take a distro you already are familiar with and boot into run level 1 - the standard 'single user mode'. You won't have networking or any daemons, but you may have a desktop, depending on what you're using. You could define a custom run level to do whatever. Run level 4 is usually used for this. It's undefined, so you can make it whatever you want.

Alternatively, take a look at the linux distros tuned for smallness

EDIT Linux is not exactly famous for speedy boot times, but the less you run at startup, the faster it will be.

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