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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?

Thanks

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 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/xorg.conf.new /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
        logout
    fi
    

  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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2  
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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