Stripped down Linux/XFree86

Posted on 1998-12-24
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
I have set up a 486 system running Linux and Xfree86.  I would like to know how to determine and remove unneeded files so that I can cram both into the minimum possible disk space - the objective being to ultimately put the system into Flash Disk.
The system's purpose is to connect via ethernet to a remote host, to run a single graphical application on that host.  Do not need Internet, Email or modem connectivity.
Question by:cc9804
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Expert Comment

ID: 1587988
Though I don't know the magic answer to this one (I would unfortunately not know which files to remove and which to keep under the X11 tree), one way to find out is this:

copy your entire system to another directory, eg.:
[make sure you have enough disk space on your root filesystem]
cd /
mkdir newsystem
cp -Rpd * newsystem ; (maybe some other cp options necessary here, try it out)
chroot /newsystem /bin/sh

at this point you're presented with a bash prompt.  your root filesystem now points to /newsystem.  You can remove files at will without worrying about hosing the system.  Try removing everything possible under /usr/bin, /bin, /usr/sbin, /lib, /usr/lib, etc.  If you get to a point where you can't use the system anymore (because of a missing library or something), just press ctrl-D to exit the chroot and you'll be back to the point where your root filesystem is your real root filesystem and you can copy the missing files back and re-chroot. This works pretty well to quickly determine which directories you need (I did this on a smaller scale while trying to fit a bunch of stuff on a root floppy disk).

Good luck!


Expert Comment

ID: 1587989
If you have X running on the remote system, you can run xdm on the remote host and not have much more than the x server on the local machine. I once did this trying to set up an X terminal on an 8 meg 386. I found that you need to leave the directory structure of X intact, but really there are few files that are absolutely necessary on the local machine. Is this the kind of setup you had in mind? What is the application you need to run?

Expert Comment

ID: 1587990
I'd also like to know the answer to that one... for a embeded PC application....For mine I need a TCP/IP network (simple Peer to peer..similar to Packet radio...not Internet) posiblly a simple GUI ... to hopefully fit on a PCMCIA flash card...

NB if it looks like I can get some good answers .. I'll resubmit as a question...

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Expert Comment

ID: 1587991
AFAIK Debian Linux supports something like "minimized linux", I think it's called
loop-root installation. Check at 

Expert Comment

ID: 1587992
Check out also

Author Comment

ID: 1587993
Thanks mcdonc.

This is a huge help. Now to figure out how to pare down the Xfree86 !

Expert Comment

ID: 1587994
No problem.  You want to get rid of this thread or what?

Expert Comment

ID: 1587995

I posted a later ... similar question.... Can you ICQ/ email me ...



Accepted Solution

kathotia earned 100 total points
ID: 1587996
Why re-invent the wheel. the solution to your problems is readly availabe as muLinux. This is a mini distribution of Linux running of a single floppy. X is available as a seperate addon in a seperate floppy. Thus the complete Linux+X will be on two floppies. All parameter for connectin to a network and running applications are user configurable and saved for future use.

the url for getting muLinux is

kindly give it a try.

Author Comment

ID: 1587997
Thanks Kathotia:

This has saved me a lot of time and effort, even though it took me about a week to figure out how to download the files in "binary" !

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