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What Linux/BSD distribution is appropriate for my embedded application, a POS till?

Posted on 2007-12-02
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
Hello,

I'm currently in the process of choosing a Linux/BSD distribution, for my point of sale solution which was created using Qtopia Core. Here are my requirements, in order of importance:

1. Hardware compatibility: The distribution will hopefully have hardware compatibility which is as good as that of any Linux distribution.

2. Performance. The hardware that this software will run on is quite modest - think older Celeron processors with 128mb of ram and a 40gb hard drive. I should be able to launch a window manager, though only when I explicitly require it - by default, the bash script that bootstraps the OS should start my Qtopia core application, which doesn't require an X server.  I'll only use the window manager to configure the system, changing tcp/ip settings, for example.

3. Re-branding. I'd like to be able to include my own logo (in addition to the distro vendor's) when the system boots. This might be considered a "derivative work" under copyright law, which might necessitate releasing the changes/source, under the terms of the GPL. Or it might not, I'm unsure. This isn't a high priority for me - I'd just consider it a bonus. However, all other things being equal, I'd opt for a BSD variant in favour of a Linux distribution in order to have this.

Bearing all that in mind, what *nix flavour would you guys recommend?

Thanks,
Sternocera
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Question by:sternocera
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7 Comments
 
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by:Wod
Wod earned 1050 total points
ID: 20392975
You should take a look at damn small linux: http://damnsmalllinux.org/, it uses kernel 2.4.31 (you could use DSL-N for kernel 2.6.x http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsl-n/)

DSL is a very versatile 50MB mini desktop oriented Linux distribution.

    * Run light enough to power a 486DX with 16MB of Ram
    * Run fully in RAM with as little as 128MB (you will be amazed at how fast your computer can be!)
    * Transform into a Debian OS with a traditional hard drive install
    * Boot from a business card CD as a live linux distribution (LiveCD)
    * Boot from a USB pen drive
    * Boot from within a host operating system (that's right, it can run *inside* Windows)
    * Run very nicely from an IDE Compact Flash drive via a method we call "frugal install"
    * Modularly grow -- DSL is highly extendable without the need to customize


There is also uclinux made specifically for embedded devices: http://www.uclinux.org/description/
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Expert Comment

by:Pétur Ingi Egilsson
ID: 20435537
I have no knowledge of DSL

I'd go for Debian Linux.
I currently have it running on my 440Mhz \ 256MB ram server, very fast and stable.
Has good hardware support.
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Author Comment

by:sternocera
ID: 20435547
I don't really want to use a generic desktop OS - I want to avoid as much overhead as possible.

I don't think I'd use anything like Debian, Ubuntu or openSuse - I'm looking for something minimalist.

Thanks
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by:Pétur Ingi Egilsson
Pétur Ingi Egilsson earned 450 total points
ID: 20435585
No need to install any of the desktop components in Debian\openSuSE

If your looking for something very minimalistic you could try Slackware Linux ?
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Accepted Solution

by:
Wod earned 1050 total points
ID: 20435659
like Petur said, try Slackware (it's the best distribution anyways).  Use XFCE as a window manager because it is lightweight (if you need X-Windows).

You just need to download the first ISO CD for it to work.. the other ones are extras

Slackware just had a major release too a couple months ago (v12), so it is up-to-date.

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Expert Comment

by:Pétur Ingi Egilsson
ID: 20435702
My self i try to avoid non-major releases as they tend to become "dead" projects
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Author Comment

by:sternocera
ID: 20440281
OK, thanks guys.
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