Damn Small Linux 3.3 Review

First a bit of Blog news: I haven’t been keeping up with the blog too much lately as i have with most of the blogs i’ve started 😦 I’m gonna try to update it more. Also, i said in my last post that i would be reviewing either Ubuntu or Fedora Core next…I’m not (apparently from the title). I was told that a new version of FC is coming out soon and Ubuntu’s been giving me a few problems lately so the jury’s still out a bit on that. All this having been said, onto the review of Damn Small 3.3.

Damn Small Linux (which i’ll be abbreviating DSL from here on) is a distro designed to be very lightweight and able to run on “ancient” hardware…that being a Pentium 1 200MhZ with 32MB of RAM. It also runs great if you need a very small, light distro for something on current hardware as it has many current programs and you can install quite a few more. DSL uses a customized version of the 2.4.26 linux kernel, Xvesa for a lightweight X Server (xorg, XFree86) and Fluxbox for a light window manager. It also has it’s own proprietary MyDSL package manager and it can use apt if you choose to enable it so you can install any number of packages. It can also be installed to a flash drive or your hard drive.
1. Very lightweight distro.
2. supports some levels of package management even when running it from the LiveCD.
3. gives you a full linux environment with a GUI in less than 50MB
1. Not the easiest distro to get a hang of.
2. Out-of-date packages and kernel (at least 2-3 years old).
3. No support for newer hardware unless you install the kernel modules yourself.
4. Not great to use as a full-time desktop OS.

If you want a distro that you can run and have work reasonably well on a computer from the mid-late 90’s, choose DSL, if you want a distro that you can run on your current system and run as a desktop OS, pick Debian or Ubuntu…DSL’s not really for you. All in all, DSL is pretty great if you know your way around linux and know what is and isn’t supported in the 2.4.26 kernel, but if you’re new to Linux, DSL’s not for you.


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