Unsure what a Linux distribution is? Read the Linux Distribution Guide
Damn Small Linux
DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device. hot
Puppy Linux boots into a 48 - 54M ramdisk, from a USB keychain disk drive, Compact Flash, Hard Drive, Zip Drive, Floppy, Network/Thin Client, CD-ROM or Mini-CD. No more distributions that only support a single boot media, puppy boots from 'em all. Read more hot
1diskxwin is a source dist to create a bootable floppy linux X window system. It has lots of stuff removed from the standard xfree dist to ease network bandwidth. it also lacks many packages from the full 2diskxwin source tree.
2-Disk Xwindow System
The distribution is intended to be a demonstration of Mungkie associates embedded appliance development environment, showing the sort of environment that can be created for small appliance GUI systems using less than 4Mb flash and 4Mb RAM.
4MLinux is a mini Linux distro. The live CD includes a set of system maintenance and recovery applications: cfdisk and GNU parted to manage partitions, testdisk to recover partitions, photorec to recover files, and ntfs3g to enable read-write support for NTFS partitions.
Alcolix is a minimal linux distribution built on a custom linux 2.4-kernel and sporting a hybrid of the most minimalistic yet usable versions of common unix-environment commandline tools. The goal is to make it easily usable for people able to use linux yet have it boot off only a minimal number of floppies.
antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems.
ariane is a bootable CD-ROM linux. It's the successor of giotto. While giotto booted a libc5 system with a linux kernel 2.0.37 from floppy disks, ariane comes with linux kernel 2.4.26 and libc6, version 2.2.4. It boots (just as giotto) into your computer's RAM.
BasicLinux is designed specifically for old PCs. It uses a small kernel and busybox to provide a low-RAM Linux, capable of browsing the web, doing email, and functioning as an X terminal. The current release of BasicLinux is particularly suitable for old laptops -- it has PCMCIA capability and includes MagicPoint (a presentation tool similar to PowerPoint).
the LEAF "Bering" distribution is derived from Charles Steinkuehler's Dachstein (rc2). It differs from it on two key elements: It is based on a 2.4.x linux kernel and it relies on Shorewall for extended firewalling facilities
Brazilfw is a mini-distribution designed for setting up network utility services such as Internet connection sharing, firewalling, or wireless access points. The goal is to make it as quick and easy as possible to set up a Linux system with only a minimal amount of Linux knowledge.
BrlSpeak is a Braille and Speech Mini-Distribution of Linux
that can be installed by a visually impaired person without any external assistance. BrlSpeak comes with a built-in preconfiger for the braille driver, + automated compilation of the braille driver during boot.
BusyBox combines tiny versions of many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable. It provides replacements for most of the utilities you usually find in GNU fileutils, shellutils, etc. The utilities in BusyBox generally have fewer options than their full-featured GNU cousins; however, the options that are included provide the expected functionality and behave very much like their GNU counterparts. BusyBox provides a fairly complete environment for any small or embedded system.
ByzantineOS is a software Internet Appliance with a home entertainment bias. It is based on a networked Linux distribution/bootable system with Mozilla providing access to a range of services and applications. ByzantineOS fits in 32MB (or 48MB) of media and should work on any PC.
ChainSaw Linux is a GNU/Linux based on the latest stable kernels and is all about video production.
ClearOS is a powerful network and gateway server designed for small organizations and distributed environments. Though ClearOS comes with an extensive list of features and integrated services, the solution is easy to configure thanks to the intuitive web-based interface. Read more
Damn Small Linux Not
Damn Small Linux Not is a desktop oriented Linux distribution based on Damn Small Linux. It uses a modern 2.6 Kernel and GTK 2 applications, but like Damn Small Linux, it strives to be compact yet user friendly. It will run well on systems of 300MHz with 64 MB of RAM or greater.
Debian-Med is a "Custom Debian Distribution" with the aim to develop Debian into an operating system that is particularly well fit for the requirements for medical practice and research. The goal of Debian-Med is a complete system for all tasks in medical care which is build completely on free software.
Demudi aims to provide for the musician and artist a GNU/Linux distribution dedicated to music and multimedia that would ease installing and customizing GNU/Linux for their needs.
Devil Linux's goal is to have a small, customizable and secure Linux distribition. It runs with 32MB RAM, with no need for a harddisk. The traditional application for Devil-Linux is to use it as a Router/Firewall. Read more
Domainix a tiny linux+samba+ACL distribution with the
intention to replace a Windows-domain-controller by a
Linux samba server. The acl-patches are enabled. It is based on Core-Linux.
DragonLinux is a distribution of Linux that has the ability to be installed on a loopback file on an existing FAT16 or FAT32 partition.
eMoviX is a micro Linux distro meant to be embedded in a CD together with all video/audio files you want, so that the CD will be able to boot and automagically play all of its own files.
Fatdog64 Linux is a small yet versatile 64-bit multi-user Linux distribution. Originally created as a "fatter" (=more built-in applications) derivative of Puppy Linux, Fatdog has grown to become an independent, mature 64-bit Linux distribution while still keeping true to Puppy Linux spirit: small, fast and efficient.
GENDIST creates a makefile-based build-system for your distribution. It helps you to automate the following three tasks: maintain your root-filesystem, maintain your "cd-filesystem", and package everything on a media. GENDIST is similar to BYLD, but it is makefile-based and modular, therefore it is much easier to create your distribution from source.
Gibraltar is a firewall and router package, based on Debian/GNU Linux, which perfectly meets all individual requirements for a state-of-the-art firewall. Independent of the kind of Internet connection (dedicated line, ADSL, dial-up connection), Gibraltar provides for secure connections.
giotto is a micro Linux, a "complete" Linux system on a bootable floppy disk. It's something like tomrtbt.
Grey Cat Linux
Grey Cat Linux is a small UMSDOS Linux distro with Xfree, Icewm, Netscape, XV, and more. Download is only 12 megs.
Hacao Linux is a Vietnamese Linux distro (based on Puppy), Iso file 70-75M only.
It boots into a 128M ramdisk,
from a USB disk drive, Compact Flash, Hard Drive, Zip Drive, Floppy, Network/Thin Client,
CD-ROM or Mini-CD.
JAILBAIT's Another Interesting Linux But Also Intimidating Too: A fully-functional Linux distribution that fits into 16 MB. Many modern net-appliance-type products such as the Netpliance iOpener have an internal SanDisk device that is 16 MB in size.
The LEDE project is founded as a spin-off of the OpenWrt project and shares many of the same goals. We are building an embedded Linux distribution that makes it easy for developers, system administrators or other Linux enthusiasts to build and customize software for embedded devices, especially wireless routers. The name LEDE stands for Linux Embedded Development Environment.
Linux Mobile System
Linux Mobile System (LMS) is a full Linux system whose support is the new USB Flash Memory Drives. The intention is to boot any PC with USB support with our system and therefore we will have every administration and analysis applications that we have selected, so we will not need install it.
Linux on a Stick
Linux on a Stick (LoaS) is a very small and simple Linux server distribution that boots from a USB flash drive and runs from RAM. It is targeted towards server administrators who are familiar with Linux, as its only configuration method is the command line.
Linux on the Linksys wrt54g
This is a mini Linux distribution for the Linksys wrt54g. In about 20 seconds, you can install a small set of Linux tools to your access point's ramdisk. The distribution is geared towards those who are curious about casually exploring the internal workings of this device.
Linuxcare Bootable Toolbox
The LBT is a fully usable miniature Linux distribution which can be placed on a credit-card sized CD media. The distribution should work in almost any PC with almost any operating system. We offer over 101mb of software including a 2.4 kernel, Xfree86 4.1, full network services for both pci and pcmcia cards, wireless connectivity, perl, and a lot more.
LinuxTimon is a single-disk, miniature Linux distribution that just includes a client for Windows Terminal Server 2000, VNCview, and a telnet client.
livarp is a lightweight Debian-based distro.
Lxpup is a lightweight distribution with versions based on Slacko by 01micko, and Precise from Barry Kauler. The desktop environment LXDE seems to be a good compromise between lightness, ease and more aesthetically pleasing.
Macpup is a minimalist desktop Linux distribution based on Puppy Linux. It uses Enlightenment as the default window manager and provides a user interface resembling that of Apple's Mac OS X.
Midge is a linux mini-distribution for ADM5120 based routers, such as Edimax BR-6104K. It includes basic tools such as sh, ssh, inetd, syslogd, telnet, netcat, tftp, wget, udhcpd, vi, etc. Also midge uses ipkg package manager, which can be used for installing new software
Midge divided to 3 versions: jffs2, tmpfs and usb - difference on which root filesystem is used.
Mindi builds boot/root disk images using your existing kernel, modules, tools and libraries. So long as your kernel is smaller than about 1.2MB, Mindi should be able to build a boot/root disk set from almost any Linux distribution you might be running.
This version is 208 Mb fat and fits on mini-cd and 256 MB usb pen-drive. It features the bare minimum tools for pentesting and support modules addition ala slax, allowing you to add some more stuff as you see fit.
MiniCD is (as the name suggests) a live MiniCD Linux distribution designed to run off 185MB CDs. It features automatic hardware detection, a full desktop (KDE) and is based on Mandrake Linux.
MiniLINUX for radio hams. It is installed on a Dos partition and comprises of a reduced software bundle - with no development packages.
Monkey Linux a complete small ELF distribution with latest kernel on 5 diskettes. Monkey can run on this minimal HW: 386SX, 4MB RAM, 30MB on IDE HDD. Contain X Window for any SVGA videocard, support for network, support for 3C5x9, 3c59x, 3c900, NE2000/NE1000, WD80x3 ethernet cards, ATAPI/MITSUMI CD.
MoviX is a tiny Linux CD distribution containing all the software to boot from a CD and play automatically every .avi file localized in the CD root. If you put a subtitles file in the same position with the same name then the subtitles will be automatically displayed.
MoviX2 is a tiny Linux CD distribution containing all the software to boot from a CD and play automatically every multimedia file localized in the CD root. Supported formats are all formats supported by mplayer, most noticeably DivX but more in general any avi, mpeg, mp3, ogg/vorbis and a few others
Mulimidix is a mini Linux distribution for building a PC-based set-top box and multimedia player system with digital TV, MP3, DivX, etc. support, using VDR, Freevo and other tools. It is currently optimized for i686.
Nanolinux is a very tiny Linux distribution based on MicroCore Linux with busybox. It uses Nano-X instead of X11. FLTK 1.3.x is used as the GUI toolkit. The window manager is SLWM.
NetStation is a linux distribution for diskless thin clients terminals using standard x86 hardware. It can boot from network, floppy or flash-disk and connect to an application server using VNC, RDP, XDM, SSH, Telnet or Citrix ICA.
ODDAS-Linux a Linux distribution for control and data acquisition. This mini-distribution is being developed for the ODDAS project.
OpenWrt is a Linux distribution for wireless routers. Instead of trying to cram every possible feature into one firmware, it provides only a minimal firmware with support for add-on packages. For users, this means the ability to custom-tune features, removing unwanted packages to make room for other packages. For developers, it means being able to focus on packages without having to test and release an entire firmware.
PKlinux(mini) is a very small linux distribution intended as a emergency repair disk and for new users who want to try linux/unix in general before putting it heavily on their systems.
PlumpOS is an openMosix-node-on-a-cdrom. It was originally based off ClumpOS and continues to try to be an easy/small/powerful way of implementing openMosix nodes.
PXES Linux Thin Client
PXES Linux Thin Client is a micro Linux distribution allowing you to boot thin clients.
Hardware not suitable for other uses like current desktop OS can be recycled and converted into a thin client.
The configuration is made with an easy to use graphical tool which guide you through the required steps.
Quirky is a Linux distribution and is in the "Puppy Linux family", also known as a "puplet". However, Quirky is not a mainline Puppy release -- it is a distinct distro in its own right.
Repairlix is a networked Linux distribution/bootable system intended to fit in 12MB of media - so small that an image can be burned onto a business-card-sized shaped CDROM, suitable for your wallet. It has a suite of utilities for doing system recovery.
RIP Linux rescue system
RIP Linux rescue system is a CD or floppy boot/rescue/backup system.
RUNT is Slackware Linux designed to run off of a 128 MB or more USB pen drive. It consists of a boot floppy image and a zip file, similar to zipslack. It is intended to be a fairly complete Linux installation for use as a testing tool capable of booting on any x86 computer with a USB port and a bootable floppy drive. The kernel is slackware's bare.i kernel. RUNT also contains an initial ramdisk to load usb-storage related modules and it pauses for 5 seconds to allow the drive to initialize.
Shard Linux is a minimal, no nonsense, lightweight Linux distribution, built upon Debian Netinstall Minimal. It uses the XFCE window manager.
A new wave of Linux Distro, simple, and small in size. From Slax, but it uses XFCE as the default window manager. Only boots 35 Seconds (On an Intel Pentium 3 500 MHz+!).
SlimLinux is a complete network operating system based on the linux kernel and other open software. It runs entirely off a floppy disk with built-in kernel support IDE/ATAPI devices (plan to add NIC BootROM and better FlashATA support). The first version was based on LRP, with patches from Joshua Jackson's port. In recent versions, development has forked vastly and is now based on the ECL core utilizing the linux 2.4 kernel. SlimLinux has a number of applications available to run via a variety of AppPacks (router/firewall, dhcp/dns/web server, vpn connector, dumb terminal).
SliTaz GNU/Linux is a mini distribution and live CD designed to run speedily on hardware with 128 MB of RAM. SliTaz uses BusyBox, a recent Linux kernel and GNU software.
SPBLinux is a modular mini distribution running completely in RAM, can be booted from USB, based on Busybox and Midnight Commander, optional with DirectFB and (since version 2.1) Mozilla; it is possible to create/modify own modules inside SPBLinux.
stresslinux is a minimal linux distribution running from a bootable cdrom or via PXE. stresslinux makes use of some utitlities available on the net like: stress, cpuburn, hddtemp, lm_sensors etc. stresslinux is dedicated to users who want to test their system(s) entirely on high load and monitoring the health.
TA-Linux is a free Linux distribution, that targets Linux power users. It's main goal is to have a small base installation that the end-user can expand to include the software he needs. The secondary goal is to support as many different architectures as possible.
At this time i386, Alpha, PPC and MIPS are fully supported with Sparc and PA-RISC around the corner.
Thinstation is a thin client Linux distribution that makes a PC a full-featured thin client supporting all major connectivity
protocols: Citrix ICA, No Machine NX, MS Windows terminal services (RDP), Tarantella, X, telnet, tn5250, VMS term and SSH.
Tiny Linux is a small Linux distribution designed especially for old recycled computers.
Tiny Core Linux
Tiny Core Linux is a very small (10 MB) minimal Linux desktop. It is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, Fltk, and Jwm. The core runs entirely in RAM and boots very quickly. The user has complete control over which applications and/or additional hardware to have supported, be it for a desktop, a nettop, an appliance, or server, selectable from the online repository.
TinyFlux is a related project to PCFluxboxOS with an even lighter footprint.
TinyLinux is a small Linux Distribution for i386 derived from SuSE 6.4. In the base version it just contains the things which are necessary to run Linux. Therefore the base package is rather small and requires approx. 7MB. The purpose of this Distribution is to have a small and clear system which can be used as starting point for further developments. Since this is a tiny Linux its use is not limited to desktop systems but is also suitable for embedded systems.
Tor-ramdisk is an i686 uClibc-based micro Linux distribution (3.1 MB) whose only purpose is to host a Tor server in an environment that maximizes security and privacy. Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Security is enhanced by employing a monolithically compiled GRSEC/PAX patched kernel and hardened system tools. Privacy is enhanced by turning off logging at all levels so that even the Tor operator only has access to minimal information. Finally, since everything runs in ephemeral memory, no information survives a reboot, except for the Tor configuration file and the private RSA key which may be exported/imported by FTP.
Trinux: A Linux Security Toolkit
Trinux was a ramdisk-based Linux distribution that boots from a single floppy or CD-ROM, loads it packages from an HTTP/FTP server, a FAT/NTFS/ISO filesystem, or additional floppies. Trinux contains the latest versions of popular Open Source network security tools for port scanning, packet sniffing, vulnerability scanning, sniffer detection, packet construction, active/passive OS fingerprinting, network monitoring, session-hijacking, backup/recovery, computer forensics, intrusion detection, and more. Trinux also provides support for Perl, PHP, and Python scripting languages. Remote Trinux boxes can be managed securely with OpenSSH. The distro has been superceded by ubuntutrinux.
TTY-Opener is a distro with a text-based interface specifically for the I-Opener's 16 meg Sandisk. Based on the ttylinux distro, plus a Linux 2.4.x kernel and other goodies. TTY-Opener is designed to be a emergency backup OS to help you restore or change the main OS on your hacked I-Opener's hard drive.
ttylinux, a minimalistic GNU/Linux distribution. The distribution aims to fit into 4 megabytes of space and run even on 386 class computers, yet does provide a rather complete command line environment and is prepared for Internet dial-in. The target audience for ttylinux is mainly system administrators and people who want to put together minimalistic systems of their own.
ubuntutrinux is the successor to Trinux. It seeks to integrate elements (and code, where appropriate) of Trinux with the Debian/Ubuntu mkinitramfs infrastructure to allow easy development and packaging Ubuntu binary (and ultimately package and repository) compatible ramdisk distributions using recent 2.6.x kernels.
Ulric's Router Construction Kit
Ulric's Router Construction Kit helps you create self-contained Linux installations on a single floppy, with space to spare. It is meant for router installations in labs or live environment, but also for boot/root/installation/rescue disks.
VectorLinux is a small, fast, Linux operating system for Intel, AMD and x86 compatible systems, based on one of the original Linux distributions, Slackware. It only reguires 850 megs of disk space for a full install.
Webfish Linux is a small, stripped down Linux distribution based on GNU source packages. Webfish is built with the more expereinced user in mind and is aimed at small, fast, secure server and workstation systems with a minimum of installed packages.
xPUD is a unique Linux distribution, consisting mainly of a web browser and a media player, with a simple user interface on top. It can turn your computer into a kiosk-like station by leveraging web technologies, making surfing and watching movies as easy as pie.
Zenwalk is a lightweight linux distribution based on Slackware Linux. Zenwalk is focused on Internet applications and development tools. Zenwalk supports all Slackware packages. Zenwalk Linux aims to be focused on Internet application, multimedia and coding tools. It's a complete system : this means that, out of the box, you will be able to browse, mail, chat, listen to music, program in C, Perl, Python, Ruby,.. watch videos in various formats, write documents, print, scan, burn CD and DVD, connect your camera and edit your photographs, without adding anything. Read more
ZipSlack is a special edition of Slackware Linux that can be installed onto any FAT (or FAT32) filesystem with about 100 MB of free space. It uses the UMSDOS filesystem and contains most of the programs you will need. This means that you do not need to repartition your hard disk if you already have DOS or Windows installed. ZipSlack installs into a directory on your DOS filesystem. It can also be installed to and booted from a Zip disk.
(ftp only) a talking mini-distribution of Linux for blind and visually impaired people, based on version 7.0 of the ZipSlack distribution and version 0.08 of the Speakup screen reader