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I'd like to do some IPv6 testing at home, using VirtualBox. I could create a few VMs and leave it at that, but I feel that to really test IPv6 you have to scale up to many nodes.

So I wonder: what's the smallest distribution of Linux or BSD that I could use for this? I only need IPv6 support, a shell and a few net utilities (ping, telnet, nslookup/dig, and little more).

My aim is to create many small VMs, ideally with RAM-backed storage (I've got 12GB of RAM, and using multiattach images I should be able to store them in tmpfs for quicker access) and little RAM (<=64MB). Then I'd unleash them against some radvd and/or dhcp6 server to test IPv6 stuff.

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You need approximately two nodes for testing basic IPv6 connectivity and routing. Unless of course you're trying to do load testing, but then again a single computer isn't up to that task. –  Michael Hampton Sep 24 '12 at 22:17
    
Why VirtualBox, rather than virtual environments on Linux?Something cgroups-based would be lighter-weight. –  Gilles Sep 24 '12 at 23:25
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can try following Linux Distros

There are many more and most of them have IPv6 support. You will need to check them individually.

Also mind looking this Wikipedia Page.

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Tiny Core Linux seems to be quite what I'm looking for. The 8MB version is just a BusyBox with some tools, and works directly from RAM (no install needed). Thanks! –  rsuarez Sep 25 '12 at 7:54
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You could look into NanoBSD. It is a build of FreeBSD designed for embedded systems so it requires very little memory and is designed to run from small read-only media.

As an added bonus you can build FreeBSD without IPv4 support.

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  • Linux from scratch is the smallest and lightest, but it requires a lot of prep work.
  • KIWI\SuSE Studio offers the flexibility as you can test drive it and specify which packages you want\don't want.
  • A ramfs with BusyBox is a hack, but it is fast and small.

It all depends on how much work you want to put in it. I think LFS is fun, but SuSE Studio is easy. The ones that peril brain mentioned are prebuilt.

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I suggest Debian.

Using the net installer and deselecting all of the tasksel options (e.g., Desktop System, Web Server, etc.) gives you a very small base installation. You can add on what you need, only what you need and you have access to everything Debian offers.

My minimal Debian VM (which I built exactly the way I described) is using only 28 MB of RAM without even spending any effort on optimizing it.

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