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Minimal Linux Live is a small script that: downloads the source for the kernel and busybox compiles them generates a bootable 8Mb ISO with them The ISO then leaves you in a minimal shell with busybox. With QEMU you can easily boot into the system. Usage: git clone https://github.com/ivandavidov/minimal cd minimal/src ./build_minimal_linux_live.sh # ...


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Buildroot If you are willing to go through a compiling process and cut down on features, you could try buildroot. I created a very basic Linux install (essentially just the kernel, minimal Busybox utilities and one extra application) which fit into a 6MB ISO image. The key here is to reduce the kernel and Busybox configuration ("make linux-nconfig" and ...


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OpenWrt is also one of the smallest.


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Tomsrtbt is a couple megabytes; it fits on a floppy.


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Depending on your platform, ttylinux is maybe something for you: This smallest ttylinux system has an 8 MB file system and runs on i486 computers within 28 MB of RAM, but provides a complete command line environment and is ready for Internet access. Started in 2001 and latest release is from 2015-03-05 so it is still maintained.


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The small distro that comes to mind is "Damn Small Linux", with a size of 50 MB (link, wiki) But also there's even smaller distro "Tiny Core Linux" which is about 15 MB (link, wiki)



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