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I am running Windows and I don't have a very big SSD. I want to use Linux in a VM to compile GIMP but I want to keep the VM as small as possible.

What is the smallest distro you can use to compile code? TinyCore is about 15MB but I doubt it includes build-essential.

The GIMP source and compiled binaries are also probably going to be bigger than the distro itself!

Is it worth taking TinyCore and adding lots and lots of packages (thus increasing size) or just starting with a more focused distro?

Ideally the distro should be 200M or less if possible.

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First off if your distro can only be 200M, just buy a new SSD. They are not that expensive anymore these days.

I don't know about TinyCore, but you could DSL [http://www.damnsmalllinux.org]. It is based on Debian, so you could even use apt-get to install packages.

Another option would be to used a ramdisk. If you have enough RAM then you could definitely run a OS in there.

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