Snal Linux

Snal Linux is a live-cd linux originally constructed using Bernard's Bootable Linux CD scripts on a non-graphical debian sarge linux installation. While there are other such live-cd distributions out there, such as knoppix (full-featured debian distro), LNX-BBC (business card sized distro), lonix (a spanish/english non-graphical distro), MoviX (linux + mplayer on a live-cd), and so on, I wanted to learn how a live-cd linux worked, so I built my own. BBLCD was very useful and very helpful, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try out live-cd linux building.

Recent versions (0.9.0 and later) are no longer constructed using BBLCD scripts. In order to facilitate easier upgrades, and to add graphical features, I have begun using a modified version of Puppy Linux. I no longer use the servers available on previous versions of snal except to move files from a box with a non-working OS. FTP and ssh servers allow me to do transfer files; uneeded servers are not installed. Besides easier upgrading and graphics, the major advantages of puppy are its size and speed. My modified version weighs in at around 86MB, and is entirely loaded into RAM on systems with 128MB or more of system memory. No reliance on a CD means that the system runs faster, and that the drive is free to be used for other purposes. A graphical browser (dillo), a media player (mplayer), and better automated hardware support are also important features. Falling by the way-side is open-mosix support. I no longer use open-mosix kernels on my home network, so it's not a priority for me.

If anyone would like a copy of Snal Linux (or related stuff), I'll mail a copy to you if you cover shipping! Get in touch with me at this address.


February 11, 2007

I've finished putting together 0.9.1, which is mostly about bug fixes, and customizing system startup. I've now got ratpoison running as the default browser, but jwm is still installed. With all of the space saved by switching from seamonkey (the puppy linux default broswer) to dillo, adding aterm, mp3blaster, mplayer, ratpoison, sshd, screen, sshfs, vim, and xbindkeys has only increased the iso size by 1 MB!

December 15, 2006

Due to a working live CD (I had little incentive to make changes), life events (moving, job, sickness, etc), a longer than expected roll-out for a stable open-mosix 2.6 kernel, and a failed mainboard on my development machine, I didn't make any upgrades to snal for a long time. In the interum, my goals have changed. Must haves: graphics, a windows-ish WM for newbies (jwm), a real WM for me (ratpoison), a graphical browser (dillo), vim (the real thing, not a vi work-alike), mplayer, mp3blaster, sshfs (for mounting via a ssh connection), and smbmount. Snal 0.9.0 gives me that, since it is based on the excellent Puppy Linux. I have testing and tweaking to do yet (I have yet to make elinks handle colors the way I want, and there are a few issues to iron out with vim), but I am hoping these issues will be fixed within the next few weeks.

March 13, 2006

After a long pause, 0.8.1. The 2.6.x openmosix kernel is still in beta, and I don't want to migrate until it is stable. So, I've updated the debian install (it's now running etch, which is the current testing). The 2.4.22 openmosix kernel is still installed, but I expect to replace that when 2.6.x openmosix is released. A few programs have changed: naim no longer works since AOL dropped their non-OSCAR servers, so I've added pork. I've also added elinks, as I think it provides a better console browsing experience. I'm considering adding framebuffer support for images, but I haven't decided yet. In general, I'm not a FB person, but we'll see.

August 3, 2004

After a long series of tests to make sure as much as possible is working, 0.8.0 is done. Very little has changed from 0.7.1 except for bug fixes and usability improvements (I changed alsaconf and update-modules to use a valid system map; /etc/mtab is a real file instead of a symlink to /proc/mounts). The next big step will probably be a change to the 2.6.x openmosix kernel sometime in the next month or two.

May 29, 2004

0.7.1 is done. The kernel is now 2.4.22 with ALSA and openmosix patches (#3) applied. I got the new kernel working, and added openmosix user space tools.

May 3, 2004

0.7.0 is ready. Alsa works, servers work, and I was able to compile enough network cards directly into kernel that most of the popular network cards are supported. Runlevel stuff has changed (again):

Local floppy configuration is no longer dependant upon runlevel: local config will be run (attempting to access a floppy at /dev/fd0) unless snal is booted with "nofloppy", such as in "linux 3 nofloppy".

April 24, 2004

Far too many things have changed to name the next version 0.6.6, so I am moving to 0.7.0. This is a new installation (though same packages), with a new kernel (2.6.3), and a new version of debian (sarge). Alsa configuration is coming along, and I'm playing catch-up on a few problems brought about by differences between woody and sarge installations. Everything should work out fairly well, and as soon as alsaconf sound card configuration runs successfully, I'll burn version 0.7.0.

April 6, 2004

0.6.6 will focus on a new kernel (2.6.x) so that ALSA sound can be used. This is a big change; it will probably be the only thing that changes except for help system and the addition of alsa specific tools. In order to include 2.6.x without making 2.4.x unusable in case 2.6.x does not work for some reason (size, compatability issues, etc), the debian installation will be upgraded from stable to testing. Either way, kernel sources have been moved off of the partition that is used to create cd, so the size of the iso (which has been falling of late due to removed non-free packages and the inclusion of a smaller ready-to-use version of the gnuchess opening book instead of the 84MB not-yet-ready-to-use version) is just over 300MB right now!

April 5, 2004

0.6.5 is finished. Burned to cdr (as opposed to cdrw!) and saved to archive dir this afternoon. Servers seem to be working great, but do present an added security risk, so please start snal in runlevel 3 and change passwords before running servers, unless you must do a headless/network accessed startup.

March 28, 2004

0.6.5 is ready, as soon as I run a few tests to make sure it works. Servers working now for http, ftp, nfs, and smb. All servers run in runlevel 5 (sshd only in 4, none in 3).

March 11, 2004

Servers are working out well. Apache and wu-ftpd are all set to go. I also am adding in smbclient for windows connectivity. 0.6.5 should be done pretty soon.

March 9, 2004

0.6.4 is done! All of the runlevel stuff works great. In the future, I will add in more servers, since they can easily be set not to run on bootup (sparing precious ram and cpu resources).

March 1, 2004

I am tweaking function key stuff for bash and setting up runlevels to match the following:

This will all come together for 0.6.4 sometime this month.

February 27, 2004

0.6.3 is done. The biggest change is the defualt shell: bash is now used instead of tcsh, so all the screen function key stuff has been setup using bash.

February 10, 2004

Upon closer inspection, I realized that the two packages of bsdgames are named bsdgames and bsdgames-nonfree. Guess which one isn't nonfree (hehe - double negative). It will be included in 0.6.3 (awww, c'mon, guess which one . . .).

February 8, 2004

0.6.2 is finished. I added a few editors and made sure that the runlevel settings were set up correctly, but mostly this version is to make sure that all non-free license software is gone. Anything that cannot legally be distributed has been removed. To complete that task, I replaced lame and bladeenc with toolame, and removed the bsdgames packages. There will be a new version soon with more filesystem tools (mkfs.msdos, etc).

February 5, 2004

I am working on a new version that will be only contain free (open source) software. A few packages that did not fit this profile are being removed, and some config stuff is being updated. Also, I will apt-get update and apt-get upgrade so that all packages are up to date.

November 26, 2003

I just finished a new version: 0.6.1. It has a few new programs, most notably ettercap (a sniffer for switched lans), kismet (a sniffer for wlans), and the rogue-like game hengband. A few help file changes, and lots of little big fixes round out the changes.

October 13, 2003

The new installation is now pretty stable: it will change very little in the future, so it becomes 0.6.0.

October 1, 2003

Quick turnaround for version 0.5.1, which has many additional programs and a few changes to make annoying bugs disappear.

September 29, 2003

I have just finished putting together the new version (0.5.0), which includes cdrecord for cd burning, a working dhcp configuration, and windows applications for writing boot disk images, etc.


Bugs and Suggestions

If you find bugs (there must be at least a few), or have any suggestions, email me here. I am constantly looking to make this project better, and suggestions can help. Thanks!


Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.9.1

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.9.0

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.8.0

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.7.1

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.7.0

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.6.5

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.6.4

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.6.3

Snal (Simple, Non-graphical, and Live) 0.6.2

Snal 0.6.1

Snal 0.6.0

Snal 0.5.1

Snal 0.5.0

Snal 0.4.5

Snal 0.4.4

Snal 0.4.3

Snal 0.4.2

Snal 0.4.1

Snal 0.4.0

Snal 0.3.0

Snal 0.1.0