Tiny Core Linux


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by chulek » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:02 pm
I was wondering if you ever considered using Tiny Core Linux for the Raspberry Pi, it seems like an ideal fit: it uses Tiny X instead of the full X.Org Server, Busybox, FLTK instead of GTK+, it weights only 10Mb and runs from RAM, and yet you can still use full-fledged applications such as Firefox, Pidgin, etc.

BTW, congratulations for this project, I will buy one for sure. Best regards from Argentina!
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by tnelsond » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:23 pm
I love tiny core, but as far as I know they don't even have an ARM port.
And can you get GPU acceleration using Tiny X?
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by Chris » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:25 pm
TinyCore from what I remember was designed for PC's of the 90's to give them new life.I doubt they have ARM in mind for a port.
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by Svartalf » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:46 pm
Quote from Chris on September 2, 2011, 19:25
TinyCore from what I remember was designed for PC's of the 90's to give them new life.I doubt they have ARM in mind for a port.


Probably not. But, having said that, I can't envision any of the choices that went into TinyCore wouldn't just simply go over to the ARM. You've just got to build the image from sources and compile for ARM instead of X86 for most things.
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by Chris » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:26 pm
Just tried TCL in a virtual machine, I can honestly say I HATE it. From a usability point its poor, but I guess for an Embedded purpose such as NAS it may be ok.
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by DanielSilva » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:11 pm
Tinyx as been out of dev for some time ( -> kdrive ) and the source is now integrated into xorg itself, just search around for xfbdev. It's been already ported to arm arch's.
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by iAreNewb » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:36 am
Quote from Chris on September 2, 2011, 23:26
Just tried TCL in a virtual machine, I can honestly say I HATE it. From a usability point its poor, but I guess for an Embedded purpose such as NAS it may be ok.


You, sir, fail. If you hate TCL already, and you already have experience with Linux, then you're either doing something wrong or have terrible sense of taste. TCL is a programming wet dream, and if they had a larger dev team, they'd be able to do amazing things. The thing runs faster than anything else I've tried yet, and from a usability standpoint, it's fricking beautiful.

How to use:
1) You download programs from a repository.
2) They install without a stupid wizard or extraneous configuration.
3) You click a button on the widget bar, the program opens.

If it ever gets easier than that for any OS you've ever tried, please do tell. The only thing comparable is an Android phone's app store, perhaps, and Android has a gigantic team and community behind it, whereas the active TCL community numbers under 100 and the dev team under 10 people.

.
.
Aside from my rant on ignorant users, TCL was not compiled for ARM, though it is open source and includes a number of relatively popular open source libs/programs. If a persistent user so chose, one could probably port it to ARM without too much difficulty, though it'd definitely eat up time.

I, for one, would not actually choose to use TCL on an R-Pi, due to memory limitations on the R-Pi. Due to the usage of a ramfs, programs like Firefox, Chrome, GIMP, and OpenOffice would use up RAM for both storage and running memory. R-Pi's 256 MB is sufficient for most developer's simple needs (an IDE and whatever program you're coding), but it is definitely not enough for any big projects or an average workspace.

While it is possible to get the entire FS on the SD card for TCL, it defies the purpose of most of its utility and is probably difficult, so I would hold up until a nice R-Pi Model C comes out with 512MB-1GB of RAM.
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by Chris » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:46 am
On the resource side it is good, but I spend 30 mins playing with it and found no way to access a file manager. I tried installing several programs which either just hung or the process "went away".

Its not a good enviroment to use if you spend most of your time frustrated with the UI. Maybe if it had LXDE ontop it may be more friendly, but I was seriously tempted to kill the X server and see if terminal was more friendly.
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by iAreNewb » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:09 am
Quote from Chris on September 3, 2011, 10:46
On the resource side it is good, but I spend 30 mins playing with it and found no way to access a file manager. I tried installing several programs which either just hung or the process "went away".

Its not a good enviroment to use if you spend most of your time frustrated with the UI. Maybe if it had LXDE ontop it may be more friendly, but I was seriously tempted to kill the X server and see if terminal was more friendly.


If you spent 30 minutes attempting to get a file manager...

http://knowyourmeme.com/i/7917/original/u-r-wrong.jpg

You open the apps browser and grab DirWin or Fluff. There is a search bar at the top for which both of these are available. It should take less than a minute to download, install, and open, even on an ancient PC and 56K internet (from personal experience).

I specifically suggest DirWin/Fluff due to both being very lightweight, implemented using FLTK, and having been endorsed by the official TC team in the past.

I'd also like to point out that you should be using the official current stable version of TC, which is, I believe, 3.8.4, in case you are not doing so. (I say this because 4.0 Alpha releases are coming out, and using the Alpha releases might lead to a number of hanging issues)
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by DanielSilva » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:30 pm

If you spent 30 minutes attempting to get a file manager...


Sorry but on my usability classes we were always told "if one person doesn't almost immediately know how your product works, you didn't do it right".

Interestingly enough in college there was a project in which we had to decide what live distro to use, tinycore was one of them but was almost immediately discarded because when given to a class more than half of them complained that they didn't know how to use it and quickly changed to another distro.

Familiarity is everything and if you don't want to use a familiar environment that 90% of common users are used to ( Windows and/or Mac OS ) you need to design things to be the most straightforward possible and obvious.

You just made my point ... your solution was to tell him to "You open the apps browser and grab DirWin or Fluff. There is a search bar at the top for which both of these are available" not only this isn't what 90% of people are used to do, you're making the presumption that he, or anyone else for that manner, knows that DirWin or Fluff are file managers, because their names are easily relate able to file managers right ?

Seriously your cup of tea might not be everyone else's and calling him a "ignorant" and using images like that to make your point "superior" just makes you look childish.
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by chulek » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:05 pm
Quote from DanielSilva on September 4, 2011, 15:30

If you spent 30 minutes attempting to get a file manager...


Sorry but on my usability classes we were always told "if one person doesn't almost immediately know how your product works, you didn't do it right".

Interestingly enough in college there was a project in which we had to decide what live distro to use, tinycore was one of them but was almost immediately discarded because when given to a class more than half of them complained that they didn't know how to use it and quickly changed to another distro.

Familiarity is everything and if you don't want to use a familiar environment that 90% of common users are used to ( Windows and/or Mac OS ) you need to design things to be the most straightforward possible and obvious.

You just made my point ... your solution was to tell him to "You open the apps browser and grab DirWin or Fluff. There is a search bar at the top for which both of these are available" not only this isn't what 90% of people are used to do, you're making the presumption that he, or anyone else for that manner, knows that DirWin or Fluff are file managers, because their names are easily relate able to file managers right ?

Seriously your cup of tea might not be everyone else's and calling him a "ignorant" and using images like that to make your point "superior" just makes you look childish.


I´m sorry, but i have to disagree with you. I don´t like the operating system or other software to treat me as if i were stupid, hiding functionality from me and deciding how things should work. I like to tinker, to find out how stuff works, to learn...Linus Torvalds has better words of what i think:

http://mail.gnome.org/archives.....00021.html
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by obarthelemy » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:51 pm
Sure. Do you also sew your own clothes, fix your own car, do your own wiring, cooking, plumbing ? 'coz you know, The Gap is hiding a bunch of stuff you can do with fabric from you ....
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by chulek » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:22 pm
Quote from obarthelemy on September 4, 2011, 20:51
Sure. Do you also sew your own clothes, fix your own car, do your own wiring, cooking, plumbing ? 'coz you know, The Gap is hiding a bunch of stuff you can do with fabric from you ....


Your argument makes no sense. I never said people should write their own operating systems or their own software, i´m just saying developers shouldn't underestimate users, hide functionality, hinder our learning process. Thats the main reason why i switched to Linux: i get to decide how my computer behaves.

BTW, i don´t sew my own clothes, but i cook my food, i do the plumbering, and if i owned my own car, i would certainly learn and try to fix it, just because i can.
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by Michael » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:24 pm
This is a general warning, not aimed at any one person. The Raspberry Pi forum and its contributors are friendly, well mannered and respectful. Let's keep it that way please.
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by obarthelemy » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:51 pm
@chulek: yours are actually also the main reasons why most users haven't switched to Linux, and Linux on the desktop has never actually happened. Same as I can't be bothered to sew my own clothes, I don't want to have to hunt around for a basic file manager. Even in the context of teaching programming to kids, getting to the "having fun learning to program" part should be near-instantaneous and effortless. Having the possibility to tinker later on is fine, especially if it is easy, reliable, self-explanatory, and well documented; being forced to machete your way through an OS that is none of those to actually get to do what you want, is not. Unless your target audience is the subset of computer nerds that are OS nerds. Those actually might like the challenge, but that's a very small audience.
If you had to learn to fix a car to be able to drive it, a lot fewer people would be driving.
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by chulek » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:34 pm
You have a point, and i think you are right. Maybe i´m very nerd!
Perhaps Tiny Core is not the best choice for the Raspi. The important thing is that even if it´s not, we all can use what we like in any platform we choose. And that´s one of the great advantages of Linux and FOSS.
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by iAreNewb » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:02 am
Quote from DanielSilva on September 4, 2011, 15:30
Sorry but on my usability classes we were always told "if one person doesn't almost immediately know how your product works, you didn't do it right".

Interestingly enough in college there was a project in which we had to decide what live distro to use, tinycore was one of them but was almost immediately discarded because when given to a class more than half of them complained that they didn't know how to use it and quickly changed to another distro.

Familiarity is everything and if you don't want to use a familiar environment that 90% of common users are used to ( Windows and/or Mac OS ) you need to design things to be the most straightforward possible and obvious.

You just made my point ... your solution was to tell him to "You open the apps browser and grab DirWin or Fluff. There is a search bar at the top for which both of these are available" not only this isn't what 90% of people are used to do, you're making the presumption that he, or anyone else for that manner, knows that DirWin or Fluff are file managers, because their names are easily relate able to file managers right ?

Seriously your cup of tea might not be everyone else's and calling him a "ignorant" and using images like that to make your point "superior" just makes you look childish.


I am, in fact, quite childish, and I reserve the right to be so. However, if he spent 30 minutes getting a file manager, he was indeed doing something wrong.

Neither DirWin nor Fluff require you to search by their exact names, simply "fm", "file man", or "file manager" should do. Maybe try "file browser"? I'm assuming, since he had TC running in a VM, he could've opened up an internet browser and simply Google'd "tiny core file manager", or used the TC forums and searched. All of this could be done in under 5 minutes. It does not take extraordinary prior knowledge, only some basic and relatively common skills.

Moreover, there are multiple alternative file managers of different origins available as TC extensions as well, and I know for a fact that at least 3 of them are up and working. You assume that just because I personally recommend DirWin and Fluff (which are somewhat obscure), that such alternatives do not exist. Anyone who searches will find DirWin, Fluff, and aforementioned alternatives.

I will admit that Tiny Core is not for average users, and is not a good introduction to Linux, but anybody who has had experience using the Internet should not have complained about actually spending an entire half an hour attempting to get a file manager working. As for calling him "ignorant", this is merely a product of my amazement that any user could take this long to install and use a file manager. Maybe it's a bit of an overreaction, but I won't take it back simply because the argument of "it's not easy/obvious enough" doesn't stand up to close scrutiny in this case. You really are lacking something if you find it so difficult to simply search for and install a specific extension of some kind.

(FYI, a Google search on my part reveals DirWin to be the 3rd search result for "tiny core file manager", though this might be biased due to Google's unwanted "personalized" results)

As for the debate over whether usability and convenience is more important that utility and customizability... I somehow fail to see how one can't achieve both (though it is, of course, not easy). However, in this context, I think it would be best to consider convenience first, and utility second, since anybody who is capable of being frustrated with convenience hiding customizability, should be able to grab their own OS and stick it on an extra SD card.
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by yoonsikp » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:56 am
Quote from iAreNewb on September 5, 2011, 04:02

I am, in fact, quite childish, and I reserve the right to be so. However, if he spent 30 minutes getting a file manager, he was indeed doing something wrong.

Neither DirWin nor Fluff require you to search by their exact names, simply "fm", "file man", or "file manager" should do. Maybe try "file browser"? I'm assuming, since he had TC running in a VM, he could've opened up an internet browser and simply Google'd "tiny core file manager", or used the TC forums and searched. All of this could be done in under 5 minutes. It does not take extraordinary prior knowledge, only some basic and relatively common skills.

Moreover, there are multiple alternative file managers of different origins available as TC extensions as well, and I know for a fact that at least 3 of them are up and working. You assume that just because I personally recommend DirWin and Fluff (which are somewhat obscure), that such alternatives do not exist. Anyone who searches will find DirWin, Fluff, and aforementioned alternatives.

I will admit that Tiny Core is not for average users, and is not a good introduction to Linux, but anybody who has had experience using the Internet should not have complained about actually spending an entire half an hour attempting to get a file manager working. As for calling him "ignorant", this is merely a product of my amazement that any user could take this long to install and use a file manager. Maybe it's a bit of an overreaction, but I won't take it back simply because the argument of "it's not easy/obvious enough" doesn't stand up to close scrutiny in this case. You really are lacking something if you find it so difficult to simply search for and install a specific extension of some kind.

(FYI, a Google search on my part reveals DirWin to be the 3rd search result for "tiny core file manager", though this might be biased due to Google's unwanted "personalized" results)



I still have to add that almost everybody doesn't want to bother downloading a file manager. After all, shouldn't that be a standard in an OS? In usability, say for example, a raspi at a school, a child would find it much harder having to copy over a web browser using terminal commands, instead of a nifty File manager :P . Thats why I would vote no for using Tiny Core Linux as a default OS for raspis. Although, you're very right in the fact that TC is not for average users, the thing is that the raspi was designed and engineered for average people, and using TC as the default OS would defeat the purpose.
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by Svartalf » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:02 pm
Quote from obarthelemy on September 4, 2011, 20:51
Sure. Do you also sew your own clothes, fix your own car, do your own wiring, cooking, plumbing ? 'coz you know, The Gap is hiding a bunch of stuff you can do with fabric from you ....


Sew? No. (I can, but I typically don't because the results aren't pretty... ;) )
Fix my car? YES.
Do my own wiring? YES.
Do my own cooking? YES.
Do my own plumbing? YES.

Those that can't manage these sorts of things at least in a mediocre manner will find themselves hard pressed to survive if things go too far wrong in society or if they're dropped out in the middle of nowhere in a plane crash, etc. Seriously.
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by liz » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:25 pm
A project for next year that I have in mind for when Raspberry Pi work quietens down a bit is the purchase, disassembly and reassembly of an internal combustion engine. (Probably a Honda generator.) The reasoning behind this is a bit like Svartalf's, but rather more on the crazed paranoid end of things - I have a niggling worry that I may one day be sent back in time, and it would be just embarrassing not to be able to jump-start an industrial revolution.

(I can do all the above things apart from fixing the car; I can't drive.)

I'm reminded of Robert Heinlein's list for well-rounded humans: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

I'm not there yet on all of those.
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by Svartalf » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:34 pm
Quote from liz on September 5, 2011, 15:25
A project for next year that I have in mind for when Raspberry Pi work quietens down a bit is the purchase, disassembly and reassembly of an internal combustion engine. (Probably a Honda generator.) The reasoning behind this is a bit like Svartalf's, but rather more on the crazed paranoid end of things - I have a niggling worry that I may one day be sent back in time, and it would be just embarrassing not to be able to jump-start an industrial revolution.


Heh... I hesitate to say that I would be so unlucky as to be placed in that role, but it'd be embarassing beyond words to find oneself there and be in DaVinci's role and not be able to fill the part if you were in that place. :D


(I can do all the above things apart from fixing the car; I can't drive.)


Driving's easy, especially if you've got an Automatic- it's driving WELL that can be the tough story for people. (And I've seen many that I question HOW they got their license based on how they did on this score... ;))


I'm reminded of Robert Heinlein's list for well-rounded humans: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.


I'd say those are all aspirations we should reach for being able to do, even if we're never called on an invasion or dying gallantly. I'm a bit short on at least part of that list, but it's not for lack of trying on my part. :D
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by Svartalf » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:37 pm
Now, as to the discussion topic, now that we've thoroughly hijacked the thread...

I think TinyCore should be reached for- but it shouldn't be a default for the R-Pi, mainly for the same reasoning that you don't drop someone new to trying to learn how to drive into a Diablo or Testarosa. And as a visual, trying to get someone to start Computer Science and similar with TC Linux has the same level of stress and connotations as that.
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by iAreNewb » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:44 pm
Quote from yoonsikp on September 5, 2011, 07:56
I still have to add that almost everybody doesn't want to bother downloading a file manager. After all, shouldn't that be a standard in an OS? In usability, say for example, a raspi at a school, a child would find it much harder having to copy over a web browser using terminal commands, instead of a nifty File manager :P . Thats why I would vote no for using Tiny Core Linux as a default OS for raspis. Although, you're very right in the fact that TC is not for average users, the thing is that the raspi was designed and engineered for average people, and using TC as the default OS would defeat the purpose.


Well, I never said that TC was a good choice for a default OS; in fact, I expressly advised *against* choosing TC as the default (and, remember, TC hasn't even been compiled for ARM).

That being said, the point of my earlier post was to state that it was not as difficult to use TC as some people were claiming, in other words point out that it was the fault of the user, not the OS, that caused inconvenience. That's not to say TC doesn't have issues (usability among them), but spending 30 minutes to install a file manager and blaming it on the relatively simple, convenient UI is hardly reasonable.
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by choppergirl » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:31 pm
How about QNX then?
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by jamesh » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:40 pm
Quote from liz on September 5, 2011, 15:25
A project for next year that I have in mind for when Raspberry Pi work quietens down a bit is the purchase, disassembly and reassembly of an internal combustion engine. (Probably a Honda generator.) The reasoning behind this is a bit like Svartalf's, but rather more on the crazed paranoid end of things - I have a niggling worry that I may one day be sent back in time, and it would be just embarrassing not to be able to jump-start an industrial revolution.


Just saw this - give me a shout when you want to do the engine - I have quite a few Honda generator engines in the garage (ex. Kart engines) which you are more than welcome to have a bash at.

I moved on to larger ones (see avatar!)
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