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Current HOWTO: 4mb Laptop HOWTO

4mb Laptop HOWTO: Appendix A: Next Previous Contents

7. Appendix A:

This appendix lists which packages (if any) from each category might be included in the installation and gives my reasons for including or omitting them. I made no attempt to install X so those categories are ignored.

Although this appendix refers specifically to the Slackware distribution it can be used as a guide with any of the major distributions.

7.1 A - Base Linux System

Most of the packages in this category are essential, even those that aren't listed as required by the Slackware set-up program. Because of this, I've listed those packages that I felt could reasonably be left out rather than all the non-compulsory packages that I installed.

Packages considered for omission:

kernels (ide, scsi etc.)

There's no need to install any of these, you get a chance to select a kernel at the very end of the installation process.


This is only needed if you intend to run executables compiled in the old a.out format. Omitting it saves a lot of space. Omitted.


Bash2 (simply called bash in the Slackware package list) is required for the Slackware configuration scripts but there are a lot of scripts that need bash1. I included it.


agetty is Slackware's default getty, this package contains getty and uugetty as alternatives. Only include it if you need their extra functionality. Omitted.


Personally, I find this very useful at the console (and the Aero's trackball is very handy) but it's not essential. Included.


Not needed. Omitted.


No use here. Omitted.


Not needed with the setup described here - unless your old laptop has some peculiarity that requires a DOS driver to initialise some of its devices. Omitted.


You could argue that you can do your printing from whichever desktop is nearest but I always find it useful to be have printing capabilities on a laptop. Included.


Not a compulsory include but I want the laptop to do dial-up connection. Very handy. Included.


Not needed on these old laptops. Omitted.


Not vital but it can be used to set limits that stop you from overflowing the limited space available in these laptops. Included.


I recommend using ash as your login shell. Only include this if you need it for scripts. Omitted.


You can leave this out and still be able to access UMSDOS floppies. Omitted.


No use on these laptops. Omitted.


This can interfere with apmd but it does provide essential information. Included.

Packages installed:

aaa_base, bash, bash1, bin, bzip2, cpio, cxxlibs, devs, e2fsprog, elflibs, elvis, etc, fileutils, find, floppy, fsmods, glibcso, gpm, grep, gzip, hdsetup, infozip, kbd, ldso, less, lilo, man, modules, modutils, pcmcia, sh_utils, shadow, sudo, sysklogd, sysvinit, tar, txtutils, util, zoneinfo

Combined size: 33.4

7.2 AP - Non-X Applications

None of these packages are, strictly speaking, essential - although ash is really required for sensible operation in 4mb. Leaving them all out could save the vital space for you to squeeze in your favourite app. I selected a minimal set of tools that I don't like to do without.

Packages considered for inclusion:


Not much point having printing if you can only print text files. Included.


This is the shell for low-memory machines, only taking up 60k. Use it as the default login shell unless you like waiting 10 seconds for the command prompt to reappear each time. Included.

editors (jed, joe jove vim)

elvis is the default Slackware editor and a required part of the installation. If, like me, you are a vi fan then that's all you need: installing vim would be wasteful duplication given the space restrictions. If you can't stand vi and need a more DOS-style editor then joe is small. Emacs fans with some self-discipline might consider jed or jove rather than pigging out on the full-size beast. Omitted.


If you already have apsfilter you don't really need this. Omitted.


Including the fonts this comes to about 7.5mb. One to leave until after the core installation, then consider if you need it. Omitted.


Needed for the man pages. Included.


Not an essential butvery useful to the overenthusiastic touch-typist. included.




Slackware offers a lightweight compilation of mc but I'm happier at the command prompt. Omitted.


Not necessary on what is not a multi-user machine but you may,like me, find it handy to stop you from forgetfully wasting the little space you have. Included.


Don't bother. If you do have an rpm that you would like to squeeze in, use rpm2tgz on a desktop machine to turn it into a tgz package - then you can use the standard Slackware installation tools. Omitted.


A useful little spreadsheet packed very small. Included.


Not essential but I find it useful here: it's a cramped environment and an awkward reinstall if you mess things up - sudo helps create user profiles with the power to do the things you need without carelessly wiping your disk. Included.


Info documentation. Included.


Leave this out unless you're addicted to it or have scripts that must use it. Omitted.

Packages installed:

apsfilter,ash, diff, groff, ispell, manpages, quota, sc, sudo, texinfo

Combined size: 8.1 mb

7.3 D - Development Tools

You could fit C or C++ into this space but the glibc library package is too big, so some pruning would be needed. Do the main installation first and then try it.

There is room for Perl and Python.

Packages installed:


7.4 E - Emacs

I don't use Emacs and so saved myself some space. On the other hand, if you are an Emacs fan then you probably use it for e-mail, news and coding so you'll claim some of that space back by omitting other packages.

If you do want Emacs it might be an idea to leave this out while doing the core installation. Once the laptop is up you can try fitting in what you want/need at your leisure.

Packages installed:


7.5 F - FAQs and HOWTOs

If you know it all you don't need these. I installed the lot.

Packages installed:

howto, manyfaqs, mini

Combined size: 12.4 mb

7.6 K - Kernel Source

You can just squeeze it in. If all you want to do is read the source, go ahead.

Packages Installed:


7.7 N - Networking Tools and Apps

These packages were selected to provide core networking tools, dial-up capability, e-mail, web and news.

Packages installed:

dip, elm, fetchmail, mailx, lynx, netmods, netpipes, ppp, procmail, trn, tcpip1, tcpip2, uucp, wget

Combined size: 15.1 mb

7.8 Tetex

Another set that will barely squeeze in. I can't say how it would run in the space available.

Packages installed:


7.9 Y - BSD Games Collection

I'm addicted to several of these. If I really need that last 5mb they can go.

Packages installed:


Combined size: 5.4 mb

7.10 End result

In total the installed packages plus kernel took up about 75mb of disk space of which 19.5mb was in the root partition and 55.5 in /usr. On the Aero that left 39mb in /usr, 74mb on the T1910.

Next Previous Contents

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