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Joined: Oct 06 2017
Posts: 179

Since it's the third time someone asked me for a small Debian based OS to put on a usb disk, I decided to give it a go. In short, there isn't a small Debian based mainstream OS to put on a small flashdrive. Well, there are, but you will not have much space left on the device if you're going for mainstream shit. I'm thinking gnome,xfce4,mate, cinnamon etc.. You might be ok if the drive is like 64 Gigs, but let's imagine you only have a 32 Gig one.Imho, the best way to go is going for a Debian netinstall. Stock Debian,no crap whatsoever. Once the core is installed it's up to the user what he will install as the gui to be used. The smallest ones would be tiling managers of course, but far from many want that. Most people would opt for a more traditional interface. It's obvious it's totally redundant to install one of the usual DE's on that so one might one check light DE's such as icewm, jwm etc.. Me personally, I'm an openbox guy for the simple reason that's it's leight, fast and amongst THE most, if not THE most customizable one. So, here's an example. To begin with, it's a Debian stable netinstall. Here's what I put on top of it. Lightdm, openbox, obconf, obmenu, obkey, tint2, volumeicon, spacefm, lxterminal, Iron browser, Palemoon, geany, abiword, gnumeric, galculator, xdotool, mtpaint, feh, htop,conky, gnome-writer, catfish, orage, gcolor2,audacious, mpv,gnome-alsamixer,speedtest, gparted, synaptic and some which I forgot (won't be much though). It's highly script driven and two things are not installed. Being gimp and libreoffice (which I never use). So, all this results in a whopping 2,92 Gigs on a 27 Gig partition. And on this rig it boots around 78 Mibs. So, let's say you add gimp to it, I'm guessing something like 3 Gigs. It must be said this is a desktop. So a wireless setup might add an additional 150 Mibs. Like I said, you could get smaller,but not much.

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Joined: Oct 06 2017
Posts: 179

Forgot wajig, deborphan and gdebi.

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Joined: Oct 06 2017
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....and gdmap and mirage. Tsss

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Joined: Nov 08 2017
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How much bigger would it be with Libre Office, and why don't you use that?
The reason I ask is that the last time I looked at abiword, it seemed flaky as all get out. Tried it for about a quarter of an hour, and gave up in disgust.

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Joined: Jan 06 2018
Posts: 1718

I prefer eom to mirage and ANY system I run will have Terminator.

LXDE, might be a good balance for some folks too. Still pretty light because it's really just Openbox yet not too scary from editing text files to customize.

I tried the netinstall thing last month. Couldn't keep the network up. I'm now reasonably certain it was kernel related somehow.

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Joined: Oct 06 2017
Posts: 179

Mick. Because I simply don't use it. Hardly use abiword nore gnumeric. I'm at home, not at an officedesk. It was merely an example. By all means, putlibreoffice on it. Load? My guess is like a shitload. It's one of the biggest packages around.
Warface. You too, run whatever you like. This topic's about small. Eye of mate drags in more deps than mirage and is just slower. So does terminator.I used it. It's just a slow blown up gnome-terminal. Lxde is not light. It's lighter than most DE's but still a shitload heavier than OB. And, in the near future LXDE will be a goner in favor of LXQT. Many folks will struggle. Still, one could do a netinstall, put LXDE on it, setup the OB session in the meantime an once it's done simply ditch LXDE.
And as for that network thing? Kernel related..my ass. No offence.
Again, I'm sure tons of people would prefer tons of other applications. Couldn't care a r.. ..s. The topic was SMALL YET FULL.

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Joined: Nov 08 2017
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Cromag wrote:

Mick. Because I simply don't use it. Hardly use abiword nore gnumeric. I'm at home, not at an officedesk. It was merely an example. By all means, putlibreoffice on it. Load? My guess is like a shitload. It's one of the biggest packages around.

Ok, thanks. I'm not about to try this out. I was just curious.
I use Libre Office fairly regularly, mostly data sheets for lists of cables and stuff. As I said, I tried out abiword a couple of times, and gnumeric too, I think. Was enough to keep using LIbre Office. 😉

If you don't need it that often, I can see why you don't want it on there. Going by the time it takes to start up, it must be big. 😄

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And as for that network thing? Kernel related..my ass. No offence.

It's the only major difference I can see between Mint LMDE and the other Debian based distros I tried. LMDE is on kernel 3 and the others are on 4. It's moot though as once I'm out of this dump, away from this fucked up network, and on my own REAL hardware... few weeks.

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Joined: Oct 04 2017
Posts: 361

Where are you getting obkey in the debian repos?

All debian my alias's that start with "ac" are apt-cache commands. acp is "apt-cache policy" which checks the entire package list for enabled repos as of the last time you ran and update command.

tom@openbox:~$ acp obkey
N: Unable to locate package obkey
tom@openbox:~$ ac search obkey

This is a Testing install running OB.

I also have a Sid install on this drive that is Xfce. It has the same packages installed and boots with about 10 MB of ram more than this OB install and takes up less drive space.

If you install the package
xfce4

from the debian repos without blocking recommends you will have a monster install full of crap most people will never even use.

Doing a netinstall, just as you describe, and just installing what is needed makes Xfce very much smaller. Problem is that too many people get to Xfce through Xubuntu which is an atrocious model for a Xfce install.

If you have x11-apps installed there is absolutely no need for gcalc or any other calculator application. 95% of them are simply forks of xcalc which is part of the x11-apps meta package. Can be found at
/usr/bin/xcalc

and can be launched with the complex command of
xcalc

I recommend looking at
$ apt-cache show x11-apps

which will give a list of what you get with it. There are a number of packages there that are very handy for a number of things and many that are the basis for DE specific applications like Mousepad in xfce.

Lxde is an all right DE. Way too bloated. Installed that for Debian ISO testing a couple "step" releases ago. So this only applies directly to the Debian deployment of Lxde.

The way workspaces is handled sucks. For that matter the entire Lxde panel sucks.

Don't really like the bugger although a lot of people certainly do like it. This is why there are so many different DE options available.

They have a really good menu which is something that Xfce doesn't have at all for instance. If I used a menu driven work flow rather than a panel driven one I would probably be more fond of Lxde than Xfce.

But the default install of Debian Lxde in testing using the default installation is actually larger than the Xfce default install which, as I said before, is way too big.

But if you change the default "DE" to boot to over to OB instead of Lxde and install tint2 it makes a pretty nice OS and you have the easy ability to launch the Lxde menu if you want it.

People with accessibility problems may like Lxde. Kind of like Xubuntu the Lxde meta package has a LOT of Gnome added on to it. Things like Orca.

That stuff takes up a lot of space though and is huge.

My pet Lizards are huge. They were netinstall to start with. I don't think they are bloated because everything on them is stuff I want and use. But they are big. Bigger than a Debian default install of KDE. Smaller however than a Debian default install of Lxde. By quite a bit. Would list it but those drives are not live right now so I can't access them from here. But it is close to a gig bigger than my "throw in the kitchen sink" Lizards (Stoned Lizard [testing] and Lounge Lizard [Sid]). Both of which have both Xfce AND OB installed.

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Joined: Oct 06 2017
Posts: 179

@Mick. The libreoffice package requires around 1.5 Gb freespace.
@Ranchhand. The obkey package isn't available in any repo. Hasn't been for years. I have absolutely no idea why. There's no risk with it as such, it's just a gui frontend for the keybindingsetting in the rc.xml. You can find a deb package on ze web though.
Why I prefer OB over xfce is the simple fact it's much more easy to configure. If you want something comparible in xfce, you're in for quite a bit of heavy packages or you spend your time editing shitloads of config files. The topic is about a usuable gui style leightweight. Sure, you can get rid of a loginmanager, use a terminal based filemanager, audioplayer, use x11 tools, use xrandr and lord knows what more. But that's besides the point.