Sunday, April 14, 2024

Damn Small Linux 2024 returns to breathe new life into old computers — a feat Microsoft’s bloated Windows 11 can’t achieve

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Damn Small Linux (DSL), a name that should resonate with many veteran tech enthusiasts, has made a triumphant return after a 12-year absence (albeit as a pre-release Alpha) in 2024 with a fresh iteration designed for low-spec 32-bit x86 computers. DSL 2024 is a compact Linux-based operating system that packs a punch with a bunch of useful applications, all while maintaining a small footprint.

The new DSL 2024 is not just about nostalgia; it’s a practical solution for older computers, keeping them functional and out of landfills. The distribution is tailored to fit on a single CD, with a hard limit of 700MB, a significant jump from its 50MB predecessor but still a marvel in today’s gigabyte-centric world. This constraint has led to a meticulous selection of applications that are functional, lightweight, and have low dependencies.

Among the key features of DSL 2024 are its two window managers, Fluxbox and JWM, both known for their lightweight nature and ease of use. When it comes to web browsing, users have the choice of BadWolf, Dillo, and Links2, each catering to different needs from security-oriented browsing to super-light GUI experiences.

Office and multimedia needs are well-covered with applications like AbiWord, Gnumeric, Sylpheed, MPV, and XMMS. Additionally, DSL 2024 is equipped with a range of other useful tools such as mtPaint for graphics editing, gFTP for file transfer, and zzzFM for file management, lifted straight from antiX.

The distribution shines in its term-based applications, offering a robust selection for those who prefer the command line. Highlights include the Ranger file manager, VisiData for spreadsheet management, FZF fuzzy finder, Tmux terminal multiplexer, and a variety of term-based games and web browsers.

The motivation behind the new DSL is not just to relive the glory days but to adapt to the changing landscape of the computer industry. With the majority of distributions abandoning the sub-700MB size limit, DSL 2024 aims to fill the gap for those seeking a full desktop environment in a compact size. This project is a testament to the spirit of the original DSL, now based on antiX 23 i386, and stands on the shoulders of giants like MEPIS and Debian.

To achieve its size goals, DSL 2024 has made some tough choices, such as limiting locales and stripping source codes, man pages, and documentation. However, it retains the full functionality of apt for easy installation of additional software.

Damn Small Linux 2024 is a humble project with a noble goal: to extend the life of older hardware while providing a functional and enjoyable user experience. Microsoft’s bloated Windows 11 simply cannot do what this svelte operating system can. Whether you’re a long-time fan of DSL or new to the world of lightweight distributions, DSL 2024 is worth exploring for its unique blend of nostalgia, practicality, and innovation.

You can download an ISO here.

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