back to article Ridiculously small Linux build lands with ridiculously few swears

The latest Linux 4.10-rc2 build nearly didn't happen because L-triptophaniac developers were Christmassing, but Linus Torvalds decided to set it free as a New Year treat. Explaining the build, Torvalds wrote that “rc2 is ridiculously and unrealistically small. I almost decided to skip rc2 entirely, but a small little …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which graphics?

    "...plenty of time for the devs to catch up with the graphics..."

    Or which part of graphics? Nvidia's closed drivers run pretty well and they are fairly kept. Or do you mean.... "AI Graphics"...ooooohhhhhhhh...gotcha! A real life Lawnmower Man (or Lawnmower Penguin)!


    In case you need this...

    1. Zola

      Re: Which graphics?

      The latest 375.26/340.101 nvidia drivers don't yet build with the 4.10 kernel, and need patching (as usual). Funny how the video drivers from the other vendors (AMD/Intel) avoid the pitfalls that befall nvidia with every major new kernel. It's usually the same memory management API changes every time, too. Although this time the changed HOTPLUG_CPU support clobbers them as well.

    2. Hans 1

      Re: Which graphics?

      >Nvidia's closed drivers run pretty well [...]

      The whole point of running Linux is to avoid closed software or, iow, having software on your box that you cannot trust because you do not know what it is doing.

      I understand the high-end nvidia graphics cards require proprietary nvidia drivers ... but I think freet@rds are working on that.

      So, nvidia:

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Which graphics?

        If you were *really* concerned about running free software, you'd be running OpenBSD but for many people it will unrealistically limit what they can do (especially on a desktop).

        You have a choice with Nvidia drivers on Linux - you can have one that's Free, or you can have one that actually works, and works at a reasonable speed..

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Can Linus come and manage my project? I'll put up with the tourettes.

    PM's moved the delivery date for the project a week forwards to the end of this week. Naturally, the amount of work to do has also been increased. As he's always connected 24/7 and makes a point of it he seems to be completely unaware that people were on Christmas holidays.

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    tripto what I think...

    So I google.... And the only references to this spelling are in this article, and it's clones...

    Google suggests an alternative spelling which is much more likely - referencing turkey comas and gluttons eating way beyond then point where their gluttony was satisfied...

    So who made the original typo, and who did all the copy-paste?

    1. AlgernonFlowers4
    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: tripto what I think...

      It's turkeys all the way down!

    3. bigphil9009

      Re: tripto what I think...

      A bit of googling, and a memory echo back to biology classes reveals that the amino acid L-Tryptophan is used in the biosynthesis of protein, and as we all know, turkey, pigs-in-blankets and whisky* all have a lot of protein in them!

      *yeah, well, you know? It was Christmas after all!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    His name is Linus Torvalds, he made "Linus' UNIX" or, Linux.

    Also the 'L-' in L-tryptophan is almost never used, 99.9% of everyone wouldn't get that reference!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. naive

    Finally something small about Linux

    The assignment to build some security appliances for a customer, for which i choose a BSD unix as platform, reminded me how far Linux has moved from Unix. Compared to Unix, Linux became obese like an American eating McDonalds every day, unwieldy to manage for those used to the unforgiving but honest Unix way of getting things done.

    Even a freshly installed Linux without any apps is riddled with processes and open sockets, compared to any basic BSD, Linux has the attack surface of an elephant.

    Linux should perhaps be put on a weight watchers diet, to get rid of all this cruft making Linux fat, specially systemctl which is a heresy.

    Which would be good, since the fixed sized /boot partition on the Linux systems in our server park are getting fuller and fuller with every update, cleaning up old kernels only bought us time for the inevitable.

    1. cream wobbly

      Re: Finally something small about Linux

      "Linux should perhaps be put on a weight watchers diet, to get rid of all this cruft making Linux fat, specially systemctl which is a heresy."

      Fortunately, there *is* something you can do about it: employ a professional sysadmin who knows how to build a Linux-based OS, instead. Particularly since you seem to be incapable of building your servers with a non-default /boot or setting your installonly_limit in yum.conf, jeez. (And if it's anything other than yum.conf, what the hell are you doing with putting that trash on a server?)

      1. naive

        Re: Finally something small about Linux

        It just comes with the default RedHat/Centos 7 installs. You are right that it is possible with Linux distros and installs to reduce its footprint, often tons of stuff gets installed as dependencies. It is easier to keep things standard so issues can easily be discovered and verified using google and sharing between a team of several people who have to support it.

        The little criticism on its current size, does not take away that Linux is a free gift from heaven.

        It is just a bit worrying to see it getting so bloated, since things which are not there, can not be hacked.

      2. Ogi

        Re: Finally something small about Linux

        > Fortunately, there *is* something you can do about it: employ a professional sysadmin who knows how to build a Linux-based OS,

        Bullshit. This isn't a "not good enough sysadmin" issue. In the real world, time is money, a good sysadmin's time is even more money. You don't want to have to do a default install, then spend ages ripping out what you didn't want in the first place in order to lock it down.

        The right answer is that the install just installs the bare minimum, then you can add/open/etc... to your hearts content. Far easier to add onto a clean slate, rather than work out what someone else added for you, then work out how to rip it out without breaking anything (and preventing future updates undoing your work).

        Not to mention, things like systemd you cannot just remove. Thank god we have Devuan out there as an alternative, but most companies will be loathe to change the entire OS and their library stack after investing lots of time/effort into redhat centric methodology.

        Linux's strengths were that it was:

        - lightweight

        I remember back when Linux users would brag that you could fit the OS on a single floppy, with lots of useful tools. There were even competition to see who could cram the most onto a 3.5inch floppy

        - immensely configurable

        you could rip almost everything out. In fact you used to be able to write the kernel to the boot sector and just boot that way, without anything else, not even a bootloader. There was a goal to write everything to "do one job, and do it well", allowing the end user to mix and match programs like lego blocks, making the system do things the original authors never envisaged.

        - Fast

        Its low memory footprint, coupled with a design targeting low end hardware with a goal to running well on it, meant that on powerful hardware it would absolutely fly. It also meant you could make use of hardware others had long since discarded as "too slow to run windows".

        - Open source

        If the above was not enough, you can hack on the code on an lower level to get it to do what you want. Bonus points is it will help you learn how to program (that is how I learned).

        Out of the four above, only the last one is still true, which is a damn shame. Sometimes you want to just organise things in a way that gets the results you want, not have to hack on the code (and then keep track of upstream changes) to get it to work. Also not everyone is good enough a coder to make the changes, while most competent computer users could string small programs together given an understanding on how they work.

        Also, while there is little need to fit on a floppy, a general goal towards keeping the bloat down and everything fast and lean seems to have been abandoned.

        Linux really lost the plot. The kernel alone is almost 5MB last I checked, and there is a push to a more windows-like mass integration of programs rather than the UNIX way. I suspect as Linux became mainstream and "the next big thing" a lot of ex-Windows dev's and admins jumped on the bandwagon, and started making things work more like what they are used to, which was the main reason Windows was such a steaming pile in the first place.

        The only saving grace of Linux, is that Windows has been getting progressively worse as well, so given the choice, I would still (and do) use Linux on the desktop. However I have started a slow move to BSD for servers. In my future I can imagine Linux will be for desktops (as long as things like Devuan are about), and BSD for servers.

        1. AceRimmer1980

          Re: Have your kernel and eat it

          I got a very early version of Linux, which did indeed fit onto one floppy (where are you now, Bryce?)

          and for the beardy-cardigans, it was brilliant, small and fast etc. But we are an endangered species, and to compete with desktop Windows, the trilobite gradually evolved into the Diplodocus that is Ubuntu and its siblings. I agree that some of the spirit has been lost, and I would prefer a distro that would start minimal, and you could add things as apt. And also have a button for 'install everything'

          How hard can it be? </Clarkson>

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Have your kernel and eat it

            You want Arch linux (contains systemd) or Slackware/Salix (Salix has dependency tracking built in).

            Alternatively there's *BSD of course. FreeBSD is most Linux like, but you can run Open/NetBSD as a desktop if you wish.

            Windows is a pretty decent desktop in all honesty, has excellent backwards compatibility, and works extremely well under virtualisation including with hardware passthrough.

        2. Michael Martin

          Re: Finally something small about Linux

          You could always try something besides a kitchen-sink distro...

          Let's face it, the reason that whatever it is you're installing is so bloated is because it tries to do everything under the sun instead of just what it needs to. If you want something that hews closely to the original ideals of Linux, you want something besides a default Redhat install, which tries to be EVERYTHING a business might need without having to install anything else. What it sounds like you actually want is a bare-minimum install with a good package manager, and you're not going to find that in Redhat.

          Back when I started my Linux journey, I installed Slackware because it would require me to learn how to actually use Linux to make the best use of it. From what I hear, it's still an excellent lightweight Linux install; maybe you should look into that.

    2. Alistair

      Re: Finally something small about Linux


      Default initial install in our environment has:




      (ungodly backup agent with 4!!!! sockets)

      (ungodly scheduling agent with 3!!! sockets)

      running - total 11 open sockets. And 4 of them are in LISTEN on only.

      and a total of 4.2Gb of consumed disk space.

      (who the sam phuket runs anything they *don't* actually need on *any* server. HPUx and AIx can be done much the same with some care)

    3. AZump

      Re: Finally something small about Linux

      Slackware does NOT have this bloat or unnecessary services issue. ...Even with an "install everything". Aside from the tiny Linux distros, Slackware has the smallest memory footprint when booted CLI or GUI. ...My personal server is a LAMP setup. It boots into 638MB RAM with no swap. And that's including a KDE session..

  6. Jon Massey

    Ridiculously Small Linux

    Here was me thinking that was an even smaller build of DSL

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