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Linux + X on one floppy

June 04, 2012 — BarryK
I recall back in 2003, there were a couple of Linux distributions that were compiled from source and ran on one or two floppies -- and they had X windows and a desktop.

This afternoon I tried to find them. Took a lot of searching, but I found one, known as '1diskXwin' or '2diskXwin':

Thinking hard about this, I seem to recall there was one that had gtk 1.2 and Netscape/Mozilla and it still fitted on 2 floppies ...or, maybe my memory is faulty.
Or, it may have been 1diskXwin, as that has build scripts to download and compile GTK 1.2 and Mozilla.

Xwoaf is another one. Puppy Forum member goingnuts is our specialist in small Linuxes, and has resurrected Xwoaf here (the original site is dead):
Here is a Xwoaf download site. Ah, xwoaf is based upon 1diskXwin and needs it's sources:
...but that is only 0.1.0, and I think the latest is 0.2.0.

As far as I can determine, there is no source, only binaries.

This is created by goingnuts. Does not fit on 2 floppies but still tiny:

Does anybody have Vmware installed? If so, I was wondering if you could do something for me. Get hold of this (27MB):
which is described here:

...and extract the files from the Vmware image, make it into a tarball.

The reason is, the other 1diskXwin source tarballs do not have the sources for some extra apps, such as 'mdesk' -- I would like to examine those sources and compile them.


Vmware image
Username: steev
Here are the files Barry Qemu comes with a useful tool for creating/converting different disk image formats: [code] qemu-img convert -O raw hda.img hda.raw [/code] Converts the vmware image into a raw dd image. Then you can just mount it [code] mount -o loop,offset=$((63*512)) hda.raw /mnt/tmp [/code]

Coyote Linux
Username: vtpup
"Don't know if it's of interest but I used to use Coyote Linux -- a one floppy Linux with my old DX486-66 desktop. It converts the computer into a router. No HD needed. Reboots automatically from the floppy after a power outtage. Has a web interface accessible from another computer, or command line from the router itself. I'm sure I still have a copy of it around somewhere, if you want one.

Username: mavrothal
"Although the last official release of the 1.6MB Kolibri is from 2009 (, it is actively developed ( and with a busy forum ( Though if your Russian is not good you are in trouble...

Re mdesk source
Username: BarryK
"steev, Thanks for that. I looked inside the tarball, and goingnuts, you are right, there is no source for mdesk.

Floppy Linux Distributions
Username: James Thompson
"A list of floppy based Linux Distributions:

re: mdesk source
Username: steev
"Sorry, didn't check if the source was there or not. Just tarred up the files and uploaded it.

Username: Sage
""[i]if your Russian is not good[/i]" Thanks for that update, mavie. Had a suspicion I read about its progress but couldn't remember reason for not following it up! Isn't there a guy on John's Forum that looks after Eng-Russ translation? Perhaps another project for him? Come in St Cyril...

re Kolibri
Username: L18L
"I am not St. Cyril but in the English section of their forum there is a thread about translations: Last unanswered post there is dated Mon Sep 12, 2011

xwoaf sources
Username: goingnuts
"Made a tarball of all the original xwoaf archives and files - a 17Mb download - that I have: The archive contains: [code] 14.619 Hacklin.htm 584.793 hacksrc02.tgz 9.904 HOWTO.xwoaf 3.061.988 lhafh-02.tgz 3.099.366 lhafh-03.tgz 910.549 lmw-0.24.tgz 16.385 README.htm 3.651 README.lhafh-02 4.052 README.lhafh-03 26.182 README.txt 11.681 README.xwoafk 3.648.347 woaf-0.2.0g-custom.tgz 2.105.179 woaf-0.2.0g-fb-elmo.tgz 2.086.818 woaf-0.2.0g-vesa-elmo.tgz 1.945.991 woaf-0.2.0g.kit.tgz [/code]

Kolibri update
Username: Sage
" Just checked that URL. Timeliness? Coincidence? Visitor tracking dated? Looks as if a version was uploaded today, about one hour ago? Download is almost instantaneous.

Re Xwoaf source
Username: BarryK
"goingnuts, Thanks, I have downloaded it.

Username: Sage
"Mindful of the aims of the RPi, shouldn't an OS written in assembler be the perfect match? Comments and observations from the cognoscenti, please. Notwithstanding, no chance of attaching a FDD. Probably an LS120 could be used with the VIA device?

1 Disk OS
Username: ockhams barber
"Hi Barry, May be of interest. Regards Ockham

Tags: general