Tinycore extension guide


Tinycore is a nimble 10mb linux distro that I reviewed a little while back. I have been using it on my EEE PC 900 for about 3 months. Over the course that course of time, I’ve learned a thing or two about TC’s extensions, and which are best suited to such a light weight, small distro

Three things I look for:

    1. Few dependencies – installing many apps, with many different dependencies will soon fatten up your system, try to use apps with few, or in some cases, no deps!

    2. Extension size – Pretty obvious, but any extention you install will add to the size of the route file system, and also occupy RAM (even if the app is not running). Therefore, sticking to smaller extensions makes good sense.

    3. Suitablity of ‘On Demand’ feature – When TC boots, it mounts every single extention you have in your ‘tce’ folder (type ‘fdisk -l’ in a console, and you’ll see what I mean. If you install an extension using ‘On Demand’ it will be downloaded from the repo, to your computer, but not mounted – it will only be mounted when you want to use it. Makes a lot of sense for exensions that you know you probably wont use very often (especially if they are large in size!).

So, considering the above I have made a list of worthy extensions. All available from the Appbrowser.

Essentials

OSS for sound, wirelesstools and wpasupplicant for WLAN, 915resolution for widescreen displays, zip/unzip, rar, curl, etc.

File manager – two serious contenders here.

Midnight Commander (mc.tcz) is an extremely light weight FM that runs from the console. 606kb in size, and just 2 deps. Makes light work of navigating files using the keyboard, but also has mouse support. On top of that has a built in text editor for editing scripts and config files. If you are comfortable in the console, this is the way to go.

Browser – again, two apps that i would consider

Dillo (dillo2.tcz) compliments TC in every way. small, lightening fast, offers good functionality, but doesnt support everything. The extension itself is just 1.6mb and has no dependencies!

Opera 9.64 (opera.tcz) Fastest of the full-featured browsers. You’ll be hard pressed to find a website that opera cant handle. The extension clocks in at 8mb with no deps. Opera also supports ‘minimal mode’ to save RAM, which strips out IRC, RSS and email functionality. Opera 10.10 is also available,but is significantly larger, at 11.6mb.

Video/music player

Mplayer-nodeps (Mplayer-nodeps.tcz) There are a few different Mplayer extensions in the repo. My reccomendation is Mplayer-nodeps. This is the command line version, lacking any GUI, as this will save you some space. Mplayer performs very well under TC, and as long as you brush up on the commands for mplayer, you’ll be fine. Nodeps version clocks in at 4.3mb, and of course there are no dependencies! Other versions require a graphical tool kit (GTK1 or GTK2). There is also a version for xorg users.

VLC (vlc.tcz) everyone loves VLC, and of course its availible here. Clocks in at a hefty 11.6mb, but will play practically any file. xorg reccomended by extension creator (eeek!). Depends on QT, amoung others.

System monitor

Conky (conky.tcz) Lightweight system monitor, displaying performace stats on the desktop. Just 116kb 2 deps its delightfully lightweight. A must have on any linux system!

Text editor

Beaver (beaver.tcz) Beaver is a handy text editor that I use everyday. Although not the most featurefull, supports some syntax highlighting, line numbering and auto indent. Only 135kb in size, but does depend on GTK1.

Office tools

Abiword/gnumeric (abiword.tcz, gnumeric.tcz) Two good apps for your office needs. allthough not as full-featured as openoffice, these clock in at a fraction of the size.

So, there it is, a small selection of usefull extentions that wont bog down your system!

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4 comments
  1. chattrhand said:

    hi,
    I am using tinycore for 3 months, actually v 3.4.1. I’d like to have a list of the tinycore extensions with a short descriptions of what they do.
    Your site is a hopeful beginning.
    thanks
    chattrhand

  2. Mike said:

    You mentioned two serious contenders for file management… MC and … ? What is the other? Is there a good GUI file/disk manager for TinyCore?

    • nogui said:

      Hi there, thanks for pointing out the omission, I believe the other recommendation would have to be PCManFM – Which is lightweight, but capable GUI file manager

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