about ttylinux and strategy

Pascal Schmidt created ttylinux in 2001. The distribution was command-line only and specifically supported dial-up networking, PPP and ISDN, via serial interfaces. This orientation towards hard-wire serial interfaces lends itself to the "tty" part of the ttylinux name. In 2008 Pascal began looking for a new project maintainer.

Douglas Jerome took over the project in November 2008 and promptly broke the dial-up networking; lacking hardware and access to dial-up networking, I am waiting for someone to take on the testing tasks of re-integrating the dial-up capabilities. No matter any moves away from the hard-wire serial interface orientation, the name ttylinux remains.

A significant result of the project goal, to make one of the smallest up-to-date Linux systems, is the ttylinux build system; it is very flexible and the simplicity of (re)configuring its Linux kernel and other packages makes it a very useful embedded or small Linux system development tool. The various bootable ttylinux architecture variants available for download are example distibutions created by the ttylinux build system.

See the download pages for descriptions of kernel and component packages and versions.


i486 ttylinux is the smallest "normal" Linux distribution. That is all it has. If it grows too much ttylinux will lose itself. The ttylinux build system; however, can make smaller and larger distributions.

The strategy for ttylinux to remain very small yet be similar to larger Linux systems is put into effect by a few things that make ttylinux be what ttylinux is. The following are fundamental to ttylinux; without which it would be some other project, regardless of name.

§ bash
ttylinux is a very small system with few programming resources, bash is a very capable scripting language that makes up the difference.

§ glibc
ttylinux can be small enough to use as an embedded system, but it is glibc-based, not eglibc nor uClibc. This retains capability similar to larger Linux distributions. And because ttylinux is glibc-based, a careful person can copy libraries and programs from other typical Linux distributions into a ttylinux system.

§ ramdisk
As distributed, ttylinux mounts a root file system on a RAM disk, not an initramfs; the RAM disk root file system is a true file system. Although it can be installed to run from a hard drive, and more interestingly a USB memory stick, the distributed ttylinux must be small enough to have the root file system quickly mounted on a RAM disk as a true file system.

Minimalinux User Forums
Mail List - ttylinux google group
Download Mirrors Here and Here


Description of ttylinux Variants
About ttylinux
Requirements and Features
Supporters, Users and Credits


Build System and Source
Download Page - ARM
Download Page - MIPS
Download Page - PowerMac
Download Page - PC