July 19, 2007

DSL answers user requests with 4.0 alpha

Author: Shirl Kennedy

The alpha 1 development release of Damn Small Linux (DSL) 4.0, which hit the Net on Tuesday, is "a very different version" that includes a number of features requested by users on the DSL forums.

In the release announcement, developer Robert Shingledecker specifically detailed the key elements, including:

  • New 2.4.34 kernel.
  • Easier to use user interface.
  • A real desktop framework.
  • Drag and drop capability.
  • Better and more flexible file associations.
  • Closer coupling of the icons and file manager.
  • Optional menuless mode.
  • More intuitive interface to MyDSL extensions.

Shingledecker urged would-be testers to read the new Getting Started document. "There are many changes in icons, file manager, accessing menu and mydsl," he pointed out. He said he placed a minimal number of icons on the desktop so users could choose which applications they wanted. As DSL has four different installation methods -- LiveCD, Frugal, Hybrid, and Traditional -- Shingledecker asked that those posting bugs in the forum be sure to note which method they're using.

DSL is a miniaturized Linux distro originally developed, according to its Web site, "as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD." The developers have stated that the distribution will never exceed 50 MB. Over time, DSL morphed into a significant community project "with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device."

Despite its size, it includes what's nearly a full desktop environment, and is highly versatile. Because it will fit on ultra-portable storage devices such as flash cards and USB flash drives, it has developed a loyal following. DSL even has a port that can run on an Xbox. And it works particularly well on low end or aging machines that would otherwise be put out to pasture.

For downloads, see the complete mirror list.


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