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I think that I need a kernel image and a bootloader (grub). Is there anything else that a linux system needs to boot?

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closed as off-topic by Seth, Rinzwind, Eric Carvalho, Kevin Bowen, Eliah Kagan Aug 13 '13 at 11:44

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I'm very sure that this question fit better on UnixSE. You will have better answers there. –  Lucio Aug 12 '13 at 20:25
    
Check this out - raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=5150- Very interesting –  geezanansa Aug 13 '13 at 0:04

3 Answers 3

There are many Linux distributions that have different minimum requirements and many "Tiny" linux distributions that require even less. Now to make this relevant to AskUbuntu, the minimum requirements for Ubuntu (including Xubuntu and Lubuntu) are here:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

Otherwise if you're looking for a broader range of different distribution requirements you might want to ask elsewhere.

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Tiny Core Linux is a distribution of Linux that fit in 8 MB for the CLI (command line interface) version and 12 MB for the basic GUI (graphical user interface) version. These include a package manager so the system can be easily extended.

All you really need for a functional system is the kernel, usually some form of libc (for running C applications), and some form of command shell. Tiny Core uses Busybox to contain many core utilities, including a shell, into a tiny executable that runs in userspace. You also need some form of root filesystem ad initramfs, but that can be done with a RAM Disk.

That's all that's really needed if you're a crazy minimalist. Having just the Linux kernel and a shell (with some utilities) won't get you much in the ways of ease-of-use, but it will work. Embedded hardware (cell phones, TV's, and WiFi routers) usually use some minimalistic version of Linux.

Take a look at Arch Linux, Gentoo, and Linux from Scratch (ordered from easiest to hardest) for minimalist distributions that can be used in daily life.

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Ubuntu has the minimal install which is just grub, kernel and enough networking to be then able to download whatever else you may want to add.

http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/minimal

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu/Documentation/MinimalInstall

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