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Lesser known "mini" Linux runs from RAM
Jan. 25, 2007

Mustang Linux, a fork of Buffalo Linux and a newcomer to the "mini" Linux distribution field, achieved a v2.3.1 release earlier this month. The lightweight distro, which can run entirely from RAM, is based on a 2.6.16 kernel and offers a choice of desktops, the project team said.

Like some other "mini" Linux distros, such as Puppy, Mustang boots from the CD and loads the base operating system into RAM, without requiring a hard drive. It occupies 168MB of RAMDISK and requires a system having a 586 (or greater) processor and at least 256MB of total RAM.

At the time of the release, the kernel was version, compiled with nearly all network cards and options, the team said. Most base packages are from Slackware, the team said in the release announcement.

Mustang also supports read/write to NTFS (Windows 2000 and XP) hard drives, allowing the creation of a "file-based" filesystem for customization and adding software packages, the team said. The iso image is designed to fit on a mini-CD (< 200MB) and to provide basic web services and email (Sylpheed).

Key extra features available on the CD, as listed by the team, are:
  • Firefox 2.0 browser
  • Java Runtime Environment
  • Citrix client for Linux
  • C development using TCC, a tiny C compiler/interpretor
  • Ted text editor
  • CUPS Printing support
  • ALSA Sound support
Two small web browsers are pre-installed: Dillo and Links. The Links browser has been heavily modified to support some utilities for Mustang. Dillo is the default web browser.

The system can also be used inside a firewall without requiring any hard-drive usage, according to the team.

Mustang Linux is a concept test for a pocket-sized, carry-anywhere OS that the team claims is impervious to virus problems. Future concepts include the possibility of providing broadband Internet services that will integrate additional software as requested by the user, the team said.

You can download the latest version of Mustang Linux, v 2.3.1, here (direct link to iso image).

You can view some screen shots here, courtesy of

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