Distributions - Trinux & Coyote Linux & RamFloppy
3 disks: Boot, Add-Ons 1 and
Profil: networking tool
The startup message from the boot disk tells you that Trinux is a project to build a Linux-based network security toolkit. With that information, you know what kind of applications you can expect. At first glance, Trinux is very open structured and therefore a potentially enhanceable system. It asks you "Do you have another floppy?" to put in add-on disks. If you answer "no" here, you are done loading and you have a functional Linux system with nearly all the tools to operate on a running network, for making connections with other machines (servers) or similar things. SSH and 'telnet' are available for remote control. For port scanning there is the powerful 'nmap' and other special tools like 'adm-smb' (security check for samba servers), 'hunt' (useful to examine, control and manipulate network connections), 'tcpdump' and 'ethereal' (sniffing of data packets) or programs to discover intruders in your network. This is a lot of functionality on not more than three disks, so Trinux is a very useful tool for administrators.
Profil: rescue disk
RamFloppy isn't really new, but it has been a very powerful tool for recovering Linux machines, especially those with destroyed boot configurations. It's based on kernel 2.2.15, uses the 'ash' shell and the midnight commander file browser. With just one disk you can't expect the Holy Grail of program collection, but you can find all the important tools for recovering a damaged system - disk and file system tools, text editors, LILO, some archivers and, of course, 'tar' so the main task as a rescue disk - as the boot message says - will be achived. There is a interesting feature that most of the system commands (cat, chroot, mv, mkdir, date ...) are in real only one binary named 'busybox' which reminds me of the "good old days" of 'command.com'.
Coyote Linux 1.22
Profil: Router / Gateway
If you know Coyote only as the unlucky predator in The RoadRunner cartoons, you should get to know Coyote Linux. Like nearly all small Linuxes, it's highly specialized and really great at its task. Coyote Linux takes the networking capabilities of Linux and achieves the potential to make a really tiny system running on a good old i486 without any hard disk and little RAM as a router, gateway or masquerading server. There are two formats in which to get those tiny distributions from the internet. The most common is the disk image you write with dd (or rawrite if the machine is taken over from a M$ system) to the floppy disk. The other way (used by Coyote) is a .tar.gz archive with a config script asking lot of questions so you get exactly a system that meets your needs. There are pros and cons - you'll get a very small system because it installs just the modules you'll need. On the other hand, every hardware change results in the need for a newly created disk. For us, it worked really good with Coyote. If you have a machine running Coyote, you'll see a menu system reminding you of a telnet session to a hardware router, so it's simpel and easy to control Coyote. Whoever is looking for an opportunity to recycle his old machine should test Coyote. Very interesting: Coyote covers PPP and PPPoE so you could use an xDSL connection with it.
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