Minimal Linux Live is a set of Linux shell scripts which automatically build minimalistic Live Linux OS with basic network support via DHCP. The generated operating system is based on Linux kernel, GNU C library and BusyBox. All necessary sources are automatically downloaded and all build operations are fully encapsulated in the shell scripts.
If you want to build your own Minimal Linux Live ISO image file, all you need to do is the following:
  • Get the latest scripts from the download section.
  • Extract the scripts to some folder. Note that even though the scripts are small in size, you need ~2GB free disk space for the actual build process.
  • Just for convenience, make sure that all scripts are executable (chmod -R +x *.sh). If you decide to skip this step you can still run the scripts like this (example): sh build_minimal_linux_live.sh
  • Depending on which Linux OS you are using, there might be one or more (or none, or even more) build dependencies that you need to resolve before you start the build process. If you work with Ubuntu, the following command should resolve all necessary build dependencies:
    • sudo apt install wget make gawk gcc bc genisoimage
  • Execute the script build_minimal_linux_live.sh and wait. If you have resolved all build dependencies, the whole process should take less than 30 minutes on a modern computer. If the build fails for some reason, most probably there are unresolved build dependencies. Several users reported that the build-essential package resolves all unexpected build dependencies for Ubuntu. If you are using Linux Mint try to install the package g++ and if you still have troubles then try the build-essential package. On Fedora you might need the static 'glibc' package glibc-static. Please have in mind that the build dependencies can vary a lot depending on the Linux OS which you use and the software which you have already installed.
    If you still have troubles then examine the failure message and google it. If you are unable to find solution, then you can ask more experienced Linux guru around you or as alternative you can submit an issue.
  • When the scripts finish their job you will find newly generated ISO image file minimal_linux_live.iso in the same folder where you executed the scripts. You can burn the ISO image file on CD/DVD, install it on USB flash drive via Universal USB Installer, or run it directly via PC emulator like VirtualBox. The most recent version of Minimal Linux Live requires 256MB RAM, otherwise the boot process most probably will hang.
The generated ISO image file contains Linux kernel compiled with default options, GNU C library compiled with default options, BusyBox compiled with default options and quite simple initramfs. This means that you don't get Windows support out of the box, nor you get any fancy desktop environment. All you get is a simple shell console which supports all BusyBox applets and... well, that's all. This is why it's called "minimal".
The good news is that the build scripts are well organized and small in size. You can easily learn from the scripts and later modify them to include more stuff (I encourage you to do so). After you learn the basics, you will have all the necessary tools and skills to create your own fully functional Linux based operating system. Entirely from scratch!
The tutorial provides more details about the inner structure of the scripts and the overall build process. I encourage you to go through this document when you have the time. The same tutorial document is automatically included in the generated ISO image, so you can always refer to it.
Below you can find several screenshots which show what the environment looks like when you boot your newly generated Minimal Linux Live OS.