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Specialty Linuxes to the rescue

In this article, we examine three kinds of “Linux as tool” distributions that can help you in a pinch: small-footprint Linuxes, whose boot and runtime images fit in cramped spaces; Linuxes for old hardware, which are designed to execute on systems you might otherwise push to the back of a closet; and system-rescue Linuxes for recovering lost data from crashed systems.
Start reading here about Damn Small Linux

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Out of the box, DSL has all the fundamentals: editors, browsers, file-system navigation tools, and so on. Office-style applications include the Slag (“scheme in a grid”) spreadsheet, as well as viewers for Microsoft DOC files and PDF files. The media player is XMMS. But DSL doesn't stop there. More applications can be added via MyDSL.

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