Floppies are not dead, just too tiny

Floppinux - An Embedded :penguin:Linux on a Single :floppy_disk:Floppy


Nice. I wouldn’t have thought this was still possible!

Back in 1992/1993, as a student, I knocked together my own Linux floppy for use on the University’s PCs. I learned a lot in the process. Of course, back then it was a lot easier. The entire kernel source code was still small enough to fit on a single floppy and a fairly full-featured kernel can only have been a few hundred kB. That said, I remember a kernel compilation on my 386 tended to take around 10 hours.

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It certainly is surprising to see this done with a modern linux kernel.

I did in the past use Tom’s Root Boot disk - that’s a linux on a floppy. It was around in '99, not sure how much earlier. Edit: it does seem we can go back to 1995 for some floppy rescue systems:

And I’m always reminded of QNX which also fit on a floppy, and is still an active product. Several pages on that:


Edit: here’s another single floppy OS:

and with with vimeo video:

Edit: more bits in the HN discussion on the original link.

Edit: and see also this other HN discussion:
x window system on a floppy
with links to other small or minimal OS on a floppy, including QNX, squeak,

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Somehow I was expecting a modern floppy disc format, but the floppy discs themselves were physically too tiny - like MicroSD cards. I mean, I guess I’m glad MicroSD cards exist, but they’re just too tiny.

Well I like SD cards to give that 70’s BIG DIRIVE feel.

While not a floppy, a RK05 disc is about the same SIZE as one.
Computing from 1975 – PDP 11 with a time shared BASIC

In the nineties I kept a full linux-on-a-floppy around, so that I could easily back up various computers over the network (the system included tcp/ip). It wasn’t hard to do at the time. And compiling a Linux kernel on my 486/66 took just five minutes in the early days. Anyway, that floppy was immensely useful. Later this was replaced with a CD (and even later with a DVD), typically an off-the-shelf Knoppix setup. But somehow the earlier floppy was easier.