BasicLinux is designed specifically for old PCs.  It uses a small kernel and busybox to provide a low-RAM Linux, capable of browsing the web, doing email, and functioning as an X terminal.  The current release of BasicLinux is particularly suitable for old laptops -- it has PCMCIA capability and includes MagicPoint (a presentation tool similar to PowerPoint).

The current release of BasicLinux is 3.50.   It comes in two versions:  one boots from a DOS harddrive, the other boots from floppies.  Both versions have the option to install themselves to a Linux partition on the harddrive.

This version comes as a 2.8 mb zip file.
It unzips to a directory on drive C:
BL3 boots from DOS and runs in a loop file.

Minimum requirements
Intel 386 or compatible
3 mb RAM
DOS (or Windows 95/98 in DOS mode)

This version comes as a 2.8 mb zip file.
It contains two files that are copied to floppies.
The floppies run BL3 in a ramdisk.

Minimum requirements
Intel 386 or compatible
12 mb RAM
two 1.44 mb floppy disks


Additional components for BasicLinux
BasicLinux has a slim IDE kernel and a small set of common modules.   Additional modules and alternative kernels are here.

Add-ons for BL3 are available here and here.   It is also possible to install packages from Slackware 4.0 (using the pkg command).   You will find the packages in the /slakware directory.   Note:  packages from later Slackwares are not compatible with BL3.

Further information and support

  • BasicLinux Support
  • Add-ons for BL3
  • How to activate SoundBlaster audio in BL3
  • How to replace Xvesa with a standard Xserver
  • How to upgrade BL3 library
  • How to install Opera on BL3
  • BL 3.50 image for QEMU users
  • BasicLinux ChangeLog and kernel config
  • md5sums for downloads
  • Slackware mirrors
  • Miscellaneous BL3 files and information
  • Linux HOWTOs
  • old BL1 site
  • old BL2 site