BasicLinux is a mini-Linux that runs in a 4mb ramdisk.   It has a fully-featured shell, an easy-to-use editor, and a variety of useful utilities.   In particular, BasicLinux is well equipped for internet use:  it can dial an ISP, browse the web, send/receive mail, and download files.

BasicLinux is a good distribution for an old 486.   It is much leaner than RedHat and performs better on old hardware.   Although BasicLinux initially runs on a ramdisk, it can be installed to its own HD partition, where additional packages can be added (including X and GCC).

The current version of BasicLinux is 2.1
It comes as a 2mb zip file.

 ***   NEW   in   version   2.1 ***
  big improvement to floppy version
  works with Windows XP
  additional network modules

Minimum requirements
Pentium or 486DX                 If you have a 486SX or 386 computer,
8mb RAM use BasicLinux 1.8.   It also has a
DOS or Windows version for 4mb RAM.

Booting BasicLinux from DOS or Windows 95/98
Unzip to a convenient directory on your harddrive.   Put the computer in DOS mode and execute boot.   This will automatically create a 4mb ramdisk and run BasicLinux there.   BasicLinux does not run on your harddrive.

Booting BasicLinux from Windows NT/2000/XP
It is not possible to boot Linux directly from inside Windows NT/2000/XP.   Those systems should use the floppy-disk version of BasicLinux.

Making a floppy-disk version of BasicLinux
In the BasicLinux zip file, you will find MAKE_FD.ZIP, which can be used to create a self-contained BasicLinux.   You will need two empty 1.44mb floppy disks.   Simply unzip MAKE_FD.ZIP and execute MAKE_FD.  You must type this from the command-line (the C: prompt).   Clicking MAKE_FD.BAT with the mouse does not work.

Additional components for BasicLinux
BasicLinux has an IDE kernel and a small set of common modules.   If you need a SCSI kernel or additional modules, you can get them from Slackware 7.1.   You will find the kernels in the /kernels directory and the modules in the /modules directory.

Further information and support

  • How to add new packages to BasicLinux
  • How to add a GUI to BasicLinux
  • BasicLinux FAQ
  • BasicLinux Support
  • BasicLinux ChangeLog and kernel config
  • Slackware 7.1 mirrors
  • Where to get add-ons for BasicLinux
  • Linux HOWTOs
  • Linux textbook
  • Linux lessons