What does DSL Stand for?

Damn Small Linux is abbreviated as DSL according to abbreviationfinder. Fully functional Linux LiveCD distribution, based on Knoppix. Designed to run on old computers or with very few resources, even Intel 80486 processors. Its reduced size (50MB) manages to maintain the essence of Knoppix in a complete Desktop environment.


Damn Small Linux (DSL) was originally conceived and maintained by John Andrews, but slowly grew into a large community project with several contributors, most notably Robert Shingledecker, creator of the MyDSL system, the DSL Control Panel, and much more.

Although John Andrews initially based DSL on Model K, a 22 MB mini-distribution of Knoppix, DSL is currently based on Knoppix.

What DSL contains

DSL, despite its small size, is packed with a valuable set of applications suitable for PC use, such as:

  • XMMS (MP3, music CDs and MPEG videos),
  • FTPclient,
  • Dillo, Netrik and FireFox browsers,
  • Siag Spreadsheet,
  • Sylpheed Mail Manager,
  • TedWord Processor,
  • Beaver, Vim and Nano (Pico clone) text editors,
  • Edition and visualization of images (Xpaintand Xzgv),
  • xpdfpdf viewer,
  • File manager: EmelFM,
  • Window manager: FluxBox, JWM,
  • NaimInstant Messaging,
  • VoIP Gphone,
  • Variety of Xbaseutilities (XCalc etc),
  • PostScriptViewer,
  • Sqlitea small and very fast SQL database engine,
  • Fast and lightweight GUI administration tools,
  • Bash Burn, from the CD burning application,
  • Midnight Commander.

DSL Features

  • Boot from a card-format CD to an environment separate from your hard drive.
  • Boot from a USB stick.
  • Become a traditional Debian distribution after being installed on a Hard Disk.
  • Run full from memory in as little as 128MB.
  • Grow modularly.

DSL Milestones

  • First LiveCD to offer desktop backup/restore capability.
  • First desktop oriented Live CD to use the Kdrive(small X) Servers.
  • First Live CD to use scripts to add additional software download for Ramdisk.
  • First desktop oriented Linux distribution to use BusyBoxspace saver.
  • First full Linux distribution to also implement plugins that can be used either from a Live CD or on a partitioned hard drive.
  • First desktop oriented Live CD small enough to fit a business card CD.

How to run DSL

  • Boot from USB drives
  • CF card
  • Installed on Hard Drive
  • Entirely in RAM(memory)
  • From within another operating system such as Windows through virtualization.

DSL Damn Small Linux