A tiny linux distribution (available at http://sunsite.auc.dk/mulinux/ ) that can be run from a floppy, and does indeed have add-ons- GCC, TCL, X, LaTEX, VNC, EXT. Developed by Michele Andreoli (from Italy) it displays a cool fortune in latin everytime you log on.

It makes a great Linux starter set, because you can run it entirely on a RAM drive, so it's hard to break things permanently (see Scratch Monkey).

Also, makes an even better first linux for Windows 9x users, because it can be run from a directory on your DOS file system. (But doesn't work on NT, although it can read the file system)

The following is quoted from the documentation:

What you will find on the floppy

This list is always a work in progress: whenever I free space on the floppy the list will grow.

Mini Applications

Release 4.2 comes with a set of mini-apps, based on "muless", a less-like programmable ncurses interface:

  • RNA, mail; news reader;
  • Pion, File Manager with FTP and rustic VFS support;
  • whois, looks up records in the Network Information Center (NIC) database;
  • info, System info;
  • help, small "hypertextual" help system;
  • mon, resource monitor (/proc based);
  • muhex, an hexadecimal editor (v>5.3)


/bin/ash: I know it's ugly, but it is much smaller than bash and it's the same as far as scripts are concerned. "Command history" approximated support with ile.

Man pages

None really. help interactive command (VAX style) is available. Some true man pages are in GCC floppy addon.


elvis tiny (standard UNIX vi clone) and ae Antony Editor (but this on X11 floppy).

Keyboard support.

Many national keyboard mappings. Codepages: 437,850.

Mouse support.

Serial mouse. Bus Mouse: PS/2 (aux port style): /dev/psaux; Logitech BUS Mouse: /dev/logibm; Microsoft BUS Mouse: /dev/inportbm. gpm mouse server (v>6.0, EXT).

File-systems access.

Dos, UMSDOS, Windows, vfat, NFS (nfs.o module), WfW/NT fs share Samba/SMB (smbfs.o module), cdrom (isofs.o module). Commands like mount, smbmount, umount, fdisk, fdformat, df, free, mkfs.ext2, e2fsck.

Generic commands

ls, cp, mv, gzip, gunzip, bzip2, bunzip2, more, less, stty, zless, zcat, cmp, find (emulated), grep,fgrep (emulated), sed, tr (rewritten), date, basename (emulated), dirname (emulated), pidof (emulated), ee editor, dd, od (emulated), file (emulated), pr (emulated), du (emulated), expr (rewritten), setserial, tar, insmod, rmmod, lsmod, m4 macro processor, bc calculator (emulated with awk) etc.

Release > 4.2 comes with awk language and a set of new classical UNIX command based on them, like: sort, uniq, tail, etc.

I dreamt of not including gzip and using the z option of tar. But tar only gunzips...

You won't find either zip or unzip: these are rather big. Maybe in the future.

Printer support

lp.o module, by request plus a simple lpr with escape codes (no spooler). muLinux supports only ASCII, POSTSCRIPT (i.e. Apple Laserwriter) and HP-PCL (i.e. Laserjet) printer, but print only this format: ascii, pgm, tiff (g3,fax). Starting from 4.0 release, muLinux support also remote UNIX printers, BSD style (contributed by Tom Poindexter (tpoindex@nyx.net). Starting from 6r3 release muLinux support an LPD server, contributed by Steve Flynn (smflynn@ozemail.com.au): a little C program which understand the traditional BSD lpd printer protocol (RFC1179). Enabling this daemon, your host may act as a simple Print Server or Print Sharer for UNIX machines, for WinNT ( using "Microsoft TCP/IP Printing" driver) or for Windows 95/98 (using a FREE program, called ACITS LPR )

Standby (spindown) timeout for the HD drives

Timeout is used by the drive to determine how long to wait (with no disk activity) before turning off the spindle motor to save power.

TCP/IP tools

  • Commands like ifconfig, route, ipfwadm for masqueranding ; forwanding processes, ping, finger, traceroute, trafshow(tcpdump).
  • ftpget (a small FTP client, suitable for scripting), telnet(emulated), rlogin, finger (emulated) and netcat, a general purpose TCPUDP port scanner.
  • sniffit packet sniffer and monitoring tool
  • nmap (rustic) network mapper
  • ssh Secure Shell (on EXT addon)


Cards supported: 3c509, ne (NE1000, NE2000, and many clones), ne2k-pci (PCI ne2000 clones), wd (WD8003, WD8013), smc-ultra, 3c59x ( the 3Com "Vortex" and "Boomerang" series ethercards,Fast EtherLink 3c590/3c592/3c595/3c597, XL 3c900 and 3c905 cards), ..., but the modules are on the floppy. You just have to gzip your own module, and put it on the floppy. See section How can I personalize muLinux? for further details.


Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol; muLinux (>4.2) support a dhcpcd configured client. DHCP allows hosts on a TCP/IP network to request and be assigned IP addresses, and also to discover information about the net- work to which they are attached.


ppp.o, serial.o and slhc.o modules; chat and pppd commands. Configuration is automatic and you start PPP typing pppd or ppp-on, ppp-off. PPP mulinux setup also provide a way to link together two PCs (or a local network to the Internet), via null-modem serial cable.


muLinux (hyper-rustic) diald is a daemon based on an IP accounting's hack. Enabling diald, muLinux detected outgoing DNS request to some remote NAMESERVER (port 53) and start PPP (or what you want, of course)


the traditional UNIX command scheduler.

Fetching mail.

A fetchmail only a few K, perfectly working, with the -F (flush) option, but also a true fetchpop.

Sending and reading mail.

A sendmail compatible with the real one, wich support smarthost and offline processing. I tested it with pine from my "big" Linux. You can use the From: field you prefer (-f option). Mail processing with RNA Messenger, symlink `mail` (offline supported).


RNA, newsreader mode + suck (pull small newsfeed from usenet; emulated with scripts).

Traditional Internet Daemons

Starting from 7.0, mulinux support inetd, wu-ftpd, in.rlogind. Multi-user is now enabled, with login and password.

PCMCIA support

Starting from 7.0 release, muLinux support PCMCIA card (EXT addon). Tested on IBM Thinkpad with 3c589 card and ACER Extensa 5027, with ne2000 compatible card.

Modem connectivity.

  • miterm command, similar to minicom, for remote modem session.
  • agetty (dialin session) and efax (send, receive fax)

Fax management.

A fax script allows You to make,send,receive and print fax files, with efax packages (C) Ed. Casas. Tested with USR Sportster 3.66, but will work with any modem, I hope.

Music and sound.

  • sound.o module (SoundBlaster) and PC-Speaker module+patch (by Michale Beck). On my PC the SoundBlaster works. In some cases it may be necessary to give the kernel extra options
  • mpg123 to play MPEG files (layers 1-2-3) (X11 addon)
  • vplay to play .wav files
  • vrec to record with your microphone.
  • playcd to listen to cd.
  • wave waveform generator.
  • Audio .au files directly to /dev/audio

The Web.

  • lynx, version 2.6 a fully-featured World Wide Web (WWW) client for users running cursor-addressable, character-cell display devices (e.g., vt100 terminals, vt100 emulators running on PCs or Macs, or any other character-cell display). It will display Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) documents containing links to files on the local system, as well as files on remote systems running http, gopher, ftp, wais, nntp, finger, or cso/ph/qi servers, and services accessible via logins to telnet, tn3270 or rlogin accounts.
  • Quark micro browser, a very rustic colored WWW navigator, similar to Lynx, written with sed, muless, m4 and netcat. Its one and only notable feature is its size in bytes: 3713.
  • rpost (emulated), and inews (emulated) used by Lynx for newsgroup posting.
  • Chimera graphical Web Browser (in X11 addon)

The server side

Starting from release 2.3, muLinux comes with some rustic "servers and daemons" support. A muLinux server is, generally, a shell script (often netcad based) running via init(8) at "runlevel 5", without inetd. Servers shutdown with "init s" and restarts with "init 5"; "init q" update the init(8) status. This list will grow, I hope.

  • Pygmy WWW server, a simple httpd server (2202 bytes), supporting multi-connections,download and directory browsing. Try with lynx://localhost/
  • a Job scheduler (atd) daemon for deferred execution (command like at,atq,atrm).
  • a RING server, similar to ringd: wait for characters to become available from the modem (indicating an incoming call) and execute the /etc/ring.cmd command.
  • a SERIAL_SERVER: a getty program will be run to initialize the terminal driver and start a login process on the serial port. This is usefull for direct coonection via null-modem cable (I added tty.exe in DOSTOOLS.tgz if You want to test DOS-LINUX connectivity).
  • a DIALIN_SERVER, a getty program will be run to initialize the modem in sane state and start a login process with telephonics counterpart. I tested this with BITCOM and HYPER TERMINAL on Window$-95 machines.
  • a TELNET_SERVER, for remote interactive telnet protocol.
  • a FAX_SERVER: wait for characters to become available from the modem and start fax reception.


fortune (classical Linux fortunes, in latino), paganini, piano (sound games) reverse, blue (solitaires). carbo (crypto games) TicTacToe , forza4 (solitaires).