I’ve used Emdebian ARM toolchain for several things such as building Raspberry Pi kernel, or cross-compiling VMWare-View, but I must have not paid attention enough, as I only discovered that Emdebian also offered a lightweight Linux distribution for embedded systems called Debian Grip. There was also another distribution called Debian Crush, a customized Emdebian installation without perl, but development stopped after Debian 5.0.
Debian Grip is binary compatible with Debian and supports i386, amd64, powerpc, armel, armhf, mips and mipsel. Ports for powerpcspe and sh4 are available for Emdebian unstable. The current stable version Debian Grip 2.0 is based on Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”.
Here’s how the installation sizes compare between Emdebian Grip (unstable) and Debian (unstable):
- A basic multistrap of Emdebian Grip (sid-grip) comes out at 56MB installed, not compressed.
- A basic multistrap of Debian (sid) comes out at 90MB installed, not compressed – same package list as Emdebian.
- A basic debootstrap of Debian (sid) comes out at 269MB installed, not compressed.
This size reduction is achieved by unpacking deb archives from Debian using standard Debian tools, removing relevant files and repacking the archive.
DebConf12 took place last week, and there was a 45 minute introduction and status update of EmDebian. I haven’t watch it yet, but the Phoronix guys said it would only be interesting if this is the first time you’ve heard about Emdebian distributions.
You can find more information on Emdebian website.