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Genesis of Slinky and Miniconda, the two installers of the RULE Project

(this is a description of the project made in March 2002 by M. Fratoni (Devon), another member)

The RULE project (Run Up2date Linux Everywhere) began as a discussion on the Red Hat ‘Enigma’ mailing list. Many bemoaned the fact the Red Hat Linux 7.2 distribution requires (according to the box):

  • Pentium class processor, 200 Mhz or better.
  • Hard drive, 650 MB minimum, 2.5 GB recommended.
  • Memory, 32 MB Text mode, 64 MB graphical mode.

A group soon formed to see just what could be done to make the requirements more reasonable. For all of the reasons outlined on the RULE web pages,, ‘Miniconda’ and its sister project ‘slinky’ were born.

Currently, the two projects are in their infancy, yet both are functional, and do make it possible to install a working, up2date, (albeit currently text mode only), modern Linux distribution in as little as 8 MB of RAM. Each project goes about the task in a different manner, but both have the same end goal. Miniconda is just a patched version of Anaconda, the standard Red Hat installer. Slinky, instead, is a different beast, made just for RULE.

A few words about Slinky

Slinky is an installer built on a home brewed boot/rescue floppy. The floppy loads a minimal Linux system and an installation script is used to install the requested packages to disk. The script prompts for user input to handle tasks such as partitioning the disks, locating installation media, and selecting package groups for installation. The majority of the promps request ‘yes/no’ answers, or provide a list of answers the installer knows about. Both fdisk and cfdisk are available for the partitioning task.


Common goals for both projects include further reducing memory requirements, adding a small X server, and modifying stock configurations to suit the memory challenged environment. Goals specific to ‘slinky’ include better hardware detection, more supported hardware, and overall simplification of the installation.

M. Fratoni, 03/22/2002, Last updated: 2002-10-06 (minor editing in oct. 2010 by Marco)

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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