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Damn Small Linux getting a big update

The developer of Damn Small Linux, a distribution designed to work on older and less powerful hardware, has released his first new version of the software in four years.

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The distro weighs in at a shade over 50MB, in keeping with its mission to be one of the most lightweight, simple operating systems out there. According to DistroWatch, Damn Small Linux still has a reasonably functional desktop, including basic multimedia support, productivity programs and Web functionality.

"Because all the applications are small and light it makes a very good choice for older hardware," the website says.

According to developer John Andrews' announcement, the new Version 4.11 release candidate improves CSS support, adds a new IRC client and provides several other minor fixes -- including the ability to switch between lightweight window managers Fluxbox and JWM.

Thanks to its tiny size, a modernized version of DSL could offer a new option to developers of embedded hardware and those who need legacy machines with badly outdated hardware to continue functioning.

Andrews said that, for the moment, hardware detection will remain identical to that found in the last release of DSL, which came out in 2008.

"I see this version of DSL (what will probably be called 'classic' eventually) becoming dedicated to bringing a usable and friendly desktop in the smallest package possible. 'Classic' DSL will remain ultra-portable, can be downloaded and run virtually quickly, and most importantly, will run on hardware that the rest of the world is leaving behind," he wrote.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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