Is there a Debian-based distro with only the core packages(like apt, dpkg, ifupdown, nano, ssh, grep, sudo, coreutils, wget, etc., and no X11)? And not meant to used on servers and it must be 32-bit. It must be available on USB (.iso file). I only need a basic Linux system and I don't have much space on my (4 GB) SSD. I know how to manually configure ifupdown. My laptop is an Asus EEEPC 701

  • 2
    Could you please give some more example of packages that should be included, and packages that should not be included? That would allow us to understand what you want.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:25
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    This might help though not a distro per se: linuxforcynics.com/how-to/minimal-debian-install
    – Chop
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:38
  • @Chop that doesn't help because I only have (very slow) wifi
    – wb9688
    Aug 6, 2015 at 8:57
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    So, it must be available on CD/DVD? Please update your question.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Aug 6, 2015 at 9:47
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    Should vim, bash, perl, python, ping, top, screen, gcc, etc be included?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Aug 6, 2015 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


I can recommend the Debian NetInstall.

The goal of NetInstall is to have a minimal working linux up and running. The idea being that you then install the packages that you are missing manually.

Keep in mind that all the packages you listed are very small to begin with, so installing anything that NetInstall might be lacking is easy (given that you have a ethernet connection, I never tried using WiFi from the beginning and doubt that it works).

If you don't have a network connection you have a second way of obtaining the packages you need, that might not be shipped with NetInstall. That is: Download one of the larger Debian ISOs and burn it to CD/DVD. When you need to install something, insert the CD and point your apt sources to the disk. That way you are flexible but don't need any network connection.

An alternative for this would be to get the large Debian image directly and go through the menu installer manually to select only the parts that you want. (That is: Don't select the X11 etc. elements). That requires some more time on your part but works well.

After that you have the large disk as a resource to install everything that you might need without network connection.

  • I can set that .iso on a USB-stick using dd or not? (I don't have a disk reader)
    – wb9688
    Aug 6, 2015 at 12:36
  • Yes, there are USB variants. iirc you can use the DVD directly. The Debian Installation Guide is worth a read (at least the German version, haven't read the others) Aug 6, 2015 at 13:08
  • I'm Dutch, but I can read English and German. Can I just dl the CD ISO and dd it on my USB?
    – wb9688
    Aug 6, 2015 at 13:10
  • Yes. This page: debian.org/CD/faq/#write-usb describes everything about that procedure. Aug 6, 2015 at 13:11
  • So, I must dl this iso and dd it on my USB stick and select only the parts I want?
    – wb9688
    Aug 7, 2015 at 11:54

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