Linux Tiny

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The goal of the linux-tiny project is to reduce the memory and disk footprint of the mainstream Linux kernel, as well as to add features to aid working on small systems. Target users are developers of embedded system and users of small or legacy machines such as 386s and handheld devices.

Patch releases against the mainstream Linux kernel have been discontinued. Instead of spending a valuable amount of time carrying patches forward from one kernel version to the next, we chose to focus on a few patches and spend our time trying to get them merged into the mainline kernel.

Visit the FAQ for more information.



  • Available on Gitorious (HTTP, GIT). This repository is currently not maintained.

Mailing Lists



Old patch releases

Old release downloads

Installation Instructions

These instructions were for the Linux-tiny release for 2.6.23. Adjust accordingly for a different kernel version.

To apply the above patches, you need the referenced kernel (2.6.23) and quilt (overview). Follow these steps:

 $ wget
 $ tar -xjf linux-2.6.23.tar.bz2
 $ wget
 $ cd linux-2.6.23
 $ tar -xjf ../Tiny-quilt-2.6.23-0.tar.bz2
 $ quilt push -a
 $ cd ..
 $ mv linux-2.6.23 linux-2.6.23-tiny1

Auxiliary tools (for Linux-tiny developers)

Here is a short shell script for making a tiny-quilt release: Media:release-tiny

How to use

In the Kernel Size Tuning Guide, there is a lot of information about how to measure kernel size, and how to use the kernel patches and configuration items provided by Linux-tiny.

Test Project and Results

There is a test for Linux-tiny (and kernel configuration option results, in general). Some test results from this test were previously available from the CE Linux Forum test lab, at: (link is now broken).

The CELF System Size working group has worked extensively with the Linux-tiny patch set. There is a script to produce a report of size reductions for the individual patches in the patchset, and results from various vendors about their use of Linux-tiny. See Linux Tiny Test Project

Old usage notes

There are some miscellaneous usage notes at: Linux Tiny Notes

Ideas and patch candidates

See Linux Tiny Patch Ideas

Original Announcements and e-mail

The original (Dec 11, 2003) announcement about the patchset, to the kernel mailing list, is available here:

Here are some other announcements from Matt Mackall to LKML:

Recent discussion thread on lkml is summarized at: LKML Thread Summary. The thread is available at here.

Note that currently, the smallest kernel that is reported in this thread is 197K compressed.