Installing Tiny Core Linux on a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 [in progress]

This article is a work-in-progress

This article describes steps you need to follow to run Tiny Core Linux on a Thinkpad T410 with Antergos pre-installed.

It is a follow-up to another article I've written some time ago. It's called Setting Up Antergos on a Thinkpad T410

Getting Tiny Core Linux

Tiny Core Linux provides great speed for your system, so I decided to triple-boot my Thinkpad T410 by adding Tiny Core Linux to the list.

Tiny Core Linux can be downloaded here. Installing Tiny Core Linux on an empty system is out of the scope of this article. You can check out the awesome guides on Tiny Core Linux website.

In case you already have any version of Linux installed on your system, you just need to get vmlinuz and core.gz. Both of them are available here

To get the necessary files for the 64-bit version, head over here. In this case, the files you are looking for are vmlinuz64 and corepure64.gz.

I am also going to get dCore utopic and dCore jessie installed on my system.

Copying the files to /boot

Once you have downloaded the kernel and initramfs, just copy them over to your /boot folder. It should look something like this:

drwxr-xr-x  4 root   root      1024 Oct 30 01:44 .
drwxr-xr-x 19 root   root      4096 Oct  9 00:45 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   6636603 Jun  8  2015 core.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root  11924182 Aug  6 16:06 dCore-jessie.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root  11595283 Aug  6 16:10 dCore-utopic.gz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root  12847730 Aug  6 16:06 dCore-vivid.gz
drwxr-xr-x  6 root   root      1024 Aug  6 16:29 grub
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root  18490548 Oct 30 01:45 initramfs-linux-fallback.img
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   3915986 Oct 30 01:45 initramfs-linux.img
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   3465360 Aug  6 16:06 jessie-vmlinuz
drwx------  2 root   root     12288 May 26  2015 lost+found
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   3465360 Aug  6 16:10 utopic-vmlinuz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   3380112 Jun  8  2015 vmlinuz
-rw-r--r--  1 root   root   4091824 Oct 27 09:29 vmlinuz-linux

Editing GRUB

If you are running Antergos, edit your /etc/grub.d/40_custom and add the following to the end of the file:

menuentry "Tiny Core" {
  linux /vmlinuz quiet vga=791 multivt showapps blacklist=pcspkr kmap=qwerty/et tz=EET-2EEST
  initrd /core.gz

menuentry "Tiny Core 64" {
  linux /vmlinuz64 quiet vga=791 multivt showapps blacklist=pcspkr kmap=qwerty/et tz=EET-2EEST
  initrd /corepure64.gz

menuentry "dCore utopic" {
  linux /utopic-vmlinuz quiet vga=791 blacklist=pcspkr kmap=qwerty/et tz=EET-2EEST
  initrd /dCore-utopic.gz

menuentry "dCore jessie" {
  linux /jessie-vmlinuz quiet vga=791 blacklist=pcspkr kmap=qwerty/et tz=EET-2EEST
  initrd /dCore-jessie.gz
  • vga=791 sets your preferred resolution (mine is 1024x768x16). You can find the right one for you in the FAQ section of Tiny Core Linux website.

  • blacklist=pcspkr disables the built-in motherboard speaker/beeper.

  • kmap=qwerty/et sets your console keyboard layout (this is not related to the GUI). Mine is Estonian.

  • tz=EET-2EEST sets the timezone. I am located in Estonia.

You will have to find the correct values for your personal use case yourself, I won't be covering this.

Next, we need to re-generate grub.cfg: run grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

At this point you can reboot your system and select Tiny Core at the Grub screen.

There are a few more steps you need to perform to get the system running, though.

Installing the kmaps extension

Simply specifying the desired keyboard layout inside the GRUB config won't give you the actual layout in Tiny Core. You have to install a corresponding extension, named kmaps.

To install it and automatically run it at system boot, type: tce-load -wi kmaps If everything worked, you can now finally reboot by issuing: sudo reboot Your system is finally ready.

Setting up console fonts

In case you only use English for your everyday work, you can skip this step. My situation is a bit more complicated: I speak 3 languages fluently. This means that when I'm working inside the console, I want to be able to view the contents of text files properly (if you have ever tried opening a text file written in Russian, you will know what I mean). We need a console font that supports both Estonian and Russian glyphs besides the English ones. In Tiny Core you have to use the setfont extension for that. Install it by running: tce-load -wi setfont to have it loaded into RAM on every boot. The font packs are located in /usr/local/share/consolefonts/

I have found 2 font packs that provide the desired functionality: LatArCyrHeb and drdos. Both work fine and offer different sizes. Choose the appropriate by running one of the following:

  • setfont LatArCyrHeb-08
  • setfont LatArCyrHeb-14
  • setfont LatArCyrHeb-16
  • setfont LatArCyrHeb-16+
  • setfont LatArCyrHeb-19
  • setfont drdos8x6
  • setfont drdos8x8
  • setfont drdos8x14
  • setfont drdos8x16

Loading the correct font automatically on system boot will be described later.

To be continued...

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