How to strip a Linux system?

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Problem :

I’ve been building my own Linux distro, and I’ve stripped the binaries, etc. The system won’t use GCC or development tools, as it will be a Chrome kiosk, so it would greatly help if I could strip down the system…

I was wondering, is there a way that I can delete all of the unused system files (like binaries, etc.) by watching what files/libraries are used during runtime? Maybe another method is preferred, but is there a way to accomplish something like this?

Solution :

These are some things I would do:

  • Build my own kernel with no loadable modules. (Build in all the required modules.) Eliminates /lib/modules ..
  • Review the init scripts and drop any programs that are not required.
  • Use ldd on the programs that are run to identify the libaries that are required.
  • Identify which commands can be replaced by busybox, and build a custom busybox to supply only those commands.
  • Identify the programs required for support and add them in.

Consider looking at what is included in a distribution like OpenWRT to see what is required for a relatively base installation. Remove what your don’t need, and add what your do. OpenWRT now has builder package which makes it easier to investigate the distribution.

debootstrap is the tool you want. . It’s much better to build up rather than strip down.

start from something like damn small Linux and build up from that. dsL image is at most 50 mb

For building your own Linux filesystem try Buildroot. There are a lot of tutorials on the Internet.

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