Alpine Linux: an OS designed specifically for LEBs

kaniini

Beware the bunny-rabbit!
Verified Provider
Hi guys,

I'd just like to point out a distribution that is optimized for low-end boxes called Alpine.

Actually, it does well for big iron as well (we run it on our dom0's).  But it does really well for low end boxes.

As an example, here is a clean install of Alpine booted up on Xen showing free -m output:

alpine-free.png

This is a base system running on a 64-bit processor with a grsecurity kernel, and only OpenSSH is installed.

Additionally, Alpine can run from RAM with only configuration stored on a disk (this allows for throw-away VMs, i.e. if the VM is compromised, you can just restart it and the compromise will be gone unless your configuration files are compromised somehow).

This distribution is also supported by OpenVZ, so if someone wants me to make them a template, let me know, and I'll do it.
 
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HalfEatenPie

The Irrational One
Retired Staff
Yep we had these templates available on our KVM node for a while.  Alpine itself is a pretty nifty distribution but besides that I haven't found any solid use for them.  
 

kaniini

Beware the bunny-rabbit!
Verified Provider
Yep we had these templates available on our KVM node for a while.  Alpine itself is a pretty nifty distribution but besides that I haven't found any solid use for them.  
Basically you can do anything you can do on Debian that involves the main repos.  Obviously Alpine itself does not support proprietary software (unless it is linked statically) due to using a different C library than most distributions.

Also, the platform we use for everything at TortoiseLabs is Alpine.  It gives us stripped down Python VMs or a stripped down environment for a hypervisor -- both of which are winners for us.
 
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drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
So is Alpine literally just a scaled down Debian install and fully compatible?

Can this be made into a bootable/installable ISO also?

PS: @kaniini, digging your posts lately.  Great stuff!
 

kaniini

Beware the bunny-rabbit!
Verified Provider
So is Alpine literally just a scaled down Debian install and fully compatible?

Can this be made into a bootable/installable ISO also?

PS: @kaniini, digging your posts lately.  Great stuff!
Not quite.

It is Debian-like (in some ways a fork), uses OpenRC instead of sysvinit (Debian 8 is likely switching to OpenRC, although there is still some handwaving about it), uses the apk package manager (which was at one point intended to be an APT replacement) and uses uclibc instead of glibc (mostly to slim down the install footprint).

It is however, capable of doing 99% of what Debian is capable of doing.  As previously mentioned, we are using this to run our Xen hypervisors and everything else.  In your domain-0 environment you want something that is indestructible, this is what Alpine gives us.

There are bootable ISOs on the website, you can install it from the live environment by running setup-alpine on the commandline.
 

NodeworksIX

New Member
I use Alpine a lot, it's very quick to set up and very minimal -- leaves a small footprint.  I like the fact that it is so stripped-down and I can just build whatever I need on top of it.  It's so lightweight, I sometimes set up a separate VM for each service I have (FTP, Mail, HTTP, etc).
 
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