Damn Small Linux: A Step in the Right Direction
My discipline as a programmer is data recovery software development. I have been doing it for many years and have watched the industry grow and evolve into a sophisticated megaplex of software and hardware tools. Most of the tools run in Windows and as that platform has developed, the hardware, the bare metal, the on the wires programmer has slowly faded away to where there are only a few of us left.
However Windows has now grown into a platform that has a more mobile flavor and has built a protective wall around the hardware, the same hardware needed to recover your precious data. With that being said it is now time to go back to old school and use a small footprint operating system that will allow unfettered access to the hardware. Damn Small Linux (DSL) is such a platform. In a world filled with bloated operating systems and applications a breath of fresh air has now entered the arena.
There are two major assets that make DSL an excellent choice for the low level coder. First of all there is a TCP/IP stack that allows network access at the socket level. Any coder worth his salt can now build a remote recovery application that will reside on a small pen drive. Without the overhead of security protocols, as well as background processes it is a simple matter to allow raw internet access and data transfer through a small and efficient FTP client.
Secondly, there is a USB 2.0 hook that allows for block device access. You can mount a device and use it to transfer data from a machine that has a damaged hard drive without removing the drive. This alone is one of the most exciting services offered by DSL as it gives the data recovery specialist flexibility.
There are tools and interfaces that make this platform even more attractive, but the footprint, networking, and USB interface make DSL a must for any systems programmer.