I have a list of software that I use regularly, and recommend as a consequence. It comes as a slight surprise though, to realize how little is truly required to make a functional, useful system.
Take, for example, the bought-for-scrap Pentium that was promoted to file server and torrent slave a week ago. The kernel I built for it is quite possibly the sparsest I’ve ever built — no USB, no sound, not even generalized support for hard drives.
On top of that, here’s the full and complete list of packages I have installed in Crux 2.6.
The total space required for the system is around 1.2Gb, which means a whopping 118+ Gb are available for ISOs, file transfers, music and so forth.
More than half of that 1.2Gb is in the kernel source tree. Another 300Mb is in the ports folder, as source and compiled software packages.
So the actual software and system footprint is considerably smaller, although that’s rather hefty for a server system. If I were to throw out the kernel source and clean the ports tree of giant source packages (like gcc ), I could probably fit it in a slimmer partition.
Point of all this is, it’s an underpowered throwaway machine that almost no one would want, and what it requires — in terms of money, energy, software or even hard drive space — to be a fully functional, critical member of the family … is almost nothing.