The author said that DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device.
The default Window Manager is fluxbox which is very light and responsive. For users who are used to Beryl, it will look dated. However, the default theme is colorful and isn't distractingly old. The desktop icons were chosen very well chosen and even though you may not have heard of "Siag", you can see that it's a spreadsheet program. In fact, I didn't have any problems at all using any of the alternate, lightweight programs included with Damn Small Linux 3.2.
Here's a rundown of the software you get for 50MB:
* XMMS (mp3, ogg, mpeg, cd audio) and mp321 and ogg123 (that's right, you got Music and Video) There are many more applications available to you, if you so desire to install them via the MyDSL package repository. For most users, the included applications work just fine. You've got a nice document editor for times when you need to write a nicely formatted document for school or work, a pdf viewer, paint program, e-mail reader, spreadsheet - it's all there.
* Firefox 1.0.6
* Vim, an enhanced Vi
* Assorted Xbase utilities (Xcalc etc.)
* ssh, sshd
* betaftpd, a very small FTP daemon
* Sqlite a small and very fast SQL database engine
* Nano, a Pico Clone
* MS Office Viwer
* Postscript Viewer
* AxY FTP
* Telnet client
* Midnight Commander
* Bash Burn, CD Burning App
* Fast and Light GUI Admin tools
* Monkey web server
For system configuration, you have the DSL Control Panel where you can Backup and Restore your custom configuration settings, set up printers, cron jobs, floppy disk formatting, PCMCIA tools for laptops, dialup configuration for modem support and even some support for wireless networks. It's not flashy, but it works.
Once you have the system configured the way you want it, you can install it to your hard drive, USB thumb drive or remaster the DSL CD image and burn it to a disk using their text-based cd burning utility.