Home > Linux > Picotux – the Smallest Linux Computer in the World Picotux – the Smallest Linux Computer in the World Submitted by Rodrigo 2005-07-17 Linux 36 Comments The picotux 100 is the world’s smallest Linux computer, only slightly larger (35mm×19mm×19mm) than an RJ45 connector. About The Author 36 Comments 2005-07-17 1:53 pm A beowulf cluster of these. 2005-07-17 2:05 pm justin A beowulf cluster of 50mhz systems… BLAZING! – j 2005-07-17 2:22 pm A beowulf cluster of 50mhz systems… BLAZING! It’s 55mhz. That 5mhz makes all the difference. 2005-07-17 6:25 pm that only works on slashdot… oh! wait… 2005-07-17 9:01 pm Ronald Vos He just beat me to it. 2005-07-17 1:56 pm ma_d Height:19 mm Width:19 mm Deep:36 mm 2005-07-17 2:00 pm hobgoblin i wonder if i can get this to act as a router of some sort if i can get it to handle two ethernet connections. maybe it dont have the cpu of that tho. 2005-07-17 2:03 pm Rodrigo Might be funny to put a webserver on it and get instant feedback from devices..or make it log network activity “straight from the cow’s mouth”. 2005-07-17 2:04 pm justin What is a realistic use for such a device? 2005-07-17 2:08 pm Rodrigo Network monitoring, device monitoring, telnet, webserver… 2005-07-17 2:19 pm zizban Not quite as small but pretty cool: http://www.littlechips.com/ 2005-07-17 6:47 pm zombie process Much cooler actually. Teeny is neat, but that thing is awesome! 2005-07-17 2:21 pm dswain The thing is though, I’d be really scared of losing it. I guess at any rate, you’ve got some very good reasoning to have it if you do buy it. The price is $240 USD which is a fair amount of cash. I guess telnet could control it via ethernet if you wanted to instead of using the null modem. Is it possible to strip an SSH binary down to a size which would fit on here? I don’t think it would be, but it’d be neat to see. 2005-07-17 3:07 pm Nice! Anyway for a cluster I’d rather take the chip only and mount 20 or so on a PCB. – Morin 2005-07-17 5:20 pm Did you know linux has more than 30 million lines of code ! Do you really need a ‘mainframe,server os’ for a usb device ? How about menuet. 2005-07-17 5:26 pm orestes I was thinking more along the lines of something that can really take advantage of a massively distributed system. QNX, Plan 9, or Inferno would be ideal candidates for that sort of thing. 2005-07-17 7:43 pm Phil Menuet? As in the _x86_ assembly OS? Might need a little bit of porting to run on this thing, as it has an ARM processor… 2005-07-17 8:19 pm Just because it has 30 million lines of code, that doesn’t mean they’ll all be used. You can choose what to compile in and out, so only a small fraction of them would be used for something like this. 2005-07-17 5:27 pm pythonhacker Perhaps systems like these will help RFID adoption on Linux. Seems to be a good match for RFID to me. 2005-07-17 5:44 pm pravda Dual LAN would make all sorts of interesting out-of-band apps possible with these tiny devices. 2005-07-17 5:52 pm klynch right on. with 2 LAN jacks, there a bunch of applications, both good and bad. For instance, you could have a tiny firewall or (more likely) you could have a device to sniff data going through a network connection. 2005-07-17 6:48 pm Mac Mini eat your heart out! 2005-07-17 7:02 pm collinm there is no case to protect the machine? 2005-07-17 8:12 pm pravda http://www.linuxdevices.com/articles/AT8498487406.html this one gives you the full dual gbit — http://www.gms4sbc.com/OtherFF.html gives you an idea if apple had ditched the 5.25″ optical drive how small they could have made the mac mini. 2005-07-17 9:08 pm Ronald Vos this one gives you the full dual gbit — http://www.gms4sbc.com/OtherFF.html What’s the price on that one? Those corporate sites are always so unhelpful. 2005-07-17 10:24 pm klynch not to take credit away from your link, but this one beats all of them when it comes to size. It’s only as big as an RJ45 connector! some of those SBCs are really cool and much more powerful. i’d just hate to see the pricetag on them… 2005-07-17 9:38 pm pravda The one from GMS is probably expensive. Their Pentium M board was quite expensive if I remember. Generally any site that does not state the price means “it will cost more than what is reasonable and we need to convince you to pay up”. It may be a better/cheaper bet to go higher volume and get a VIA-based dual LAN board. 2005-07-17 9:48 pm kmarius 1. This would be the ideal computer for a toy robot. 2. You could put a network camera+picotux in a RC model car and stream the pictures via WLAN. You could then control the car from the computer. Perhaps also combine it with idea 1. 2005-07-17 10:20 pm Right, 2 RJ45s and you have a simple firewall or bridge. Slap an IDS or sniffer on it and voila. But its still a bit limited… 2005-07-18 3:57 am pravda Okay, so you cannot get a 48-port 10/100 POE switch and plug 48 computers in your computing grid… However, those SBC machines could easily go in a nice little stack, support GigE, and can run any kind of Linux you want. Today. Maybe the Lan plug machines have some good uses, but it is hard to imagine what they are vs. the larger micro-itx designs. 2005-07-18 7:02 am Is 55 Mhz enough to process the data flowing thorough Gigabit ethernet channel? 2005-07-18 2:30 pm “What is a realistic use for such a device?” Industrial monitoring. A lot of industrial devices output by serial. I could see one of these on each machine talking back to a central server updating on each machines status. 2005-07-18 4:29 pm I used a something similar for a “realtime” network based control system. http://www.lantronix.com/device-networking/embedded-device-servers/… wireless would be fun too.. http://www.lantronix.com/device-networking/embedded-device-servers/… 2005-07-18 8:31 pm How about a gumstix computer, they are pretty small and run linux… http://www.gumstix.com 2005-07-18 9:57 pm Smartpatrol But I agree if it had dual RJ45 connectors then it would be useful as a nat/firewall telnet/ssh server. Other wise perhaps a very compact small website. 2005-07-19 8:08 pm transputer_guy While this ARM module is undoubtledly very cool, for the cost you don’t really get much compute power so its barely worth talking about clustering. For some deep embedded use, it does what it does well enough. A miniITX format or PC104 or even a full size credit card format has enough space to host a great many smaller cpus and share the peripheral costs. To get tiny cluster performance that will need a different instruction set (not x86 or ARM) that can be built into FPGA or ASIC and run much faster then it can clustered within that divice and more outside. The problem will always be that real horsepower will always produce heat, but newer designs are going to be much more efficient at delivering useful work without turning into heating systems.