As some of you may know, I own a Soekris net4801 I affectionately call Piccolo. It runs Linux, and it’s my router, firewall, and does a few other odd jobs on my network. Basically, it governs my connection to the Internet, and if it goes down I’m offline until I get it sorted.
In the last couple of days I decided to no longer run its OS off the small laptop hard disk I installed in it, but instead off a CompactFlash card like one uses in photo cameras. It has a nice slot specially for this purpose, and I even bought a 512MB card to use with Piccolo when I got it many months ago. So I set out to build a version of Debian Sarge (testing) that would run off a read-only filesystem (since CompactFlash only has a limited amount of write cycles), and out of that came PicoDebian, a small version of Debian suitable for use on small systems like the Soekris net4801.