Battle of the Minis: DSL vs. Puppy Linux

Posted by jun auza On 10/27/2007
Battle of the Minis: DSL vs. Puppy Linux - Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux are two of the most popular ultra-lightweight Linux distributions today, that is why a lot of people are curious to find out which is better between these proud mini distros. So I’m here to put these two distributions on war path.

As some of you may know, I have recently tried and tested each one of them, and have found out some of their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Though Puppy and DSL performed fairly well on my previous tests, I used different computers for each of the test I made at that time. That's why I tried them once again, and this time I’m using the same test machines.

Distrowar Arena
(Test Machine Specs):
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM
Display: ATI RADEON X1050

Tale of the Tape:
Distro Name:Damn Small Linux (DSL)/ Weight:49.5MB/ Country Origin:USA/ Distro Origin:Knoppix/ Package Mgt.:DEB/ Default Desktop:FWM/ Distrowatch Rank:#10

Distro Name:Puppy Linux/ Weight:98.7MB/ Country Origin:Australia/ Distro Origin:Slackware/ Package Mgt.:PET/ Default Desktop:JWM / Distrowatch Rank:#15

Now, here are the results of the Battle of the Minis:

Speed Test
Download Time- Winner, DSL!
Boot/Startup Time - Winner, DSL!
Responsiveness- Draw!

It takes a shorter time to download DSL than Puppy because of its smaller-sized ISO. It is also faster to boot and approximately took 30 seconds to reach its Fluxbox desktop from start, while Puppy booted slower taking about 50 seconds to reach its JWM’s desktop. I call it a tie for “Responsiveness” due to the fact that both distros are light and quick, and I can't see a substantial difference between the two in terms of their receptiveness.

Default Theme- Winner, Puppy!
Extras- Winner, Puppy!
Artwork- Winner, Puppy!

Decoding: Puppy Linux is my winner in every Aesthetics sub-category because first of all, I love its JWM desktop which is a little bit sleek-looking compared to DSL’s Fluxbox. Puppy also has simple but good looking default wallpaper, and quite a few polished extras to choose from, in case you wanted to change its look.

Pre-installed Applications- Winner, Puppy!
Available Packages from Repo- Draw!
Ease of Use- Winner, Puppy!

Decoding: The pre-installed applications of Puppy Linux are plenty compared to the smaller-sized DSL. Both have plenty of available and updated packages from their respective repository that is why I’m calling it a draw.

Hardware Detection- Draw!
Software Maintenance- Draw!
Error Handling- Draw!

Decoding: I can only give a draw verdict in all of the "Stability" sub-categories because both have shown stability in the short period of my tests. But I know that stability can be better judged with extensive usage. So, I just hope that the readers who have used them both long enough can fill in the gap.

Final Score:
Puppy = 5
DSL = 2
*Winner Puppy!

Puppy Linux has won the battle but only in my own opinion and based only from the tests I made. I still love DSL for its smaller foot print and fast start-up time which is key in rescuing a broken system. Meanwhile, Puppy’s abundance of useful out-of-the-box applications despite of its minute size is its strongest point.

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