I spent a lot of my younger days building computers and playing with software. I had amassed several Pentium I era computers and I finally delved into Linux. At a local book store, I spotted a Linux Format magazine and that was my in. As any new Linux user, I distrohopped for such a long time, learning the ins and outs of seemingly random Linux distributions. After a while I decided on what I liked, what tools were available and how updates and services worked, I decided on Debian.
Over the years I upgraded computers, making the leap into multi gigahertz territory. Those old single core days were over. But I still held onto those computers, I guess for nostalgia.
In that same Linux Format magazine, I learned about DeLi Linux: a distribution made for low end computers. One of the computers I had kept in my collection was a Pentium I, running at 133mhz with 64MB of RAM. It had an incredibly small hard drive, installed with Windows 3.11. Something around 800MB. DeLi Linux installed easily and run just as well, LILO is always such a breeze to install with as it is. DeLi's install ISO was around 60MB too, keep that in mind.
As an honorable mention, I should say that Damn Small Linux was a great learning resource. Fantastic project, lots of hardware support for what it is. And as of 2022, they haven't changed their website since I first encountered it, more than a decade ago.
I wanted newer software with DeLi Linux, and compiling on such an slow machine would be pure torture, I decided to keep looking for a distro just like it. I stumbled upon Delicate Linux (Mirror), which was based off of DeLi Linux.Either by source or in spirit, I can't remember. I began contributing package builds to the community, for popular software too. There's nothing like the joy of contributing to open source software. After a while I became a bit frustrated with the project, and eventually it spun off to another distro entirely, ConnochaetOS. The distro required more resources and beyond the original scope. The install ISO was ~400MB.
Seeing the community interact, it occurred to me how actually straightforward it would be to build my own distro (and potentially a community haha). I wanted to build something truly transparent. How do you get from a collection of scripts and packages to a running ISO? That's the part I was missing.
SnackLinux was born with simple build instructions in mind, with easy to follow directions. It's very easy to overload the reader with useless technical minutia that should be saved for another article. Simple instructions, simple build utils and simple distribution of said software.
SnackLinux itself as a project is 10 years old now. It hasn't gained any use or really any traction other than a few stars on Github, but it's a pleasure of mine to indulge in these warm software/harwdware nostalgic feelings.