Jenny’s Daily Drivers: Damn Small Linux 2024

There was a time when the gulf between a new computer and one a decade or more old was so large as to be insurmountable; when a Pentium was the chip to have an older computer had a 16-bit 8086 or 286. Here in the 2020s, though, that divide is less stark. While a machine from the mid-2000s may no longer be considered quick, it can still run modern and useful software.

The problem facing the owner of such older hardware though is that as operating systems advance their requirements and eclipse their machine’s capabilities. A perfectly good machine becomes less useful, not because the tasks it needs to be used for are beyond it, but because the latest OS is built with higher-spec hardware in mind. The subject of today’s test is an operating system designed to make the best of older hardware, and it’s one with a pedigree. Damn Small Linux, or DSL, first appeared in 2005 as a tiny distro for the old machines of the day, and after a long hiatus it’s back with a 2024 edition.

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DSL Is Barely Hanging On The Line As Telcos Stop Selling New Service

Are you reading this over AT&T DSL right now? If so, you might have to upgrade or go shopping for a new ISP soon. AT&T quietly stopped selling new traditional DSLs on October 1st, though they will continue to sell their upgraded fiber-to-the-node version. This leaves a gigantic digital divide, as only 28% of AT&T’s 21-state territory has been built out with full fiber to the home, and the company says they have done almost all of the fiber expansion that they intend to do. AT&T’s upgraded DSL offering is a fiber and copper hybrid, where fiber ends at the network node closest to the subscriber’s home, and the local loop is still over copper or coax.

At about the same time, a report came out written jointly by members of the Communications Workers of America union and a digital inclusion advocacy group. The report alleges that AT&T targets wealthy and non-rural areas for full fiber upgrades, leaving the rest of the country in the dark.

As the internet has been the glue holding these unprecedented times together, this news comes as a slap in the face to many rural customers who are trying to work, attend school, and see doctors over various videoconferencing services.

If you live in a big enough city, chances are you haven’t thought of DSL for about twenty years, if ever. It may surprise you to learn of the popularity of ADSL in the United Kindom. ADSL the main source of broadband in the UK until 2017, having been offset by the rise of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections. However, this Ofcom report shows that in 2018 ADSL still made up more than a third of all UK broadband connections.

Why do people still have it, and what are they supposed to do in the States when it dries up?

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NES Controller On A DS


You can get most of the old NES games for the DS, but they just don’t feel the same. Sure your hands still cramp up, but its just not the same cramp we remember. What is the solution? Put an old Nintendo Entertainment System controller on your DS.  [Parker] did exactly that. The method he used is fairly strait forward. He opened the DS, wired extensions onto the buttons he wanted to use to a controller. Instead of making it permanent though, he chose to wire it through the GBA slot. This allows him to plug the controller in whenever he wants to use it.  This reminds us of the PSP with a SNES controller we covered back in October.

You can see a video of it in action after the break. You’ll notice in the video, he has also modded his buttons to have LEDs behind them.

In the comments, [tri-edge] points out that you can follow his build in the acidmods forum. There seem to be some other variations as well, including an SNES controller.

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