[erlang-questions] Light-weight operating systems supporting Erlang in production web servers

Lloyd R. Prentice <>
Mon Sep 18 06:28:56 CEST 2017

Hi Richard,

So, on a server,  it sounds like we're talking about:

11 MB for the OS
5 MB for stripped down Erlang based on Joe's work,
plus our application code.

Thanks to all for these numbers. 

My question came out of a conversation with a friend re: how far we could push Erlang on a Raspberry Pi or Odroid C2 SBC.

It's interesting to look at the numbers for TinyCore on ARM:


Compressed, they seem to run in the 25MB range. Raspian zipped is some 4GB. So, on an RP server TinyCore seems to offer much.

This makes me think that a cluster of $5.00 RP Zeros would be viable and a great platform for exploring and teaching distributed Erlang.

All the best,


Sent from my iPad

> On Sep 17, 2017, at 9:55 PM, Richard A. O'Keefe <> wrote:
>> On 16/09/17 9:29 PM, Joe Armstrong wrote:
>> Old timer here :-)
>> Just out of interest how large is Apline? (in MB?)
> For what it's worth, TinyCore-8.0.iso is just under 17 MB.
> Installed in VirtualBox and running, complete with GUI,
> it's 21.7MB.  That doesn't include development tools.
> I note that just the
> "OTP 20.0 HTML Documentation File (33,948,386)"
> is bigger than this and
> "OTP 20.0 Windows 32-bit Binary File (96,337,114)"
> is a lot bigger.
> http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/intro.html
> http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/downloads.html
> The current Core (TinyCore minus GUI &c) is 11 MB.
> Bringing in clang and its dependencies blows the system
> out from 21.7 to 145.8 MB (+ 124.1 MB).
> Adding gettext brought it to 148.0 MB (+ 2.2 MB).
> Adding the manual pages and related tools brought
> it up to 152.4 MB (+ 4.4 MB).  Add a couple of text
> editors (NOT including emacs, which I actually like)
> and it's 161.4 MB (+ 9.0 MB).
> So the actual TinyCore distribution is about 1/8th of
> a fairly minimal development environment.  I used to
> run a full SunOS 3 environment on a 100 MB disc, and
> 40 MB of that was left over for my files.  How times change.
> I suspect that TinyCore plus enough to *run* Erlang could
> be quite small by today's standards.  Certainly you could
> carry around TinyCore Linux + C development environment +
> full Erlang distribution and run it comfortably from an
> elderly memory stick.
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