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External Tiny Utilities

This is a list of tiny utilities whose functionality is not provided by busybox. If you have additional suggestions, please send an e-mail to our dev mailing list.

Feature Utilities
SSH Dropbear has both an ssh server and an ssh client that together come in around 100k. It has no external dependencies (I.E. it does not depend on OpenSSL, using a built-in copy of LibTomCrypt instead). It's actively maintained, with a quiet but responsive mailing list.
SMTP ssmtp is an extremely simple Mail Transfer Agent.
ntp ntpclient is a tiny ntp client. BusyBox starting from 1.16.x also acquired ntpd applet.

In a gui environment, you'll probably want a web browser. Konqueror Embedded requires QT (or QT Embedded) and some bits of KDE. The Dillo was requiring GTK+ (but not Gnome), now it is FLTK based. Or you can try the graphical version of links.

pyvm is a minimalistic toy toolchain containing various programs (www browser, pdf viewer, windowing environment on linuxfb, ssh, git, pgp, etc) in a 2MB tarball.

Scripting Languages

Although busybox has built-in support for shell scripts, plenty of other small scripting languages are available on the net. A few examples:

Language Description
microperl A small standalone perl interpreter that can be built from the perl sources via "make -f Makefile.micro". If you really feel the need for perl on an embedded system, this is where to start.
Lua If you just want a small embedded scripting language to write new code in, this Brazilian import is lightweight, fairly popular, and has a complete book about it online.
rc The PLAN9 shell. Not compatible with conventional bourne shell syntax, but fairly lightweight and small.
forth A well known language for fast and small programs, decades old but still in use for everything from OpenBIOS to computer controlled engine timing.

For more information, you probably want to look at buildroot and TinyGentoo, which build and use tiny utilities for all sorts of things.

Rob Landley developed Firmware Linux, a set of build scripts which produce cross compilers, root filesystems, and system images for various hardware targets, configured to run under QEMU and provide an emulated native test/development environment based on BusyBox and uClibc.

Copyright © 1999-2008 Erik Andersen
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