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|Kernel type||Monolithic kernel, Linux|
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NASLite is a commercial Linux distribution designed to turn conventional x86-based computers with PCI interface into a simple network-attached storage device. It fits onto a single 3½-inch High Density floppy disk formatted to 1.72MB. NASLite boots from the floppy disk and runs in a 4MB RAM disk allowing for full capacity of the hard disk drives to be used as storage. NASLite supports serving files to clients running Windows, Linux, Mac OS X as well as others.
Other versions are available which support different networking protocols, or booting the operating system from CD-ROM, USB Mass Storage device or hard disk drive. All versions of NASLite and its variants contain GPL'd and proprietary components. The GPL'd components are available to the end user per the GPLv2.
Minimum hardware requirements
NASLite runs well on obsolete hardware, but requires at least a computer with PCI interface. Other minimum requirements are a 486DX or Pentium CPU, 16 MB RAM, a PCI Ethernet card, IDE hard disk drive, and a floppy disk drive.
NASLite turns its target machine into a simple file server. Since file serving takes up very little processing speed as opposed to network speed or hard drive speed, it is able to run on comparatively old computers with little processing power. As it runs from a floppy disk, hypothetically all (usually four) IDE channels can be used for hard drives.
NASlite has three variants supporting different file serving protocols. These are Samba to support serving to Microsoft Windows client machines, NFS to serve to Unix based operating systems, or FTP (Anonymous FTP only). It also supports remote administration via telnet (though not SSH), and includes a web server to display usage and error logs.
Since it is based on Linux, NASLite (like other Linux distributions) supports new larger hard drives that often are not supported by older machines, by bypassing the BIOS and directly accessing the hard drive(s), greatly increasing the usefulness of an older computer for serving large amounts of data.