The smallest Linux computer is this and it fits on a business card

Linux computer on a card

When we think of a small Linux computer, I think the Raspberry Pi comes to mind for most of us. Actually, what the raspberry company offers us is a board, and with it we can create a mini computer with operating systems such as Raspbian, Chromium OS o webOS. But is there still something smaller that we can run Linux on? Yes, something so small that it would fit in your purse.

Of course, before anyone gets excited we have to explain what I'm talking about. It's actually about the business card of an embedded systems engineer called George Hillard, who spends much of his time researching things he might do. One of those things has resulted in a computer that can run Linux, but one with major limitations that is not worth it for most tasks.

A Linux computer, yes, but limited

George Hilliard card

Thinking about his business, Hilliard realized that some processors are so cheap they could be given away, so he got the idea to combine it all on your business card and the result is what you see in the images.

One of those things is cheap Linux-capable computers, the cheaper the better. So I started diving into the very deep den of dark processors. I thought to myself: "These processors are almost cheap enough to give them away." After a while, I got the idea to make a basic Linux board in a business card form factor.

The final product is a minimalist ARM computer that use own Linux firmware built with Buildroot. It has a USB connector in one corner, and if we connect it to a computer, Hillian says it starts up in 6 seconds and shows the USB as a removable drive, which means we can also use it as a pendrive.

Back of Hilliard's Linux computer

... but it is not for sale

The most surprising thing is that this Linux computer works with only an 8MB chip: the bootloader loads in 256kbs, the kernel in 1.6mb and the operating system fits in 2.4MB. The total price of the card is less than € 3, so it is a business card that perfectly fulfills its function: on the one hand, it adds the contact information and, on the other, we will have in our possession a sample of what the engineer is capable of doing. They are not for sale, and its creator says that «If you get a card from me, I'm sure I'm trying to impress you«. I think he will get it done with every delivery.


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  1.   Chive said

    A bit of disbelief on your part to say that they believe it to be in Gigas, being the embedded system.

    Cheers and maybe it's okay to read something else before putting anything.

    1.    Pedro said

      GNU / Linux. "Linux" is not an operating system.

      1.    01101001b said

        "GNU / Linux. "Linux" is not an operating system. "

        Ha That is as sensible as saying that "Windows" is not an operating system either. It's "Microsoft Windows." Let's see how many call you that? Please. That is "strain the mosquito and swallow the camel."

        For a quarter of a century it has been called "Linux." Calling it GNU / Linux NEVER caught on. And to insist on that at this point, it is simply retrograde.

    2.    Diego said

      As is

      1.    linuxlachupa said

        Linux is not an operating system, it only acts as an operating system

        -The jokes 2019

  2.   pepper said

    Yes, the OS fits in 3 megabytes. I don't think it's a fault. You just have to think of any old router with little more, some current ones, that work with that and with less.

  3.   Isaac Palace said

    Do you need to connect to another computer to work?

  4.   Hannibal Talingo said

    Excuse me columnist, but how old are you ???
    In 2001, on my home PC, on a brand new 800 Mb disk, (YES, not Gigabytes) I had 4 partitions, where it ran: Redhat 5.2, Windows 98, Corel Linux and Windows NT Workstation (do you have any familiarity?). It is entirely possible to create an OS with these characteristics in an embedded system. By the way, my PC ran with its powerful 48 Mb of RAM.