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dCore vs Tiny Core Extensions

Based on Micro Core, dCore shares the same basic concepts and a similar minimal base. Just as Tiny Core is essentially Micro Core with additional extensions and a graphic environment, dCore also has a minimal base that is capable of importing extensions and booting into a graphic environment.

There are, however, several differences. The most obvious is how dCore handles packages and creates extensions. Unlike Tiny Core, dCore is capable of importing packages directly from Debian or Ubuntu repositories, no need to compile software. Thus dCore can be thought of as *Core with access to the enormous realm of Debian or Ubuntu repositories.

dCore uses the deb2sce script to transform Debian or Ubuntu packages into SCE extensions (self-contained extensions). This differs from Tiny Core, which utilizes the '.tcz' extension format and is not supported by dCore.


A dated description of Tiny Core Linux extension formats taken from ragingpenguin.com (link not longer unavailable) is outlined below. Tiny Core Linux continues to utilize the '.tcz' extension format, although the '.scm' extension format no longer appears to be utilized.

“The TCZ extension system appears to be based on the original MyDSL system made by Robert [Shingledecker, editor's note], and it works in much the same way. That means packages are attached to a temporary layered filesystem during boot, instead of being extracted directly into a permanent root directory. The packages themselves are read-only Squashfs archives, and can either be loaded into RAM for a performance boost, or just mounted. TCZ extensions can be considered “normal” packages. That is, they have dependencies, config files, and in some cases, they may even have setup scripts.

SCM extensions function like mount-only TCZs. SCM stands for Self Contained Module. It is basically a resurrection of the old .uci compressed image system that Robert made for DSL, except now the package files are SquashFS archives. Because SCMs are self contained, the packager or developer is free to experiment with hazardous or unavailable libraries, binaries, and scripts without breaking other parts of the system. Some SCMs may contain multiple binaries or libraries that are meant to work together. For example, an SCM for a media player may contain a lot of codecs and most (if not all) of the dependencies required for it to run. Other than that, SCMs can have dependencies, config files, and setup scripts just like TCZs.”


Unlike Tiny Core, dCore does not utilize single pre-bundled '.tcz' extensions from the *Core repositories. Instead it pulls in all necessary Debian or Ubuntu packages from their repositories and converts them into a single SCE (self-contained extension). An SCE, therefore, consists of a converted Debian package and all it's dependencies, packed into it's own file system and compressed into a single file (SquashFS). The contents of an SCE are transparent and once mounted can be inspected by exploring /tmp/tcloop/, otherwise copy the extension to a temporary directory and run unsquashfs SCE.

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