Monkey Linux
current version 06
released 9/5/1997
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     So you’ve taken an interest in Monkey.  Terrific.  If you’d like to bypass all the mumbo-jumbo and get straight to installing Monkey on your machine then I suggest you jump ahead to the install page.  If you’d like to learn a little bit about Monkey then stick around and read on.  In this section I briefly describe:
  1. what Monkey is;
  2. Monkey pro’s and con’s;
  3. Monkey’s history;
  4. the file systems compatible with Monkey;
  5. Monkey’s file structure; and
  6. the files essential for operating Monkey.

Monkey Described
     Monkey Linux is a small Executable and Linking Format (ELF) distribution based on Linux kernel 2.0.30 and Libc5.  The fact that it uses the UMSDOS file system makes it an ideal semi-complete distribution for GNU/Linux newbies, because no knowledge of (re)partitioning hard drives is required for installation.  Monkey lives happily in its own folder within MS-DOS or Windows 3.x/9x/Me.  Plus, it’s the same Gnu/Linux that works in all of the major distributions, so making the switch to a different distribution won’t be a difficult adjustment.  With Monkey, machines considered to be obsolete (see minimum system requirements) are given added value and can be put to both practical and educational use.
     The archived base distribution is less than 7MB in size and fits in five floppies.  After installation, Monkey takes up less than 30MB of hard drive space.  It doesn’t stop there.  A few useful software packages have been precompiled for Monkey and are ready for installation at your disposal.  All of these files are listed and ready for download in the download section.

To install, or not to install...
Three reasons to use Monkey Linux version 06:
  1. Put that obsolete hardware back to use.  Monkey runs on 4Mb of RAM and fits in 30Mb of disk space, both of which were considered plenty back in the early 90’s.
  2. It’s a terrific platform for learning how to navigate the Linux file system and utilize many GNU utilities.
  3. It’s non-committal.  It works on top of DOS/Windows so there’s no need to (re)partition the hard drive.  If you don’t like it just delete it like any other file.
Three reasons to avoid Monkey Linux version 06:
  1. As is, it has enough to scrape by, but it will not turn your computer into a work horse.  Unless, of course, you’re willing to put in the time to compile and install software.
  2. It’s an obscure mini-distribution so there is hardly any support.
  3. It’s based on an old kernel so it doesn’t support newer hardware technologies, such as USB.
     Here’s my outlook on the situation.  If you’ve got your hands on an old machine and you’re looking to install a distribution then give Monkey Linux 06 a whirl.  Look into installing Mu Linux, Loop Linux, or Monkey Linux 1.0 delta as well.  If you’ve got a more recent computer system with at least 8Mb Ram, and you’re looking for an introductory Linux mini-distribution that fits in 150Mb to 500Mb of disk space, then try out Peanut Linux and/or Dragon Linux.

Once Upon a Monkey
     In 1996, while a student in the Czech Republic, Milan Kerslager, took upon the task of creating a small distribution of GNU/Linux for his friends.
When I drink some beer near our college I said, “MiniLinux?  That’s trivial.”  This is a BIG mistake as I think now.
A year later he released Monkey Linux 06, a mini-distribution of GNU/Linux that installs directly onto an existing DOS partition (FAT 12/16/32 or VFAT).  There it lived happily ever after in it’s very own DOS folder (or Windows 3.x/9x/Me folder) that occupied a mere 30 MB of disk space.  Open Milan’s changes.txt document to view a time line of Monkey’s development.
     My guess is that Kerslager trimmed down and modified Slackware version 3.1.  Possibly even Slackware version 3.3.  The proof is in the installation process and the configuration files.  In fact, Patrick Volkerding’s name shows up in a few of the configuration files.  For those who don’t know, Volkerding, created Slackware, which was one of the first GNU/Linux distributions.  And now you, baby!

Compatible File Systems
     “How can Monkey operate on top of DOS?” you ask.  By using the UMSDOS file system to operate, that’s how.  This allows Monkey to run on DOS (or Windows 3.x/9x/Me) and eliminates the need to (re)partition the hard drive.  With Monkey, you don’t have to know anything about fdisk or EXT2 to have a fully functional GNU/Linux on your machine.  The following table lists the file systems that Monkey can cooperate with.
File System Description
DOS DOS FAT12/16/32 file systems
EXT2 native GNU/Linux file system
ISO9960 CD-ROM file system
MINIX older Unix-clone file system (currently for diskettes)
NCPFS Novell file system for shared volumes
NFS Sun Microsystems Network File System
UMSDOS Root file system for Linux on DOS FAT
SMBFS MS Windows network file system (only over TCP/IP)
VFAT MS extension of DOS FAT for long file names

File Structure
     After installing Monkey Linux a new folder labeled “Linux” will be on the hard drive.  (I’ve assumed that Monkey is installed in the c:\ drive.  If this isn't so then replace c:\ with the drive letter that it’s installed on.)  The Linux folder and it’s contents form Monkey’s file structure.  View the ls-r.txt document for a detailed description of all of the files that make Monkey.  The table that follows describes all of the directories contained within the Linux directory.
Directory Description
/linux Pseudo-root.  The top directory that contains all other Monkey Linux directories.
/bin Small executable programs (binaries) such as shell commands.
/cdrom Mount point used to access contents of CD-ROM device.
/dev Files that allow programs and device drivers to communicate.
/etc System configuration files.
/home User specific directories, files, and option settings.
/lib System libraries.  Files shared by programs and GNU/Linux.
/mnt Generic mount point.  Device directory.
/proc “Virtual” files containing system information.
/root Super User’s home directory.
/sbin Small executable programs (binaries).
/tmp System-wide temporary file or work file directory.
/usr User directory containing directories such as /usr/bin (holds programs related to users).
/var Place for files that vary a lot.

/DOS Virtual directory allowing Monkey to access the DOS file structure.  Only visible when in Monkey.
/install Directory created by Monkey Super User for installing software packages.

Essential Files
     Certain files are needed in order to load Monkey; as well as, make it possible for DOS and Monkey to co-exist and communicate.  They are located in the Linux (pseudo-root) directory.  The following is a table that lists and describes these files.
File Name Description
linux.bat DOS batch file that initiates the Monkey boot process.
loadlin.exe Loads the compressed Linux kernel into the UMSDOS file system.
3mide.030 Compressed Linux kernel image.
--linux-.--- Translates between the extended capabilities of UMSDOS (long files names and ownership) and the limitation of the DOS file system.  This file is in every Monkey directory, but is invisible to Monkey.
help A help file, provided by Monkey’s creator, accessible by typing ‘help’ at a Monkey prompt.

swap.{_e Swap file (virtual memory) created by Monkey during installation if the system has 32MB of RAM, or less.  This file is invisible to Monkey.

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