Another Linux distro for car PC?
I don't like to bring this up again, but nothing out there seems appropriate.
I've developed my own tiny distro. I call it Cheap-Off the-Shelf-Tiny (COST) Linux. It is what it is - off the shelf software (RH based), and hardware (x86). Based on kernel 2.4, my distro has a 2MB base, runs in memory, crash proof. You can add on your own application from (or compiled) your own distro and add onto COST. If it's small enough, you can have it stored in RAM, or if it's too large, you can mount it read only. The system's configurations or other persistent information is written in a small (512K) read/write file system. Run time writes are written to tmpfs mounted on /var.
I've made my own routers/fw/VPN, etc. out of it. Like an embedded system, you can power it off without fear of corrupting disk. I wanted to use it in a carputer, but could not find a satisfactory windows environment for it. X is large enough. Plus KDE and GNOME is out of the question. I explored QT, QPE. I like the idea of a PDA-like interface for a car PC. I don't endorse the idea of having a keyboard/mouse control in the car like some other people do, and I don't believe you need all the apps that come with an OS - just a few specific apps, touchscreen driven. Your number one task in a car is to drive.
I tried QPE, but in order to run existing linux apps, you must port them to QT. Ideally, it must run X or tinyX, with a small window manager. I just stumbled upon GPE and matchbox the other day, and they re-invigorate my interest in carputer project again.
GPE is a PDA distro. It seems to require a lot of work to disassemble it and incoporate it into COST. Matchbox seems promising - it's a window manager that GPE uses i.e. PDA-like interface. You can run an x app on it with little or no porting, and it's also theme-able.
I think I can make a COST distro for carputer in a 64MB CF and 128MB of memory. I have a 3.5" SBC with VIA 667 Mhz CPU, it's smalled than a 7" widescreen LCD, so it can be built into a 2-DIN dash. I hope to have FM radio (USB), CD/DVD (slot load). I envision MP3 songs to be loaded externally via USB interface - whether it's a USB pen drive or USB powered HDD. An auto mounter must detect the presence of the external drive and mount it read-only.