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Minimal USB Linux Install

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http://www.linuxquestions.org – Hey guys, my ISY professor wants the smallest possible footprint on a USB possible, and the fastest possible time to a shell. It is sort of a contest for our class. I did a Kali build that booted very fast, and a DSL/knoppix build that was tiny, but he's not impressed. He said that I should be thinking kilobytes, not megabytes. The requirements: I can use any resources I want. The USB needs to boot into a shell that has dd and vi available. I've tried looking into LFS, core, and Arch, but I'm not quite sure how to customize or strip out parts that I don't need. I've also done extensive googl (HowTos)