Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Picking the right Linux distribution for a new task often comes down to comfort level. We all tend to lean toward things we're familiar with. So we go with the latest Ubuntu release and make it fit even though it might not be the best choice for the job. You can bet it will have a lot of extra baggage you don't really need for something simple like a home file server.
Tiny Core Linux (TC Linux) takes a minimalist approach to the base system and then lets you add just the pieces you need to get your job done. Once you have it configured like you want it you can then save the configuration to local storage. The core distribution, based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, is a mere 10 MB. In the end the goal of TC is to have an ultra small Linux desktop OS capable of booting from CDROM, USB disk or a minimal sized hard drive. The latest release (1.2) fixes a few bugs and adds a few new features as well.