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I'm looking for a small OS for my RPi3 that can create its own wifi network (for other clients to connect to) and server up static webpages. The issue is that I only have a 1 GB SD. It seems crazy that this is an issue, but I can't seem to get some of the normal distros to fit, even something supposedly small like DietPi.

I don't need anything spectacular, just a kernel, a relatively easy way to configure the wifi, and a way to configure the web server to serve up everything on the mounted USB thumb drive.

I know that I could use build root to create something of my own but for various reasons it would be a pain to go through that process. I'm looking for something a little more turn key.

Any thoughts? Wifi + Webserver

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You could start with a basic Raspbian from debootstrap that just needs about 276 MB storage. It's a bare but running Raspbian with no applications installed. But you can use apt to install from the repository. Installing wpa_supplicant and a web server should fit into 1 GB storage. That's the default Debian/Raspbian setup, nothing special.

For example web server apache2 will use:

rpi ~$ sudo apt install --assume-no apache2 2>/dev/null | grep 'After this operation'
After this operation, 6,275 kB of additional disk space will be used.
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I'd recommend trying minibian though the last release appears to be from 2016 (Raspbian/Jessie).

BuildRoot is another thing to try. (locally building can take a while though)

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