Lightweight Linux distribution
A lightweight Linux distribution is a Linux distribution that uses relatively few resources. One of the biggest factors that determines the speed of the distribution is the window manager it uses. For example, Lubuntu (based on LXDE), which requires a minimum of 128 MB of RAM and a Pentium II processor, is a lightweight variant of Ubuntu (which uses Unity as a window manager), which requires a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. It should be noted that the window manager can be changed in most Linux distributions. Also, a same Linux distribution may have various versions, using different window managers with each version. Examples are Porteus (which comes in LXDE, Xfce and Mate versions), and Zenwalk (which comes in Xfce and Openbox versions).
Distributions described as lightweight
- Alpine Linux - A security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on musl and BusyBox. Mini download is 66 MB; base system (excluding kernel) is under 5 MB. Media download is 280MB for version 3.0.1.
- antiX - Lightweight version of its parent distribution MEPIS Linux, based on Debian testing. Core Install: 128 MB, Base approx 300 MB. Package Manager: Synaptic
- BasicLinux - A very lightweight distribution capable of running on an Intel 386 and 3 MB of RAM
- Bodhi Linux - A lightweight and minimalistic distribution, based on Ubuntu 12.04
- CrunchBang Linux - A relatively large (771 MB) Debian based distribution designed primarily for speed and ease of use.
- Damn Small Linux - Download 50 MB. Additional software available as "DSL Extensions" and using the Debian APT tool, which has to be installed. "Light enough to power a 486DX with 16 MB of RAM"
- Feather Linux - Lightweight Linux Distribution derived from Knoppix. Now dormant.
- LXLE - a lightweight distro based on Ubuntu, using the LXDE user interface
- Lubuntu - Lightweight in comparison to Ubuntu, it uses the LXDE desktop. Media download is 683MB.
- Nanolinux - 14 MB distribution based on Tiny Core Linux.
- Peppermint Linux OS - Download: 587 MB, based on Lubuntu
- Porteus - It weighs in at under 300 MB, making it a lightweight contender Comes with the LXDE and KDE desktops
- Puppy Linux - Lightweight relative to most other Linux distributions Download: 133MB. Package Manager: Synaptic (Lucid Puppy Ubuntu Compatible version)
- Semplice Linux lightweight, fast and simple, based on Debian Sid
- SliTaz - 35 MB distribution; Package Manager is Tazpkg with its repository of packages
- Tiny Core Linux - 15 MB distribution; Software repository: TCZ packages
- Trisquel Mini - Lightweight version of Trisquel with LXDE
- Zenwalk; a lightweight linux distribution based on Slackware
- Zenix; a Debian-based lightweight Linux distro, discontinued
Comparison of Lightweight Linux Distributions
|Distribution||Founder||Maintainer||Initial release year||Current stable version||Release date||Approximate file size||X window manager||Fork||Target audience||Cost|
|Alpine Linux||Alpine Linux Team||Alpine Linux Team||2006||3.0.5||2014-10-08||284 MB||?||-||network||Gratis|
|antiX||Anticapitalista||Anticapitalista||2007||13.2||2013-11-05||?||Fluxbox||Debian - MEPIS||old computers, portability (with persistence)||Gratis|
|Bodhi Linux||Bodhi Linux Team||Bodhi Linux Team||2011||2.4.0||2013-09-13||?||Enlightenment||Debian, Ubuntu||desktop||Gratis|
|CrunchBang Linux||Philip Newborough||Philip Newborough||2008||11||2013-05-06||?||?||Debian||desktop||Gratis|
|CRUX||Per Lidén||Core maintainers||2002||3.1||2014-07-16||333 MB||?||-||BSD/experienced users, lightweight||Gratis|
|Damn Small Linux||John Andrews||dev team||2003||4.4.10||2008-11-18||50 MB||?||Debian, Knoppix||portable, lightweight||Gratis|
|Porteus||Fanthom||Porteus||2010||3.0.1||2014||215 MB||?||Slackware||lightweight, portable(with persistence)||Gratis|
|Puppy Linux||Barry Kauler||Puppy Foundation||2003||5.7.1||2014||156 MB||?||-||portable, lightweight||Gratis|
|SliTaz GNU/Linux||Christophe Lincoln||dev team||2008||4||2012||35 MB||Openbox||-||portable, no persistence||Gratis|
|Tiny Core Linux||Robert Shingledecker||Team Tiny Core||2009||5.2||2014||15 MB||?||Tiny Core Linux||portable||Gratis|
|Trisquel GNU/Linux||Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam)||Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam)||2005||6.0.1||2014-04-01||?||?||Ubuntu LTS||Free software: desktop||Gratis|
|Zenwalk||Jean-Philippe Guillemin||dev team||2004||7.4||2014||?||Xfce||Slackware||general||Gratis|
|Distribution||Founder||Maintainer||Initial release year||Current stable version||Release date||Approx file size||X window manager||Fork||Target audience||Cost|
- Larabel, Michael. "Phoronix: Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce". Phoronix. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- RAM use of LXDE vs Xfce in Porteus again confirms that LXDE is about 1/2 of that of Xfce
- Lubuntu Developers (December 2010). "Lubuntu". Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- Behling, Mario (October 2010). "lubuntu 10.10 released". Retrieved 14 December 2010.[dead link]
- Canonical Ltd (October 2010). "Recommended Minimum System Requirements". Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- "Alpine Linux Wiki". Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- "Main Page - antiX". Antix.mepis.org. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Keesan, Sindhi (October 2009). "BL on CF IDE drive". Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- BasicLinux (n.d.). "BasicLinux". Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Nitesh. "Bodhi Linux is a Lightweight Linux Distribution". Ubuntu Vibes. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Justin Pot. "CrunchBang: A Lightweight OS Perfect For Old And New Computers Alike". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- Jim Lynch. "CrunchBang 11 Waldorf". Desktop Linux Reviews. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Moparx (April 2008). "SliTaz: A light-weight GNU/Linux distribution". Linux Infusion. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- Damn Small Linux (n.d.). "What is DSL?". Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "Feather Linux - Docs". Featherlinux.berlios.de. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- "Linux.com :: Feather Linux: Light is right". Archive09.linux.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- LXLE mentioned as lightweight
- LXLE requiring 512mb to 1gig of ram
- "Softpedia". Retrieved 25 January 2014.
- "Peppermint". peppermintos.com. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- Porteus (14 November 2010). "Why choose Porteus ? - IT IS PORTABLE". Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- Hell-Noire, Paul (July 2010). "Puppy Linux 5.0 Review - Lightweight, Fun, Fast!". Raymond. Retrieved 11 December 2010.[dead link]
- "Semplice Linux Web Site".
- Lynch, Jim (July 2009). "Tiny Core Linux 2.1". Desktop Linux Reviews. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- "Trisquel 5.0 Release announcement". The Trisquel Project. September 17, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- Zenix as a lightweight distro
- Linux with persistence