Light-weight Linux distribution

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Xubuntu is described by its developers as light-weight in comparison to Ubuntu

A light-weight Linux distribution is a Linux distribution that has lower memory and/or processor-speed requirements than a more "feature-rich" Linux distribution. The lower demands on hardware ideally result in a more responsive machine, and/or allow devices with fewer system resources (e.g. older or embedded hardware) to be used productively. The lower memory and/or processor-speed requirements are achieved by avoiding software bloat, i.e. by leaving out features that are perceived to have little or no practical use or advantage, or for which there is no or low demand.

The perceived weight of a Linux distribution is strongly influenced by the desktop environment included with that distribution.[1][2] Accordingly, many Linux distributions offer a choice of editions. For example, Canonical hosts several variants ("flavors") of the Ubuntu distribution that include desktop environments other than the default Unity or Gnome. These variants include the Xubuntu and Lubuntu distributions for the comparatively light-weight XFCE and LXDE desktop environments. Some distributions include only light-weight desktop environments. For example, Porteus comes only in LXDE, XFCE and MATE editions, while Zenwalk comes only with XFCE and Openbox.

The demands that a desktop environment places on a system may be seen in a comparison of the minimum requirement of Lubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 10.10 desktop editions. The only significant difference between these two distributions released in October 2010 was their desktop environment: While Ubuntu 10.10 included the Unity desktop, Lubuntu 10.10 included LXDE. And, while the minimum requirements of Ubuntu 10.10 were a 2 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM,[3] the minimum requirements for Lubuntu 10.10 were 128 MB of RAM and a Pentium II.[4]

Overview of some distributions[edit]


  • postmarketOS – a derivative of Alpine Linux designed primarily for smartphones
  • ArchBang – inspired by CrunchBang Linux but based on the Arch Linux distribution instead of Debian. It uses the light-weight Openbox Window Manager to achieve the same look and feel.[5][6]
  • DebianDog - Debian Live CD shaped after Puppy Linux. It is packaged with JWM and IceWM, or Openbox and XFCE. Debian structure and behaviour are untouched.[7][8]
  • DietPi - Debian-based light-weight system created originally for Raspberry Pi boards, but today it has got downloadable images for several ARM-based SBCs and x86 PCs as well[9]. Also includes an own setup utility[10] with choice to install popular optimized software.
  • Linux Console - A light-weight distribution (684 MB) with excellent hardware detection which features several games to appeal to kids. It was developed independently in France and not based on any other Linux distribution. [11][12]

Comparison[edit]

Distribution Minimum system requirements Desktop / Window manager Based on Package manager Image size Purpose Latest release year Maintainer Created Founder
Absolute Linux
  • 486 processor
  • 64 MB RAM (1GB+ suggested)[13][14]
iceWM Slackware 698 MB[15] Desktop 2018 Absolute Linux Team 2007 Absolute Linux Team
Alpine Linux awesome, MATE, Xfce[16] BusyBox, musl APK 8 MB (container), 130 MB (disk) Lightweight desktop, security[17] 2019 Alpine Linux development team 2010 LEAF Project members
antiX
  • Intel/AMD X86
  • 256 MB RAM[18]
IceWM, Fluxbox, JWM MEPIS < Debian Synaptic[19] 555 MB (Base), 654 MB (Full),
128 MB (Core)
Desktop, portability (with persistence)​[20] 2019 Anticapitalista 2007 Anticapitalista
BasicLinux [21][22] (†)
  • 386 CPU
  • 3 MB RAM[23]
JWM window manager BusyBox --Slackware 2.8 MB (floppy) Desktop 2005 (v3.5) 2000 Steven C. Darnold (NZ)
Bodhi Linux[24]
  • 500 MHz processor
  • 128 MB of RAM[25]
  • 4 GB of drive space
Moksha (a fixed E17) Ubuntu < Debian APT 575 MB (Standard),
1024 MB (AppPack)
Desktop 2018 Bodhi Linux team 2011 Bodhi Linux team
BunsenLabs Linux RAM (2019):

• 256 MB[26] to run X;
• 1 GB for Firefox;
• 2+ GB recommended

OpenBox Debian Stable Synaptic, APT, dpkg 674 MB (i386, no PAE)

1.1 Gb (i386, AMD64)[26]

LiveCD, LiveDVD, lightweight desktop 2019 Core maintainers 2015 Core maintainers
Damn Small Linux
  • CPU: 486dx
  • RAM: 8 MB[27]
Fluxbox, JWM - APT (optional)[28] 50 MB Desktop 2008 2005 John Andrews, et al.
CRUX OpenBox - 1773 MB BSD / experienced users, lightweight 2018 Core maintainers 2002 Per Lidén
GoboLinux
  • x86_64 processor
  • 128 MB RAM (1 GB+ suggested for full graphical use)[30]
Awesome - 958 MB[31] desktop 2017 GoboLinux team 2003 Hisham Muhammad and André Detsch
Knoppix
  • 486 CPU
  • 32 MB RAM (text)
  • 512 MB RAM (LXDE)
  • 1 GB RAM (recommended)[32]
LXDE - 701 MB Live 2019 2000 Klaus Knopper
Lightweight Portable Security iceWM ArchLinux 390 MB Secure live operating system 2017 United States Department of Defense 2011 United States Department of Defense
Linux Lite
  • RAM (2017):[33] 256 MB
  • 8 GByte disk space
XFCE Ubuntu APT 955 MB Desktop (Windows users) 2018 Jerry Bezencon 2013 Jerry Bezencon
Lubuntu
  • CPU: 386 or Pentium
  • RAM: 1 GB
LXDE Ubuntu APT 916 MB lightweight desktop 2018 Lubuntu team 2009 Lubuntu team
LXLE
  • CPU (2017): Pentium III
  • RAM (2017):[34] 512 MB
LXDE Ubuntu LTS APT 1300 MB older computers, intermediate users 2016 LXLE team 2012 Ronnie
MX Linux[35]
  • CPU: 486
  • RAM (2016):[36] 512 MB
Xfce 4 antiX < MEPIS < Debian APT 1024 MB Midweight Desktop 2018 MEPIS community 2014 anticapitalista
Nanolinux
  • CPU: 486
  • RAM (2017):[37] 64 MB
SLWM on Nano-X Tiny Core Linux;[38] MicroCore Linux with BusyBox. 19 MB Lightweight, Runs on RAM, advanced 2015 Georg Potthast - Georg Potthast
OpenWrt
  • CPU: x86 and over 50 router platforms
  • RAM (2018):[39] 32 MB (64 MB recommended)
None (headless server) - Includes LuCI admin UI[40] - opkg 6 MB SOHO Routers 2019 OpenWrt developers 2004
PCLinuxOS
  • CPU: 64-bit (from 2016)
  • RAM (2017): 512 MB[41]
KDE, LXDE, MATE Mandrake 833 MB (LXDE)[42] Live 2019 Bill Reynolds 2003 Bill Reynolds
Peppermint Linux OS
  • x86 processor
  • 512 MB RAM (v6, 2015);
    2 GB recommended[43]
LXDE Lubuntu APT 1332 MB desktop 2017 Peppermint, LLC 2010 Peppermint, LLC
Porteus
  • 32 bit CPU
  • 36 MB RAM[44]
(multiple) Slackware 260 MB (LxQt) lightweight, portable (with persistence)[20] 2018 Porteus 2010 Fanthom
Puppy Linux
  • RAM (2017):[45] 256 MB
JWM-2.3.2 - PPM (Puppy Package Manager) 234 MB (Slacko)[46] portable (with persistence),[20] lightweight[47] 2018 Puppy Foundation 2003 Barry Kauler
Salix OS MATE, KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox Slackware 613 MB (Fluxbox), 852 MB (MATE live)[48] desktop 2016 Tomas Matejicek 2002 Tomas Matejicek
Slax
  • RAM (2017):[49] 128 MB without web browser
KDE till Slax 8
Fluxbox since Slax 9
Slaskware till Slax 8
Debian from Slax 9
226 MB[50] portable 2019 Tomas Matejicek 2002 Tomas Matejicek
SliTaz
  • RAM (2017):[51] 24 MB (loram-cdrom), 128 MB (loram)
Openbox - Tazpkg 50 MB Portable. Live (no persistence by default)[52] 2018 dev team 2008 Christophe Lincoln
Tiny Core Linux
  • CPU: 486DX
  • RAM: 46 MB[53]
FLTK/FLWM Tiny Core Linux 11 MB (Core), 16 MB (TinyCore), 106 MB (CorePlus) portable, advanced 2019 Tiny Core team 2009 Robert Shingledecker
Trisquel Mini
  • Pentium II CPU
  • 256 MB RAM[54]
LXDE Ubuntu LTS APT 609 MB Free software: desktop 2019 Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam) 2005 Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam)
TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library
  • RAM (2017):[55] 256 MB
None (headless server) - Includes Webmin admin UI Debian (a minified base)[56] 212 MB (Core) Lightweight headless server[57] 2019 TurnKey Linux team 2008 Alon Swartz, Liraz Siri
VectorLinux Light
  • RAM: 64 MB (Light edition), 96 MB (Standard edition), 256 MB (Live edition)[58]
Several / IceWM Slackware 618 MB Desktop 2017 - 2001 -
Void Linux
  • Pentium 4 (SSE2) or ARMv6
  • 96 MB RAM
  • 350MB hard drive[59]
Enlightenment, Cinnamon, LXDE, LxQt, MATE, XFCE, or none[60] - XBPS 250 MB (i686, without desktop environment) Desktop/​embedded 2018 Juan RP and contributors 2008 Juan Romero Pardines
Xubuntu
  • RAM (2017): 512 MB[61]
Xfce Ubuntu APT 960 MB lightweight desktop 2019 Xubuntu team 2008 Xubuntu team
Zenwalk Xfce Slackware 974 MB desktop 2018 development team 2004 Jean-Philippe Guillemin
Distribution Minimum system requirements Desktop / Window manager Based on Package manager Image size Purpose Latest release year Maintainer Created Founder

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  17. ^ "About". alpinelinux.org. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
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  19. ^ "Main Page – antiX". antix.mepis.org. 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
  20. ^ a b c "What is Persistent Linux". pendrivelinux.com.
  21. ^ Keesan, Sindhi (October 2009). "BL on CF IDE drive". Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
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  23. ^ "BasicLinux". distro.ibiblio.org.
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  35. ^ "MX Linux". mepiscommunity.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22.
  36. ^ "MX Linux Users Manual". mxlinux.org. 2016.
  37. ^ "Home". Nanolinux Wiki. SourceForge. 2017.
  38. ^ "Nanolinux". Linux Distributions. Softpedia. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  39. ^ "OpenWrt Buyer's guide". OpenWrt. 2018.
  40. ^ "Luci". user guide. OpenWrt.
  41. ^ "About PCLinuxOS". PCLinuxOS. 2017.
  42. ^ "Index of /communityiso/LXDE". communityiso.pclosusers.com.
  43. ^ "1. Download and Install". Peppermint, LLC. 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  44. ^ "Features - Porteus - Portable Linux". Porteus. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  45. ^ "Minimum System Requirements". Puppy Linux. 2017.
  46. ^ "Index of /puppylinux/puppy-slacko-6.3.0/64/". distro.ibiblio.org. Ibiblio.
  47. ^ Hell-Noire, Paul (July 2010). "Puppy Linux 5.0 Review - Lightweight, Fun, Fast!". raymond.cc. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  48. ^ "Salix Downloads". Salix OS.
  49. ^ "Introduction - Slax Linux". Slax. 2017.
  50. ^ M, Tomas. "Download - Slax Linux". Slax.org.
  51. ^ Lincoln, Christophe (2017). "SliTaz LiveCD Flavors". SliTaz.
  52. ^ persistence can be added rather easily, though
  53. ^ "Tiny Core Linux Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)". Tiny Core Linux. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
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  58. ^ "VectorLinux Editions". VectorLinux.
  59. ^ "Live Images". Void Linux Wiki. Void Linux.
  60. ^ "Enter the void - Downloads". Void Linux.
  61. ^ "System Requirements". Xubuntu.

External links[edit]