Lightweight Linux distribution

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Lubuntu is described by its developers as lightweight in comparison to Ubuntu

A lightweight Linux distribution is a Linux distribution that uses relatively few resources, which may result in performance improvements especially on old computers with slower CPUs and less RAM.

One big factor that determines the resource usage and speed of a desktop distribution is the desktop environment it uses.[1][2] For example, version 10.10 of Lubuntu uses the LXDE desktop and requires a minimum of 128 MB of RAM and a Pentium II processor, though the Lubuntu project recommends 256 MB - 384 MB for a usable system, and at least 512 MB for optimal performance;[3] it is a lightweight variant of Ubuntu that, in comparison, uses Unity as a desktop environment and requires a 2 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM.[4] The desktop environment can be changed in most Linux distributions, and the same Linux distribution may also have various versions with different desktop environments; examples are Porteus, which comes in LXDE, Xfce and Mate versions, and Zenwalk, which comes in Xfce and Openbox versions.

Overview of distributions[edit]

  • Alpine Linux – a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution (307 MB) based on musl and BusyBox.[5] Mini download is 66 MB; base system (excluding kernel) is under 5 MB. Media download is 308 MB for version 3.1.3.
  • Absolute Linux – a lightweight desktop-oriented distribution based on Slackware
  • antiX – lightweight version (690 MB) of its parent distribution MEPIS Linux, based on Debian testing. Core install: 128 MB, Base approx. 300 MB. Package manager: Synaptic[6]
  • ArchBang – inspired by CrunchBang Linux but based on the Arch Linux distribution instead of Debian. It uses the lightweight Openbox Window Manager to achieve the same look and feel.[7][8]
  • BasicLinux – a very lightweight distribution (2.8 MB apparently) capable of running on an Intel 386 and 3 MB of RAM[9][10]
  • Bodhi Linux – a lightweight and minimalistic distribution[11]
  • BunsenLabs Linux - A successor to CrunchBang Linux running based on Debian.
  • Chrome OS - ?
  • CoreOS – a lightweight system (2×1 GB) than runs containers and provides cluster management capabilities
  • CrunchBang Linux – No longer in development; succeeded by BunsenLabs.[12] A relatively large (771 MB) Debian based distribution designed primarily for speed and ease of use.[13][14]
  • CrunchbangPlusPlus - ?
  • 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"[15][16]
  • 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
  • Elive – a lightweight and complete distribution that can run in 64 MB of RAM and 100 MHz of CPU, based on Debian and using a customized Enlightenment as only Desktop environment
  • Feather Linux – a lightweight Linux distribution (under 128 MB) derived from Knoppix. Now dormant.[17][18]
  • GoboLinux - a distribution with a unique modular filesystem structure; lightweight on resources, it uses the Awesome tiling window manager by default, does not use systemd or a daemon-based network manager.
  • LinuxBBQ – a very lightweight (291.5 MB) and resource-friendly distribution based on Debian Sid with TUI productivity applications.[19]
  • Lightweight Portable Security – a lightweight live desktop-oriented distribution based on Arch Linux
  • Linux Lite – A lightweight distribution with the XFCE desktop environment designed with new Linux users in mind.[20]
  • Lubuntu – lightweight (705 MB) in comparison to Ubuntu, it uses the LXDE desktop.[21]
  • LXLE – a full featured OS (apps preinstalled) for older hardware, using minimal resources, respun from Lubuntu. Media download, approx 1.3G.
  • Modern X[22] - a full featured system based on openSUSE Leap. Lightweight compared to openSUSE itself and other Linux distributions. Less than 1 Gigabyte Live CD/DVD
  • MX Linux - ?
  • Nanolinux – a 14 MB distribution based on Tiny Core Linux.[23]
  • Parabola GNU/Linux-libre - ?
  • Peppermint Linux OS – download: 587 MB, based on Lubuntu[24]
  • Porteus – it weighs in at under 300 MB, making it a lightweight contender[25] Comes with the LXDE and KDE desktops
  • Puppy Linux – lightweight relative to most other Linux distributions[26] Download: 133−162 MB. Package Manager: Puppy Package Manager (PPM)
  • Salix OS - ?
  • Slax - ?
  • SliTaz GNU/Linux – 35−42 MB distribution; Package Manager is Tazpkg with its repository of packages[15]
  • Tiny Core Linux – (9, 15 or 72 MB) distribution; Software repository: TCZ packages[27]
  • Trisquel Mini – lightweight version (603 MB) of Trisquel with LXDE[28]
  • TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library - lightweight[29] headless server software appliance library. Based on a minified Debian base. v14.1 Core ISO is 212MB[30] and uses ~173MB RAM (idle in Live mode).
  • VectorLinux Light - ?
  • wattOS - ?
  • Xubuntu – lightweight (980 MB) in comparison to Ubuntu. It uses the XFCE desktop.
  • Zenwalk – a lightweight linux distribution (845 MB) based on Slackware[citation needed]

Comparison[edit]

Distribution Founder Maintainer Initial release year Latest release year Approximate file size X window manager Fork Target audience Minimum System Requirements
Absolute Linux Absolute Linux Team Absolute Linux Team 2007 2015 698 MB[31] iceWM - desktop
  • 486 processor
  • 64MB RAM (1GB+ suggested)[32][33]
antiX Anticapitalista Anticapitalista 2007 2016 555 MB (Base), 654 MB (Full) Fluxbox MEPIS < Debian old computers, portability (with persistence[34])
  • Intel/AMD X86
  • 256 MB RAM[35]
ArchBang Willensky Aristide Stan McLaren 2010 2016 564 MB OpenBox Arch Linux desktop, advanced ?
Arch Linux - - 2002 2016 709 MB - Linux Desktop, Advanced ?
BasicLinux[36][37]  ?  ?  ? 2007 2.8 MB IceWM (optional)  ? old PC hardware
  • 386 processor
  • 3–12MB RAM
Bodhi Linux Bodhi Linux Team Bodhi Linux Team 2011 2017 575 MB (Standard), 1024 MB (AppPack) Moksha (a fixed E17) Ubuntu < Debian Desktop
  • 500mhz processor
  • 128MB of RAM [38]
  • 4GB of drive space
BunsenLabs Linux Core Maintainers Core Maintainers 2015 2016 825 MB OpenBox CrunchBang < Debian Desktop ?
CrunchBangPlusPlus[39] Ben Young Ben Young 2015 2015 686 MB OpenBox CrunchBang < Debian Desktop ?
Damn Small Linux John Andrews, et al. 2005 2008 50 MB Fluxbox, JWM - old PC hardware, Lightweight
  • 486dx CPU
  • 8MB RAM[40]
CRUX Per Lidén Core maintainers 2002 2015 1773 MB OpenBox - BSD/experienced users, Lightweight ?
DebianDog[41][42] Toni DebianDog Team 2013[43] 2015 160 MB[44] JWM-iceWM, OpenBox-XFCE Debian Live ?
Elive Thanatermesis Thanatermesis 2005 2010 (stable),[45] 2016 (beta)[46] 700 MB Enlightenment[47] Debian Desktop ?
Feather Linux Robert Sullivan Robert Sullivan 2003 2005 128 MB Fluxbox Knoppix desktop, rescue
  • 486 CPU
  • 16MB (console) / 32 MB (X server) RAM
GoboLinux Hisham Muhammad and André Detsch GoboLinux Team 2003 2016 958 MB[48] Awesome - desktop
  • x86_64 processor
  • 128MB RAM (1GB+ suggested for full graphical use)[49]
Knoppix 2012 (CD) 701 MB Live
  • 486 CPU
  • 32MB RAM
LinuxBBQ Julius Hader BBQ team 2013 2016 285 MB several (>75) Debian, Slackware bloat-free, advanced ?
Lightweight Portable Security United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense 2011 2016 390 MB iceWM ArchLinux secure live operating system ?
Linux Lite Jerry Bezencon Jerry Bezencon 2013 2016 955 MB XFCE Ubuntu Windows users ?
Lubuntu Lubuntu team Lubuntu team 2009 2016 744 MB LXDE, Openbox Ubuntu lightweight desktop
  • Pentium II CPU
  • 256MB RAM[50]
LXLE Ronnie LXLE team 2012 2016 1300 MB LXDE Ubuntu LTS older computers, intermediate users
  • Pentium III CPU
  • 512MB RAM
Modern X[22] Modern Software Modern Software 2016 2016 <1 Gigabyte GNOME (1.0-1.3) openSUSE 42.1 Leap New Users,

Mac and Windows Users

  • 64 bit 1.0 GHz CPU
  • 256MB RAM[51]
MX Linux[52] anticapitalista MEPIS Community - 2016 1024 MB Xfce 4 antiX < MEPIS < Debian Midweight Desktop ?
Nanolinux Georg Potthast Georg Potthast - 2015 19 MB SLWM on Nano-X MicroCore Linux with BusyBox Lightweight, Runs on RAM, advanced ?
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Parabola Hackers Parabola Hackers 2009 2016 642.8 MB needs to be installed Arch Linux desktop, advanced ?
PCLinuxOS Bill Reynolds Bill Reynolds 2003 2015 833 MB (LXDE)[53] KDE, LXDE, MATE Mandrake - ?
Peppermint Linux OS Peppermint, LLC Peppermint, LLC 2010 2016 700 MB LXDE - desktop
  • x86 processor
  • 512MB RAM (1GB recommended)[54]
Porteus Fanthom Porteus 2010 2014 260 MB (LxQt) (multiple) Slackware lightweight, portable (with persistence[34])
  • 32 bit CPU
  • 36MB RAM[55]
Puppy Linux Barry Kauler Puppy Foundation 2003 2015 234 MB (Slacko)[56] JWM-2.3.2 - portable, lightweight ?
Salix OS Tomas Matejicek Tomas Matejicek 2002 2013 613 MB (Fluxbox) / 852 MB (MATE live)[57] MATE, KDE, Xfce, Fluxbox, Openbox Slackware desktop ?
Slax Tomas Matejicek Tomas Matejicek 2002 2013 226 MB[58] KDE Slackware portable ?
SliTaz GNU/Linux Christophe Lincoln dev team 2008 2012 35 MB Openbox - portable, no persistence by default[59] ?
Tiny Core Linux Robert Shingledecker Team Tiny Core 2009 2016 16 MB FLTK/FLWM Tiny Core Linux portable, advanced
  • 486dx CPU
  • 46MB RAM[60]
Trisquel Mini Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam) Rubén Rodríguez Pérez (quidam) 2005 2014 609 MB LXDE Ubuntu LTS Free software: desktop ?
TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library Alon Swartz, Liraz Siri TurnKey Linux Team 2008 2016 212 MB (Core) None (headless server) - Includes Webmin admin UI Debian Server - novice to expert users ?
VectorLinux Light - - - 2016 618 MB IceWM - Desktop ?
wattOS  ?  ? 2010 2016 627MB(i3), 687MB(LXDE) i3, LXDE[61] Ubuntu desktop ?
Xubuntu Xubuntu team Xubuntu team 2008 2016 960 MB Xfce Ubuntu lightweight desktop ?
Zenwalk Jean-Philippe Guillemin dev team 2004 2015 974 MB Xfce Slackware desktop ?
ZorinOS[62] - - 2004 2015 1024 MB (lite)[63] - Ubuntu full-featured desktop ?
Distribution Founder Maintainer Initial release year Latest release year Approx file size X window manager Fork Target audience Minimum System Requirements

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Larabel, Michael. "Phoronix: Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce". Phoronix. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Features - Porteus - Portable Linux". 
  3. ^ "Lubuntu - Community Help Wiki". help.ubuntu.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "Download Ubuntu Desktop | Download | Ubuntu". www.ubuntu.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Alpine Linux Wiki". Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  6. ^ "Main Page – antiX". Antix.mepis.org. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  7. ^ Rob Zwetsloot. "ArchBang Linux 2012.12 Review – Lightweight Arch". LinuxUser. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. ^ Justin Pot. "ArchBang Is Lightweight & Always Up To Date". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  9. ^ Keesan, Sindhi (October 2009). "BL on CF IDE drive". Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  10. ^ BasicLinux (n.d.). "BasicLinux". Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Nitesh. "Bodhi Linux is a Lightweight Linux Distribution". Ubuntu Vibes. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  12. ^ "FOSS Hits & Misses on a Monday Morning". Linux Today. Retrieved 2015-10-25. 
  13. ^ Justin Pot. "CrunchBang: A Lightweight OS Perfect For Old And New Computers Alike". MakeUseOf. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  14. ^ Jim Lynch. "CrunchBang 11 Waldorf". Desktop Linux Reviews. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  15. ^ a b Moparx (April 2008). "SliTaz: A light-weight GNU/Linux distribution". Linux Infusion. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Damn Small Linux (n.d.). "What is DSL?". Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "Feather Linux - Docs". Featherlinux.berlios.de. Archived from the original on 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  18. ^ "Linux.com :: Feather Linux: Light is right". Archive09.linux.com. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  19. ^ Julius Hader. "BBQ Philosophy". Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  20. ^ Cite error: The named reference Linux_Lite was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ Lubuntu Developers (December 2010). "Lubuntu". Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "Modern X Website". Modern X Website. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  23. ^ "Softpedia". Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Peppermint". peppermintos.com. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  25. ^ Porteus (14 November 2010). "Why choose Porteus ? - IT IS PORTABLE". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  26. ^ Hell-Noire, Paul (July 2010). "Puppy Linux 5.0 Review - Lightweight, Fun, Fast!". Raymond. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  27. ^ Lynch, Jim (July 2009). "Tiny Core Linux 2.1". Desktop Linux Reviews. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "Trisquel 5.0 Release announcement". The Trisquel Project. September 17, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  29. ^ "TurnKey Linux 13 Has Been Released!". Unixmen. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  30. ^ "TurnKey Core - Debian GNU/Linux with Batteries Included". TurnKey Linux. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  31. ^ "absolute linux home page". 
  32. ^ "absolute linux home page". www.absolutelinux.org. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  33. ^ "The Slackware Linux Project: Installation Help". www.slackware.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  34. ^ a b "What is Persistent Linux". 
  35. ^ "Main Page - antiX". antix.mepis.org. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  36. ^ "BasicLinux". Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  37. ^ "BasicLinux". Softpedia. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  38. ^ "System Requirements". Bodhi Linux. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  39. ^ "#!++ - Crunchbangplusplus". 
  40. ^ "Minimum Hardware Requirements - DSL Wiki". damnsmalllinux.org. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  41. ^ "PuppyLinux: DebianDog". puppylinux.org. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  42. ^ DebianDog
  43. ^ "Puppy Linux Discussion Forum :: View topic - DebianDog - Squeeze". murga-linux.com. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  44. ^ "DebianDog Jessie". debiandog.github.io. Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  45. ^ "The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the Stable version 2.0 Codename Topaz.". Elive Linux. March 10, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Elive 2.7.8 beta released". Elive Linux. October 14, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  47. ^ Germain, Jack M. (May 16, 2014). "Enlightenment Linux: It's Not What You Think". LinuxInsider. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  48. ^ "GoboLinux download page". 
  49. ^ "GoboLinux 016 Release Notes". www.gobolinux.org. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  50. ^ "Lubuntu - Ubuntu Wiki". wiki.ubuntu.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  51. ^ "Modern X – SUSE Gallery". susestudio.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  52. ^ "MX Linux". Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. 
  53. ^ "Index of /communityiso/LXDE". 
  54. ^ "1. Download and Install". Peppermint, LLC. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Features - Porteus - Portable Linux". www.porteus.org. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  56. ^ "Index of /puppylinux/puppy-slacko-6.3.0/64/". 
  57. ^ "Salix Downloads". 
  58. ^ Tomas M. "Download - Slax Linux". 
  59. ^ persistence can be added rather easily though
  60. ^ "Tiny Core Linux Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)". www.tinycorelinux.net. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  61. ^ "FAQ". wattOS Linux. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  62. ^ "Zorin OS - Home". 
  63. ^ "Zorin OS - Download". 

External links[edit]

Memory usage comparisons: distros, DEs, apps