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Lightweight Linux distros

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Lightweight Linux distros
« on: July 04, 2017, 04:39:15 PM »
 

thra

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Just finished writing a list of the best lightweight Linux distros and we included Linux Lite in the list (of course)

Any feedback? Other recommendations? Please let us know if there's anything we need to update.
 


Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 08:01:42 PM »
 

Coastie

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I have tried each of the following at least on live DVD or for a few weeks.

Lubuntu: boring DE
LXLE Based on Lubuntu: see above
 Peppermint based on Lubuntu: see above

PCLinuxOS: Semi-Rolling is why I tried it. XFCE is only a community release not official. Not based on Ubuntu or Debian so not for me.  Also seems "out dated."

 Manjaro Linux Xfce Edition: Tried several times because it is rolling. Always had updating problems requiring use of terminal to fix each time so not beginner friendly. Not worth the hassle. If I wanted to use the terminal that much I would have stayed with DOS.

 Linux Mint: XFCE is official version but kinda the "step-child." Forum too big and not as friendly as Linux Lite's

 Zorin OS Lite:  Custom DE is biggest complaint. I want to learn a DE which is in common use. Preferably XFCE
 Bodhi Linux: See above

Ubuntu Mate: Best official version of Ubuntu but prefer XFCE
Xubuntu: no forum of its own - just lost in Ubuntu forum

MX Linux: best Debian based distro for new users and those who want Debian that is easy to use

SolydX is a nice distro but still no automatic partitioning to install so not very beginner friendly. Small community and has had to cut back on versions so not sure how long it will be around.

Solus interesting Independent distro but uses its own repos and does not offer or plan to offer XFCE DE.

I have test driven other distros with KDE, Gnome, Budge, Unity, etc. DEs, but much prefer XFCE with Mate as a distance second.

Linux Lite: Agree it is great for Windows users and aims for them. Also great for any Linux user who want "Simple, Fast, Free" and a great friendly forum.  :)


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Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 08:21:25 PM »
 

Artim

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I flirted with SalixOS for a long while.  Xfce desktop, ultralight, rock-stable (it has Slackware's legendary stability - like Debian "Old Stable" but with up-to-date applications), Slackware "for Lazy Slackers."  User friendly (but not for Linux novices) and systemd-free.

Another great lightweight is LXLE.  It's built from Lubuntu but with lots of extras that don't add much weight, but make it spectacularly gorgeous and intuitive.  Using the LXDE desktop environment, LXLE is a bit less resource-hungry than most of it's Xfce counterparts and comes with a good selection of lightweight applications (like Seamonkey instead of the bloated Firefox / Thunderbird combination of most distros.  But LibreOffice instead of the ultralight alternatives like Abiword and Gnumeric.  The big issue with LXLE is all those extra PPAs added.  It exponentially multiplies the risk of the "broken after update" scenarios common to Ubuntu-based distros.  By default includes some cool tools, though, like some of stuff Ralphy offers in his repo for Linux Lite.

I'm glad Linux Lite made the list!  I was surprised to see PCLinuxOS there, because the standard KDE edition can't really be called "lite."  But the mini-Xfce version of PCLinuxOS rivals Linux Lite and it comes with only enough to make it run, then you choose your own applications to make it your own custom mixture.  It also comes in an ultra-light Enlightenment flavor with is fast enough to break the warp barrier. 
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 08:26:44 PM »
 

Artim

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PCLinuxOS: Semi-Rolling is why I tried it. XFCE is only a community release not official. Not based on Ubuntu or Debian so not for me.  Also seems "out dated."

The community editions of PCLinuxOS are official, just developed for each DE (now including Lumina and Trinity) by members of the community and approved for the PCLinuxOS name and repositories.  Outdated??  It's rolling-release, and my copy has quite up-to-date software.
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 09:20:58 PM »
 

Coastie

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...  Outdated??  It's rolling-release, and my copy has quite up-to-date software.

I know. It is just something about it. I could not think of a better word than "outdated." :-\   Maybe it is because I am use to Ubuntu and Debian based distros.


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Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2017, 03:27:00 AM »
 

m654321

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...  Outdated??  It's rolling-release, and my copy has quite up-to-date software.

I know. It is just something about it. I could not think of a better word than "outdated." :-\   Maybe it is because I am use to Ubuntu and Debian based distros.

Review of PCLinuxOS (a.k.a PCLOS) ...

I can only comment on the Xfce version - I have no experience of the other desktops for this OS.

I think what you mean Coastie, is the look of the desktop environment - a bit old-fashioned - the icons maybe don't look as polished as other distros and, if I remember correctly, it only comes with the one wallpaper or an extremely limited range.  PCLOS is a semi-rolling release - everything is updated 'for ever', except new stable versions of the kernel, though you will of course get updates within a kernel release, as you do with LL.  With a rolling release (e.g. Manjaro), the kernel is updated automatically to the more recent stable versions. I found installing a newer kernel straightforward for PCLOS,  using the Synaptic Package Manager.

A major difference, compared with other recent distro releases, is that PCLOS comes without  'system d'  pre-packaged, which can make it a bit 'old-fashioned' for some.  However, this appeared a good thing for my single-core 10" Samsung netbook (setup [2] in sig), which slowed down significantly when I went from LL2.8 to LL3, which I put down to 'system d', as this feature was introduced in the LL3 series..  That said, I don't think 'system d' is the whole story for the slowdown on low-powered PCs, as Manjaro 17 (Xfce)  seems runs like a dream on this single-core netbook, despite 'system d' being present, e.g. only 25 seconds boot-up time (compared to 50 seconds or longer for PCLOS & other distros) and it runs very snappily with all the apps on it (though needed to swap the laggy firefox browser for the faster chromium one).

Maybe a bit old-fashioned in looks, but PCLOS (Xfce) is excellent - runs fast & very smooth - even on my single-core Samsung netbook.  Also comes pre-packaged with loads of apps. Always up-to-date, and officially  fully-supported by the PCLOS repositories, with always  the latest stable software & kernel releases available.  It is the only distro (along with Manjaro [Xfce]) that would plug & play with our Samsung TV display, without having to fiddle around with video settings - I put this down to both distros coming pre-packaged with the latest kernel release (at the time this was kernel  4.6, now 4.9).  However, I gave up using this distro on setup(1) below in sig - noone on the PCLOS forum seemed to know  how to install nVidia Optimus (no help-manual available for this either) to enable me to switch between the nVidia & Intel graphics card. In fact, I gave up trying to get the nVidia driver alone to work.  With only the Intel driver working, I was unable to play the latest edition of my favourite game (Supertuxkart), and so ditched PCLOS on this setup.  I found the Ubuntu-based command line 'apt-get install nvidia-prime nvidia-361-updates nvidia-settings' did not work in PCLOS (for installing Optimus), as well as some other terminal commands that seem to be Ubuntu-specific.

I never had any problems with PCLOS: just a slightly abrasive and slightly closed-world view (in isolated pockets) amongst their forum community, which made my visit there a bit uncomfortable on occasion, e.g. I was berated and subjected to a monologue on the 'dos and donts' for mentioning another distro (i.e. Ubuntu & its derivatives) and making comparisons (not unfavourable ones, I should add) with PCLOS, amongst other things.  I should mention though that the experience was only down  to two or three impolite individuals who had a 'bee in their bonnet' - the vast majority at the PCLOS forum seemed really decent & helpful folk, but it's amazing how the behaviour of just one or two can spoil the entire experience - it's one of the reasons I changed to Manjaro on setup(2) below. As with LL, Manjaro have a great forum community who always seem to be able to quickly rescue me from whatever I'm stuck on ...

Every-now-and-then, with PCLOS,  you'll get a security check scan (diff check), with a pair of notifications flashing up on your display that it's in progress. The diff check is reassuring (though have no idea how effective it is or what it does exactly - I assume it some sort of malware checker), though the notifications popping up can be distracting in the middle of a video or TV programme, though there's probably a setting you can adjust to turn this off.

I found my learning curve with LL really helped for PCLOS, e.g. the knowledge I gained with the use of terminal commands, Synaptic Package Manager, familiarity with the Xfce layout, etc.  Even though it's not Ubuntu-based, it still uses  commands in the terminal in combination with apt-get (e.g. update, upgrade, dist-upgrade, install, etc), as well as  a wide range of  other Linux commands I used with LL. However, they don't use sudo - instead you type su, then enter your password.

So anyway, that's my personal experience of PCLOS -  very positive as an OS on low-powered equipment, as long as you don't have an nVidia graphics card or dual-graphics card setup !

I hope the above is of some use to someone ...

Regards
Mike
Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 01:49:28 AM by m654321
64bit OS (32-bit on Samsung netbook) installed in Legacy mode on MBR-formatted SSDs (except pi which uses a micro SDHC card):
2017 - Raspberry pi 3B (4cores) ~ Arm710@1.2GHz - LibreElec, used for upgrading our Samsung TV (excellent for the task)  
2012 - Lenovo G580 2689 (2cores; 4threads] ~ i3-3110M@2.4GHz - LL3.8/Win8.1 dual-boot (LL working smoothly)
2011 - Samsung NP-N145 Plus (1core; 2threads) ~ Intel Atom N455@1.66GHz - LL 3.8 32-bit (64-bit too 'laggy')
2008 - Asus X71Q (2cores) ~ Intel T3200@2.0GHz - LL4.6/Win8.1 dual-boot, LL works fine with kernel 4.15
2007 - Dell Latitude D630 (2cores) ~ Intel T7100@1.8GHz - LL4.6, works well with kernel 4.4; 4.15 doesn't work
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2017, 07:59:41 AM »
 

bitsnpcs

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Linux Lite can also be burned to a dvd to use as a Live disc to see/try it, and then this can later be used for installing LL.

 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 08:37:14 AM »
 

Jocklad

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Will Linux Lite still fit on cd.....?


Cant remember the last time I burned an ISO to disk.


Always use usb.


Jocklad.
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 10:03:44 AM »
 

m654321

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Will Linux Lite still fit on cd.....?
Cant remember the last time I burned an ISO to disk.
Always use usb.
Jocklad.

It's a while ago now that LL (64-bit) was small enough for a CD ...

LL1.08 729.8MB
LL2.2   773.8MB
LL2.4   794.8MB
LL2.6   817.9MB
LL2.8   846.2MB
LL3.0, 3.2, 3.4  all 1GB

linux-lite-3.2-uefitest1a   1.1GB
 
Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 01:50:07 AM by m654321
64bit OS (32-bit on Samsung netbook) installed in Legacy mode on MBR-formatted SSDs (except pi which uses a micro SDHC card):
2017 - Raspberry pi 3B (4cores) ~ Arm710@1.2GHz - LibreElec, used for upgrading our Samsung TV (excellent for the task)  
2012 - Lenovo G580 2689 (2cores; 4threads] ~ i3-3110M@2.4GHz - LL3.8/Win8.1 dual-boot (LL working smoothly)
2011 - Samsung NP-N145 Plus (1core; 2threads) ~ Intel Atom N455@1.66GHz - LL 3.8 32-bit (64-bit too 'laggy')
2008 - Asus X71Q (2cores) ~ Intel T3200@2.0GHz - LL4.6/Win8.1 dual-boot, LL works fine with kernel 4.15
2007 - Dell Latitude D630 (2cores) ~ Intel T7100@1.8GHz - LL4.6, works well with kernel 4.4; 4.15 doesn't work
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 10:06:49 AM »
 

bitsnpcs

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You will be okay with dvd, it's 4.7GB.
I burn LL to dvd it is an easier process, and the discs are much cheaper than the usb sticks.
I have done sometimes to usb (LL 3.2), and also backup iso to usb.

Where one place I do go, the computers have zero usb ports, they will take a dvd (not rewritable) scan it then you can use the disk. One part of the other room is no desktops visible only monitors, kb and mouse.

The portable hard drive with boot for the distro, as well as having a partition for dumping/drag drop files separate from the distro would be ideal for carrying each day as its more space on the drive, it's what I'll try to do eventually.
Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 11:12:15 AM by bitsnpcs
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 01:36:09 PM »
 

Jocklad

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Had a spare drive and successfully installed Archlinux last night.


When you do Arch you really appreciate how easy it is to install Linux lite.


Another rung climbed on the learning ladder. ;D
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 03:00:54 PM »
 

elelme

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Sadly, I had to change my lesser machine from Linux Lite to PCLinuxOS. My newer machine is
happily Linux Lite, but with the continuous updating from Canonical and my obsession to maintain
a current live ISO with user data for insurance-- well, I was wearing this old man out and spending
hours online with no fun. Maybe this way I can manage to actually read this forum and my emails
and newspages, and still be able to get out of my computer chair with less pain. Make no mistake,
I love Linux Lite as it is, a clever and quick and stable Operating System on my newer desktop.


 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 04:51:36 PM »
 

Coastie

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... I think what you mean Coastie, is the look of the desktop environment - a bit old-fashioned - ...

Yes, that is a better way to say it.


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Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 06:26:59 PM »
 

Artim

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Sadly, I had to change my lesser machine from Linux Lite to PCLinuxOS. My newer machine is
happily Linux Lite, but with the continuous updating from Canonical and my obsession to maintain
a current live ISO with user data for insurance-- well, I was wearing this old man out and spending
hours online with no fun.

The Xfce-mini does fit on a CD.  It's not "sad" that you installed another distro that meets the need, though.  This is Linux, it's all good!  I remain a fan of both distros, and a few I don't even use anymore - but I'm no less a fan of Salix, Mint (Xfce), MX, AntiX, and even a homemade Openbox mixture reminiscent of Crunchbang Linux.
 

Re: Lightweight Linux distros
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2017, 05:54:35 AM »
 

m654321

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Review of Linux Mint - Xfce / Cinnamon versions

Curiosity got the better of me with this distro - it was always at the "number one" position in the Distrowatch rankings, so it has to be good - doesn't it?  So, I just had to try ..

POSITIVES
  • a very polished & professional-looking OS, nice sharp graphics, lovely wallpapers
  • recognised nVidia & Intel graphics cards in setup[1], in footer below) -  Optimus with its dual graphics card switcher was easy to install using the terminal
  • impressed by hardware compatibility, e.g. LM instantly recognised the two pairs of Fn keys that control backlight brightness for both the keyboard (F3+F4) and the display (F5+F6), with out the need to edit the file /etc/default/grub file
  • comes prepackaged with most, if not all, of the software you'll need   
  • a large archive of information from their forum community
NEGATIVES
  • I found the size of their forum community a bit overwhelming - you never really got to know anyone
  • the kernel is not updated automatically within a kernel release, as it is with LL & other distros - it more or less states that kernel updating is done at the user's own risk!  - a dangerous view as ignoring kernel updating will presumably lead to instability and increased vulnerability ...
  • LM crashed on me a few times in setup(1). According to a comment by Quidsup in his Youtube video review, entitled Linux Mint vs Ubuntu, LM is known not to always cope well with nVidia graphics cards, so this may have been the reason for it crashing a few times over several months
           In the end, the significant negatives outweighed the very impressive positives - a shame really as it's a                    distro with a lot going for it .

       
Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 12:37:10 AM by m654321
64bit OS (32-bit on Samsung netbook) installed in Legacy mode on MBR-formatted SSDs (except pi which uses a micro SDHC card):
2017 - Raspberry pi 3B (4cores) ~ Arm710@1.2GHz - LibreElec, used for upgrading our Samsung TV (excellent for the task)  
2012 - Lenovo G580 2689 (2cores; 4threads] ~ i3-3110M@2.4GHz - LL3.8/Win8.1 dual-boot (LL working smoothly)
2011 - Samsung NP-N145 Plus (1core; 2threads) ~ Intel Atom N455@1.66GHz - LL 3.8 32-bit (64-bit too 'laggy')
2008 - Asus X71Q (2cores) ~ Intel T3200@2.0GHz - LL4.6/Win8.1 dual-boot, LL works fine with kernel 4.15
2007 - Dell Latitude D630 (2cores) ~ Intel T7100@1.8GHz - LL4.6, works well with kernel 4.4; 4.15 doesn't work
 


 


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