Lightweight Linux distributions to carry everywhere

Distributions consume different resources depending on their software selection.

In the previous article lI discussed some methods to be able to have the operating system that we like, even if we were forced to use third-party equipment. Now we will see some lightweight Linux distributions that we can take everywhere.

In this case I put the emphasis on "light". Although almost any distribution is compatible with the methods we discuss, the heavier it is, the larger the storage device or RAM of the host computer must be.

Some lightweight Linux distributions

A Linux distribution is a selection of components in which, based on the Linux kernel, some utilities from the GNU project (Generally, but not always) and a selection of free software, it constitutes a fully functional operating system. The weight (Space required for the distribution to function) will be determined by the selection of free software at the time of building it. 

The components of a typical distribution are:

  • Linux kernel: It is the basis of the operating system. It takes control the moment the BIOS leaves it and is responsible for acting as an intermediary between the hardware, the operating system software and the users.
  • Shell: It is the interface that allows you to interact with the system by writing commands.
  • Graphic server: It allows you to interact with the system visually.
  • Desktop environment: It allows you to work in a more visually attractive way with the system through icons and menus that are selected with the mouse.
  • Additional applications: They are programs that are included in the installation to perform functions such as multimedia playback, web browsing, reading email, office work, etc.

Thus, the difference between traditional distributions and the lighter ones will be found in the use of desktop environments with fewer graphical features or utility programs that require fewer resources to execute.

Keep in mind that lightweight distributions can have different purposes. Some are focused on use on servers and others on so-called "kiosks" (execution of a single application). In this article I am referring to those that are designed for use on the desktop, but consuming the least amount of resources possible.

Damn Small Linux

For a long time this distribution It was characterized by requiring only 50 MB of storage media. Now its purpose is to offer all the applications it can in the size of a CD (700 MB). This means making some sacrifices such as removing a large part of the regional settings (including all Spanish ones), source code, man pages and documentation. However, since APT is fully functional, all necessary files can be downloaded as needed.

Damn Small Linux is based on antiX

Linux Lite

Es a distribution based on Ubuntu and with a customized version of the XFCE desktop. It includes the most popular range of applications although it only requires the following:

  • 64-bit, 1 GHZ processor with two or more cores.
  • 768 MB of RAM.
  • 8 GB of disk space.
  • Support for Legacy Boot or UEFI.
  • Graphics card with 3D acceleration and 256 MB.
  • VGA compatible monitor size 1024 x 768.

Puppy Linux

Es a family of Linux distributions based on the latest stable version of Ubuntu or Slackware. Their characteristics are:

  • Includes open source applications for the most common uses.
  • Includes documentation and helpful tips.
  • Requires less than 500 MB in storage space.


What makes lighter this flavor Ubuntu official is that it uses the LxQT desktop. To put it in a very unacademic way, the LxQT desktop uses the same graphics libraries as the KDE desktop, although it uses them to build a lighter but fully functional desktop environment.

These are some of the options that the Linux world offers us. Unfortunately, there are almost no 32-bit options left because the hardware belonging to this architecture is no longer massive enough to justify the developers' efforts. In any case, there are many older teams that we can continue using for quite some time.

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