Lightweight Linux...



  • So I've got a niece that needs a mobile device. It's something that would just bump around the house so it can't be completely stationary, but is mainly going to be used for Office online (Word mostly), looking stuff up, etc. Just school work for a 4th grader. A Chromebook would run about $150-200 which is more than reasonable.

    But right now I'm typing this out on a Netbook my mom gave me for nothing. I told her not to get it as she has been using Chromebooks, but she bought an Asus Netbook anyway, for printing to a non-Google Cloud Print ready Canon. Literally all this was used for, was to print about 20 copies of softball tournment schedules each year for about 2-3 years, so it has minimal use. Well that printer hit the bricks and I got her an Epson WF-2750 for a super good deal ($65 on a flash sale and is GCP ready). She loves it, and hated that the Netbook was super slow with Windows 10.

    I've tried Korora, Fedora, Solus, and Mint so far. I am trying to stay away from Tiny Core Linux and Puppy Linux. I know they are light weight but I also want something that looks nice for her. The CPU is I believe an Intel Rockchip 1.1GHz (not entirely sure), with 2GB of RAM.

    The only other thing I'm looking at is an SSD (Kingston V300 120GB for $45). Any super lightweight distros you've been happy with that look good?



  • Current specs...

    0_1473635154490_tmp_24123-20160911_170336-1020952206.jpg



  • One thing I've noticed, is that scrolling in both Mint and Korora is very fluid, but there is some screen tearing. I'm not surprised at screen tearing overall, but I am surprised that it's happening from the top left corner, to the bottom right corner. Whenever screen tearing happens, it usually happens across the center, horizontally, since that is how a graphics card render an image. Not a big issue, just something I noticed. Only happens when I'm scrolling quickly, over an image.

    Not troubleshooting that though, just something I noted about this device. I hadn't tried it on the super slow install of Windows. I immediately installed Linux, so I can't verify if it is merely a graphics issue with Linux.



  • Putting an SSD into that will make it feel a lot snappier for sure. The CPU is kinda weak, but not terrible.

    Also, stop thinking of "lightweight" being a distribution. It's the windowing interface that will bog things down. I like Mint and KDE, but I know that KDE is a resource hog. Try LXDE and/or XFCE a shot.



  • Try lubuntu; I have a core 2 duo with 2GB of memory that runs really well with it installed. It uses LXDE by default.



  • @RamblingBiped said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Try lubuntu; I have a core 2 duo with 2GB of memory that runs really well with it installed. It uses LXDE by default.

    That's what I would do. You could use something like Slitaz or Tiny Core but they aren't very user friendly.

    Edit: ah I missed that you mentioned Tiny Core.



  • Fedora also has a Mate spin that's not bad.



  • @BBigford said in Lightweight Linux...:

    One thing I've noticed, is that scrolling in both Mint and Korora is very fluid, but there is some screen tearing. I'm not surprised at screen tearing overall, but I am surprised that it's happening from the top left corner, to the bottom right corner. Whenever screen tearing happens, it usually happens across the center, horizontally, since that is how a graphics card render an image. Not a big issue, just something I noticed. Only happens when I'm scrolling quickly, over an image.

    Not troubleshooting that though, just something I noted about this device. I hadn't tried it on the super slow install of Windows. I immediately installed Linux, so I can't verify if it is merely a graphics issue with Linux.

    I had some issues with the 4.6 kernel on my Chromebook with the Intel HD audio and graphics. That might be related to the tearing. I just installed elementary that's based on 16.04 and it's fine.



  • @RamblingBiped said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Try lubuntu; I have a core 2 duo with 2GB of memory that runs really well with it installed. It uses LXDE by default.

    That was going to be my next install. I'll give that a shot.



  • I have Xubuntu on an older lappy (Core 2 Duo) but I managed to find another 2GB RAM (so it has 4 now). It's very smooth and pretty fast on the older architecture.

    My Netbook used Ubuntu something.somethingelse (14.10 was the last upgrade before I tried to sell it)... Performance was good, no noticable screen tearing, shut down in 30 seconds but possibly a bit too big graphically as it was a bit slow to respond to opening of Firefox and other things. However... HUGE difference over XP... but anything was an improvement over that implementation.

    You could go super tiny with DSL (Damn Small Linux) but I think that's taking things a bit too far.



  • @nadnerB said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I have Xubuntu on an older lappy (Core 2 Duo) but I managed to find another 2GB RAM (so it has 4 now). It's very smooth and pretty fast on the older architecture.

    My Netbook used Ubuntu something.somethingelse (14.10 was the last upgrade before I tried to sell it)... Performance was good, no noticable screen tearing, shut down in 30 seconds but possibly a bit too big graphically as it was a bit slow to respond to opening of Firefox and other things. However... HUGE difference over XP... but anything was an improvement over that implementation.

    You could go super tiny with DSL (Damn Small Linux) but I think that's taking things a bit too far.

    Is DSL still under development? I don't think they've done much in 8 years. That was my go to run it on the school computers from USB stick distribution.



  • @coliver said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @nadnerB said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I have Xubuntu on an older lappy (Core 2 Duo) but I managed to find another 2GB RAM (so it has 4 now). It's very smooth and pretty fast on the older architecture.

    My Netbook used Ubuntu something.somethingelse (14.10 was the last upgrade before I tried to sell it)... Performance was good, no noticable screen tearing, shut down in 30 seconds but possibly a bit too big graphically as it was a bit slow to respond to opening of Firefox and other things. However... HUGE difference over XP... but anything was an improvement over that implementation.

    You could go super tiny with DSL (Damn Small Linux) but I think that's taking things a bit too far.

    Is DSL still under development? I don't think they've done much in 8 years. That was my go to run it on the school computers from USB stick distribution.

    Not sure. Admittedly, it's been ages since I used it...
    ...
    There are not dates on the change log...
    ...
    Forum post 08/JUL/2016

    After a long hiatus I am bring this project back to life. The first step was to bring this site back to working order. We now have a functioning forum (this). The old forum is now static HTML and it available here (http://damnsmalllinux.org/static/).

    Next I'll be doing a release of DSL to fix some bugs and time-bugs and get the distro in proper working order. For now I do not see the scope of the project changing much -- the goal will be the same, pack as much utility and applications into 50 MB as possible.

    Sooo, still not sure



  • I'd definitely check out one of the Mate GUIs. That's my go-to of choice these days, even on a hefty system with good specs.



  • @dafyre said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I'd definitely check out one of the Mate GUIs. That's my go-to of choice these days, even on a hefty system with good specs.

    Is Mate really that much lighter on resources than Cinnamon?



  • @BBigford said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @dafyre said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I'd definitely check out one of the Mate GUIs. That's my go-to of choice these days, even on a hefty system with good specs.

    Is Mate really that much lighter on resources than Cinnamon?

    I think so. It works extremely well over remote connections via X2Go. Any of the Desktop Environments that provide a lot of eye candy don't seem to do well at all (especially remotely).

    If you need seriously light weight, though... XFCE or LXDE are probably your winners here. But I'd suggest a Linux Mint 18 install with Mate, and if that doesn't work, just fiddle with the other desktop environments until you find one you like... (Mate, XFCE, LXDE, IceWM are current choices I like).



  • @RamblingBiped said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Try lubuntu; I have a core 2 duo with 2GB of memory that runs really well with it installed. It uses LXDE by default.

    This. LXDE is pretty much the only option. You are testing heavy distros with nice desktops. That won't work. You need one with a light desktop. Only light desktop for non-UNIX users is really LXDE.



  • @BBigford said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @dafyre said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I'd definitely check out one of the Mate GUIs. That's my go-to of choice these days, even on a hefty system with good specs.

    Is Mate really that much lighter on resources than Cinnamon?

    Yes, MATE doesn't require a GPU, Cinnamon does. Cinnamon is designed to be really powerful on modern, underutilized hardware with an idle GPU. Mate is a traditional desktop. IceWM, LXDE, XFCE and others are designed to be light, not just "not heavy."

    Anything based on Gnome3 (Cinnamon, Unity) or KDE is going to be way too heavy for you.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @BBigford said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @dafyre said in Lightweight Linux...:

    I'd definitely check out one of the Mate GUIs. That's my go-to of choice these days, even on a hefty system with good specs.

    Is Mate really that much lighter on resources than Cinnamon?

    Yes, MATE doesn't require a GPU, Cinnamon does. Cinnamon is designed to be really powerful on modern, underutilized hardware with an idle GPU. Mate is a traditional desktop. IceWM, LXDE, XFCE and others are designed to be light, not just "not heavy."

    Anything based on Gnome3 (Cinnamon, Unity) or KDE is going to be way too heavy for you.

    Ah, well that explains the screen tearing.



  • Personally, I still don't get the favoritism between desktops. If I can accomplish a task without touching my mouse I'm happy. Most of what I do when I'm working from a Linux OS is done and accomplished in a terminal.realistically, all I really feel like I need is a terminal, a functioning web browser, and Libre Office on occasion.

    What the GUI wrapper looks like honestly doesn't concern me all that much. The less a GUI gets in the way, the happier I am with it. I think this is why I really don't have a problem with Ubuntu's default UI for their desktop distro. I hide the Unity dock/panel and it's clean and out of the way. It's also why I like LXDE. It doesn't get in the way and doesn't consume much in regards to resources.



  • @RamblingBiped said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Personally, I still don't get the favoritism between desktops. If I can accomplish a task without touching my mouse I'm happy. Most of what I do when I'm working from a Linux OS is done and accomplished in a terminal.realistically, all I really feel like I need is a terminal, a functioning web browser, and Libre Office on occasion.

    What the GUI wrapper looks like honestly doesn't concern me all that much. The less a GUI gets in the way, the happier I am with it. I think this is why I really don't have a problem with Ubuntu's default UI for their desktop distro. I hide the Unity dock/panel and it's clean and out of the way. It's also why I like LXDE. It doesn't get in the way and doesn't consume much in regards to resources.

    Sounds like you should try the i3 Window Manager, ha ha!



  • @dafyre said in Lightweight Linux...:

    @RamblingBiped said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Personally, I still don't get the favoritism between desktops. If I can accomplish a task without touching my mouse I'm happy. Most of what I do when I'm working from a Linux OS is done and accomplished in a terminal.realistically, all I really feel like I need is a terminal, a functioning web browser, and Libre Office on occasion.

    What the GUI wrapper looks like honestly doesn't concern me all that much. The less a GUI gets in the way, the happier I am with it. I think this is why I really don't have a problem with Ubuntu's default UI for their desktop distro. I hide the Unity dock/panel and it's clean and out of the way. It's also why I like LXDE. It doesn't get in the way and doesn't consume much in regards to resources.

    Sounds like you should try the i3 Window Manager, ha ha!

    Ya if you don't want frills and just want keyboard, that's the best. I love it.



  • What about Chromium OS?



  • You could build one yourself, Gentoo with optimized CFLAGS and CCFLAGS would be the fastest Linux you can get IMHO (apart from LFS). Setting up distcc to speed up the compiling wouldn't be much of an effort (CPU was x86/amd64?). If the CPU isn't x86/amd64, you would need a cross compiler which can be complicated to setup.

    But looking at the time you need to spent to configure Gentoo, you could just earn some extra money and buy a faster machine 😉



  • @s.hackleman said in Lightweight Linux...:

    What about Chromium OS?

    I haven't saw that running on anything but a Chromebook. Should work well. Might give that a go.



  • @thwr said in Lightweight Linux...:

    But looking at the time you need to spent to configure Gentoo, you could just earn some extra money and buy a faster machine 😉

    Lol fair point. But I'm not buying anything. It's a donation to my 10 year old niece so she can do her school work, rather than her parents having to spend a couple hundred on a Chromebook that'll accomplish the same thing.

    Going to try LXDE tonight, then maybe Chromium OS.



  • Since LXDE is just the desktop environment, what is the most popular distro really being downloaded since it can be used on many?... Lubuntu?

    Was also looking into VectorLinux Light with LXDE...



  • @BBigford said in Lightweight Linux...:

    Since LXDE is just the desktop environment, what is the most popular distro really being downloaded since it can be used on many?... Lubuntu?

    Was also looking into VectorLinux Light with LXDE...

    I general avoid light distros, light ones and heavy ones are REALLY close to each other until you get to really ridiculously unusably light. So Mint, Fedora, Suse or Lubuntu would be the way that I would go. We use LXDE here on Mint 18.


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