Lightweight distros for old computers

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Citizen229
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Citizen229 » Sat May 13, 2017 8:04 am

Dont forget to go into the bios and turn off fast boot. Fast boot slows down linux.It made a world of difference to my netbook.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Citizen229 » Sat May 13, 2017 8:25 am

I think the real issue is that the XFCE environment on top of mint, is actually pretty flashy compared to other distros. XFCE would not be the issue. It would be the user being able to tailor the MINT portion to their low powered system. As a pretty much dedicated XFCE user (and still newbish), I like some of the other distros. Mint being the hands down winner based on userbase/support. Are their others out there that by default are faster? Sure. But with some time and effort Mint xfce is just as fast, and doesnt look anywhere near like a win95/98 desktop.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Sat May 13, 2017 9:13 am

Just more babble on this. Pretty much what Citizen229 is saying. Anything gnu/linux can be drastically lightened. Can be as light or heavy as x-nixer decides and many of the steps in the process aren't overly complicated or time consuming.

Could still easily/quickly setup a good gnu/nix OS that'd work well even on a system w 512mbs.

Theory as to why gnu/nix in general is getting heavier, avg off the shelf cheapy system nowadays comes with tonnes of memory, diskspace and a multicore processor, the developers are designing for that and maintainers are configuring their distro's ootb to reflect that fact.

Rather than the hardware limitations the avg system had 5-10yrs ago. Still specialty distro's that focus on dated hardware and all distro's can still be tweaked to blaze along great on low spec systems.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Citizen229 » Sat May 13, 2017 9:26 am

I dont really think Nix is really the issue. The digital world gets bigger every year. While it is great to keep old hardware/low spec atom running, They will never be blazing fast. My netbook will never be an internet machine. It is locked with 8 meg video ram in the bios. No version of linux will ever make it blazing fast on the web. It is simply a limitation of hardware. If I had any expectations to make my netbook a streaming machine, I would only be setting myself up for disappointment. I firmly believe as a user we can sometimes expect too much from really outdated/low spec hardware.

@ lmintnewb2

Cin vs KDE is an excellent analogy for your statement(in the opposite direction). Cin is much lighter by default. But when you can easy add desklets, applets,spices and dodads, you can rack up some system resources and surpass KDE.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby xfrank » Sat May 13, 2017 7:10 pm

Citizen229 wrote:I dont really think Nix is really the issue. The digital world gets bigger every year. While it is great to keep old hardware/low spec atom running, They will never be blazing fast. My netbook will never be an internet machine. It is locked with 8 meg video ram in the bios. No version of linux will ever make it blazing fast on the web. It is simply a limitation of hardware. If I had any expectations to make my netbook a streaming machine, I would only be setting myself up for disappointment. I firmly believe as a user we can sometimes expect too much from really outdated/low spec hardware.

@ lmintnewb2

Cin vs KDE is an excellent analogy for your statement(in the opposite direction). Cin is much lighter by default. But when you can easy add desklets, applets,spices and dodads, you can rack up some system resources and surpass KDE.


My experience is that any hardware older than core 2 duo era (2006-2007) is not suitable anymore for a "full" and "comfortable" computer use (I mean: LibreOffice, music, photos, videos and most of all browsing the net). Probably for other uses (server, light writing, etc.) there is still a place for older hardware such as pentium III and IV, but many of us aren't interested or involved in this kind of computing. And about atoms: some of them are still capable of a "full" computer use, but they need at least 2gb RAM and even so they are rather sluggish, not "comfortable" at all. I prefer much more an older core 2 duo (Conroe or Wolfdale) than a "newer" atom pc.
And yes, no Linux distro, even the lightest ones, can't do a miracle for very old and very weak hardware.

I'm typing right now from an old PC from 2008 with a 1.86ghz core 2 duo (Conroe) with 2GB ram, with Linux Mint 18.1 Xfce 32 bit on: It's pretty fast and responsive, and I have no problem browsing with Firefox.
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby xfrank » Mon May 15, 2017 9:54 am

I've just tried LMDE2 Mate (32 bit) in the same PC I've mentioned in my previous post. Only 180 MB RAM usage at idle and just 600 with Firefox (4 tabs open) + LibreOffice Writer + terminal. And very responsive/fast, it's just amazing!. It can works comfortably within 1GB RAM. This is the leanest version of Mint I've seen. It has the same performance than Peppermint 7 (Xfce+LXDE), maybe even slightly better. And same as MX 14 (Xfce), with less memory usage. :)
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby xfrank » Tue May 16, 2017 10:56 am

I opened today my PC in my office at the University and found that LM 13 (Xfce, x86) is still receiving some updates (some of them from ubuntu-precise). :?:
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby xfrank » Tue May 16, 2017 11:06 am

Moreover, I'm FORCED to stay with LM 13 because my old PC (Athlon 64 x2, 2GB RAM) has a crappy Igpu that prevent x-server to start when installing Linux. I've tried many workarounds, but no luck. Today I tried LMDE 2, and no, wont' install because the x-server problem. I don't remember exactly what I did years ago when I installed LM 13, but probably some old distros with old kernels started well by default (I remember i tried several distros, thought). So... I have to stay with LM 13.
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby Cosmo. » Tue May 16, 2017 11:19 am

Getting some updates (out of whatever reason, perhaps an application, that ships with Ubuntu / Mint) doesn't mean, that the system will get full updates, not even full security fixes. The last support day for Ubuntu 12.04 was 28th April, so in case, that your system has not been updated in the last 3 weeks, those updates are still open for you (as long as the server are not shut down).

Don't be surprised if you fall into a problem out of this support stop. And this is predictable: The browser - usually the most vulnerable and mostly used application - will not get security fixes, but will exist and be published not later than in a few weeks. The fact, that your old hardware does not work with newer Mints, is understandable, but no excuse.

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby xfrank » Tue May 16, 2017 11:34 am

I know there are risks, and you are right. I will ask for help to install a new Mint on that PC.
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby Monsta » Tue May 16, 2017 11:38 am

xfrank wrote:Moreover, I'm FORCED to stay with LM 13 because my old PC (Athlon 64 x2, 2GB RAM) has a crappy Igpu that prevent x-server to start when installing Linux. I've tried many workarounds, but no luck. Today I tried LMDE 2, and no, wont' install because the x-server problem. I don't remember exactly what I did years ago when I installed LM 13, but probably some old distros with old kernels started well by default (I remember i tried several distros, thought). So... I have to stay with LM 13.

Well, release notes for Mint 18.1 have some possible workarounds for video problems on boot (check "Solving freezes" section).

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Re: Linux Mint 13 has reached end of life

Postby killer de bug » Tue May 16, 2017 12:06 pm

I would check a light distro like peppermint.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby ilikereading » Sat May 20, 2017 1:19 pm


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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby xfrank » Sun May 21, 2017 11:12 am

I've tried yesterday pure Debian Xfce (32-bit). Wow! It's very good for old / weak hardware. After some minor tweaks, it idles at 129 MB RAM, and it's very responsive / fast. This on a 9 years old desktop with Core 2 duo 1.86 GHz / 1GB RAM. Amazing, really an excellent distro. Installation is easy, but out of the box is very barebone, and the basic Xfce with no customization is rather ugly. I spent 2 hours to give the system a decent appearance, more or less similar to Xubuntu or LMDE2. To "mintify" Debian with specific packages (.deb), there is this page: https://pkgs.org/download/mint or the official Mint page: http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Betsy
Linux everywhere. Active Distros in my many computers: LM17.3 (Cinnamon, Xfce); LM18.1 (Cinnamon,Xfce); LMDE 2 (Mate), MXLinux (Xfce), Debian 9 (Xfce).

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby KBD47 » Sun May 21, 2017 4:10 pm

xfrank wrote:I've tried yesterday pure Debian Xfce (32-bit). Wow! It's very good for old / weak hardware. After some minor tweaks, it idles at 129 MB RAM, and it's very responsive / fast. This on a 9 years old desktop with Core 2 duo 1.86 GHz / 1GB RAM. Amazing, really an excellent distro. Installation is easy, but out of the box is very barebone, and the basic Xfce with no customization is rather ugly. I spent 2 hours to give the system a decent appearance, more or less similar to Xubuntu or LMDE2. To "mintify" Debian with specific packages (.deb), there is this page: https://pkgs.org/download/mint or the official Mint page: http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Betsy


Yes, vanilla debian with xfce takes lots of work to make it nice. That is why I typically choose MATE or KDE as they are 'filled out' a bit more on vanilla debian. Nevertheless, add Faenza icons, tweak it quite a bit, and as you say--very light on resources. I truly wish there was a LMDE Xfce edition.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Wed May 24, 2017 2:17 am

Minimal 32bit Debian Stretch RC3 install.

Openbox, tint2 per usual ... Latest Firefox running w 7 tabs open and output of "free -m" is 297mbs. This type of setup could turn a dated system into a dang speed demon. :D

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby d1g1t4Lnrg » Wed May 24, 2017 7:23 am

Maybe you should try one of the Netbook distributions. Here is a link from distrowatch.
https://distrowatch.com/search.php?category=Netbooks

I have tried many of these on my netbook and they seem to work quite well. The latest one I tried is linuxlite which is strangely not in this distribution list.

It does work very well.
Good luck on the O/S for older hardware.

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby ilikereading » Tue May 30, 2017 4:31 am

Is Lubuntu the most lightweight system available? I'm not able to test it since i don't have the time.
My laptop is a bit old and since i don't play any video games anymore, i'm planning to use my laptop for a very long time. :D

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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby Moem » Tue May 30, 2017 5:02 am

ilikereading wrote:Is Lubuntu the most lightweight system available?

No, there are much lighter systems, and the thread mentions many of them. Anything Ubuntu-based will never be the lightest distro possible. However, among Ubuntu-bases distros Lubuntu is quite light.

If you want full-featured and light: try MX16. Or one of the others mentioned in the thread.
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Re: Lightweight distros for old computers

Postby lmintnewb2 » Tue May 30, 2017 11:55 am

^ Technically can be, via something like doing a buntu netinstall and LM, as noted somewhere in this thread using something like openbox and similar can be ridiculously light and would blaze on lower-spec too.

Used Lmde2-cinnamon (64bit version)+ slapped openbox and tint2 onto the thing, Bunsenlabs Linux and #! Linux style and it was using something like 151 megabytes of ram. Mint and anything else gnu/Linux can be config'ed to run great on low-spec but agree with the folks who noted sometimes it's more convenient to go with one that's already config'ed for the usecase.


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