The nuts and bolts => Technical General => Topic started by: thra on July 04, 2017, 05:31:28 pm

Title: Lightweight Linux distros
Post by: thra on July 04, 2017, 05:31:28 pm
We have this list of the best Lightweight Linux distros. And we included VectorLinux in our Bonus list

Any other recommendations? Any feedback on our list? What do you use on your old hardware?
Title: Re: Lightweight Linux distros
Post by: nightflier on July 05, 2017, 09:14:57 am

Glad so see you find our distro. The information on your list is a little outdated though, those specs are for version 7.0, released in 2012.

Current versions (7.2 should be finalized in a few weeks) require 256M of RAM, 5G of disk space, and a PAE capable CPU.

Of course I run VL Light on my older computers, that what it's for.  ;)
Title: Re: Lightweight Linux distros
Post by: black-clover on August 01, 2017, 01:57:26 am
Just my two cents.

My older sister bought a new laptop with a lot of juice, which she, wisely enough, wouldn’t let me get near to. On the bright side, I got her hand-me-down Presario C500 (Dual Core i686 1700Mhz and a meager 512 MB of RAM). I installed VL-7.2-STD-RC3 as my main distro. I keep it shipshape and down mess with it at all. Needless to say, it’s very fast and stable, laid out sensibly and doesn’t get in your way. XFCE runs just fine and JWM simply rocks.

On a spare partition I have another VL-7.2-STD-RC3 which I use to experiment all sort of stuff. I crashed it a few times and just reinstalled it in 20 minutes flat. 

I keep a third partition to try any distro which tickles my fancy. Being school holydays, I went kind of wild. First I tried Slax, which was my first Linux distro. As a school project back in fourth grade I used to build modules for my custom Slax Live-CD. That was how I came to appreciate Slackware flexibility. Alas, now the Slax project seems extinct.

Then I tried Knoppix, which comes with a tons of stuff and state-of-the-art hardware detection, runs great but is also quite cumbersome.   

Ubuntu and Gnome did not impress me at all. Scratch it.

Next I installed Linux Mint. It looks real cool (first thing I did was hacking the Mint-Y-Dark theme for my VL), a great repository and Synaptic is as good as it gets. However, even with Cinnamon, it’s awfully heavy for my machine, took an entire afternoon to install it and it would be unbearably sluggish for normal use. 

Fedora 26 is very well laid out, nowhere near as snappy as VL but fairly usable, lots of RPM apps. Systemd is rather touchy.

Then I decided to have a go at Arch Linux before they drop i686 altogether. I remember when my dad used Arch 9 years ago and it seemed the next best thing to apple pie. Back then the install was a snap, now it takes almost a physics degree. Their wiki is excellent though.

Manjaro (XFCE, JWM and Architect versions) on paper seemed Arch Linux for the layman. The Calamares graphical installer told me to get lost ‘cause I didn’t have a Gyga of RAM. The Architect installer is very light and functional, almost like what Arch setup used to be. Their forum leaves a lot to be desired. I eventually got it installed but, again, systemd was a real pain in the butt.     

Void Linux looked interesting and ambitious. Unfortunately it’s really unpolished. It booted into Lightdm in just 30 seconds, but then several things went downhill. First, it simply would not login, unless I clicked on the reboot button (weird). Hardware detection nil. I have to download (using VL) the Broadcom drivers and then I have to setup a local repository so that Xbps would install it. Even the Italian parliament is friendlier than that. Took a whole day to connect to the wifi. By the way, it is impossible to register (and so post) to their forum. The webmaster knows about this nuisance but seemingly doesn’t care much.     

Calculate Linux, on the other hand, is very well put together, nice installer, latest packages. Its performance (using their i686 binaries without compiling) is fair, yet noticeably less responsive than VL. Portage is quite impressive. But Calculate Linux philosophy is as far away from KISS as you can get. To change the login background image you need to rebuild initrams. Dracut is very delicate. I felt like walking on eggs most of the time but the project has its merits.

After Calculate I had to try Gentoo Live CD install. It is not that hard if you are well prepared but I think it’s also unnecessarily complicated. Left the laptop to compile a whole night to get a text only but functional basic syatem. That was enough to satisfy my masochist-geek side.

Changing dramatically of perspective I tasted Puppy Slacko.  A great deal of skill, technology and forethought went into this distro. It runs beautifully but its look is uncool as hell. This might sound shallow but I think image is a factor when it comes to a distro (or anything else) popularity.  Look, by the way, is my only complain about VL. The themes that comes with VL just do not make justice to how good this distro really is.

Finally, last night, I have a go at Antix. Everything is lightweight on this distro, from the excellent graphical installer to the themes and the system itself. It boots fast, comparable to VL, runs very well so far, albeit synaptic is not as rock-solid as on Linux Mint. Got a minor problem there which I could fix using apt-get.   

As you can tell, it has been a fast and furious month. Now school is looming above me so I’m gonna give my distro tasting spree a rest.
Title: Re: Lightweight Linux distros
Post by: nightflier on August 01, 2017, 06:45:36 am
Inspiring story.  :)

Reminds me of my distro hopping days, which I remember with fondness. I am sure many others here can relate.
Title: Re: Lightweight Linux distros
Post by: overthere on August 01, 2017, 11:15:43 am
I would say Dingo was the most beautiful puppy ever. the little dog in the clouds strangly made the standard desktop awesome. funny what a wallpaper can do. A very handy usb distro.