What's the best lightweight Linux distro?

Group Test

Group test: There are plenty of reasons for wanting a low-resource distro running on your computer. Maybe you have some ancient hardware that you need to breathe new life into. Perhaps you want something that will fit on a modestly sized memory stick. Or it might be that you want to run 200 virtual machines simultaneously on your desktop.

The important things that we'll look at here are the amount of space needed, how much processing power is required to get the distro running at an acceptable level, and the effort required to get it to work. Something to bear in mind is that one of the ways in which developers are able to create slimmed-down distros is by ditching the scripts and wizards that we've come to take for granted. This can complicate tasks that you might expect to be straightforward, such as installing software.

Strict criteria

The simple truth is that you'll be getting your fingers slightly grubbier with a low-resource distro than you would with a fully featured one.

In selecting our shortlist, we've left out some contenders either because they didn't support older processors, they wouldn't install in 4GB or less of space, they simply didn't work on our hardware or they're no longer being maintained (as is the case for both RULE and U-Lite). The one exception to this is Damn Small Linux - although it has been over a year since the last release, and the homepage is as quiet as the LXF office at 9.30 on a Monday morning, this is still such a widely used and influential project that it was considered worthy of inclusion.

There's still plenty of activity in the area of low-resource distros, including WattOS, which we hope to cover next time. We also gave Zenwalk a try, but ran into difficulty trying to run it on the low-spec system that we permitted ourselves here. But aside from this, it's a light and capable distro nonetheless and worth a look if you have the time.

How we tested

The main idea of this test was to see how well these distros would run in a restrained environment. To this end, they were tested, where possible, on an ancient Compaq laptop with 256MB RAM, Vesa graphics, a 4GB hard drive and a 200MHz Pentium processor. For the sake of sanity, all distros were then also tested in a Qemu virtual environment with the same limitations, but this time using one half of a 3GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

There were no special tests other than to install these distros (which was testing enough) and attempts to do some normal desktop tasks.

Damn Small Linux

The rise and fall of Damn Small Linux is one of those tales along the lines of a great concept executed well. The idea was to create a Linux distro that was small enough to fit on a credit-card sized CD-ROM. With a target size of 50MB or less, this format certainly concentrates the developers' minds if they also want to create a hassle-free user experience.

For the most part, DSL does succeed. Based on the grandfather of all Live CDs, Knoppix, DSL strips out layer after layer of non-essential stuff, while leaving a core working system.

It might not exactly be replete with applications, but there's enough there to legitimise its claim to the title of a desktop operating system. Look past the rather clunky interface and the tricky-to-read text and you'll be amazed at the amount of functionality included with DSL. Text editors, a PDF viewer, Firefox and other handy utilities provide a workable and stable environment. There are task-specific add-on packages available to download as well, and it's difficult to fault the level of hardware support.

DSL may look clunky, but it has an amazing array of shoe-horned-in-applications.

DSL may look clunky, but it has an amazing array of shoe-horned-in-applications.

Unfortunately, the story of DSL doesn't have a happy ending at the moment. The community developing it seems to have split rather fractiously over demands made by some of the contributors, so it's been a year since any of the main contributors has even posted on the project's website. The future of development seems uncertain. We've included it here (in spite of the exclusion of other defunct systems) because it still holds up surprisingly well to some of the other options, and remains widely used. If you need further testament, DSL was selected is one of the few systems supported by the boot.kernel.org (BKO) project.

That said, obviously as time wears on, DSL slowly becomes more and more out of date, and may eventually become something of a liability.

Our verdict: The original and still one of the best, but getting a bit long in the tooth now. 7/10.

CrunchBang

Long before there was an official Ubuntu-lite project, the ground had been contested by the likes of Xubuntu and U-list. CrunchBang ('#!', get it?), or HashPling as one might decide to call it, evolved some time later, but before there was official support for the Lubuntu project. The head-start seems to have worked out for the developers, though, because CrunchBang is pretty much there.

It comes in more than one flavour, but we decided to test the lite version because it fits in better with the theme of this particular group test.

The installer was one of the easiest to use, but it didn't work on our decrepit hardware, only the virtual machine. The graphics driver seemed to be causing difficulty, so your mileage may vary.

Although this is a lite version, it still includes useful applications, including the Leafpad editor, VLC and Firefox 3.0.11. One of the major selling points is that this distro is built around Ubuntu, to the extent that the included Synaptic Package Manager will happily fetch anything from the Canonical repositories to bung on your box. But as soon as you start installing big things, it comes tumbling down as dependencies spiral into gigabytes of space.

Although it looks minimal, CrunchBang takes up a lot of space.

Although it looks minimal, CrunchBang takes up a lot of space

CrunchBang also takes the unusual but welcome step of stuffing a whole load of keyboard shortcuts into the desktop - quite literally, because the list is displayed on the screen via the Conky system monitor software. They mostly make use of the 'special key that should have a penguin on it', so they won't interfere with normal operations.

CrunchBang is small, stylish and performs well. It'll be interesting to see what happens here when Lubuntu is released publicly, but it seems that CrunchBang has a pretty solid proposition ready to go.

Our verdict: Stylish, compact and plenty of Ubuntu software available. 8/10.

Lubuntu

Early in 2009, Mark 'Space' Shuttleworth gave the nod to an Ubuntu project that would create a lightweight variant of the world's favourite distro. Based around LXDE, Lubuntu was on its way. And it still is. Well, getting a new distro sorted out takes more than a few months, so we shouldn't be too harsh. It's also worth noting that at the time of writing, the current release was still an alpha version, so we're giving it extra latitude.

As with most of the other distributions here, the install media runs as a live CD first, which is a useful way to check that the system is going to work with your hardware before you go to the trouble of installing it.

If you imagine that Lubuntu is going to look anything like Ubuntu, that idea will be destroyed the minute the desktop loads. Lubuntu has more in common with the other LXDE distributions, with the LXPanel running at the bottom of the screen and a more KDE 3.x look to things rather than Gnome. The chosen apps aren't quite the usual - Firefox, AbiWord and Gnumeric are among those included, which seems to suggest that not everything in this distro is going to be pared to the bone.

It might be a shock for Ubuntu users, but the Lubuntu desktop is fast and functional.

It might be a shock for Ubuntu users, but the Lubuntu desktop is fast and functional.

Of course, the main selling point of this distro is that it will have access to the Ubuntu repositories for easy upgrades and plenty of extra packages to install if you need them.

We did have a couple of problems installing this to disk, so the figures in the table on page 35 that compare memory usage and disk space aren't that reliable. However, since this is still an alpha release, you couldn't really rely on them anyway.

Lubuntu is definitely one to watch for the future. With the backing of Canonical, it'll have the developer resources to make the other lite distro projects rather jealous.

Our verdict: Although it looks nothing like Ubuntu, this is one to keep an eye on as it moves towards a stable release. 6/10.

Puppy Linux

This sounds as though it ought to be based on Yellow Dog, but in fact, Puppy is a built-from-the-base-up independent distribution from down under. This is a middleweight offering - not as stripped back as some of the distros, but not bloated out to a full CD either. Memory usage is low to average and a recent kernel gives a good chance of hardware support, although it'll run on i386 hardware.

It runs direct from RAM on the initial boot and reveals a packed desktop with some thoughtfully selected apps scattered about. There are loads of helpful scripts to guide you through things such as setting up display preferences and installing to disk, but you still need to perform some stages manually. As is so often the case, less bloat means less complete and helpful apps that do everything for you, so you will need to put a little bit of effort in.

Puppy manages to pack a lot of programs in to a small space. For graphics, there's a lite version of Inkscape, a few camera tools, MTPaint and Gxine. Browsing and mail is taken care of by a full version of SeaMonkey rather than separate apps, while Gnumeric and AbiWord should suffice for most office purposes.

Puppy Linux has a fast, responsive and tweakable UI.

Puppy Linux has a fast, responsive and tweakable UI.

Packages available for additional install include IceWM and Openbox if you don't like the default window manager, plus a selection of other tools. Of course, the distribution also has GCC, so you can build your own software - which may be necessary since the repositories only hold a few dozen extra apps.

While it may be restrictive in the number of programs available, there's still a lot to recommend Puppy - it runs like a solid, modern distro but in a fraction of the space. However, if you have specific application needs, it may be easier to look elsewhere.

Our verdict: A solid and dependable offering, but limited software available. 6/10.

Slitaz

Many of the lightweight Linux distros on offer are based on more popular desktop variants such as Debian, but this one's grown completely from scratch since 2007. It's one of the few that includes languages other than English (Spanish, French, German and Portuguese).

The base install is competent enough for a variety of tasks. The browser is Firefox 3.5, which may not be the most lightweight app you could think of installing, but it does give Slitaz the ability to run pretty much any web app, which is what many people will want to do with such a diminutive distro that doesn't have a lot of its own software. That said, there's a cluster of useful tools included as part of the minimal install, including a MTPaint, a PDF reader, music player and a couple of editors (Leafpad and Nano).

For lightweight and embedded projects, it rather unbelievably includes a fully functional webserver (Lighttpd) with PHP/CGI support, and various other standard network tools as well (such as SSH and FTP).

Configuration scripts and installers are easily accessible in the Slitaz menu.

Configuration scripts and installers are easily accessible in the Slitaz menu.

If you feel the need to bloat out the system, there are over a thousand packages available in the online repository. Package management is via a tool called Tazpkg, which is tiny, but straightforward and easy to use. The packages themselves are custom archives with included information and dependencies, so you won't get caught up in a whole world of install pain (though you are limited to the packages available from the Slitaz repository, unless you want to make your own).

The desktop uses the nippy but low-overhead Openbox window manager, combined with LXDE desktop, which should be pretty intuitive to most users (it's most akin to a KDE 3.x desktop).

Slitaz achieves the objective of cramming a lot into a small space. It doesn't have an overwhelming selection of default packages, but they do the job, and they do it very fast.

Our verdict: Exceptionally quick, deceptively powerful and has a built-in webserver. 9/10.

Tiny Core Linux

The Tiny Core project was started in 2008 by one of the refugees from DSL, so it isn't much of a surprise that it follows the same ethos of trying to get as much as possible into the minimum amount of space. If anything, Tiny Core has taken this to more of an extreme, completely savaging the package base to create just about the smallest distribution you could still consider to be a Linux OS.

While this is great news for those trying to fit the OS on to ancient hardware or embedded devices, it does inevitably mean you'll need to do more work if you want to do anything other than boot it up and look at the X display.

Fortunately, there's an app installer that enables access to the large repository of TCZ packages, so you can easily install the apps that you want. Dependencies are handled, but obviously, if you choose to install something like Firefox, you're going to see the disk space taken up by this distro ballooning to new levels. But you will have to install something, otherwise a few system scripts and a terminal will be your only company.

Yay! Tiny Core Linux took no time to set up. What shall we do now? Oh...

Yay! Tiny Core Linux took no time to set up. What shall we do now? Oh...

In some ways, it's not quite so useful to have such a diminutive distro. There may be some specialist cases, but for general use, most people can easily spare, say, 100MB of space. Sure, you can build on the Tiny Core install by adding applications, but it may have made things easier to aim for a slightly higher target to begin with.

But that's to take nothing away from the remarkable achievement of creating a Linux install that fits inside 10MB of space. It's easy to see Tiny Core becoming the basis of many specialist application distros - if you can get the base install down in size, it leaves you with a lot more room to pile on your custom applications.

Our verdict: A remarkable achievement, but requires effort to install and use. 6/10.

Unity Linux

This Mandriva-based distro wants to give you low resource computing, but it doesn't want you to slum it. Although possibly the best-looking of the distros in this group test, it does come at the cost of a slow boot time. Unity is pretty much as sluggish as a full desktop distro when it starts, compared to the nippy zippy likes of Slitaz and Tiny Core. Once the Openbox-based desktop is running, though, it is as fast and responsive as you could want a distro to be.

The install process couldn't be easier - run the graphical installer, tell it where you live, allow it to partition the drive however it likes and you're done in a couple of clicks. In fact, it may be a little too easy - perhaps it should ask a bit more about where you're installing, but there are manual options available for most of the stages.

Installation may take a while, but you can always avail yourself of the live Unity while you're waiting, then reboot back into that lovely desktop.

That's when the real shock hits you - Unity has gobbled up nearly 1GB of space before you've even started installing anything! The minimal install does contain lots of configuration tools, but if you want to do anything like browse the web or play some music, you'll need to get downloading.

It gets an A+ for its looks, but Unity Linux takes up huge amounts of disk space.

It gets an A+ for its looks, but Unity Linux takes up huge amounts of disk space.

The smart package manager is preconfigured to fetch updates and packages from the extensive Unity mirrors, though you could most likely install Mandriva or generic RPMs without much difficulty. Setting up networking was seamless and we were gorging ourselves silly on frivolous applications such as image viewers and audio players in no time.

Surprisingly, once installed, Unity only came mid-table in terms of memory use, but we found that it was sprightly and easy to use.

As with some of the other distros we've tested here, this is a beta release, but based on what we saw, it seems ready for a full release already.

Our verdict: It's both slick and fast, but you will need a bit more disk space available. 7/10.

VectorLinux

Based on Slackware, Vectorlinux was originally all about being a small, self-contained and easy to install and use distro. Since it started life in 2000 it has been through many different iterations and sprouted a few different variants (SOHO, Deluxe, Standard, Light) to target specific use scenarios. We tested the Light version, though even that's a full CD.

At 617MB, it's heftier than some of the others on test. Even if you discount the optional packages, the Light install requires 1GB of space, so it isn't that surprising that it has a wide choice of apps occupying all that space. Development tools and the kernel source can be excluded to give you change, but we don't recommend you install this on anything smaller than a 4GB drive if you want some swap space (which you do on a low-memory system) and room to store your files.

In terms of app choice, things are skewed towards web and media stuff. There are four web browsers, but only Leafpad, Pathetic Writer and Siag Office by way of office programs, and MTPaint holding up the graphics end of the ship.

VectorLinux's space demands make Unity Linux look quite reasonable.

VectorLinux's space demands make Unity Linux look quite reasonable.

Installing VectorLinux is straightforward for a veteran of pre-Ubuntu installers. This Curses-based trip back into prehistory actually has the temerity to ask you questions about things and also wants you to partition and format your drive!

There's nothing particularly wrong with VectorLinux, it just isn't that inspiring. It has by far the largest boot image, consumes the most disk space and yet doesn't deliver an exceptional performance or user experience. In some ways, you might as well be running any normal mainstream distro.

The interface may seem fussy and there isn't much customisation available, but it becomes deceptively easy to use after a short time.

Our verdict: This is a decent choice if you have space and memory to spare. 5/10.

Our choice: Slitaz

We hope you've seen that the world of light distros is more exciting than you may have imagined. Choosing the right one depends on the hardware you want to run it on and what you want to use it for.

The Ubuntu-based distros are interesting, particularly the nascent Lubuntu, mainly because they have a tiny footprint but offer the promise of installing anything from the vast Ubuntu multiverse. However, we were looking for a a distro to work painlessly in a cramped hardware environment. Honourable mentions must go to DSL and Tiny Core at this point, which have clambered into the territory of the minuscule. It's amazing how usable a system can be that takes up less space on your drive than your holiday pictures. Puppy Linux and Unity were both easy to use, although the latter was a bit more polished (and bigger).

There can be only one winner in the context of our group test, and it should be Slitaz. It's fast, easy on memory, and comes with a considered selection of apps. Not being able to install new software easily apart from stuff in the Slitaz package format is one of the few drawbacks, but for a fast, lightweight desktop it's hard to beat.

Slitaz takes the crown for usability and speed on a low-resource budget.

Slitaz takes the crown for usability and speed on a low-resource budget.

All the versions tested here either install from a live version or have live versions available, so check that your hardware's compatible before you install. It's not always the case that the biggest distros are the most compatible - it varies, although those tested here should provide basic functionality (some sort of graphics, keyboard, mouse and wired network). If your target is a laptop, you might be in for all sorts of difficulties. Many laptop parts aren't what they seem to be, at least as far as kernel drivers go.

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Your comments

thank you for the Unity Linux review

I'm curious why Unity Linux was chosen for "best lightweight distro" comparison and not TinyMe, which is really focused on the lightweight desktop and is one of the branches based on Unity Linux.

In all honesty our target is not ONLY the lightweight distro arena, but rather whatever you can make of the distro as it is a basing ground to go much bigger or smaller in the case of TinyMe.

None the less, this is a great comparison review and gives us something to work for. Kudos to Slitas and Crunchbang.

The lightweight Linux Mint

The lightweight Linux Mint editions are also worth a look i.e. Fluxbox and LXDE editions.

What about Elive/Enlightenment?

Elive looks pretty and is super low resource usage. Why not include it?

Unity the odd one out here?

Thanks for a very interesting review. My only slight criticism is re. your comment about Unity's disk demands.

It's only fair to say that Unity has not really been launched into the same market (older hardware/limited resources) as Puppy, Slitaz, DSL and others. As mdawkins says, it is intended as a base for customisation, development and remastering by people who may wish to create distros of all kinds - 'big' and 'small'. The fact that it clearly performs well as a lightweight distro should be regarded as a bonus. I have never tried it before - I will now!

I have relied on DSL to see me out of difficult situations in recent times, but clearly it's time to trial some others on my friends' Pentium IIIs and similar boxes. Thanks again.

One more

With a next round stated how about a test of AntiX. I've tried it on a 700 Mhz it ran fine, it would be interesting to see how it would do on order hardware.

Debian stable custom install

How about just a regular Debian stable install -packages you don't need?

Debian Lenny

Debian Lenny have a Xfce/Lxde CD, i decided to try it out in virtualbox after reading this article.

Debian Lenny LXDE install: 41mb RAM, 1.4gb disk usage (400mb OO.org and 250mb swap file), 1-2% cpu (on 2ghz)

Debian Lenny XFCE install: 49mb RAM, 1.5gb disk usage (400mb OO.org and 250mb swap file), 0-1% cpu (on 2ghz)

Debian Lenny

Ignore the swap part above..

+1 for AntiX

I had installed AntiX 8.2 on a IBM 390E Pentium 2 366hz 128mb of ram CDROM/Floppy laptop and it ran respectably well. I was able to sell it for a respectable amount because of AntiX.

Puppy and its Offshoots of Puplets also have my respect as packages can be found at ibiblio besides the package manager. Simple to install also.

Slitaz worked well for me. But I have not tried the newer cooking versions and my experience was poor Wireless Support with the versions I tried. It has gotten better though from what I have read in the later cooking versions.

Nice article. Thanks.

SalixOS

I agree with the choice of Slitaz 3.0.(current at this time). You should try SalixOS.

SLAX

SLAX gives you a KDE 3.5 desktop in under 200MB with apps. I don't understand how the author missed that.

Slita'Powaaaaaaa

For me Slitaz is definitively the best lightweight Linux ..
and better than ubuntu,fedora,opensuse,mandriva ... which doesn't worth to uninstall winXP

> Puppy and its Offshoots of

> Puppy and its Offshoots of Puplets also have my respect as packages can be found at ibiblio besides the package manager.

?
The packages at ibiblio ARE the ones in the package manager.

The vast majority of Puppy packages are posted to the Puppy forum though... most people should be able to find what they need there - and if they can't someone will often build it on request.

Why ?

Why everybosy coming with
" What about this .. what about that .. ?? "

Slitaz wins in every point

Don't wait for Lubuntu

Instead of waiting for Lubuntu, check out Mint LXDE.
It screams on my old HP tablet, and unlike all the other LXDE installs i've tried, everything worked right out of the box, including WiFi and the Wacom pen.

Another +1 for Antix Mepis

I've been running Antix for about a year now on a PIII 650MHz with 192 MB memory and 8GB disk. It runs fine and I use this PC more than any of the others. A bit more memory would help it as it slows down if you start watching funny cat videos and using the swap file. But stay away from videos and it's excellent!

Try this one at home:

Try to run on my old laptop test box.

Thinkpad 760XL 64mb of memory.

* ntel Pentium MMX 166 MHz CPU
* Trident Cyber9385 video controller with 1MB
* 12.1" TFT display with 800x600 resolution
* 16MB or 32MB memory standard
* 2.1GB HDD
* ESS1688 Audio controller
* IrDA 1.0
* UltraBay Thick with 1.44MB FDD
* (2) Type II CardBus slots or (1) type III

I had a pretty slick patched up Corel Linux on the box, but
it really ran out of steam with RedHat 7.x or later.

I actually had Corel Office 2000 for Linux running (er crawling on the box.).

Max memory is 104Mb possible. I'd love to find some to load it and try it with 104mb.

+1 for Puppy Linux

customized versions of Puppy Linux is available for older PC's.
with devx package you can have not only the 'gcc', but 'lex' and 'yacc' tools too.most of the main stream distro's are decades behind puppy in optimization.
such a collection of the best packages in a small ~90MB iso. Puppy rocks !

I'm curious. Crunchbang

I'm curious. Crunchbang placed very high, if 8/10 is towards the top instead of the bottom. Yet, it would not install on your hardware. Those that did actually install appear to place in the middle, 5/10 or 6/10.

Or, is the grading actually reversed here, with lower being better?

I have serious doubts about the usefulness of any report that rates a "didn't work on our decrepit hardware" higher than any that did install.

Elive should be tested, as well

I was able to installa Elive, using the beautiful Enlightenemnet desktop manager, on a pc based on a Celeron 500, 64 mb ram, 1 mb video (shared).
Not only Elive runs smoothly, but I was also able to run it live, with no installation.

Other packages in SliTaz

The Tazpkg package manager has a 'convert' utility, that tries to convert RPMs, DEBs etc. to TazPkgs.

The usual disclaimer of no guarantees, as the generated TazPkgs won't have any dependency information so you'll have to grab them, but it's certainly worth a shot.

Elive

Elive is a "gotcha" proprietary piece of crap! It's offensive that it has even been mentioned here.

Can any of these installs boot from floppy?

I have a system of similar vintage as yours but the firmware doesn't have the capability of booting from a CD. When this machine was in use, Windows NT and OS/2 booted from a floppy which enabled the CD-Rom drive which was then used for the rest of the install. Do any of these distributions have the option of booting from a floppy like the old systems used to?

Boot From Any CD Without a BIOS Update

It's been a while since I needed it, but Slackware includes a bootable floppy that transfers the boot process to a CD even if your computer's BIOS doesn't support booting from a CD. It's in the directory isolinux/sbootmgr. The name of the floppy image is sbootmgr.dsk.

+1 SliTaz

Havent found hardware that did not boot this one. And have all the packages that I need.
I used Slax alot, but SliTaz gives me all that Slax has got in about half the space.

Using AntiX for ~2 years now

I've had antix running on my "old" machine for at least 2 years now and had no reason to switch away. It manages to make Fluxbox an attractive and (almost) intuitive environment to work in. Very good for getting work done, can be kept up to date with Debian Sid repos as well as the user-friendly tools that come from Mepis.

Slax is the shit, and based

Slax is the shit, and based on slackware, how could it not be in here?

I've tried crunchbang,

I've tried crunchbang, slitaz, elive, puppy and tiny core. I'm very disappointed with crunchbang... far the worst. Very heavy even with openbox. Elive runs equal slitaz, but is much more powerfull. The best fit for my equipment with 128mb ram is a "pupplet" derivated from puppy called Boxpup. Is usefull, full of codecs and very easy to setup.

Debian 5.2

I read the comment above about Debian Lenny and decided to try it on my ancient machine. I used Debian 5.2 and I was happily rewarded. It is faster than SalixOX, more stable than Puppy, and it automatically configured my printer which is something I had a very hard time with in Slitaz. I did not expect this as Debian is not known to be a lightweight distro. I have less than 200 megabytes of ram and it runs pretty fast. Of course anything requiring Flash is useless on this machine.

Arch

Inspired by the fact that Slitaz worked really well on the old PIII in the basement, I installed an Arch Linux system with LXDE. Its working great. Thanks for the article guys.

Crunch Bang: > But as soon

Crunch Bang:

> But as soon as you start installing big things, it comes tumbling down as dependencies spiral into gigabytes of space.

Did you deselect the option in the settings of Synaptic that handles recommended packages as dependencies? Because when the option isn’t selected there are much less packages that are going to be installed (only megabytes and not gigabytes ^^).

Live CD for Online Banking Security

I want a distro that only runs from LiveCD, and only has two "Buttons." One button to start Firefox, and one to make a CD copy of itself.

That way, my 80-year-old Mom can do online banking safely, and give out copies of the LiveCD to all her friends, so that they can, too.

Where do I start? Slitaz, then remove apps until only those two work?

Re: Live CD for Online Banking Security

Why not have a look at Webconverger? It boots off the CDROM straight into a browser.

Debian Testing with XFCE

I have installed Debian Squeeze 64 bit with Xfce. This is all I need. Fast, stable, versatile, plenty of packages available...

I you want to live more at the edge, you can try sidux with Xfce. This will give you the latest kernel, more up-to-date applications and all the advantages and risks of a rolling distro.

Re: Live CD for Online Banking Security

Webconverger's kind of what I meant, but it needs one more "button." The one for Mom to copy the CD and give it away.

$200 might be worth it, though, since it would let a sassy older woman get all her friends off Windows for their banking. And all their friends, and all their friends, etc.

Shutting down the botnets? Priceless, I guess.

Puppy Linux gets 10/10 for dial-up modem use

I run Puppy Linux 4.3.1 on three machines: 233MHz Pentium II with Lucent/Agere chipset WinModem, 866MHz Pentium III with Lucent/Agere chipset WinModem, and 1.86 GHz Core2 with Conexant chipset WinModem. Puppy runs like a champ on all three. The Conexant WinModem support is built in -- no drivers to buy.

The first time I set it up, it took me about 5 minutes to activate and configure the firewall and the dial-up modem, and get online with my ISP. On the third go-around, it took less than 3 minutes with the Conexant modem.

I run Puppy from the LiveCD, and never had to install the operating system to the hard disk. It starts up fast enough this way, and stores configuration settings and new software in a file on the hard disk without upsetting the operation of WinMe, Vista, or Ubuntu. It requires virtually no computer smarts to make this software work in just about every way I want it to. My rating: 10/10.

Where's the table of memory usage?

"We did have a couple of problems installing this to disk, so the figures in the table on page 35 that compare memory usage and disk space aren't that reliable."

Where is this table? There doesn't appear to be a link to it in this article.

mint 9 lxde will be killer

wait and see mint 9 lxde. u will forget ubuntu. mint 8 lxde is good, but i am waiting for pcmanfm2 to be stable

Tiny Core Linux

" The Tiny Core project was started in 2008 by one of the refugees from DSL... "

WRONG!
Let's get the facts straight.

TinyCoreLinux was started by the one 'active' developer that
developed and designed all of the functionality seen in DSL
from version 0.8.0 to the current downloadable version.

The reason DSL is no longer actively developed is because
that ONE developer went on to create a new distribution,
based on source, and not based on knoppix or some other
previous offering. It is truly a 'tiny core' to build from.

The beauty of TinyCoreLinux is the pristine condition
it enjoys at each bootup, without bloat or being locked
into any previous configuration.
TinyCoreLinux can be a dozen different distros at boottime,
with every added package modular, and each one built from
available and downloadable source code and build scripts.

It is not engineered to be a 'plug-&-play' distribution,
and is designed to be extremely flexible and incredibly
fast on hardware ranging from a 486 to any modern
processor, and is very virtual machine friendly.

TCL includes a modern kernel, very active forum community,
FAQs and wikis, and a large group of active developers
who have worked well together for over two years,
who listen and value user feedback and contributions.

Should "tiny" be a requirement, consider looking at its
companion - microcore - a 6MB GUI-free distro with the same
tools, modular design, and bloat-free efficiency as its
larger offering.

Boot Floppies.

The Vector Linux Light ISO does come with boot floppy images, allowing you to install from CD-ROM or ISO image on hard drive.

+ Antix - Slitaz

I would love to run Slitaz on three older computers I have, but it will not boot on any of them. Two are ten year old Toshiba laptops with 192k, the other is a five year old Acer laptop with reasonable specs. After trying WattOS, Lubuntu, Mint LXDE, and numerous others, I always end up back on Antix 8.2 because it runs everything and is reasonable snappy. The others have me waiting around wondering if I actually clicked the mouse or not. Antix is also fully configurable and has no problems with various wireless cards. Slitaz runs great on my newer and much more robust desktop, but so does every other Linux distro. So, if you're not happy with those in this test, try Antix.

You must have been testing

You must have been testing slitaz 2.0. I installed 3.0 and I've had a whole gamut of problems. Many of the configuration apps just don't work or don't work well. Trying to eliminate the tux logon and put in my own username and password was a dead end...my new password was never accepted. Even going to the console (passwd/adduser) didn't fix it.
Many problems with the network apps. While wired eth0 worked well out of the gate, getting an ndiswrapper based usb wifi dongle was much trickier and it could never remember to the next boot.
That said, it is incredibly small and fast and runs well on the old compaq k6-2-433 machine I installed it on...really tantalizing but problematic.

Look here, all of you "Elive" people:

If you want to run a nice stable and gorgeous-looking Enlightenment environment, then try the new PCLinuxOS 2010 E17 Final that will be released in a few days. Unlike Elive, you CAN install it, the apps are completely up-to-date, the repo's got over 12 thousand packages available, and it really WORKS GREAT.

It is your best Enlightenment choice, period.

Choices for an iMac PPC?

We found a first-generation iMac that we would like to use, but it has the rather restrictive specifications of being a PowerPC and having 64 MB of RAM. The only light distribution that supports PPC that I have found so far is the Debian XFCE/LXDE combo that was mentioned by someone else earlier. What else is out there and, if possible, recommended for PPC? Thanks, cheers.

another article please

Hello
when I saw that it spoke of light distributions, I was interested in particular about the implementation on mobile phones, pc handle, or tablets like iPad etc. Indeed this seems to me the true target distribution and light it there is a need, a market. I thought things like dd-wrt or Android or Meego and so on.
I am a bit disappointed because this is not the case and all these distributions are relatively well known, it brings nothing new.
I suggest another article on these fascinating topics but useful.

another article please

Hello
when I saw that it spoke of light distributions, I was interested in particular about the implementation on mobile phones, pc handle, or tablets like iPad etc. Indeed this seems to me the true target distribution and light it there is a need, a market. I thought things like dd-wrt or Android or Meego and so on.
I am a bit disappointed because this is not the case and all these distributions are relatively well known, it brings nothing new.
I suggest another article on these fascinating topics but useful.

Just a note that Lubuntu

Just a note that Lubuntu beta2 is quite different that the one tested here. Surely not as tiny as Slitaz, but maybe more interesting to test :)

Why not add Slax and ArchBang into the list?

Where is Slax (based on Slackware) and ArchBang?

My Laptop...

is a 1.4 ghz celeron with 230 megs of RAM. Right now it is running: AntiX, Stardust Puppy, MacPup Opera 2.0, Crunchbang and Slitaz.

All this was for testing seeing which I prefer. Crunchbang is very good, but a slight upgrade in RAM would make it ideal. Anitx runs great too and is a bit faster than Crunchbang, so I prefer AntiX right now. However, the puplets are just flat fast. I boot into those most often and they work best with all my hardware, no tweaking involved.

So far mixed results with Slitaz. It is fast, but I had to work hard to get wireless up and working. Also not many apps come with it, which I don't mind because it lets me decide what to put on, but sometimes it is missing A LOT and takes a lot time to get it up and running.

So far I find myself going back to Puppy and AntiX most of all.

BTW - LXDE Mint brought my laptop to a screeching halt. Much to heavy for my hardware.

Best small Linux

Damn Small Linux (the REAL DSL); use it all the time for quick tasks!

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