Linux Distribution Reviews

Top Lightweight Linux Distributions for 2019

Modern Linux distros are designed to attract a large number of users having machines equipped with the latest hardware. As they’re designed by keeping the modern hardware in mind, they might be a bit too excessive for the old computers. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it because experts have been tweaking things to bring out some trimmed and light weighted distros.

We still have so many lightweight distros available at our hands, from beginner to advance; from gamers to hackers. It can be a headache to decide which distro will be most compatible with the job you need to perform. Worry not! We’ve filtered the top lightweight Linux distributions for 2019.

Arch Linux

If you’re looking to save up space from unnecessary packages, Arch Linux can be the answer to your problems. However, it’s not popular for its interface but it’s definitely one of the most renowned free and open source distribution. There are now many user-friendly distros available. One of them is a modified version of Arch Linux called Antergos. Antergos provides you the opportunity to change the look of your machine and includes more drivers, plenty of desktop environments and applications but underneath all that, it is still Arch Linux.

The system requirements for Arch Linux are as follows:

Minimum RAM (MB): 512

Minimum CPU: Any 64-compatible machine

Minimum Disk Space (MB): 1000

Lubuntu

The name Lubuntu originally came from Ubuntu with the ‘L’ standing for lightweight. It comes with LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) which is generally known for its lightness, less space hunger and for being more energy efficient. It’s compatible with Ubuntu repositories so those Ubuntu users searching for a light weighted OS as compared to modern distros can go for it.

It rather features with alternative resources that are less intensive instead of making you compromise your favorite apps. For instance, it features Abiword instead of LibreOffice. It was designed while keeping the old machines in mind but that doesn’t imply that Lubuntu lacks but to your surprise it’s based on Linux Kernel 4.15 and Ubuntu 18.04, the only thing it lacks will be the unnecessary weight.

The biggest advantage here is that Lubuntu is compatible with Ubuntu repositories and can provide access to other additional packages from Lubuntu Software Center.

System requirements for Lubuntu are as follows:

Minimum RAM (MB): 512

Minimum CPU: Pentium 4, Pentium M, AMD K8 or any CPU with at least 266 MHz

Minimum Disk Space (MB): 3000

Puppy Linux

If you’re looking for a lightweight distro that comes with a user-friendly interface, this distro can end your search. The software has been one of the fastest distros for over 11 years now. It features lightweight applications, making it fast and less memory hungry. By default, it has Abiword, Media Player and lightweight browser. Not just that but it comes with a wide range of apps and includes its own package manager. Packages can be installed from user-developed repositories and Puppy repository using the .pet extension.

It runs on the minimal amount of memory- as minimal as you can run the entire software on RAM itself, requiring only 130 MBs altogether. System requirements for Puppy Linux are as follows:

Minimum RAM (MB): 128

Minimum CPU: 233 MHz

Minimum Disk Space (MB): 512

Linux Lite

A windows user who might be looking for a familiar interface might like to switch to Linux Lite, specifically those who might run machines with Windows XP installed. It comes with a browser similar to FireFox, including built-in support for Netflix, VLC Media Player, and LibreOffice installed beforehand. To make things run smoothly and fast, it has a preinstalled tool called zRAM memory compression tool.

It might be designed for machines not equipped with modern hardware but you try it on one that is equipped with the latest hardware you’ll be amazed by its speed. Everything apart, it supports multi-booting which allows you to keep your existing OS while you get comfortable working on Linux.

As the name itself indicates, it requires minimal hardware to run, which are as follows:

Minimum RAM (MB): 512

Minimum CPU: 700 MHz

Minimum Disk Space (MB): 2000

Linux Mint

A strong recommendation for those who might be new to Linux, as it features much software that might be required when switching from Mac or Windows. Aside from LibreOffice, it also provides better support for proprietary media formats that can allow you to play videos, DVDs and MP3 files. It comes with three main flavors, each providing you options to customize the screen appearance of desktop and menus. The most popular among the three is Cinnamon however you can go for basic MATE or Xfce.

When Timeshift, a feature that enables users to start their computers from the last functional point, was introduced in version 18.3, it became one of the main functions of Linux Mint 19.

The following are the system requirements to install Linux Mint:

Minimum RAM (MB): 512

Minimum CPU: Any Intel, AMD or VIA x86/64 processor

Minimum Disk Space (MB): 10000

Conclusion

The world is full of lightweight distros designed to provide users speed, efficiency and saves up their space. However, which Linux distribution you pick can be based on the requirements of your machine as well as the kind of job you might need to perform on it. Before choosing any distro, check your hardware and make sure that the distro you’ve chosen can run on it. The above-mentioned guide will definitely help you to start your experience with Linux.

About the author

Zeeman Memon

Zeeman Memon

Zeeman is a freelance content marketer, software engineer and tech blogger who loves to blog on his tech blog in his free time.