Lightweight Linux Distro Review Showdown: Who Will Become Champion?

By Deep Grewal


That looked like a lot of work, thank you.

Nice overview.

Some of the apps installed seem indeed unnecessary but before I used Standard Notes I appreciated the sticky notes in Mate or Xfce because often I need to make an important note, not that it needed to be on the desktop as a widget but rather in the panel like a tray icon and on older hardware, some of mine still has an optical drive with burning capabilities, it is handy to be able to burn some old fashioned CDs. I mean the drive is there.

As I can see the winner in Ubuntu land is Lubuntu.

Though I find that distros not based on Ubuntu are quite more lightweight if the hardware is really more rusty. But of course “lightweight” is a broad term and also subjective.
If you have only 2 GB of RAM than only Lubuntu will run somehow fluently and if you need 32bit support than you have to go somewhere else.

All the Ubuntu LTS releases use an LTS kernel, so 5.4 would be fine because all releases based on 20.10 are already almost obsolete, 21.04 also just came out.

I remember when Mate just used 192 MB of RAM in a Debian release before the switch to GTk3, so Qt seems to really be a better choice for Lubuntu even though I still prefer LXDE and it still wins in every aspect. Some years ago Xfce used about 92 MB at boot on a default Debian 32bit install using Gtk2. Those were times I miss. Because as you can see now we talk about 4 GB of RAM as something relatively weak.

I read the whole article and love what you did there. Kudos! I am just passionate about older hardware and lightweight desktops because that is what I mostly use and I have a great collection of it.
One desktop I would add is Plasma. It is now on par with the rest if not even better suited than e.g. Mate. Though not every distro makes a “lightweight package” out of it.

I myself use mostly Xfce but on Debian.

Thank you for the article.