The Ubuntu Lightweight Minnow
In the sea of today’s market it’s easy to find whale sized operating systems that run poorly on slim hardware but my interest is with the minnows. One lightweight Linux distribution in particular that I tried recently is called Xubuntu. I’ve used DSL (Damn Small Linux), Fluxbuntu and Puppy, which all have their own strengths and are smaller but I found Xubuntu to be the perfect solution for me.
Xubuntu is a lightweight version of the popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu that can be installed on 1.5 GB of hard drive space and 192 MB of RAM. Xubuntu uses the XFCE desktop environment instead of Gnome. I like Gnome over all desktop environments so I was sketchy on how XFCE would preform but in the end XFCE was very user friendly and capable of doing what I needed. XFCE combined with Ubuntu power is the main reason Xubuntu is a great distro to choose or at least try out on your laptop, netbook or workstation that values efficiency.
While installation wizard was a bit long the distro was proven useful to me after the installation had finished and I found the Synaptic Package Manager. I recognized it from Ubuntu and was very pleased with the way it functions even though by default applications like GIMP, Firefox, Abiword, and Pidgin are right at your fingertips right out of the box.
Selecting a lightweight Linux distribution is about drawing a line. Where you draw the line depends on how many applications, graphics and desktop functionality your willing to sacrifice to get the speed you want or meet the size contains you’re faced with. My line has been drawn between Xubuntu and Fluxbuntu because of the simple fact that it has the perfect amount of apps i want, environment I can tolerate, and community support that I’d be dead without.