Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 18th Jun 2012 04:20 UTC
Linux In the past year I've reviewed four lightweight Linuxes for OS News: VectorLinux, Puppy Linux, Lubuntu, and Damn Small Linux. This article compares the four distributions. I invite your comments in response: what are your own experiences with these and competing lightweight distros?
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RE: Comment by wigry
by Morgan on Mon 18th Jun 2012 07:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by wigry"
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VectorLinux has two distinct advantages over pure Slackware: Speed and native dependency checking.

Unfortunately, you give up Slackware's extremely stable nature, and ability to customize the installation down to the individual packages. As for dependency checking, you can always use slapt-get. Personally I prefer building and maintaining my own packages via pkgbuilds or just compiling from source. I have to take the extra time to seek out dependencies, but I learned more about how GNU/Linux works using Slackware than with all the other distros combined. Edit: And of course I forgot that Slackware can still be installed on as low as a 486 with 64MB RAM! You can't beat that for old/low specs.

Still, I do prefer Arch these days for the bleeding-edge packages and excellent support community. I can still build and install from source if necessary, and my system is built piece by piece so there's no cruft. I realize Arch is far from newbie-friendly, but I would definitely say it can be considered a "lightweight" distro given how bare it can be if you want.

Edited 2012-06-18 07:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by wigry
by zima on Mon 18th Jun 2012 08:07 in reply to "RE: Comment by wigry"
zima Member since:

Slackware can still be installed on as low as a 486 with 64MB RAM! You can't beat that for old/low specs.

I think you can ( - admittedly, large part of them based on Slackware, even if on its old versions).

Though... that would be one unusual 486, with 64 MiB, me thinks. Still, it points to what the article barely addresses (worse, it seems to focus more on CPU generations for demarcation): for most "daily usage" scenarios, RAM tends to be more important than CPU power.
Lubuntu is moderately decent on a PII that I keep around (well, dual, but OTOH only 266 MHz), with a relatively large for its era 384 MiB of RAM.

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RE[3]: Comment by wigry
by bassbeast on Tue 19th Jun 2012 05:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by wigry"
bassbeast Member since:

The problem I've found with any of those "old systems", not talking about some 486 that someone found in an attic but what you'd normally find, those P3s and P4s that seem to be everywhere? yeah their power usage was just awful compared to even a cheapo Atom or AMD E series or ARM, those things just blew through the power, especially anything to do with netburst.

So while I can appreciate playing with the old stuff just to goof around I have to wonder if keeping anything like that for an actual purpose would be smart or if you'd waste more in electricity than you'd save just getting a small ARM box or one of those $100 E350 kits where they draw like 8w on average. I can tell you when I finally got around to replacing my boys Pentium Ds for an AMD Hex and Quad the power bill dropped pretty dang quick. I hadn't thought about how much power and cooling them old units took, just as tossing their CRTs for LCDs a few months later caused another decent sized drop. You don't realize how little they cared about power draw back then until you actually change them out for something modern but its a pretty big difference.

That is why the only older machine I've kept is a 754 Sempron, it only pulls 35w or so and makes a nice nettop, I'm sure it'll be even better when i get around to tossing the Sempron for a Mobile Athlon with better thermal controls.

Reply Parent Score: 2