It is an old Toshiba, intel pentium(R) M processor 1.73GHz, 2BG RAM. The previous owner installed Windows 7 on it. It's ok but I want to try a lightweight and small Linux based OS. It will be used primarily for connecting to Amazon AWS via SSH, and SFTP client and a browser, and most likely Atom editor. That's probably be all.

  • Are you new to linux?
    – wb9688
    Jan 13, 2016 at 6:20
  • Yes I am new to Linux. Jan 13, 2016 at 16:06
  • You should probably list clearly the requirements. Ideally I wish people were listing the size of Operating Systems.
    – William
    Jan 14, 2016 at 3:00
  • The requirements are in the description - SFTP client and a browser, and most likely Atom editor. If I knew what size OS are fast and lightweight I wouldn't be asking this question. Jan 14, 2016 at 17:06
  • Actually, with your hardware, you don't really need a lightweight and small Linux distribution. The distributions in this category - such as Damn Small Linux, Puppy Linux etc. - are targeted towards 486 and Pentium (the original Pentium, from 1990) machines as a minimum, with 16/32 MB RAM or so. Of course they would also work on your system.
    – einpoklum
    Sep 14, 2016 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


I recommend using Lubuntu, because it's very easy to use and it's lightweight. It ran fine on my Asus EEE PC 701 with a 800 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM...

  • I was reading reviews on various distroes and Lubuntu was in top 3, but it also said - "32 bit ISO require your CPU to have Physical Address Extensions, or PAE. “PAE is provided by Intel Pentium Pro and above CPUs, including all later Pentium-series processors (except most 400 MHz-bus versions of the Pentium M)." Idk if it applies to me. Jan 13, 2016 at 20:01
  • 1
    @MarinaDunst you can try it: you can make a live USB/DVD
    – wb9688
    Jan 13, 2016 at 20:03
  • It is certainly not the smallest though.
    – einpoklum
    Sep 14, 2016 at 16:05
  • @einpoklun: True, Damn Small Linux is much smaller, but these days I'm just using Debian…
    – wb9688
    Sep 14, 2016 at 20:28

Based on your knowledge and your flavour there are various distributions for your need:

  • Gentoo Linux (maybe with a build host - personal I used this on a 256MB 800 MHz embedded Box and it runs very, very smooth)
  • ArchLinux
  • Alpine
  • Slack
  • DSL
  • ...

For better recommendations it's real important, that you tell us something about yourself: how big is your knowledge, how many time do you have, how complicated is ok, etc etc

  • Tinycorelinux, I run this on 486-233
    – Marged
    Jan 14, 2016 at 22:12
  • @Marged as I say - it's real depending on her knowledge and preferences. (Also you can use a busybox with direct use of the framebuffer for the browser - but I fear that will not real her preference ;)) Slitaz will also be a great recommendation.
    – g4s3
    Jan 15, 2016 at 5:33
  • Thank you for your answer! I will try something else Jan 17, 2016 at 21:49

Tinycorelinux has a lot of bugs, so I tried many different distributives but hit the same issue: the problem is not GUI itself, so Lubuntu and similar can not help you, even OpenBox and JWM did not help me, the kernel of the modern Linux is too heavy weight. So, I found 2 solutions: 1) to compile own kernel 2) to use really super lightweight distribution which has lightweight kernel as well. I found such distro, it's AntiX - it work for me on 32 bits Intel Core Due, with 2Gb. All other "lightweight" distributions had performance issue. AntiX has own lightweight kernel, AntiX does ot use systemd, these 2 facts make it the most lightweight distribution which can be used without problems with software (like in toy distro "TinyCore" with very special packaging and many bugs).

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