World's Most Lightweight Linux Distros List 2020

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Linux is well-known for security, stability, trustworthy, flexibility and fast execution. But one more feature it has that makes it unique and special. And it is lightweight. Ever wonder why Linux OS are so fast .One of the main reason is that  it is design in a way that it can run on minimal set of hardware resources. Linux can run on modern as well as old system hardware architecture without compromise with security threats and that's the beauty of it.

According to their sizes we can categories Linux distro in three parts.

1) Full featured Distros: Those Linux operating systems which comes with fully loaded features with GUI(DE) and packages which a general users requires for daily works. You can call them Heavyweight Linux Distros e.g Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro etc. They are in size from 1.5 - 4 GB approx.
2) Focused Linux Distros: These Linux operating system are designed with primarily focused on fast processing & lower loads on hardware resources. To achieve this goal developers altered the unnecessary packages & use the light version of GUI Desktop Environment (DE). e.g Lubuntu ,Xubuntu etc.They are in size from 1 - 2 GB

3) Lightweight Linux Distros: These Linux distros comes with only basic set of applications which are necessary to run the operating system. These type of Linux distro also customize the Linux kernel to achieve the goal of lightweight. Mostly they are designed for some special purpose like embedded system, old hardware configurations, system recovery, portability (run from portable devices e.g USB PD). They are in size from few MB to 600MB.

In this post we will see the World's Top Lightweight Linux Operating Systems.  So lets start...

Damn Small Linux : As name suggests. One of the most lightweight Linux OS. The size of this operating system is just 50MB. Don't believe? Visit the official site.

But sadly the page is not updated since 2012 , the last version of this Linux distro is  4.4.10. But its good to test the Linux and play with the basic functionality of Linux without giving load to your system hardware resources.

TinyCoreLinux :With the latest version 11.1 , TinyCoreLinux is one of the most updated lightweight Linux distro with the latest release on April 2020.

There are mainly three versions of TCL Linux :

i) Core ii) Tiny Core iii) CorePlus and the size is a) 14 MB b) 19 MB c) 206 MB accordingly.

Core version have only bare  kernel with CLI interface .The TinyCore has basic Graphical extension. And the CorePlus includes some basic functionalities like wireless connectivity , installation, some bunch of graphical managers.

Download the latest ISO File of TinyCoreLinux From Official repository

CRUXCRUX is another lightweight Linux distribution for the x86-64 architecture targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is keeping it simple. CRUX also has a ports system which makes it easy to install and upgrade applications. The latest version of CRUX Linux is 3.5 which was released in June 2019. It uses the Kernel version 4.19 & ships with Xorg 7.7 and xorg-server 1.20.5 . The ISO image is pre processed with isohybrid which means after flashing ISO you can directly boot from USB as your harddrive. It also support UEFI support is available during installation with dosfstools, efibootmgr, and grub2-efi added to the ISO. 

Some Features of Crux Linux:

  • KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) concept, applied to both the system and the development process
  • Source based package installation using a ports system
  • Simplicity over automation
  • Targetted at experienced users with compact, to the point documentation
  • Native configurations over configuration abstraction layers (think: sysconfig)
  • Slim, stripped of unneeded documentation and files (including National Language Support; CRUX only supports the native language the programs were written in, which is english in most cases)
  • Up to date features and packages, however no bleeding edge software in the main repositories
  • Easy way to extend the system by yourself
  • Active community of contributors outside the core development team

The size of the ISO Linux is 644 MB . You can download the latest ISO from official repository

Alpine OS:  Its another lightweight Linux distro which is based on busybox & musl libc . The latest version 3.12 was released on May 2020.   It is available for different system platforms (listed below). ISO sizes are listed below for x86_64 system .

a) Standard 124 MB b) extended 494MB c) netboot 137 MB d) raspberry PI 86MB (aarch64)
e) generic ARM (aarch64) f) mini root file system 2MB g) Virtual 40 MB h) XEN 177 MB

Visit the official page to download the AlpineOS

Void Linux OS : Another beautiful general purpose Linux OS. This Linux is based on monolithic Kernel. Package system is based on binary packages. It is available for the Intel x86®, ARM® and MIPS® processor architectures. The main feature of Void Linux is that it is built independently from scratch by the community/volunteers. For more features visit the official site.

Void gives you freedom to choose your fav Desktop Environment as they have bunch of popular DE based distros. The latest Void Linux version was released on July 2020 and the ISO size for the x86_64 is 395 MB

Download the ISO from the official repository

Slax OS : A Debian based distro. Slax is a modern, portable, small and fast Linux operating system with modular approach and outstanding design. It runs directly from your USB flash drive without installing, so you can carry it everywhere you go in your pocket. Despite its small size, Slax provides nice graphical user interface and wise selection of pre-installed programs, such as a Web browser, Terminal, and more.

Slax OS only support MBR (not GPT) and the partition type should be ext4/FAT32 

All Intel & AMD processors are supported by Slax. The latest version of Slax Linux is 9.11.0 & released on September 2019. Slax 9.11.0 comes with size 264 MB for 64bit.

SliTaz Linux : SliTaz GNU/Linux is a free operating system working completely in memory from removable media such as a CD-ROM or USB. The latest version was released on 2020-Aug-09 with version 4 & the size of x86_64 bit ISO is slitaz-rolling-core64.iso

The default ISO image provides 4 flavors: base, just-x, gtk-only and the full desktop. The system can be extended with the Tazpkg package manager and security updates are provided for the cooking and stable versions. SliTaz comes with two version a) LiveCD b) Flopy Boot Disk. It is available for the Intel x86® , x86_64®, ARM® processor architectures

 Some Key Feature Provided By SliTaz Linux :
  • Root filesystem taking up about 100 MB and ISO image of less than 40 MB.
  • Ready to use Web/FTP server powered by Busybox with CGI support.
  • Browse the Web with Midori, Firefox or Lynx in text mode.
  • Sound support provided by Alsa mixer, audio player and CD ripper/encoder.
  • Chat, mail and FTP clients.
  • SSH client and server powered by Dropbear.
  • Database engine with SQLite.
  • Generate a LiveUSB device.
  • Tools to create, edit or burn CD or DVD images.
  • Elegant desktop with Openbox running on the top of Xorg/Xvesa (X server).
  • Homemade graphical boxes to command line utilities.
  • 4967 packages easily installable from the mirror.
  • Active and friendly community.
SliTaz has a special feature that you can build your own custom ISO. For that you have to visit this link

Puppy Linux  : Puppy Linux is a  Linux distributions specially made for  home-use. It is based on Debian. There are three type of Puppy Linux distribution  i) Official Puppy Linux distributions ii) woof-built Puppy Linux distributions iii) unofficial derivatives (“puplets”) . Its supports intel x86, x86_64, arm process  architecture. The latest version 8.0 was released on June 2020 with the ISO size of 273 MB for 32bit & 354 MB for 64bit system.

Download the latest version of Puppy Linux from official repository

If you think that there is any Linux distro that we should add in the list , please comment below.

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