Monday, March 1, 2021

The best lightweight Linux distributions of 2021

Looking for a lightweight Linux distribution to install on that old PC? Check our top picks for 2021
Photo by Naman Porwal on Unsplash

On a previous post we discussed the best Linux distributions for new users in 2021. While those distributions are fantastic, they demand moderately powerful hardware and a decent amount of storage. Today, let's discuss the best lightweight Linux distributions in 2021.

What's a lightweight Linux distribution?

As you probably expect, a lightweight Linux distribution is a distribution that does not require super-recent hardware and, as much as possible is friendly on storage and energy consumption.

What should you expect from these distributions

All of the presented distributions were chosen not only because they're stable and secure but because they're easy-to-use, powerful (with no compromises) and require modest hardware requirements. As a bonus, running on single board computers and IoT would be a plus.

So let's get started and review what are the best most recommended lightweight Linux distributions in 2021.

Ubuntu MATE

Ubuntu MATE is a lightweight and simplified Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It's stable, easy-to-use and comes with the lightweight (and familiar) MATE desktop environment. It is ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional. Another advantage is that it requires modest hardware requirements, running on modern workstations, to single board computers and IoT. Ubuntu MATE makes modern computers fast and old computers awesome again 😊.

Ubuntu MATE's default desktop

elementary OS

We ❤ elementary OS and pretty much anyone in the community. elementary (lowercase e please) was select as one of our best distros in 2021 an still shows up in this list. It's installation is super quick and its Pantheon desktop environment certainly offers a very polished experience while still being lightweight! Being also based on Ubuntu makes it a solid choice for your old PC.

The beautiful elementary OS desktop


Solus is another of the fast and lightweight Linux distros that we love. Built by community by passionate developers, the Solus OS is a beautiful, lightweight, innovative and rolling-release operating system that everyone should try at least once. Sure, it's not backed up by the likes of Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company but is built on strong (and innovative) technologies. Definitely worth trying out.

Source: Solus Project 

Fedora XFCE

Fedora XFCE is another of our favorite lightweight distros of 2021. Built by the an awesome of independent and (RH)-dependent Fedora developers, Fedora XFCE is definitely a distro for those working (or willing to) in the Enterprise Linux space since it shares roots with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and many of its forks (including CentOS, Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux). And as happens with every Fedora spin, you'll get as vanilla as possible from XFCE's original experience

Source: Fedora Project

Manjaro XFCE

If  you're looking for a little more action than why not try Manjaro XFCE? Running the XFCE desktop environment, the same desktop environment as the Fedora spin listed in this article, Manjaro is based on the venerable Arch Linux but presents a less steep learning curve and counts with a thriving and ever-growing community. Manjaro XFCE presents a very polished and fast experience that would suit well to new and experienced Linux users on modern and old hardware.

Manjaro's beautiful XFCE desktop environment


On this article we presented the lightweight Linux distributions in 2021. Lightweight Linux distros usually run super-well on old PCs or Macs guaranteeing you some good years of use still. Another idea would be spinning them up in less resourceful virtual machines so you can practice your Linux skills. More on that later.

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