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Lightest Linux distros, easy for noob, with virtual winOS?

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pamojja

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Newbe here with first post. I've become increasing annoyed about Window notebooks the last 20 years. Before that no computers, travelling for 10 years before.

Whenever I tried Linuxes on a USB, I always came to the point where I realized, I had to invest too steep in a learning curve, I'm not willing to. Like learning a new language - worth learning a whole culture and interesting people - but for a machine? I still prefer to meditate and communicate with real people for hours every day. Beside work, too few hours left..

What beside the monopoly, etc. annoyed me about Windows machines the most, was that each notebook in those years had minor breakdowns, like usually the battery weakening or dying, the touch display not working or broke, or the keys one by one not functioning anymore. Considered by the manufacturer irreparable, or with the passing of time this technology always cheaper to buy a new one, instead of repair.

3 years ago with the last irreparable one, I quit. Only used an android tablet since, and was surprised by its low-energy footprint: 7 Watts recharging, half that when charged. I considered Shiftbook bundle next, because modularly build and repairable. Sadly too powerful for my humble 95% use of browser, office and multimedia. And right now turned out with horrible battery runtime. And much too expensive for me.

So I had to decide now - tablet starts to pass out too - and bought a mini PC (8GB DDR, 128GB M.2 SSD, J4129, Windows10; for 120,- only), a touch display (11.6 inch), a simple keyport, mouse, and a 20AH powerbank I already had. Therefore, everything cheaply replaceable, without having to dispose a whole notebook each time, due to these 3 parts always broken after some time - but separate now. Duh, took me a long time to realize something so simple :oops:

My plan, don't know if it works: Taking a simple light-weight distro for the 95% of time I use the computer, and run windows in a WM whenever at my wits-end. So a light as possible most of the use time. For that task: which tiny Linux is easy on beginners with intuitive use for browser, office, media and has OS virtualization already included?

From an article, these seem from the lightest upward: TinyCore (not for beginners), Slax, Puppy, Elive, wattOZ, Slitaz, Debian.. Does anybody know if any of those could fulfill my requirements?

Or in a similar region of system-requirements - almost naught nowadays - any distro close which would instead?

Reading up on these I found Slitax interesting, because as a server too, could be worked with over the internet. Would it work for me?



Editing for update, 1 month later:

For avoiding the same recommendations already found not to work with my specific hardware - it is certainly not expected to read the whole of such a very long and unresolved thread (with the issues encountered sidetracking too):

I tested most live-distros with Ventoy, due to its easy of use for testing so many. Encountered with many of them lack of audio output, or wlan recognition. Short attempts to solve those, with the experienced help from members here, couldn't resolve them in the live versions, yet.

So I proceeded to test the 2 Linux distros only, which did work for everything (audio and wlan) out of the box, installed too.

First Mageia, which failed nonetheless - even with full online actualization during the installation process - suddenly missing audio again. Its second installation without actualization failed, due to resulting in irresponsiveness and freezing.

Second EasyOS, where its first installation quit to boot after sometime, however, working fine until then. With a second install and a different installation method if failed in saving sessions.

Since now it seemed, that testing live compared to installed can give completely different outcomes, I tested a further with the advantage of having virtualization ready-made on board. The missing audio in this RoboLinux might just be working after installation? However, the common installer didn't allow the choice of where to install its components, which ended with not being bootable, again.

Before those full 5 Linux installation failures - taking a staggering 24 hrs in total - I tested 3 Linux distros, due to their easy Windows installers, intended to under use under Windows partitions. Failing for different reasons.

Below the list of all till now tested distros, mostly with Ventoy. Their ISO size, why - if they failed, idle and under load RAM usage. Click to read.

Though, I'm not giving up on finding one Linux working for me.



Editing for update, 3 further days later:

A third method for EasyOS to install by copying/pasting/editing (limine.cfg) into already existing Linux partitions - in my case RoboLinux on an other USB, did work this time again. With persistence. :)

My suspicion, that the USB on which the 2nd Mageia and first EasyOS install failed, simply be damaged, might be correct, after all.



Edit, an other 10 days later; a summary of most specific helpful answers for beginners with difficulties due to new hardware here: https://www.linux.org/threads/lightest-linux-distros-easy-for-noob-with-virtual-winos.45998/page-22
 
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I think you need to stick with a mainstream distro, but lightweight - such as AntiX Base (Debian, no systemd, based), Crowz (Devuan based), or even Devuan Live, (my main distro).
 
Thanks a lot. What does 'no systemd' mean? Too many years since I tried Linuxes on a stick the last time.

Think too, meanstream would help with being up-to-date and enough users for beginners support. Devuan is the first time I heard of. Is any of those dual-use as a server too?
 
Some people don't like systemd, me included, it smacks too much like MS Windows registry, locking you in, & 'not the unix way'. ;)

Any of the mainstream based distro can be used as servers, just make sure the required software is installed, but they don't work out of the box, like I think TinyCore & SliTaz can or do.

Devuan is basically Debian without systemd, it came about when they were forcing it on their users; not so much now.
 
If you are looking for a Free dedicated server Linux. take a look at Ubuntu server 22.04, Open Suse Leap 15,4, Rocky Linux 9.1
These are fairly popular. but there are others. Almost any distribution can be turned into a server os.
 
are looking for a Free dedicated server Linux..
Thanks. I'm looking for a distro with least watt usage for most my simple uses. It should have a browser, office and simple media abilites. Beside being possible to virtualize windows out of the box.

Only found it interesting that Slitax does that out of the box double-use and thereby being able to work with easily from distance. Would a dedicated server fit my other requirements too?
 
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If you're going for Linux for the first time, but you still feel you need something in Windows, do not erase your Windows installation yet! This is a serious error that some people make because either they are paranoid or they are overexcited about getting a "free" thing that might be better. A short time later one could become deeply disappointed and wind up cold-hating Linux or a certain distro.

For a really newbie I suggest trying Ubuntu. Just pick the flavor, we're not going to do it for you! Do your research, decide what desktop environment you want to live with and then download the ISO. Do not make the choice entirely because of the size of the ISO! It matters much more what the operating system takes up on the disk when it's installed. Spend a few weeks with the live ISO. Try to do stuff like you did on Windows. Have a play at configuration, because most people would judge a Linux OS entirely on the ability to adjust things to taste according to the equipment. Especially some laptops and certain chipsets for CPU and GPU.

Be aware that Ubuntu LTS could be the best thing for a laptop that might have been intended by a shady manufacturer for the user to have only Windows. However, some people hate being stuck with "outdated" software, and others become anxious only about version/release numbers on software. That's why one would jump into "Mantic Minotaur" at any chance and then scream that it doesn't work on his/her computer. Then propose "Jammy" to him/her and he/she is like, "NO! I want rolling only, I want the latest, not that old junk!"

Sadly it's not that simple. A Linux OS could behave differently as the live ISO, than as if it were installed. There's no control over it -- again, it has to do with the weather, the equipment and the intentions of the companies.

One more thing. Be aware that using a Virtual Machine of any sort could be an entirely different experience. However, if the user absolutely doesn't want to risk losing Windows, considers "I lose data if I shut off" annoying from live ISO mode and his/her machine has at least 8GB RAM and a "modern" CPU, it could be the only way to go.

Be aware that Linux is different from Windows despite the attempts to make them more like each other. Windows is still more lax about file permissions than Linux could ever be. There is no concept of "superuser" on Windows. This would be annoying on Linux maybe except for users of EasyOS, Puppy Linux and Fatdog64 and a few others. Each OS, Linux and Windows, decides where it expects the programs and related data, where it expects configuration files, device drivers, and other non-executable things, with the temporary files having to do with it, and where it expects the user to store his/her stuff that is most easily transferable. If it's not completely understood from bad habits gained out of using WindowsXP too long (such as regularly putting stuff into "C:\Program Files" because a few applications even insist on it, I used one of them for long enough), Linux is going to be very frustrating to use.

Some people are very used to just the User Account Control dialog box annoying them since Windows Vista. Linux is going to be more frustrating than this to them after it asks for the regular user's password for certain things, like permission to install software, adjusting the system time, and mounting a partition on an internal disk even if the Linux OS wasn't booted from that disk. Yes, Windows doesn't resist the user changing the date and time to a value that is flatly wrong. On Linux the troublemaker should look for the way to disable NTP sync if he/she also needs to go online...

Note that I'm only suggesting to try Ubuntu, not to install it, and even less am I forcing anybody to like it. I guess it has been Canonical Ltd.'s mission since the beginning to provide an operating system that could turn a profit and could compete on friendly terms with MacOS and Windows. This thing about the Snaps is making a lot of people leery, and there have been and will be many other decisions made by that corporation that would sting users and cause them to protest.

One could do much worse than Ubuntu (this covers Linux Mint as well which was based on Ubuntu), when he/she is only interested in knowing how Linux is like after becoming sick and tired of being told about it, and then being yet another person that is going to make somebody else sick and tired of being told about it.
 
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If you're going for Linux for the first time, but you still feel you need something in Windows, do not erase your Windows installation yet! This is a serious error that some people make because either they are paranoid or they are overexcited about getting a "free" thing that might be better. A short time later one could become deeply disappointed and wind up cold-hating Linux or a certain distro.

For a really newbie I suggest trying Ubuntu. Just pick the flavor, we're not going to do it for you! Do your research, decide what desktop environment you want to live with and then download the ISO. Do not make the choice entirely because of the size of the ISO! It matters much more what the operating system takes up on the disk when it's installed. Spend a few weeks with the live ISO. Try to do stuff like you did on Windows. Have a play at configuration, because most people would judge a Linux OS entirely on the ability to adjust things to taste according to the equipment. Especially some laptops and certain chipsets for CPU and GPU.

Be aware that Ubuntu LTS could be the best thing for a laptop that might have been intended by a shady manufacturer for the user to have only Windows. However, some people hate being stuck with "outdated" software, and others become anxious only about version/release numbers on software. That's why one would jump into "Mantic Minotaur" at any chance and then scream that it doesn't work on his/her computer. Then propose "Jammy" to him/her and he/she is like, "NO! I want rolling only, I want the latest, not that old junk!"

Sadly it's not that simple. A Linux OS could behave differently as the live ISO, than as if it were installed. There's no control over it -- again, it has to do with the weather, the equipment and the intentions of the companies.

One more thing. Be aware that using a Virtual Machine of any sort could be an entirely different experience. However, if the user absolutely doesn't want to risk losing Windows and his/her machine hase at least 8GB RAM and a "modern" CPU, it could be the only way to go.

Be aware that Linux is different from Windows despite the attempts to make them more like each other. Windows is still more lax about file permissions than Linux could ever be. There is no concept of "superuser" on Windows. This would be annoying on Linux maybe except for users of EasyOS, Puppy Linux and Fatdog64 and a few others. Each OS, Linux and Windows, decides where it expects the programs and related data, where it expects configuration files, device drivers, and other non-executable things, with the temporary files having to do with it, and where it expects the user to store his/her stuff that is most easily transferable. If it's not completely understood from bad habits gained out of using WindowsXP too long (such as regularly putting stuff into "C:\Program Files" because a few applications even insist on it, I used one of them for long enough), Linux is going to be very frustrating to use.

Some people are very used to just the User Account Control dialog box annoying them since Windows Vista. Linux is going to be more frustrating than this to them after it asks for the regular user's password for certain things, like permission to install software, adjusting the system time, and mounting a partition on an internal disk even if the Linux OS wasn't booted from that disk. Yes, Windows doesn't resist the user changing the date and time to a value that is flatly wrong. On Linux the troublemaker should look for the way to disable NTP sync if he/she also needs to go online...

Note that I'm only suggesting to try Ubuntu, not to install it, and even less am I forcing anybody to like it. I guess it has been Canonical Ltd.'s mission since the beginning to provide an operating system that could turn a profit and could compete on friendly terms with MacOS and Windows. This thing about the Snaps is making a lot of people leery, and there have been and will be many other decisions made by that corporation that would sting users and cause them to protest.

One could do much worse than Ubuntu (this covers Linux Mint as well which was based on Ubuntu), when he/she is only interested in knowing how Linux is like after becoming sick and tired of being told about it, and then being yet another person that is going to make somebody else sick and tired of being told about it.
Very good advice but let us not forget about one of the biggest linux distros our there. Fedora. I run a business based on fedora systems and it is a solid OS. It is easy to maintain when set up properly. When it comes to dual booting I put up an article on that posted here. https://www.linux.org/threads/dual-booting-made-easy.44629/
 
Very good advice but let us not forget about one of the biggest linux distros our there. Fedora.
Even Fedora claims to be a community distribution, they are basically owned by Red Hat since Fedora trademark is owned by Red Hat two of the board member job's descriptions are that they Red Hat pays them and the other two border member job descriptions don't but they still work for Red Hat. It's better to go for a real community distribution, although Fedora is a good distribution I just try to avoid them now days and everybody knows why.
 
please keep your own philosophical opinions to yourself. If you have real information about a bad point in something then please put that out, but don't down something simply because you don't like the organization's structure. People listen to us in here and right now you are giving bad advice based on not liking how they define community distribution. That is petty and does not belong here. Your sour grapes does not make a factual based opinion.

The Fedora Council:

  • The Project Leader: Is responsible for maintaining Red Hat’s relationship with Fedora and vice versa. He has been at Red Hat since 2012, first working on Fedora Cloud and becoming FPL in June 2014.
  • Fedora Community Architect: Is employed full-time by Red Hat to lead initiatives that grow the Fedora user and developer communities.
  • Fedora Program Manager: Is the Chief Operating Officer of the Fedora Project. They are employed full-time by Red Hat to manage the planning and release processes for Fedora Linux. This includes schedule management, change wrangling, and providing status reports to the community and to Red Hat.
  • Fedora D.E.I. Advisor: The Fedora Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (D.E.I.) Advisor is a liaison between the Fedora Council and the Fedora Community on topics. Current D.E.I Advisor works on CI and Infrastructure team in the Community Platform Engineering at Red Hat.
 
please keep your own philosophical opinions to yourself. If you have real information about a bad point in something then please put that out, but don't down something simply because you don't like the organization's structure. People listen to us in here and right now you are giving bad advice based on not liking how they define community distribution. That is petty and does not belong here. Your sour grapes does not make a factual based opinion.
Actually from a FOSS point of view @f33dm3bits is making a solid point.
 
I get it, you don't like how fedora is but it is still a largely popular linux distro.
So is Windooze Virus Distribution System and Mac. What is it you don't (want to) understand?
 
Very good advice but let us not forget about one of the biggest linux distros our there. Fedora.
I think Brickwizard meant this topic to help beginners. Not to compare one Linux distribution to another. Once again I wrote about my feelings to try to help someone else who doesn't know as much as I do about Linux, if he/she asks me and only me.
 
I think Brickwizard meant this topic to help beginners. Not to compare one Linux distribution to another. Once again I wrote about my feelings to try to help someone else who doesn't know as much as I do about Linux, if he/she asks me and only me.
thank you, this is what I am attempting to say but tech people like to argue about anything and ignore the actual question. Lets not do that.
 
do not erase your Windows installation yet!
Thanks. As I now wrote repeatedly, I want to continue to run Windows as virtualization for the rare 5% of use-cases.

I don't need to do everything with linux. Just browser, office, media and the virtualization of Linux. As a beginner, without having to learn machine language.
Do not make the choice entirely because of the size of the ISO!
I haven't considered size of ISO, but the watt usage only. Android can do with 3Watt with my use-cases. So why use 10 times as much or more?

Try to do stuff like you did on Windows.
As also said, tried already a couple of times with Linuxes on sticks. I always realized I don't want to waste my limited time here on Earth with learning machine language, but use it wisely for communication with real humans, and to meditate. Simply not that much time beside work and having priorities.

adjust things to taste according to the equipment. Especially some laptops and certain chipsets for CPU and GPU.
Please read my first post in this threat. No interest in looks or labtops anymore. PC specs were mentioned too.

like permission to install software, adjusting the system time, and mounting a partition on an internal disk
All things I don't want to do. Just browse the web, do office, crop pictures, watch movies, and virtualize windows for every thing else - the verry least use in my case.

I'm only suggesting to try Ubuntu, not to install it,
I want to install a light-weigth distro (RAM, not iso), to be able to run not-so lightweight Windows as Virtual OS.

But thanks again for trying to help.
 
Thanks. As I now wrote repeatedly, I want to continue to run Windows as virtualization for the rare 5% of use-cases.

I don't need to do everything with linux. Just browser, office, media and the virtualization of Linux. As a beginner, without having to learn machine language.

I haven't considered size of ISO, but the watt usage only. Android can do with 3Watt with my use-cases. So why use 10 times as much or more?


As also said, tried already a couple of times with Linuxes on sticks. I always realized I don't want to waste my limited time here on Earth with learning machine language, but use it wisely for communication with real humans, and to meditate. Simply not that much time beside work and having priorities.


Please read my first post in this threat. No interest in looks or labtops anymore. PC specs were mentioned too.


All things I don't want to do. Just browse the web, do office, crop pictures, watch movies, and virtualize windows for every thing else - the verry least use in my case.


I want to install a light-weigth distro (RAM, not iso), to be able to run not-so lightweight Windows as Virtual OS.

But thanks again for trying to help.
I would suggest either ubuntu or fedora. both will work out of the box with no further intervention. Not counting personal touches of course and personal settings. I am not sure how to take a working windows installation and turn it into a VM as far as I know you can only create the virtual machine and then install windows there but VM's are limited. No 3d graphics and many other things that will not work in a VM.
You will not need to learn machine language or programming anything. Ubuntu and fedora work out of box. I have a script I use that installs all the extras that most people want if you ask I can send it to you.
 
If you have real information about a bad point in something then please put that out, but don't down something simply because you don't like the organization's structure. People listen to us in here
No worries, I don't. I asked with very precise para-meters, and haven't found an answer to my question yet. Keep the answers coming. I'm learning anyway from it.
 
Thanks. But I was asking for the most energy-efficient still convinient enough to browse, crop pics, watch movies and virtualize Windows.



Helpful for others. But as explained not for me.
if you want to virtualize windows you will not find efficiency. You at that point will be running 2 machines even if one is virtual so you will not get a saving, most likely you'll use more energy running both that way.
 
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