Lightweight, friendly and secure distro for 4GB RAM

ScraNTiV

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Hi,
I'm going through forums and reddit to find a lightweight, friendly and secure distro for a 6-years old laptop. It's a version of ASUS Zenbook, I think its specs are: Intel Core i5 6th gen, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics card as well as an Intel Graphics card and RAM of 4GB. I'm thinking of upgrading it to 8GB, but would still like a light distro with an easy installation. I will mostly use it for browsing, perhaps video-calls and maybe some data analysis coding (RStudio, Anaconda).

I used to have Ubuntu and Manjaro, but not sure if current versions of those wouldn't overwhelm this laptop.

I'm assuming I need to go with XFCE as a flavor.

I really liked Manjaro, but Arch looks way too advanced in installation for me. I'm thinking of trying EndeavourOS, since they write

Xfce
A highly customizable and lightweight Desktop Environment with a traditional touch and feel. The perfect choice for lower specs hardware that requires a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, but for a smooth experience we recommend 4 GB of RAM.
Perhaps there are other options that I'm missing.
 


brickwizard

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the basic answer is take your pick, all main distributions will run on your zenbook without the need to upgrade the ram,
if you wish to use Xfce then this article list 25 distro's with the XFCE based desktop
as some distributions will run slightly better than others on different equipment we recommend to download and try several live from a USB to see which runs best and which you like best,

link to Distrowatch which shows most of the available current builds [and a list of top 100 in order of popularity]

Bwiz
 

ScraNTiV

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the basic answer is take your pick, all main distributions will run on your zenbook without the need to upgrade the ram,
if you wish to use Xfce then this article list 25 distro's with the XFCE based desktop
as some distributions will run slightly better than others on different equipment we recommend to download and try several live from a USB to see which runs best and which you like best,

link to Distrowatch which shows most of the available current builds [and a list of top 100 in order of popularity]

Bwiz
Thank you.
I'd rather go with KDE, but I'm concerned that it'll be too heavy. Thank you for the links, I'll probably try and test as you suggested.
 

f33dm3bits

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Go with EndeavourOS if that you are wanting to try it, according to the documentation you get to pick which desktop environment you want to use during installation.
The offline option installs a fully themed Xfce and the online option provides you with the choice of seven Desktop Environments Xfce, Mate, LXQt, Cinnamon, Plasma, Gnome, Budgie and tiling window managers i3-WM, BSPWM and Sway.
 

captain-sensible

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I agree with EndeavourOS ; i installed it on a 2 gig RAM HP laptop(my wifes) ; while in a poor internet Zone (Ghana) you can install either offline mode or online; i went for offline. A really nice distro.

You can confirm graphic details using : inxi -G; you can do that from a liveOS booted from USB or your current Linux OS ( i can't see you mentioning that ) the package management is a dream and unlike manjaro its 100% backward compatible with Arch Vanilla Repo and AUR.

if you want to confirm uefi or if its legacy this code with show you (succinctly ) :
you might have to install dmidecode pkg
Code:
[[email protected]:~][1]$ sudo  dmidecode 3.0 | grep "UEFI"                                                                (07-08 16:14)
        UEFI is supported



Thus you can reliably refer to Arch wiki for anything you want to do with EndevourOS

if you install it let us know ; there are a couple of hints i've got post install
 
Last edited:

Tolkem

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I suggest you take a look at Q4OS too https://www.q4os.org/
It ships in 2 editions to choose from:
1. Plasma desktop



The minimal hardware requirements for Plasma: 1GHz CPU / 1GB RAM / 5GB disk

2. Trinity desktop



The minimal hardware requirements for Trinity: 300MHz CPU / 128MB RAM / 3GB disk

EndeavourOS is a nice distro too. I use both in an HP laptop with 2 GiB of RAM, using the Plasma desktop, and they both work great, though endeavour seems to use a little more of RAM(around 100 MiB) Q4OS is a Debian(Stable/Buster)based distro(though there's a testing version based on Debian Testing as well), this means the system receives regular updates from time to time when needed, on the other hand, endeavour is an Arch(rolling-release)based distro, this means that the system gets updated much more often due to the very nature of using a rolling-release model. Both, Q4OS and endeavour will let you build the system as you like, that is, when installing you get to decide whether you want the full thing(office suite, web browser, image viewer, etc, etc)or just the basic; Q4OS has a desktop profiler tool, which offers the choice between a minimal, basic or full install, endeavour's installer(calamares) lists several DEs to choose from, and you can select which apps to install by checking/unchecking a box


You may try both from a Live USB, and see which one performs and fit your needs the best. :)
 

dos2unix

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t's a version of ASUS Zenbook, I think its specs are: Intel Core i5 6th gen, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics card as well as an Intel Graphics card and RAM of 4GB. I'm thinking of upgrading it to 8GB, but would still like a light distro with an easy installation. I will mostly use it for browsing, perhaps video-calls and maybe some data analysis coding (RStudio, Anaconda).
I would think any modern distro would run on this with no problems.
 

brickwizard

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captain-sensible

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Wow, thanks a lot!
Can someone clarify why systemd in EndeavourOS is bad?
my eyes ain't as good as they used to be; who said it as bad in this thread ? Slackware by the way doesn't use systemd and thus new learning curve ,with EndeavourOS a "stepping stone" for me to go to vanilla Arch . in terms of using sytemd as a means of me finding out whats happening in the OS , and coming from an OS that didn't use it my guilty secret is I quite like it !

let me give you an example of use. I want to know errors flagged on boot today : theres only about 8 lines

Code:
[[email protected]:~]$ journalctl -b -p err   --since=2021-07-08   
.........
...........

Jul 08 12:40:25 darkstar kernel: sp5100-tco sp5100-tco: Watchdog hardware is disabled
Jul 08 12:40:27 darkstar kernel: kvm: disabled by bios
Jul 08 12:40:27 darkstar kernel: kvm: disabled by bios
kvm yep i know about that i left virtual disabled in bios on purpose . Watchdog well mmm will get around to looking looking at that. Slackware on boot was a lot of lines flashing by too fast to see ; yeah i know dmesg etc buts whats wrong with getting 8 lines of output when i ask for it .
 
Last edited:

dos2unix

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Can someone clarify why systemd in EndeavourOS is bad?
I guess it comes down to whatever you are used to.

Some people still like the "old" sysV init.rc way of doing things.
Change is hard.

But once you get used to it, .. well, I myself wouldn't go back.
I like systemd. Having another daemon manage my startups, shutdowns is kind of handy.
I find I have a lot less zombie processes this way, and I have more control over
process permissions and dependencies this way.

The service files are more a pain to write, but they give you more flexibility.
 

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