Lightweight Linux Distro with Gnome?


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Dec 1, 2020
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I was a Windows guy (1996-2006) who switched to Mac (2006-2021) and now I'm moving to Linux since I think Apple is losing its touch with macOS, specially with security and UI.

I bought a cheap laptop (Asus L510). It has only 4GB RAM, a crappy screen (15 inch but a horrible viewing angle) but a decent laptop overall. First thing I did was remove Windows (amount of bloatware and spying is scary). I'm tried different distros like:

Ubuntu: Huge install base but the UI is ugly. Botched Gnome with purple and orange? Give me the impression devs listen to too much (c)rap. I think its the only who recognizes WiFi out of the box since it comes with non-proprietary drivers/software)

Fedora: Uses the latest Gnome and looks like a clean distro (my favorite so far). Also has big install base and I was able to fix the wifi problem without too much of a hassle (dnf update + dnf install broadcom-dl. People say it's a "beta test" for Red Hat, it has short term support... Will I be able to update to Fedora 36 by just using a command and restart?

I tried other distros like Zorin (seemed solid), Clear (fast but limited apps), elementary (beautiful but unstable), OpenSUSE/Mint (don't like KDE), pureOS (less support as Fedora but looks the same/ but Debian), Tails (not good for day-to-day), Qubes (might be the best but needs HW with a lot of RAM).

Arch seems to be the best for advanced users but when I see the hassle it is to install it gives me the impression devs are not prioritizing important stuff.

I also hate distros that come with a bunch of software. I prefer something bare and I can install what I need after. I remember slimming down Windows XP to -200MB.
Speed; Why does Gnome feel so slow? It takes seconds to open a browser or app. Windows XP +15y ago feels like a rocket in comparison.

Sorry for writing a book but I want to give as much info as possible before somebody replies recommending a distro I already tried.

Which distro you recommend?

Desktop should be Gnome. Might not be the fastest (compared to XFCE) but it looks great and even Gnome apps look great. They follow good standards.

Lightweight. Is possible for apps to open instantly in Linux?

I try to stay away from obscure distros that might be discontinued. Is there any difference between Wayland and X11 in performance?

I dont want to ramble even more. Would love to hear suggestions.

from HERE

5. Solus

Solus is an interesting GNOME based Linux distribution. It is comparatively new to other distros. It is built from scratch. By default, it comes with a totally new and custom desktop environment called “Budgie”. But it has a GNOME supported version also. What is unique about this distribution is that it offers several features. The key feature is, it is a lightweight, highly customizable, platform-independent, and feature-rich operating system.

Solus-GNOME based Linux Distributions

However, this operating system is very simple to use. Therefore, if you are a beginner and want to try out a basic system, go for Solus. This could be a good option before moving on to more complex setups.

Get Solus
It should also be noted that Gnome is, by itself, a pretty heavy desktop environment.
If you can install a distro without a desktop environment and then install "gnome-core" it will be lighter and not install so much unwanted cruft.
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As KGIII has pointed out gnome by itself is a heavy DE. On my machine here it Idles at about 2.7GBs ram usage before doing anything with it. So I'm not sure you will find any Distro with gnome to be light. Fedora comes about as close as any of them.
Good Luck in your search.
You might want to check out Mint cinnamon. Based on gnome but much better :)
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