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For ridiculously small hard drives (8GB), what Ubuntu Based (although not necessarily official) distribution offers the smallest installed size?

Let me clarify: I still want a certain amount of personal file space, preferably a few gig. I also don't have a problem with performance, while it is mediocre, a 2.6GHz single-core and 1GB of ram suffice to run ubuntu fine, but i find that it uses 6-7GB of space. I am aiming for closer to 4GB.

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This may be getting close to off-topic, if not already there. –  Christopher Kyle Horton Nov 15 '11 at 18:25
I don't understand how this is off-topic (or nearing there). –  Lewis Goddard Nov 15 '11 at 19:07
Per the FAQ, your question can only apply to Ubuntu or an officially recognized derivative. We cannot provide you with any help outside of that; if you need to expand your options further and have questions about other distros, you may want to try unix.stackexchange.com instead, where it's more appropriate. But so long as you stay with the official stuff, it's fine here. –  Christopher Kyle Horton Nov 15 '11 at 19:11
I was looking for anything Ubuntu based, official or otherwise. I understand that it's probably borderline. –  Lewis Goddard Nov 15 '11 at 19:19
I'm using a fairly default install of Ubuntu 10.10 here (installed a few extras for work), and the sum of everything outside of /home/ is 3.5 GB –  Izkata Nov 15 '11 at 19:38

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

8GB is not a small size. You can use Ubuntu with a 8GB hard disk. But If you are still looking for a more lightweight Ubuntu based distro check this out. I am not sure which ones among them are still active but I suggest those personally.

  • Lubuntu which runs with LXDE desktop.
  • Bodhi Linux which runs with Enlightenment window manager.
  • CrunchBang Linux which runs with Openbox or XFCE. This one is based on Debian.
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try ubuntu minimal iso from here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD

choose the packages u need want or want to install and you are done... try using lxde or openbox Dsktop enviorment as they are not heavy on resources

if u want just a simple webbrowser and few cloud based services try an os called xpud


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You can also install a minimal command-line only system from the alternate CD, and then customize it from there by installing whatever additional packages you need. –  Eliah Kagan Nov 15 '11 at 18:55

Remove /usr/share/doc or something like that. I've never used help files for graphical applications, so I've cleaned about 400MB of disc space. :) (I use Kubuntu 11.04)

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Do not remove the docs. They're there for a reason. –  Thomas W. Jul 6 '12 at 17:12
What if you don't want to read them and are just testing something for a VM? Should it present a problem? –  Luke Stanley Mar 27 '13 at 5:01

I agree with Dejans' answer:

Try one of the many Lightweight Linux distribution, see list below: Make sure, that your hardware requirements are met, before deciding on one of the distros. I also suggest you to definitely buy "1GB of RAM" or maybe "2x1GB of RAM" on ebay for a small amount of money, so you can't go wrong with Lightweight Linux and also it is a huge improvement in your work flow!!

  • For your current 512MB RAM option, please see: List of Linux distributions that run from RAM - which shows you the required RAM specs.

  • Also antiX (see link below) seems to be a good/fair option for old/older computers, to be considered!

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Alpine Linux - A security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on uClibc and BusyBox. Mini download is 66 MB; base system (excluding kernel) is under 5 MB.

antiX - Lightweight version of its parent distribution MEPIS Linux, based on Debian testing. Core Install: 128 MB, Base approx 300 MB. Package Manager: Synaptic

BasicLinux - A very lightweight distribution capable of running on an Intel 386 and 3 MB of RAM

Bodhi Linux - A lightweight and minimalistic distribution, based on Ubuntu 12.04

CrunchBang Linux - A relatively large (771 MB) Debian based distribution designed primarily for speed and ease of use.

Damn Small Linux - Download 50 MB. Additional software available as "DSL Extensions" and using the Debian APT tool, which has to be installed. "Light enough to power a 486DX with 16 MB of RAM"

Feather Linux - Lightweight Linux Distribution derived from Knoppix. Now dormant.

Lubuntu - Lightweight in comparison to Ubuntu, it uses the LXDE desktop.

Nanolinux - 14 MB distribution based on Tiny Core Linux.

Peppermint Linux OS - Peppermint Linux OS based on Lubuntu

Porteus - It weighs in at under 300 MB, making it a lightweight contender, comes with the LXDE and KDE desktops

Puppy Linux - Lightweight relative to most other Linux distributions Download: 133MB. Package Manager: Synaptic (Lucid Puppy Ubuntu Compatible version)

Semplice Linux - lightweight, fast and simple, based on Debian Sid

SliTaz - 35 MB distribution; Package Manager is Tazpkg with its repository of packages

Tiny Core Linux - 12 MB distribution; Software repository: TCZ packages

Trisquel Mini - Lightweight version of Trisquel with LXDE

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This one is pretty cool for a small hard drive http://www.ubuntu-mini-remix.org/

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