I have a netbook (an older Asus EEEPC 1005HA) which I want to get rid of Windows on (I like Windows, but I don't think it works well in a netbook environment).

Basically, my question is which Ubuntu variant will use the least RAM and CPU running idle, and/or the same question except when running Firefox and Libreoffice Writer, say.

I am also open to suggestions of non-Ubuntu Linux distros, but since this is AskUbuntu I thought the first question would be more appropriate.

I have a disk drive which I can attach to the netbook, so it doesn't have to be a Ubuntu Variant / Linux Distro which solely boots from a USB drive.

I have at my disposal: DVDs, DVD writer/ disk drive, 4gb flash drive, 8 gb flash drive

I was thinking either Lubuntu or Archbang / Crunchbang but I would like some help from more knowledgable people


Can't boot into it right now, but I think I have either Intel Atom N270 @1.60ghz OR Intel Atom N280 @1.66ghz (single core, I think)

2gb RAM

160 GB hard drive


Of all the official Ubuntu variants, Lubuntu is the most lightweight, which is to say that it uses the least CPU, RAM, and disk space.

This is followed by Xubuntu, which is less lightweight than Lubuntu but more lightweight than Ubuntu and its other official variants.

There is a saying that "you don't run an operating system, you run applications." You can further reduce (or increase) your system's resource footprint by making choices about what applications to run. For example, AbiWord will take up fewer resources than LibreOffice Writer. AbiWord and Gnumeric are installed instead of LibreOffice Writer and LibreOffice Calc, on Lubuntu.

Given your system's specifications, however, you should be able to run vanilla Ubuntu or any official Ubuntu variant. Depending on your netbook' video card, you might have to run Unity 2D (i.e., without graphics acceleration) in Ubuntu, or dial down / turn off visual effects in Kubuntu.

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  • I've got whatever integrated POS the Atom has. Sorry for my language, but giving an honest opinion of my machine. It's not my main one, thank goodness :P – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:19
  • Another thing. Why would I want to choose Xubuntu over Lubuntu? And thanks for the tips about Abiword vs Libreoffice Writer... – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:20
  • Your comment was the most useful and answered my original question. Thank you. – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:29
  • When you say "the file browser crashes less" could you give me examples of how often it crashes on your Lubuntu install and how often people say it crashes on Xubuntu? Sorry for all the questions, but I want to be thorough. – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:56
  • If Xubuntu is truly more polished than Lubuntu, I will go with Xubuntu, because I not only want a smooth system (in terms of performance) but I also don't want to deal with file system crashes every several hours. Also, when it crashes, is it akin to MacOSX "Finder not responding" and RELAUNCH? – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 22:05

For a netbook like yours, I would suggest (if you now how bash commands, and have a little time to loose and enthusiasm) to try Arch Linux with Openbox or Xfce.

If not, then I can suggest you to try Xubuntu which in my opinion is more similar do the original Ubuntu (with gnome) than Lubuntu (which is based on LXDE and uses Openbox too).

Just try them and see what will help you more !

Just for information. I own 2 netbooks 1 Asus 1215N with Atom D525 Dual-Core @1.8Ghz and 2GB of ram, and an Msi Wind U100 with an Atom N270 @ 1.60Ghz and 2Gb of ram.

I used ubuntu a lot of time, and I can tell you that Unity3D works better on the Msi Wind U100 than on the Asus 1215N (probably because of the Intel GPU X3150 of the Asus which is crappier than the good old GMA950 of the Msi Wind U100, the same of your netbook for sure).

And after a lot of Distro Experiments, I can tell you that Ubuntu is a good catch for those netbooks (even only using the Unity 2D instead of Unity3D). But I still prefer using Arch Linux with Kde4.8 with a little bit of configurations for better performance, or Arch Linux with Openbox, it will take a lot of work and time to make all work correctly but you will have a beautiful and fast (even knowing that the Atom CPU is very limited) desktop for you every day use.

I hope this helped somehow and sorry for my horrible english. It is not my native language,

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  • It's fine, I don't mind your English. Thats why I was suggesting Archbang. It would have the same purpose as Arch Linux, but give me more time to learn about stuff before jumping into an ambitious project. I'm a quick learner, but relatively new to Linux, and I'm not sure if I want to jump into Arch right away. – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:27
  • Your comment was very helpful, but you didn't answer my original question. If I could pick both answers as correct, then I would do so. however, I must choose one and I choose the one which answered my question. Thanks for the tips though. – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:29
  • @elegantonyx While you can only have one accepted answer per question... once you have 15 reputation (you have 11 now), you can upvote multiple answers. – Eliah Kagan Jun 20 '12 at 21:32
  • yeah. Thanks. I need to get some more rep then :P – brunston Jun 20 '12 at 21:55

If you're going extreme lightweight, Puppy Linux probably takes the cake. But Lubuntu is probably your best bet, as it has the whole Ubuntu community behind it.

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