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I have been using Ubuntu Netbook edition for the past two years now (it merged with regular ubuntu at some point, and I'm using the default environment: Unity). I need something faster, more lightweight, with longer battery life. I can sacrifice packages since the things that I do on my netbook are pretty much standard:

  1. Browsing
  2. A video or movie
  3. Document editing
  4. Music

Is there any Linux distribution that will give me noticeable, superior results in the above categories and be more lightweight than Ubuntu?

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Have you looked at Wikipedia? – user14517 May 7 '12 at 19:57
The information on Wikipedia is outdated and there is no information regarding the performance and the power consumption of the various distros. – F1234k May 7 '12 at 20:38
See this answer for an approach to building a minimal install. – jasonwryan May 7 '12 at 23:35
@F1234k, In that case, I'll give you a personal opinion : I've tried JoliOS, Slax and Ubuntu Netbook. I've found Joli to be really nice and fast. Slax is nice as well but then the package management can be a pain. Ubuntu Netbook needs no description... – user14517 May 8 '12 at 5:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Instead of installing ubuntu, try lubuntu. This is from their page :

Lubuntu is a fast and lightweight operating system developed by a community of Free and Open Source enthusiasts. The core of the system is based on Linux and Ubuntu . Lubuntu uses the minimal desktop LXDE, and a selection of light applications. We focus on speed and energy-efficiency. Because of this, Lubuntu has very low hardware requirements.

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+1. Based on this recommendation, I recently replaced Meego on my Asus Eee PC X101 netbook with lubuntu. It is everything it claims to be. – iruvar Jun 12 '13 at 14:23

FWIW, I use Gentoo Linux. IT can be designed for whatever, or wherever you want it to be. If I had a netbook I'd put a custom Gentoo install on it. It would take some time, though.

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You'd need a lot of patience or a better computer to compile things through distcc. I don't recommend Gentoo for netbooks. – Spidey May 8 '12 at 18:41
The compile is mostly automatic, so you just have to start it up and then forget about it for a day or two. ;-) And hope it doesn't overheat. Actually, installing Gentoo is a good stress test. – Keith May 8 '12 at 18:45
"It can be designed to do for whatever" holds for Debian, too, choosing (next to) nothing in the install process and cherry-picking packages you need after the first reboot you'll end up with a pretty lean system (and save yourself the compilation time). – sr_ May 9 '12 at 8:24
@sr_ As long as you're OK with the compile-time options that they pick for you, that works too. – Keith May 9 '12 at 17:21
+1, I'm just writing from netbook with Gentoo on board. The point is that when you compile all your programs (which can be done at night BTW), you can tune gcc parameters directly to your hardware, so that you use 100% of what you can get from your netbook. Additionally when you compile kernel you will choose your type of processor, and remove unnecessary stuff, gaining a lot in boot time and in processor time by not compiling/loading useless kernel modules. Just to give you an idea: my kernel is 5MB + only 12 modules (and still there is a lot of room for improvement). – jimmij Aug 30 '15 at 11:35

I don't know whether this one will perform better or not:

There is an LXDE-based "netbook-live" distro based on ALTLinux (the new item, in Russian), prepared for netbooks.

More info; where to download from; which models of netbooks it has been succefully run on. (in Russian)

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LXLE, Bodhi Linux, Elementary OS...all very light and, in my experience, fast on an ASUS seasheall netbook.

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