I'm looking for minimal linux distribution without any pre-installed software. Examples of unwanted software: Libre Office, Games etc. I dont't need even Cheese for GNOME. I want something that just works and looks good.

Distributions I've tried: - Ubuntu - first linux distribution I ever used. (3 months) - Deepin - eye-catching, but chinese distribution with small community (1 week) - Arch - it needs lot of time to make it usable, also contains Avahi and QT tools (1 month)

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    No pre-installed software = doesn't look good. You catch my drift? A "naked" system, like Debian, doesn't even come with a GUI out of the box. – Panki Jun 5 at 13:41
  • What exactly means "without any pre-installed software"? What do you plan to do with the system? Or what do you not want to have installed? And what means "something that just works and looks good"? Please edit your question and add more information. – Bodo Jun 5 at 13:49
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    Ubuntu minimal install works great for most of my needs. The requirement of looks good is very subjective. – doneal24 Jun 5 at 14:34
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    Arch might be the answer you're looking for. Comes with absolutely nothing, even GUI, but you don't have to compile every program like on Gentoo. Alternative solution would be a server-oriented distro, Ubuntu has one. It also comes with minimum utils and no GUI. Of course you can install a GUI on it later. – deimos Jun 5 at 14:37
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    You should do a search of possible distributions and different desktops: xfce, gnome, kde... etc. Start with distrowatch.com – guillermo chamorro Jun 5 at 16:08

If you don't want to tweak everything independently, because it takes long time, like Arch, then use a beginner friendly distribution like Ubuntu, Manjaro or Solus and write a shell script which deletes the packages that you don't need (Libre Office, games, etc.). @Panki and @doneal24 suggested to use minimal/server/headless versions of popular distributions, it is valid options, too.

Another option is to use Gentoo and compile just what you need. In this case, you get a minimal system, optimized to your own hardware. However, it takes a lot of time.


Many distributions offer a "minimal install" version with no GUI (and hence no Office tools, games etc.) and no additional services (webserver, mailserver, etc). Choose your favourite distro, then select that option.

Note that "without any pre-installed software" is ambiguous: you need a shell, a basic set of CLI tools, and so on. Without them, your system won't even boot or be usable.

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