I want to convert my old pc (733Mhz CPU, 40 Gb HD, 256 Mb RAM) to a nexus server(Local Maven repository). I don't need no GUI. I have read about puppy, MacPup and Lubuntu here, but I don't know if they meet my purpose or not. And I guess using a USB flash drive instead of a hard drive will be a good practice in this case, so being able to run on a USB memory stick is one important factor.

I have read that puppy can load itself entirely on RAM, I don't know if I need this feature or not, any suggestion on this matter will be appreciated.

I like Ubuntu because I have installed and used it so many times, but this fella says that it is to heavy on RAM.

Any suggestions on which distributions I should look into?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, slm, Anthon, Mat, user26112 Oct 19 '13 at 19:40

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Damn Small Linux is probably the best option. I would try Ubuntu and see how you fair, a 733Mhz system isn't that underpowered, and the 256MB RAM is low but might be OK using Xubuntu or Lubuntu desktops instead of Unity.

Take a look at the Installation/SystemRequirements for Ubuntu. There are further details there.


If this is going to be a "headless server" that doesn't need X then any Linux distro should suffice and 256MB of RAM is plenty for most server roles such as:

  • Firewall/NAT
  • Mail Server
  • Web Server
  • Samba Server
  • etc.

I've used a variety of distros in this roll over the years on systems with even less RAM (64MB - 128MB) and haven't had an issue, for these types of applications in this role.

In fact I'm still using an ancient 400MHz AMD K6 system with 64MB running Fedora on it as my primary internet gateway system as I write this answer to you now!

I'm not saying the above to insinuate that Fedora is better than any distro on this particular limiting amount of hardware, rather to show that it's possible to run Linux distros (recent ones) on what many would consider to be hardware that is too underpowered by today's standards!

  • i dont need gui so lubuntu or xubuntu are not different frim my point of view. have you tried DSL? – MoienGK Oct 19 '13 at 18:34
  • @dave - yes I've used it, if you don't need a GUI then I'd probably go with Ubuntu still if that's what you want. Without a GUI 256MB is fine. I have a Fedora system running with 64MB of RAM, it's a web server, firewall box, and also a mail server! – slm Oct 19 '13 at 18:36
  • +1 for having a "400MHz AMD K6 system with 64MB running Fedora". But a GUI-less ubuntu (LTS) is pretty much the same as a GUI-less fedora, resource wise. – goldilocks Oct 19 '13 at 18:51
  • @goldilocks - agreed, I wasn't trying to infer that Fedora was better at low resources than any other distro, just that it was doable 8-) – slm Oct 19 '13 at 18:52
  • if i was familiar with fedora i would go with that – MoienGK Oct 19 '13 at 19:07

i like ubuntu because i have installed and used it so many times , but this fella says that it is to heavy on ram.

That person is very misguided. I have an LTS version of ubuntu (which is what you want) running on a server right now, and the base system uses <25 MB RAM. So you have plenty. It should also leave 95%+ of your 40 GB drive free after install.

Pretty much any linux distro can be installed and minimized to suit your needs, you do not need to look for anything special. The truly specialized contexts are ones with just kB's of RAM and MB's of storage (i.e., embedded devices).

Your worst headache will be the 733 Mhz processor, but since they all use the same kernel, no linux flavour will be better than another WRT that. For a small business server, it will still run fine, it's just working on it will be like, well, working on your smartphone. If you have a really low end smartphone.

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