This is the smallest Linux distro at just 132MB download. The distro loads itself entirely into RAM on bootup, so is incredibly quick and responsive. However, if one wishes to use a modern browser, one would need 256MB. This is a truly portable distro, allowing the user to save documents to the same USB drive it boots from. The price one has to pay, however, is that OS seems resolutely old-school. The icons and desktop look like something from the 90s.
Peppermint OS Two
The OS is based on Lubuntu, which in turn was based on Ubuntu. The distro makes use of the LXDE desktop environment, but has been built keeping the cloud computing conundrum in mind. Inspite of the fact that the developers recommend one have at least 192MB RAM – 64MB more than the other distros here.
This is a great choice for those who think that the Puppy Linux is too retro-ugly. The distro is based on Puppy Linux, so has the same big advantage – it runs in RAM so is incredibly fast and responsive. The cool thing however is that it has an aesthetic appeal. The window manager is Enlightenment, which is arguably the best-looking Linux window manager of all. There are even transparency effects and a fancy animated dock at the bottom for your programs.
Crunchbang Linux 10
Based on the Debian project, this distro uses the Openbox window manager. This in turn is one of the least resource-heavy there is, helping the OS boot in just over 30 seconds. Though it can run on 128MB of RAM, 256MB is recommended as well.
Another distro that makes use of the lightweight LXDE desktop environment, this distro is even lighter than Xubuntu, which in recent versions has recommended you have at least 512MB RAM. Lubuntu, on the other hand, can run in 128MB RAM, but we’d recommend at least 256MB.