How do I find out which version and derivative of Ubuntu is right for my hardware in terms of minimal system requirements?

16
2014-04
  • con-f-use

    For a given hardware configuration, how do I find out if Ubuntu will run on it? What considerations should I take into account when choosing an Ubuntu version and flavour such as:

    • Xubuntu with a lighter desktop than the usual Gnome and Unity
    • Lubuntu with the even lighter LXDE desktop

    Obviously Ubuntu does not run on some processor architectures. So how do I go about choosing the right version and derivate. How can I find out the minmal system requirements?

  • Answers
  • InkBlend

    Lubuntu (Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment) or Xubuntu (Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environment). Xubuntu is more "user friendly" -- more graphical tools for settings, better looking and better integrated applications and maybe better support (larger community). On the other hand, Lubuntu needs less RAM (Lubuntu about 128 MB, Xubuntu about 256 MB). It depends on your skills and preferences, you can try both and then choose.

    To sum it up: Xubuntu is light, Lubuntu is lighter.

  • LiveWireBT

    Preliminary notes


    First of all it makes no sense to install versions of Ubuntu that are no longer supported with updates. That is for the reasons at the bottom of this answer.

    This answer will concentrate on currently supported versions of Ubuntu and its official derivates.

    If your hardware nerver connects to the internet and if you will never use software newer than is included on the respective install media, only then it might be prudent to use outdated versions.

    You don't have to install Ubuntu to see if it works on your hardware. It is always a good idea to boot from LiveDVD/USB and see if the system runs okay on the given hardware.

    Even if it seems not to work, you might be just one boot option away from a working system. See My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it? For example the nomodset option might help.


    Currently supported versions and their minimal requirements

    The community wiki usually offers an up to date list of currently supported versions. Minimal system requirements for Ubuntu can be found there in the tech sepcs. Information on the derivates is scarce but their requirements are less than what is listed here. Generally 32 Bit versions take up less memory and tend to be faster on older systems, than their 64 Bit counterparts. The Lists of Ubuntu certified hardware might also be of use to you.

    Supported versions of Ubuntu

    • 10.04 Server (Lucid Lynx)

      The minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is 256 MB of memory.

      via Ubuntu Wiki

    • 12.04 Server and Desktop LTS (Precise Pangolin)

      700 MHz processor (Intel Celeron or better) - 300 Mhz for Server

      384 MB - 128 for Server. Note that some of your system's memory may be unavailable due to being used by the graphics card.

      5 GB of hard-drive space (1 GB for Server)

      VGA capable of 1024x768 screen resolution for Desktop version

    • 12.10 Server and Desktop (Quantal Quetzal)

      768 MB of memory and 5 GB of disk space for Ubuntu Desktop [...]. I If your computer has only the minimum amount of memory, the installation process will take longer than normal or even appear frozen for some time.

    Supported versions of Lubuntu

    • 12.04 ( Precise Pangolin)

      A Pentium II or Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM is probably a bottom-line configuration that may yield slow yet usable system with a standard lubuntu desktop.

      Default i686 (32 bit) images support more hardware than the equivalent Ubuntu image, as it uses a non-PAE kernel, but is limited to 4 GB of memory. If you have more than 4 GB of memory on a 32 bit system, head over to Get Lubuntu for a fuller discussion.

    • 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal)

      A Pentium II or Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM is probably a bottom-line configuration that may yield slow yet usable system with a standard lubuntu desktop.

      12.10 32 bit ISO require your CPU to have Physical Address Extensions, or PAE. "PAE is provided by Intel Pentium Pro and above CPUs, including all later Pentium-series processors (except most 400 MHz-bus versions of the Pentium M)."

      For PowerPC, it is known to run on a G4 running at 867MHz with 640MB RAM. For Intel based Macs, Lubuntu should run on all models. via Ubuntu Wiki

    • 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)

      A Pentium II or Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM is probably a bottom-line configuration that may yield slow yet usable system with a reduced lubuntu desktop. 13.10 32 bit ISO require your CPU to have Physical Address Extensions, or PAE. "PAE is provided by Intel Pentium Pro and above CPUs, including all later Pentium-series processors (except most 400 MHz-bus versions of the Pentium M)." - If you have a NON-PAE CPU you can use 12.04 instead. For PowerPC, it is known to run on a G4 running at 867MHz with 640MB RAM. For Intel based Macs, lubuntu should run on all models.

      via Ubuntu Wiki

    Supported versions of Xubuntu

    See Xubuntu help page.

    • 12.04, possibly later releases

      Minimum system requirements for Xubuntu fall roughly between Ubuntu Server and Desktop:

      • 512 MiB of system memory (RAM)
      • 5 GB of disk space
      • Graphics card and monitor capable of 800x600 resolution

        via Ubuntu Wiki
    • 13.10

      To install or try Xubuntu within the Desktop/Live CD, you need 256 MB of memory. Installing with the Alternate CD (for 12.04 only) requires 64 MB. Once installed, it is strongly recommended to have at least 512 MB of memory.

      When you install Xubuntu from the Desktop CD, you need 4.4 GB of free space on your hard disk. The Alternate CD (for 12.04 only) requires you to have 2 GB of free space on your hard disk.

      From XUbuntu download page


    Why you shouldn't use versions when their support has ended

    • Security risks: Eventually there will be an exploit that compromises security or system integrity of old Ubuntu versions
    • Software incompatibilies: Versions that are no longer supported will have increasing problems with this. Due to the lack of updates one will no longer be able to open the most recent LibreOffice documents or compile programs that need more recent libraries. Hardware drivers of recent devices will not be included in older kernels.
    • Decreasing availability of repositories: It might become very difficult to download software that does not allready ship with the outdated version. Hosting repositories for very old versions cease to be economically viable at one point.
  • Marco Ceppi

    Xubuntu

    Xubuntu is designed to run on light weight machines. I recently installed it on a machine with 768MB of RAM and other specs close to your machine and it runs without an issue.

    Xubuntu Desktop

    Xubuntu is simply Ubuntu bundled with the XFCE Desktop Environment - a DE designed to be fast and light weight on lower end systems without compromising performance and visual style. Xubuntu is also officially recognized and supported by Canonical whereas other light weight Ubuntu Flavors (like Lubuntu) are not.

  • Uri Herrera

    I can disagree on the system requirements for the Linux distros.

    On a:

    • Intel Pentium 4 1.8Ghz
    • 1GB DDR RAM
    • 64MB graphics card capable of 1024x768

    The only Ubuntu flavour which worked good was Lubuntu.

    On a:

    • AMD Athlon dual-core 3.20Ghz(OC'ed from 2.80Ghz),
    • 2GB DDR3 RAM
    • AMD HD 3000 IGP with Catalyst installed.

    Ubuntu is really slow (I can work properly with Unity 2D), Gnome Shell is also slow (plus for me Gnome Shell is awful in multitasking). KDE worked quite nice and I'm really impressed by it.

    About which flavour to choose I can say this:

    • What do you want, better Looks or better Performance?
    • XFCE(Xubuntu) looks nicer and its environment has more functionality, you can personalize it and change it in any way you want it (at the cost of high memory use but still you need a good graphic card).
    • LXDE(Lubuntu) is faster overall but it lacks the looks.

    I suggest to try Xubuntu and if it feels slower go for Lubuntu.

    You can try Live-CDs to see how they look but you can test performance only after you installed them.

    Have to say that even tough Linux system requirements are really low the desktop environment graphic requirements are high in my opinion.

  • Karolis

    Well your PC isn't that much hopeless. I would suggest you to try installing normal Ubuntu AND Unity 2D desktop environment.

    Of course, if you don't like Unity, this won't be a good solution. However, if you will try that, you will get full Ubuntu support.

    I've tried Lubuntu before (installed it via Software manager). It's very basic DE and had some problems. It might be good, but I still suggest you to give Unity 2D a try.


  • Related Question

    What are 11.04's system requirements?
  • Klau3

    Possible Duplicate:
    How do I find out which version and derivate of Ubuntu is right for my hardware in terms of minmal system requirements?

    Will - and when how much – will the system requirements approximately increase for 11.04.


  • Related Answers
  • fluteflute

    Any computer that currently runs 10.10 will be able to run 11.04 in some form. The system requirements will not increase.

    Most machines will be able to run the new Unity interface (more than are able to run the 10.10 version of Unity). There are some graphics card requirements - put very simply you need a graphics card (or integrated graphics) released in the last five years.

    A small minority of older machines will be reverted back to the old "gnome-panel" Ubuntu interface. If these users wish they can install "Unity 2D". From 11.10 then Unity 2D will be the default fallback.

  • scouser73

    The list of system requirements for an Ubuntu install can be found here.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

    But below is a typical set of requirements

    Ubuntu Desktop Edition

    • 1 GHz x86 processor
    • 1GB of system memory (RAM)

    • 15GB of hard-drive space (although
      this can be split onto 2 drives, a
      5Gb / and a 10Gb /home fairly easily)

    • Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768

    • Either a CD/DVD Drive or a USB port (or both)

    • Internet access is helpful

  • Luis Alvarado

    You can find the recommended requirements here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

    Which mention the following:

      Ubuntu Desktop Edition
         1 GHz x86 processor
         1GB of system memory (RAM)
         15GB of hard-drive space (although this can be split onto 2 drives, a 5Gb / and a 10Gb /home fairly easily)
         Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768
         Either a CD/DVD Drive or a USB port (or both)
         Internet access is helpful
    

    But to use Natty 11.04 you actually do not need an OpenGL card since it will fall back to Gnome Classic (Unity2D in 11.10). If you DO happen to have an OpenGL card it will work with Unity3D. Basically Unity will handle the Desktop and change depending on what video card you have and how good it is with OpenGL.

    Another point i wish to mention is that even though the requirements mostly point to 1GHz CPUs, 1GB RAM, etc... I have been able to install 10.04, 10.10 and even 11.04 on a 256MB Ram, 700Mhz CPU PC. So the recommended is for it to run smooth but the minimum might be even smaller than you think.

  • fossfreedom

    The system requirements to install and run Natty is the same as for the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS - see this link for further details.

    To be able to use the Unity interface, you must have a fairly modern graphics card that is capable of running OpenGl v1.4 or better

  • r0n.

    At this monent, they are the same as for the past versions.