Fast Lightweight Linux Apps

Lightweight Feather AppsMany Linux users out there are running Linux just because it is a faster operating system. The most bloated distribution of Linux is still probably faster than any Windows version. Although, there are also a lot of Linux users that are running Linux on slower computers, old hardware, or netbooks. These Linux computers are still faster, but maybe you want more speed!

I have a few slower Linux computers myself. Here are some of the slower computers I have in use:

  • Transmeta Crusoe 867MHz/384MB
  • Dual Intel Pentium Pro 200MHz/256MB
  • Dual DEC Alpha 533MHz/512MB
  • Intel P4 3.2GHz/4GB
  • Intel Atom Z520 1.3GHz/1GB

So you can see I have some slow Linux computers laying around. So I always try to tweak my Linux systems the best I can to make them faster. Whether I customize configurations, compile with custom flags, disable bells and whistles, or just finding fast lightweight applications! Which is what this article is about, I’ve found all kinds of Linux programs that work very well, that don’t hog down your resources like a lot of the main full feature eye candy programs. Some of these lightweight Linux applications are very basic and stripped down, but they still get the job done. You may choose to install the non-lightweight applications as well, for those just in case times, unless you don’t have the hard drive space. You may also want to look at lightweight Linux distributions.

There are also lightweight Linux distributions out there as well that come packaged with all the lightweight apps. I’ll discuss those lightweight Linux distributions in a different article though. Anyways below is a list of types of applications with the lightweight Linux program next to it. I hope this list of lightweight Linux apps helps you speed up your Linux computers.

Application Purpose Lightweight Linux Program
Calculator xcalc
Chat pidgin
Email Client claws-mail
File Manager rox-filer, thunar
Movie Player mplayer
mp3 Player mpg123
Network Manager wicd
pdf Viewer xpdf
Shell ash, dash
Terminal aterm
Web Browser links2
Window Manager openbox

I will continue adding to the list of lightweight Linux programs as I find more or you tell me about more fast lightweight apps! So if you know of a lightweight Linux application, let me know!

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  1. rey
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 12:15 am | Linux tutorial comment

    i’m a nebie in linux, and i have netbook with ubuntu. before it perform really good, but now the performance is a little bit slower and encounter hang-ups. what should i do to make it faster, i only use it for internet browsing. here is the specs
    Asus EEEPC 900
    Atom 900MHZ processor
    1GB memory
    14GB or 16GB HDD, with 6GB free space

    Installed softwares:
    MS office 2003 (installed using Wine)
    google chrome
    and other few linux softwares

  2. Posted September 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Linux tutorial comment

    Usually what happens is you get more and more services, servers, daemons, programs, etc. that run at startup.. Almost any one of those that you install with Ubuntu will be setup to run at boot time.. Example, if you install ftp server it will run every time you boot up, even if you installed it to just tinker with. Most the time you want this to happen, but some cases you don’t. I would suggest running ps aux and see whats running. Look to see if there is programs running that you don’t use or need. I know I’ve seen sendmail, exim, or some sort of mail server running on machines that aren’t a mail server. So you can kill these procs and also remove them from startup. On Ubuntu I’m sure there is an app that handles this for you, but I’m not sure. I know you could rummage through /etc/rc.* files and stop apps from starting up.

    Another thing to check out is your kernel and kernel modules, get rid off the ones you aren’t using. lsmod. If you’ve upgraded to gnome3, I believe it is setup to use compiz by default, which if you dont have a good video card will slow things down a bit and put some stress on RAM and CPU. Run top see whats eating your CPU and RAM.

  3. Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Linux tutorial comment

    May also want to try a different distro or even a different version of Ubuntu, like Xubuntu. Xubuntu is a little more lightweight. There is also an Ubuntu netbook edition that may work for you.

  4. Anthony
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:16 am | Linux tutorial comment

    Very well put together tutorials, Thanks!

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