[xubuntu-users] Off topic, suggestions for light weight linux OS

Ralf Mardorf silver.bullet at zoho.com
Sun Jul 15 05:53:47 UTC 2018

On Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:26:17 +1200, chris wrote:
>On 15/07/18 15:14, Art wrote:
>> I need some help deciding which linux distro to install. It's a
>> special project which needs the following:
>> Must run directly from a usb or sd card
>> Must support gpg for strong encryption (gpg)
>> Must be light weight and fast loading*
>> Must offer an encrypted home folder option
>> Must store unencrypted files securely if needed, can't be a 'live'
>> usb/sd** Must load FAST
>> Must support wireless
>> Must be secure, high security is a plus
>> Prefer xfce, not mandatory
>> Prefer long life cycle, such as Ubuntu's LTS
>> Prefer no frills
>> Prefer Xubuntu, since it's what I use***
>> *only needs to do firefox, thunderbird and an IRC client (non
>> browser type) **unless persistence is enabeled
>> ***I'm not sure Xubuntu can be made light weight enough to load fast
>> This is for family and friends to keep in touch and to store
>> sensitive information on and to send encrypted emails. In a
>> nutshell, the family members that used to call me 'paranoid' because
>> I used linux have seen the light. Two of them have been compromised
>> and have demonstrated that they want to have secure installs (by
>> their actions, not just their words) for comms with family and
>> friends. One family member had a high security employer maintained
>> computer that was heavily bogged down with firewalls and antivirus
>> software! The special linux installs WILL NOT be their primary
>> computers (for the time being), so the linux installs will be
>> basically 'single' purpose.
>> Any suggestions??
>> TY.
>manjero xfce4

As an Arch Linux user and somebody who has got an Ubuntu install to
help Linux novices, too, I strongly advice against Manjaro, since it's
an Arch Linux derivative. Manjaro claims that a "a user-friendly
installer is provided" [1], 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗮𝗵𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗿-𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗹𝘆
𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻, let alone that it is a "rolling release" [1].
However, most important is Arch's "User centrality

Whereas many GNU/Linux distributions attempt to be more user-friendly,
Arch Linux has always been, and shall always remain user-centric. The
distribution is intended to fill the needs of those contributing to it,
rather than trying to appeal to as many users as possible. It is
targeted at the proficient GNU/Linux user, or anyone with a
do-it-yourself attitude who is willing to read the documentation, and
solve their own problems" [2].

While for my needs Arch Linux is the best distro and while I dislike
Tails and also dislike GNOME and even while it doesn't fit to the OP's
listed notes completely, I recommend to test Tails.

"Tails is a live operating system that you can start on almost any
computer from a USB stick or a DVD.

It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:

    use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship;
    all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor
    network; leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you
    ask it explicitly; use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to
    encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging" [3].

"The Tor Project has provided financial support for its development.
Tails has also received funding from the Debian Project, Mozilla, and
the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Barton Gellman have each said that
Tails was an important tool they used in their work with National
Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden" [4].

Since upstream of Tails is Debian, the same as for Ubuntu flavours,
users later could migrate to an Ubuntu flavour without running into too
many issues, since the user is already used to the package management
and a similar distro's policy.

[1] http://manjaro.github.io/about/
[2] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Linux#User_centrality
[3] https://tails.boum.org/
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tails_(operating_system)#History

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