Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAM

NOTEThis article is no longer valid because the current versions of XFCE Ubuntu and it took so fat can not function with 64 MB of RAM.

Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAM

The old PC

Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAMWhat to do with old PC? Discard or give them?
If we give them, what to put on?
  • Windows 2000, XP or Vista? Impossible, these machines are not powerful enough.
  • Windows 98? No more:
    • It is no longer sold.
    • It is no longer supported by Microsoft: So more security updates. It's dangerous.
    • Installing an antivirus, antispyware and firewall is indispensable, which adds to an already very powerful machine.
    • Anyway all new Windows software no longer work under Windows 98.

So why not Linux?


Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAMXubuntu is a Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu.

Xubuntu is designed for small configurations: It works with only 64 MB of RAM and 2 GB hard drive.
Let's be clear: Xubuntu will not turn an old PC into a rocket, but it allows to enjoy a comfortable graphical environment and modern applications on small computers. This is a great way to recycle old PCs for the family, friends, associations, schools ... by offering everything needed for routine use (web, chat, word processing, photos ...).

Xubuntu is simple to use even for beginners, and the system is virtually immune to viruses, spyware, and Trojan horses, making it an excellent choice for inexperienced users.

It contained Xubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)

It is found among the bundled software in the basic installation:
  • Classic: calculator, text editor, file manager, archiver (zip, etc.) ...
  • burning software (Brazier)
  • Word Processing (AbiWord)
  • Spreadsheet (Gnumeric)
  • Photo editing (Gimp)
  • Viewer / Image Manager (GQview)
  • Document Viewer PDF, Postscript and DVI.
  • Audio and Video Player (Totem)
  • Browser (Firefox)
  • Email (Thunderbird)
  • Instant Messaging (chat) (Pidgin)
  • etc.

These hundreds of additional software is available in a few clicks if you have internet access: Images of synthesis, Peer-to-peer conversion DVD-->DivX, web server, calendar, address book, bank account management, video editing, music editing, edit charts, genealogy, DTP, animation, project management, programming, online radio, games ...
All this without having to go manually download and install these programs without the risk of spyware.

Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAM

Choosing the installation CD

Xubuntu can be installed with only 64MB of RAM, but there are some tricks.
(Note: Installation is not discussed in detail Only a few sticking points are detailed..)

It is imperative to take the version "alternate" the installation of Xubuntu CD: xubuntu-7.10-alternate-i386.iso
(MD5: 8a6e05a36ff5098ece6e3d28ad3b279a)
(Golf mirror http://www.xubuntu.org/get)

You can not install Xubuntu with 64MB with standard CD.
You must take the CD "alternate" (Because the installer uses less memory).

Early in the installation

After choosing the French with the F2 key, select "Install to Hard Disk".

It is recommended to have an active internet connection during installation to the download additional modules or automatic (best translations, for example). However, this is absolutely not required and adding additional modules can be done afterwards (see below).

Message to the beginning of installation

You'll see a message warning you of the fact that there is very little memory ("Low Memory Mode Entering").
This is not a problem.
The installer will be in English, but will continue smoothly.

The parameters of the installation

Some indications:
  • Choose language: In the list, find "la France" (Press the F key repeatedly to find the quicker.)
  • Encoding on the console: Choose "UTF-8"And in the next screen select "# Latin1 and latin5 - ..."
  • You can freely choose the name of the machine (hostname) and the name of the user.
  • If you have an Ethernet card, the network configuration is automatic if the computer is connected to a "box" (Freebox, Livebox ...) or to a local network with a DHCP server. Otherwise, you can enter the IP address (leave the other default settings). This setting can be modified later without problems.
  • Xubuntu can use the entire hard drive automatically, or a party. In this second case, simply to release at least 2 GB (3 GB recommended): Leave this space not partitioned, and the installer Xubuntu will handle this clear partition (see the corresponding option in the installer) . You can use the Knoppix LiveCD 5.1.1 (or higher) to resize existing partitions without losing data.
  • If a question regarding the UTC synchronization is asked of you, answer "Yes" (That is, for adjusting the clock).

During installation

During installation, it is possible that the installer is still long on some packages (like zlib1g). This is quite normal: You just wait.

It is possible that the installer is a long time on "Configuring anthy ...".
You can let him (that is long!) Or skip this part to gain a little time.
  • Go to the second bracket with ALT + F2 and press ENTER to open a command line.
  • Type ps | grep anthy to display the PID corresponding to the anthy configuration.
  • Kill them with kill x (where x is the PID number).
  • Return to the installer with Alt + F1

anthy is a program that helps entering Chinese characters.
Skip configuration poses no problem and does not prevent correctly finish installing Xubuntu.

After installation

Update Sources

In the source list of updates, I recommend you uncheck the installation CD. Thus, all updates will be via the Internet and no longer claim the Xubuntu CD.
Menu "applications" > "System" > "Sources updates", tab "Third Party Software" : Clear the CDROM.

Update the list of available packages

(Internet connection required)

Type in a terminal: sudo apt-get update

Improve the French media

(Internet connection required)

If Internet access was not active during installation, the French media is incomplete.
To better support the French, go to the menu "applications" > "System" > "Language Support"
In the list, select "French" and click OK. Allow the installation to do, then close the windows.

Log out (Menu "applications" > "Quit" > button "Logout").
In the login screen, click "Save" and select "French (UTF-8)" and click "Change language".
Then enter login and password.
A window will appear: Click "Make default" (To make the default language of the French).

Note: Failure to install French translations will also install OpenOffice.Writer. But do not use OpenOffice.Writer with only 64 MB of RAM. You can not un-install OpenOffice.Writer without it removes French translations. This problem is related to dependency packages.


(Internet connection required)

After installation, it is highly recommended to install all security updates.

Menu "applications" > "System" > "Manage updates" > click on "Install updates" and wait.

Reduce the font size

The default fonts Xubuntu (and Ubuntu) are a little big, especially on older PCs which are only 800x600.
The reason is that in most cases the default resolution is set to 96dpi.
Here's how to fix: Take a text editor and create a file named .Xresources in your home directory.
(Press CTRL + H in the file browser to view hidden files)
Put in the following line:
Xft.dpi: 90

Log out and log back in to see the effects.
You can also reduce the value for even smaller fonts.

It happens that some programs have their own DPI settings. You will need to configure them manually.

Reduce menu size

Go to the menu "applications" > "Settings" > "Xfce Settings Management".
Click on "Sign" (Icon with a black mouse).
For each of the panels (panel 1 and panel 2), select the size in pixels (e.g. 26 instead of 32).

Install video codecs, audio, Flash, Java ...

Type in a terminal:
sudo aptitude -y install linux-restricted-modules xubuntu-restricted-extras ffmpeg libdvdplay0 libdvdnav4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/install-css.sh

With this you can:
  • Read almost any audio and video formats (DivX, MPEG4, MP3 ...)
  • Read DVD
  • View Flash animations in web pages
  • Java applets and programs work
  • You will also have Windows fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Courier New ...)

Note: It is possible that there is a problem during installation of the linux-restricted-modules package ("ld_static: Final link failed No space left on device"). There is a way around the problem: See this article. (Thanks to florentx for reporting the bug and provided circumvention.)

other facilities

You can also install a firewall and other software.
View: 477 ubuntu
(These instructions are for Ubuntu, but it's practically the same thing Xubuntu.)

After installations

Once all the software you want installed, you can save some space on disk by:
sudo aptitude clean

This will delete the downloaded compressed packages (that is without risk: if a package is needed again, it will simply be re-downloaded).



Do not bother to run OpenOffice.org with only 64 MB of RAM: That's impossible.
Although it can be installed and run, it will not work properly with as little memory.

Instead, use as AbiWord word processor and Gnumeric spreadsheet like.

For PC that can not boot from CD-ROM

Simply use the floppy disk: http://linux.simple.be/tools/floppy/sbm.img (110 kb)
(Use rawwritewin to write this disk.)

Start on this disk and select "CD-ROM" to start the CD.

memory capacity

  • Less than 64 MB: Do not expect to install Xubuntu. Maybe try with other distributions.
  • 64-256 MB: Xubuntu is an excellent choice.
  • 256 MB or more: You can if you want to use Ubuntu or Kubuntu (which are more greedy) but Xubuntu will be very fast and enjoyable with these machines.

For laptops

For laptops - even powerful - Xubuntu can be a good choice compared to its counterparts Gnome (Ubuntu) and KDE (Kubuntu) because it is more efficient CPU ... and therefore also in batteries!

Besides Xubuntu starts faster that his friends and he does not stop to run applications designed for KDE and Gnome.


See also the article Linux on small configurations.

Some other distributions to old computers:
  • DeLi Linux (minimum Config: 486, 16 MB RAM and 350 MB of hard disk)
  • Damn Small Linux (LiveCD; Config minimum: 486, 16 MB RAM)
  • Feather Linux (LiveCD; minimum Config: 486, 24 MB RAM for graphics mode)
  • VectorLinux (minimum Config: 32MB RAM, 950MB HDD)
  • PapugLinux (LiveCD)
  • SaxenOS (Config minimum 128MB RAM, 2 GB hard drive)
  • Puppy Linux (LiveCD; minimum Config: 128 MB RAM 64 MB partition only if this swap)
  • Fluxbuntu (experimental LiveCD, minimal setup: 96 MB of RAM and 2 GB hard drive))

Note: Some of these distributions do not support the French.

Compared to these distributions, Xubuntu has some advantages:
  • Good French media.
  • Security Updates monitored daily.
  • Good integration applications in Xubuntu.
  • Simplified installation software.
  • well supplied deposits.
  • Community very active.

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Original article published by Carlos vialfa. Translated by sebsauvage. This document entitled " Xubuntu Linux with only 64 MB of RAM "stemming fromHow it works (Www.commentcamarche.net)is made available under the Creative Commons license.You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license,as this note appears clearly.download this article (PDF