Top 5 Least Popular Linux Distributions That Could

During my Distro hopping days, I have tried and tested different flavors of Linux. There are several distros that I have considered forgettable, while there are others that have left a lasting impression on me simply because they have far exceeded my expectations.

Let's focus on the following Linux distributions that some of us may consider least popular, but are highly capable of becoming way bigger than what they are today:

5. NimbleX
The word “nimble” is an adjective that means quick and light in motion. It is also a quality that the young NimbleX Linux distribution is boasting. Based on the grand daddy of all linux ditros which is Slackware, its main goal is to provide the latest and greatest open source applications to those who have low-end computers.

Having used NimbleX before, I can attest that it is certainly fast and efficient and is optimized for old machines. Plus, it is really easy to use. NimbleX still has plenty of room to grow and indeed has a bright future ahead.

You may like to read the full review here: NimbleX: The Diet Slackware

4. Wolvix
Wolvix is probably one of the fastest rising distros today. First released 2 years ago, it has already gained plenty of loyal followers and is steadily going up in the ranks of Linux distributions over at Distrowatch. In fact, I received a couple of comments at this blog and some emails telling me to try Wolvix.

Wolvix is really an amazing Linux distribution considering that it is developed and maintained by only two men. What’s even more amazing is that the original creator himself works at a construction as a painter. I would say Wolvix can become even better if more people would contribute or help financially.

You may like to read the full review here: Wolvix, My Kind of Wolf

3. Sidux
Sidux is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on the “unstable” but most modern and up-to-date Debian branch called Sid (from the Toy Story character). The main aim of Sidux is to enhance and stabilize Sid, using its very own packages and scripts to allow a hassle-free use of Debian’s latest and cutting edge software. This unique aspiration enticed me to try out Sidux.

Though I have only tested a development release of Sidux, I was impressed and find it quite good and steady. The absence of a graphical package manager is a big drawback to Linux newbies, but its speed, responsiveness and light footprint makes it an ideal OS for older computer machines. Sidux is definitely a distro to watch out for.

You may like to read the full review here: Seduced by Sidux

2. SliTaz
SliTaz GNU/Linux, the Smallest “Desktop” Distro Ever Created, is a mini distribution and live CD designed to run speedily on hardware with 128 MB of RAM. SliTaz uses BusyBox, a recent Linux kernel and GNU software. It boots with Syslinux and provides more than 200 Linux commands, the lighttpd web server, SQLite database, rescue tools, IRC client, SSH client and server powered by Dropbear, X window system, JWM (Joe's Window Manager), gFTP, Geany IDE, Mozilla Firefox, AlsaPlayer, GParted, a sound file editor and more. The SliTaz ISO image fits on a less than 30 MB media and takes just 80 MB of hard disk space.

After having extensively used SliTaz GNU/Linux, I can honestly say that it is a highly capable distro. It is ideal for rescuing a broken system, and even for full desktop usage, especially when employed on older computer machines since it is fast and ultra-lightweight. SliTaz could well become the next DSL.

You may like to read the full review here: SliTaz GNU/Linux, the Smallest “Desktop” Distro Ever Created

1. Pardus
Pardus (scientific name for Anatolian leopard) is a Turkish Linux distribution started and developed by the Scientific & Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK). Ensuring that it is an operating system which can be installed and used more easily than the existing distros as well as other competitive operating systems is one of Pardus' main goals.

I love almost every vital part of Pardus. The system installer, the package manager, and the control center among others are all wonderfully crafted. I can tell that the developers took their time to really buff up this distro. I’m sorry to say though that Pardus is still pretty much underrated, because many distros are far more popular but are not as good as Pardus. I would highly recommend Pardus to just about anyone who is still searching for a fully featured, easy-to-use, and quality Linux distro.


  1. I've tried all the distros you've mentioned but perhaps I'm more of an 'entry level' geek than you are. For ease of use "right out of the box" I think it's hard to beat PCLinuxOS. I think Linux Mint is more popular but I found it to be less stable than PCLinuxOS. I have three favorites for resource challenged systems; PCFluxboxOS, PC-BSD and KateOS. I try them in that order and stick with the first one which works on the hardware. For a fast booting 'repair kit' distro I don't think anything is better than SystemRescueCD. It's got a host of features I'm not knowledgeable enough to use but that's a circumstance I'm trying to alter as quickly as I can. When you're my age it takes longer to catch up with all the young fellers. I enjoyed reading your thoughts; best regards.

  2. Seems you dont know yet SYS . This is an automatically-installing easy and full distro (needs 20 GB free not-partioned space on the hard disk), working good and fast, everything updated.



  3. Once I decided to ditch Windoze, I spent most of the past spring and summer distro-hopping. I must have tried out fifty different distros, including the "top" ones, plenty of obscure ones, even all the ones mentioned here. I wanted to get it right. There were many I installed for a few days (eg. Mint, Mandriva, PCLOS, Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE), all of which sooner or later pissed me off for one reason or another. I've settled on Pardus; it's a brilliant piece of work. Does everything I want, and does it well. Give it a try, you won't be sorry. The only downside I've found is that the support is a little weak, but I've seldom needed to use it.

  4. After using Ubuntu and Fedora for a long time, I also finally settled down on Pardus 2008.1. Great distro. For English support, use the worldforum or the english users mailing list. You can be sure to find someone to support you, if you ever need ;)

  5. @dondashguitar: Thanks for sharing it with us. I agree with you about PCLinuxOS as I've been using it before.

    I think you are geekier than me because you have some good distro choices there :-)

    Thanks once again and best regrds,


  6. SabayonLinux is worth trying. Gentoo-based, but with a binary installer for just about everything. KDE default, but GNOME as an option.

  7. Sidux. No question, no remorse. SIDUX 4EVA!!

  8. Hi. Thanks for this wonderful site. I sure am learning a lot from it. I just started using Linux and I'm having fun trying out the different distros. So far I've tried OpenSUSE, Fedora, Mandriva, Debian, Slackware, Vector, Mint, and Zenwalk. I've installed them all (I have several partitions on several harddrives! LOL.) on my computers, just to try them. So far, I'm liking the Slackware-based distros (Zenwalk, Vector). The others just are too slow on my machines. And Zenwalk is the only distro that installs on my laptop, which is really weird (or maybe not since it's a NEO - only available in the Philippines, I think). I also like Mint (the Xfce version). Maybe it's just Xfce that's making the speed difference? Anyway, I like the minimalist attitude of Zenwalk and Vector. Now, I'm going to try Arch, Nimble, and Pardus. Thanks, again for the info.

  9. Hey, great article and a nice selection of choices. I certainly believe you that some of these unknowns deserve better mention. Two of them in particular have attracted my attention: SliTAZ, mostly for its amazingly small footprint, then sidux, which successfully manages to tame the packaging wilds of Debian Sid and turn it into a mood stabilized, cutting edge Debian based system.

    Other people have suggested and nominated a few more, so let me throw in my bunch, too. Sidux is already in there, and it is one of my three favorites. My other two favorites are a well-known, but fading distribution called SimplyMEPIS. Like several others in your list, SimplyMEPIS is largely the effort of one man, the incredibly talented, but sometimes elusive Warren Woodford. Quite frankly, I have not seen a more quality oriented packager than Warren, and his work shows it. SimplyMEPIS 8.0, already in its fifth Beta test build, should, if all continues well, be out in time for the holidays. If it does not vault well up there into DistroWatch's Top Ten once again I would be amazed. It is that good. But another sidekick to SimplyMEPIS, the less well known antiX, which had a M7.5 release not all that long ago, is now also working on an M8.0 release, and came out with Test 2 the other day. Like MEPIS, it is well packaged, a bit more experimental and leading, and the developers are not all wizards like Warren, but they are more of a community and they do an awesome job. antiX carves a really interesting niche in the Live CD and small, fast distro world. It is a bit larger than SLAX, but I feel that it is more feature complete. For example, you have a good chance that Wireless will work with antiX. With SLAX, more than likely you will have to put some modules together to get it working. antiX is also flexible and easy to extend too. There are also a few remastering scripts floating around for would be customizers and integrators.

    Of course, everyone has their favorites. If you truly have a system that suits your needs, by all means, stay with it. If, on the other hand, you like to try out different systems occasionally and you have not tried out these three, give yourself a treat and try them all out. If sidux, antiX, and SimplyMEPIS don't do it for you, I don't know what will. You satisfy your craving for the cutting edge with sidux. You get FAST with antiX, and you get easy and stable with SimplyMEPIS. They ALL work REALLY WELL, though. By having all three available, there is not much that will be elusive to you; they certainly meet all of my personal computing needs.