If you want to take more control of your devices, support open source software or simply travel on the road less traveled , this list of free operating systems will interest you.
Our list includes some independent external systems, operating systems built from scratch , which mainly serve to demonstrate how difficult it is to create an operating system that works without a large number of brains working on it.
🏆List of the best 25+ free operating systems, with low resource consumption and lighter
🥇 Linux Mint
Linux Mint provides a modern, powerful and elegant operating system for PC and laptop .
Mint works very well, with full multimedia support and easy to use. This rapid operation is based on the Ubuntu distribution and is currently the most popular operating system among experts and beginners.
Based on Debian and Ubuntu, Mint provides around 30,000 packages and one of the best software administrators with a unique update manager and the robustness of its Linux architecture . The updates are slower than Ubuntu, but for those who want better performance and a very good visual aesthetic , this would surely be the best option.
Download link: https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
Most Linux PC operating systems seem to be based on this , so it is worth starting with Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is an operating system created by a worldwide team of expert developers. This fast operating system contains all the applications you need: a web browser, office suite, multimedia applications, instant messaging and much more.
Ubuntu is an open source alternative for Windows and Office that can speed up your pc .
This operating system that is commonly used in old laptops was not designed precisely from scratch. Ubuntu is the Linux distribution based on the Debian architecture .
This ideal OS for an old laptop comes with most of the integrated Ubuntu applications (Firefox, Open Office, F-Spot, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, etc.).
The GUI is tailored to take advantage of the limited function of old-fashioned laptop screens . The Ubuntu platform comes in two forms : LTS (long-term support) and not LTS. The versions are marked as 16.04, the nomenclature is made with respect to the year (16) and the month (04) of the launch.
Most notable is that the versions will no longer come with the Unity-based desktop, since the most recent versions will return to the GNOME-based desktop . Also, since Ubuntu has been the most popular Linux distribution, it has excellent hardware compatibility and users do not need to install additional drivers . The software can be downloaded from the official Ubuntu Software Center.
This is one of the most common free operating systems and can be a good option as an alternative to windows 7 or windows 10 .
More information: Ubuntu
🥉 Chrome OS
Somehow this is another obvious option. Google’s Chrome OS is available on a number of low-cost and some high-end laptops , known as Chromebooks.
It is also available for free download , often to install on old hardware , because it is a free operating system that is very light and could easily be a good alternative for windows.
Comparatively lightweight and with a focus on cloud computing , Chrome OS is ideal for web browsing, social networks and word processing . It is less impressive in media playback, and media editing and games are beyond its capabilities.
If Linux is not your cup of tea but you are looking for something familiar, Chrome OS is a good free alternative to Windows .
More information: Chrome OS
4. Linux lite
Linux Lite, as the name implies, was introduced for systems with very low-end hardware .
This Linux Lite is a very light and simple operating system that can especially benefit news users who have limited knowledge of the Linux operating system as a whole.
This operating system is a correct combination of programs, tools, desktop and functionality.
The Netbook Linux Lite is based on the distribution of Ubuntu and presents a simple interface . As such, it is quite stable and has update support for up to five years. The Linux distribution is fully functional immediately after installation, and users do not need to worry about driver problems . In regards to the best lightweight operating systems , Linux Lite is above all.
Download link: https://www.linuxliteos.com/download.php
Kubuntu is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system that uses the KDE graphical environment instead of GNOME.
This netbook operating system is part of the Ubuntu project and uses the same underlying system. It is possible to run both the KDE desktop (Kubuntu-desktop) and the Gnome desktop (Ubuntu-desktop) interchangeably on the same machine.
The Kubuntu desktop supports full customization. Originally designed to facilitate the transition to users of other operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows) by allowing a similar desktop design, and KDE 4 Plasma Desktop incorporates widget-based modularity that allows the user to integrate identical functions to all other operating systems.
New functionality is also being created that is not found in other operating system desktops . 3-D effects are available in the standard KDE4 installation.
Download link: https://kubuntu.org/
Fedora is the second most popular and widely used Linux-based operating system since early 2010, after Ubuntu. Fedora is a general purpose RPM-based operating system built on the Linux kernel , developed by the community-supported Fedora project and sponsored by Red Hat.
One of Fedora’s main objectives is not only to contain software distributed under a free and open source license , but also to be at the forefront of such technologies.
Fedora developers prefer to make changes upstream rather than apply specific corrections to Fedora , which ensures that their updates are available for all GNU / Linux distributions.
The best lite Linux operating system has a default GNOME desktop that you can change to your liking. Fedora’s latest projects include Fedora Spins through which you can customize and implement variations in the desktop environment of the operating system and the UI. It uses the RPM package management system.
Fedora has a comparatively short life cycle : the X version is maintained until one month after the X + 2 version is released. With six months between releases , the maintenance period is approximately 13 months for each release.
Fedora had reasonably good support for PowerPC when using that processor architecture. Fedora comes with the default DNF package manager or GNOME software to install software repositories .
Download link: https://getfedora.org/
EasyPeasy is an excellent fast operating system for laptops , but many things do not work as the “box” says.
MP3s, for example, cannot be played until you install the codecs. EasyPeasy aims to be simple by offering proprietary applications and ready-to-use codecs . You will be pleased to find your favorites, including Skype and Picasa included by default.
Installing EasyPeasy is quite simple . See downloads and installation instructions on easypeasy.com
Download link: http://www.geteasypeasy.com/get-easypeasy/
8. LXLE OS linux
” Relive your old PC !” Is the main motto of LXLE OS and we can see why. This is the most resource efficient Linux operating system you can find .
It offers a lot of features and functionalities that can help you do your job without interruption. The LXLE operating system is based on the Ubuntu LTS distribution , so stability and security are very consistent.
Using an optimized LXDE interface, the best lightweight operating system offers the best possible performance and memory management information. The start takes less than 1 minute , become a fast user with the fastest laptop operating system! If you want your old device to work like new , LXLE OS is surely the way to go.
Download link: http://www.lxle.net/download/
9. Manjaro Linux
Manjaro Linux is based on the very popular Arch distribution, which is the access system for Linux experts.
But the distribution of Arch is very difficult for beginners and presents an abrupt learning curve for beginner users who have just entered the world of Linux. This is where Manjaro Linux comes in.
Manjaro Linux focuses on user perception and ease of use .
The best lightweight Linux operating system features fast, stable and powerful functionality with the latest generation software. The simplified approach to Arch distribution means that even beginners can take full advantage of the power of Arch’s repository and architecture.
System hardware is automatically scanned and the necessary drivers have been downloaded accordingly. Having a dedicated software and easy installation means that this Lite operating system is a must .
Download link: https://manjaro.org/get-manjaro/
Xubuntu is an Unix-based open source operating system that runs in the XFCE desktop environment, rather than the Ubuntu Unity environment.
While the interface is relatively dismantled , it is still a full-featured operating system that competes well with others.
This operating system is ideal for reusing that old Windows XP machine .
Pro: Xubuntu offers an integrated composer and fast integrations of GNOME applications.
With: User forums have commented on the slow development speed .
Download link: https://xubuntu.org/download/
Launched in January 1998 and created by Jim Hall, FreeDOS is a free open source operating system for DOS processors.
Setup should be easy with files loaded from a USB or disk drive . It allows you to view and edit the FreeDOS source codes with their programs distributed under the General Public License (GNU).
Like MacOS and Windows, FreeDOS allows you to share files from any Linux device and location . According to its site, FreeDOS should run on a standard PC but suggests an Intel 386 or newer processor for better performance .
Main features: 7ZIP file, FAT32 file support, FDAV (antivirus), HTML viewer, built-in media player and ARACHNE graphic web browser and email client.
Pro: Supports many Windows applications.
With: There are not many updates.
Download link: http://www.freedos.org/download/
A often mentioned in the same basket as Linux , you could be forgiven to think that FreeBSD is just another Linux distribution.
While it shares the roots of Unix-type Linux, FreeBSD is the open source version of Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).
While it may be considered a relative of Linux, its code can be found in many places, such as Apple’s MacOS and Sony’s PlayStation 4 operating system .
Overall, FreeBSD is a reliable operating system for servers and desktops alike. While it doesn’t come with a default desktop environment, there is support for GNOME, KDE and Xfce desktops. FreeBSD is of particular interest to those with security and privacy issues , which offers improvements developed by the TrustedBSD project, which is backed by McAfee, DARPA, Google, the University of Cambridge Computer Lab, Apple and many more.
Download link: https://www.freebsd.org/es/where.html
Originally launched in 1996 as a Windows 95 cloning project , the official website states that “the ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to remove Windows and install ReactbOS without the end user noticing the change.”
In short, the goal is that you should be able to continue using your PC as you did before.
However, ReactOS has been in the alpha stage for quite some time . While some applications such as Adobe Reader will run in ReactOS, many will not.
One day, ReactOS could be a perfect and free alternative to Windows , but until then it will be available for evaluation.
Download link: https://www.reactos.org/download
14. Mandriva linux
Mandriva Linux (formerly Mandrakelinux or Mandrake Linux) is a French distribution of Linux , distributed by Mandriva (formerly Mandrakesoft). Mandriva OS uses the RPM package manager.
The product life of Mandriva Linux versions is 18 months for basic updates (Linux, system software, etc.) and 12 months for desktop updates (window managers, desktop environments, web browsers, etc.).
Server products receive full updates for at least 24 months after launch .
Download link: https://kubuntu.org/
15. Crunchbang / Cruncheee
This is not exactly a netbook operating system by nature, but it can be a very good one.
Crunchbang is based on Ubuntu but focuses on “speed , style and content” according to its website.
Based on the lightweight open box window manager, Crunchbang is certainly fast and could work well on your netbook. I recommend trying this if traditional netbook operating systems do not work for you.
It is worth noting that in 2008, a group of EEA enthusiasts created a custom Crunchbang for EEE users: CrunchEEE. Check out Cruncheee, but keep in mind that it is more than a year late.
Download link: https://www.bunsenlabs.org/installation.html
Designed and optimized for desktop PCs and built using parts of the GNU and Linux project, Syllable is another free Windows alternative.
Designed for home and small office users , Syllable forks from AtheOS and ships with a native WebKit-based browser, which promises elegant and modern navigation, an email client, a media player and even a development environment for programming .
Several open source tools are available for Syllable, including Apache, the Vim text editor and Python scripting. Syllable also has a server version, which is based on the Linux kernel .
Suitable for regular desktop users, amateurs and developers , Syllable’s development has a holistic view of the current state of the computer industry. As such, it will run on a 32-bit PC with 32 MB of RAM . Very few operating systems will run on such an old PC!
Download link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/syllable/
17. Solus OS
Solus is an open source, desktop, Linux-based operating system. Having been launched in 2012, Solus is a relatively new operating system , with almost 6,000 members currently registered in the SolusOS forums.
In August 2017, Solus released its latest update of the ‘Solus 3’ software, which is based on the latest version of Kernel and should have improvements to its native Opus encoder, new multimedia filters .
Main features: LibreOffice Suite, Firefox, PlayOnLinux, Budgie desktop environment, Thunderbird, XChat, OpenShot Video Editor, Transmission and VLC.
Pros: the Java and Flash plug – ins are preinstalled , like all other applications listed in the key features, so use is made almost immediately after installation.
Cons: This operating system is quite new, so some bug fixes will still be needed .
Download link: https://solus-project.com/download/
Valve SteamOS is currently in beta . Technically, Steam OS is just a Linux distribution and includes much of the standard Linux software .
However, SteamOS is positioning itself as a new operating system for PC games . The old Linux desktop is under there, but the computer starts with a Steam interface designed for living rooms.
In 2015, you can buy PCs that come with pre-installed SteamOS , known as Steam Machines. Valve will help you install SteamOS on any PC you like.
Download link: https://store.steampowered.com/steamos/download
OS / 2 was an operating system originally created by Microsoft and IBM . IBM continued development after Microsoft left it and OS / 2 competed with MS-DOS and the original versions of Windows.
Microsoft finally won , but there are still old ATMs, PCs and other systems that use OS / 2. IBM once marketed this operating system as OS / 2 Warp, so you can find it with that name.
IBM no longer develops OS / 2, but a company called Serenity Systems has the rights to continue distributing it . They call their eComStation operating system . It is based on IBM OS / 2 and adds applications, drivers and other additional improvements.
This is the only operating system paid on this list . You can still download a free demo CD to verify it.
ChaletOS is a free and open source Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It is built with a design similar to that of Windows , which shows a simple and intuitive desktop interface.
It is a good alternative for Windows users who want to try a Linux distribution, offering the Xfce desktop environment with the opportunity to customize the desktop.
ChaletOS includes several preinstalled applications and is a good option for older PCs that may not have enough memory. The latest version, launched in April 2016, is what gives users the opportunity to modernize old desktop servers .
Download link: https://sites.google.com/site/chaletoslinux/download
This is a free open source operating system similar to Unix, which is derived from the Debian Project launched in 1993 by Ian Murdock.
It is one of the first operating systems based on the Linux kernel and FreeBSD. The stable version 1.1, released in June 1996, is known as the most popular edition for PCs and network servers.
Debian provides access to online repositories of more than 51,000 packages , all of which include free software . It is fully developed and distributed following the principles of the GNU Project.
Download link: https://www.debian.org/CD/http-ftp/
OpenSUSE is a Linux-based project that includes a server environment and a range of other open source software tools aimed primarily at developers and system administrators .
openSUSE Leap 15.0 is the current version, while Tumbleweed is a release version that is regularly updated with new versions. Other tools associated with openSUSE include YaST, Open Build Service, openQA and Snapper .
Download link: https://software.opensuse.org/distributions/testing
23. True OS
SkyOS was quite prominent on OSNews between 2003 and 2008, it was almost completely coded by Austrian Robert Szeleney in his spare time.
It achieved a relatively usable state on the desktop, especially considering it was a one-man project – it was a hobby project for Szeleney.
SkyOS originally began as a simple bootloader , but eventually expanded to become a complete operating system.
In the early days, until version 4.x, SkyOS was available for free , but it was not open source. After that, Szeleney began charging a small fee for accessing the beta version of SkyOS 5, which some considered controversial.
The SkyOS 5.0 release cycle began with its first alpha version in December 2003, and ended with the release of beta version 6947 in August 2008 , a final version that never materialized.
The project seemed to vanish, but Szeleney experimented with the use of third-party cores, such as a BSD kernel or a Linux kernel. That was the last thing we heard from him, and earlier this year, the website was removed .
Substitute for the BeOS project now discontinued, Haiku is free and open source and was first launched in 2001.
Since then, the operating system has been in almost continuous development and now has the ability to run the multi-purpose VLC media player, as well as a couple of Quake versions .
The WebPositive browser supports HTML5 , and most BeOS applications can run on Haiku.
However, the operating system is in a strange place , something like between alpha and beta , and this makes it perhaps the least attractive alternative on this list. However, if you were a BeOS fan a long time ago and are looking for a Windows escape, it is certainly worth checking out Haiku.
Download link: https://www.haiku-os.org/
What is an operating system and how to choose the best
Operating systems are computer programs. An operating system is the first piece of software that the computer runs when you turn on the machine.
The operating system is loaded into memory and begins to manage the resources available on the computer. Then provide those resources to other applications that the user wishes to run. Typical services provided by an operating system include:
A task scheduler: The task scheduler can assign the CPU execution to a series of different tasks. Some of those tasks are the different applications that the user is running and others are tasks of the operating system.
The task scheduler is the part of the operating system that allows you to print a document from your word processor in one window while you are downloading a file in another window and recalculating a spreadsheet in a third window.
A memory manager: The memory manager controls the system RAM and usually creates a larger virtual memory space using a file on the hard disk.
A disk manager: The disk manager creates and maintains the directories and files on the disk. When you request a file, the disk administrator brings it from the disk.
A network administrator: the network administrator controls all the data that moves between the computer and the network.
Another I / O services administrator: the operating system manages the keyboard, mouse, video screen, printers, etc.
Security Administrator: The operating system maintains the security of the information in the computer files and controls who can access the computer.
An operating system usually also provides the default user interface for the system. The standard “appearance” of Windows includes the Start button, the taskbar, etc.
The Mac operating system provides a completely different look for Macintosh computers.
Linux is both a “phenomenon” and an operating system. To understand why Linux has become so popular, it is useful to know a little about its history .
The first version of UNIX was originally developed several decades ago and was mainly used as an operating research system in universities.
The high-powered desktop workstations of companies like Sun proliferated in the 1980s and all were based on UNIX.
Several companies entered the field of workstations to compete against Sun: HP, IBM, Silicon Graphics, Apollo, etc. Unfortunately, each one had its own version of UNIX and this made it difficult to sell software.
Windows NT was Microsoft’s response to this market. NT provides the same type of functions as UNIX operating systems : security, support for multiple CPUs, large-scale memory and disk management, etc.
Microsoft’s entry into the arena of the high-end workstation created a strange dynamic. Operating systems owned by separate companies and the lack of a central authority in the world of UNIX weaken UNIX , but many people have personal problems with Microsoft. Linux entered this strange landscape and attracted a lot of attention.
The Linux kernel, created by Linus Torvalds , was made available to the world for free . Torvalds invited others to add to the kernel as long as they kept their contributions free.
Thousands of programmers began working to improve Linux, and the operating system grew rapidly. Because it is free and runs on PC platforms, it obtained a considerable audience among hardware developers very quickly. Linux has dedicated followers and attracts different types of people:
- People who already know UNIX and want to run it on PC-type hardware.
- People who want to experiment with the principles of the operating system.
- People who need or want great control over their operating system
- People who have personal problems with Microsoft.
In general, Linux is more difficult to manage than something like Windows , but it offers more flexibility and configuration options.
What is the best operating system for you?
There are many options to choose from when deciding on an operating system. At the end of the day, it all comes down to what your needs are .
When assembling an office system or an enterprise server, you probably do not opt for Mac OS. If you are looking for a home server for personal use, there are a couple of different options to choose from . Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and OpenSuse are excellent options.
When it comes to an operating system for your company , Microsoft Windows Server, Ubuntu Server, CentOS Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server are all fantastic options to consider. Microsoft Small Business Server is an excellent option for smaller companies with less than 75 users.
For medium-sized companies , due to their scalability, Ubuntu servers: the Ubuntu operating system and the Ubuntu server are excellent.
For large companies , because most people are familiar with the system, the Windows 10 operating system remains an excellent option.