Looking for ideas and volunteers to create lightweight educational spin


EDIT Due to a family development I am steeping away from this idea for now. Thank you so much to all who took the time to comment.

Good day everyone

I sit on the parent counsel for my school. While talking after the meeting last night an idea was put forward. Years ago I used to fix up old laptops and computers for people so they could breathe new life into their computers. This also gave my clients (it was a free service so used for lack of a better word) an exposure to linux, and a low/no cost alternative to give their children a working computer for school.

As the vast majority of the computers brought in were old, lightweight distros were utilized, with LXLE being the most often used.

My goal here is to spin an ultra lightweight distro designed for use on older hardware with a focus on education, word processing, and functional web browsing (email, research, social media, netflix/amazon prime/tubi).

I am off work for paternal leave so I have some time, but I’d like to work with a team on this if possible. Thoughts/ideas/comments below, please.

Thank you.


EDIT: Considerations for a 32bit base are a side to this side project. I’m not even sure if its still maintained.

Any ideas for which DE to use? XFCE of LXqt would probably be good starting locations.

Packaged programs?


Take a look at Soas


Lookto it for ideas? which parts?


Are you specifically looking at Manjaro as a base for it? ONe potential issue is that 32bit support is a side project and not official @jonathon I believe runs it, and you might want to get his input as to the feasibility of rolling out a 32bit spin. I would however skip that and concentrate on a regular 64bit distro as the project since old computers tend to be 64bit now. I mean how many people are running anything older than a Core Duo. The first dual cores started coming out in 2004. With a small project, my recommendation would be to concentrate on a larger platform versus adding a niche use case that would take manpower away. If you are committed to doing a 32bit I would then consider using a distro that still supports it officially, and not as a side project.


I understand that 32bit is not official; I was thinking of that as a later side project.

Yes, I’d like to use Manjaro as the base. I like the rolling update mentality, and like the bridge between vanilla arch and stability that Manjaro provides.

I’ll update the OP to clarify this.

Thank you


Don’t know if you have seen this …


So let me just check I’ve got this right.

Some parents at your school (in whichever country) agreed that “Linux” would be a good idea.

You volunteered, or have been given that job to do, but you’re on “parental leave” and you won’t have any time to invest after that, so you want a team to do the work and maintain it for you?

What’s wrong with Manjaro as it stands? Xfce is already “light weight”? Why isn’t that suitable already?

I know Linux is “free” but really this level of expectation is incredible. You want a team to create a full edition which is suitable for an educational environment? What are you going to do about user accounts and authentication and file sharing and storage?

Have you given any thought to this beyond the basic “Hey! Here’s a laptop running Linux!” bit? You know, the hard part? Which people are paid money to do?

Your school will already have technical support of some description, and they are the ones who should be involved with this, not random people on an internet forum who are already spending their time freely helping ordinary users like themselves.

You’d probably be better off approaching other local schools and collaborating on this and actually employing someone to do the work you want.

If you don’t have the expertise to do this yourself then all this is just a fishing expedition - you’re simply wanting people to do your work for free.

And that stinks.


Why not have your school ‘support’ (pick up and maintain) one of the educational spins that are currently in need of ‘love’.



I feel like if you really want to make an education version, It should be added as a repo… I would really love to see manjaro in schools, as it would help repurpose thousands of computers marked obsolete…


A few years ago I installed Manjaro (back before Arch dropped i686) on a set of 10x EeePC 901 for a school club. We did various bits of programming, including using Arduinos (with LEDs, buzzers, etc.).

Manjaro worked perfectly just as it was.

manjaro32 still works perfectly:

$ inxi -Fxxxz
System:    Host: eeepc40 Kernel: 4.19.1-1-MANJARO i686 bits: 32 compiler: gcc v: 8.2.1 Console: tty 1 dm: N/A                                                                                        
           Distro: Manjaro Linux
Machine:   Type: Laptop System: ASUSTeK product: 901 v: x.x serial: <filter> Chassis: ASUSTek Computer INC. type: 10 v: x.x                                                                          
           serial: <filter>
           Mobo: ASUSTeK model: 901 v: x.xx serial: <filter> BIOS: American Megatrends v: 1703 date: 10/14/2008                                                                                      
Battery:   ID-1: BAT0 charge: 89.4 Wh condition: 96.3/55.3 Wh (174%) volts: 8.2/8.4 model: ASUS 901 type: Li-ion                                                                                     
           serial: <filter> status: Unknown
CPU:       Topology: Single Core model: Intel Atom N270 bits: 32 type: MT arch: Bonnell rev: 2 L2 cache: 512 KiB                                                                                     
           flags: nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 bogomips: 6403
           Speed: 1408 MHz min/max: 800/1600 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1600 2: 1600
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Mobile 945GSE Express Integrated Graphics vendor: ASUSTeK driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0                                                                          
           chip ID: 8086:27ae
           Display: server: X.org 1.20.2 driver: intel tty: 198x46
           Message: Advanced graphics data unavailable in console. Try -G --display
Audio:     Device-1: Intel NM10/ICH7 Family High Definition Audio vendor: ASUSTeK driver: snd_hda_intel v: kernel                                                                                    
           bus ID: 00:1b.0 chip ID: 8086:27d8
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k4.19.1-1-MANJARO
Network:   Device-1: Qualcomm Atheros AR8121/AR8113/AR8114 Gigabit or Fast Ethernet vendor: ASUSTeK driver: ATL1E v: N/A                                                                             
           port: ec80 bus ID: 04:00.0 chip ID: 1969:1026
           IF: enp4s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
           IF-ID-1: enp0s29f0u2 state: unknown speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: <filter>
           IF-ID-2: zt0 state: unknown speed: 10 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 11.27 GiB used: 4.34 GiB (38.5%)
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: ASUS model: PHISON SSD size: 3.76 GiB speed: <unknown> serial: <filter> rev: .04P                                                                                  
           scheme: MBR
           ID-2: /dev/sdb vendor: ASUS model: PHISON SSD size: 7.52 GiB speed: <unknown> serial: <filter> rev: .04P                                                                                  
           scheme: MBR
Partition: ID-1: / size: 7.51 GiB used: 4.05 GiB (54.0%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/sdb1
           ID-2: /home size: 3.75 GiB used: 297.4 MiB (7.7%) fs: btrfs dev: /dev/sda1
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 28.0 C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (RPM): cpu: 970
Info:      Processes: 144 Uptime: 11d 23h 04m Memory: 922.3 MiB used: 197.3 MiB (21.4%) Init: systemd v: 239 Compilers:                                                                              
           gcc: 8.2.1 Shell: zsh v: 5.6.2 running in: tty 1 inxi: 3.0.27


I beg your pardon, but I believe you’ve got this wrong. There is nothing wrong with asking the community for some guidance and ideas. As well, seeing as how Linux was historically a team built entity there should be no issue putting feelers out to see if anyone wants to help.

Yes there is some thought to what would happen after the laptop is handed over. This is all in the initial stages, but seeing as where I am there is no LUG we are thinking of a board supported LUG to meet monthly at a local facility with internet. Officially the board is windows and google only, so they cannot put their paid tech staff to work on this. However they can foster a community group as long as the attendance is there and offer some assistance where it can.

I see you are on the Manjaro Team, so I gather that you’ve dealt with many tire-kickers over the years. You sound jaded. Just try to remember that an idea, Linux or not, starts somewhere. I’m just asking for ideas here. If people want to help, that’s awesome. If not, cool all the same. Either way, you basically just accused me of attempting to push off a project solely on this community and to make you all do the work, when thats not the case. Thats poor leadership.


Thank you for this. I dug out my daughters’ 32 bit laptop that I had put Manjaro 32 bit on, and it still works. @nadb Made a very good point though that 32bit laptops are becoming less prevalent. So considering that there are only a few of us here locally to put effort into this, we’re going to shelve the idea for now. Thank you for your response though!


This is a great idea. I hadn’t thought of this. I’ll bring this up when we meet next. thank you.


Thank you for this link. I’m watching this tonight.


Careful now.

I don’t “lead” anything, but I’ve seen many (many) examples of people “looking for ideas” or providing “suggestions” which are simply veiled attempts to get other people to fix a business problem for them.

This “request for ideas” triggered my “protect the community” response.

Your OP came in with what’s essentially a blank slate, and you are looking for “ideas” on creating a custom spin without apparently having done any research first. You don’t appear to have tried the available Manjaro editions, and haven’t actually responded to any of my points.

Perhaps there’s a crossed-communication somewhere, and you’re talking about one thing and I’m interpreting it as another, but I can can only go on what’s written.

You’ll have to forgive me for not being overwhelimingly enthusiastic.


Ok, I’m a bit baby brained here so I’m sure there is some miscommunication here. I get the protectionism; I’ve been there too.

I fully understand that this would be a large undertaking. I’m just taking info in at this point so I can have all the pros and cons and better gauge any projected work.

I have tried pretty much all of the editions out there save the window manager versions. My suggestion at this point is to use XFCE, Mate, or LXQT editions and focus efforts elsewhere. I’ve used XFCE almost exclusively since 2011 until I finally upgraded my laptop and switched to Deepin, so that’s my vote.


If we want to do something, I’d recommend taking a base image (KDE,Gnome,XFCE) and testing in in the school, and see how it integrates into the current system and how people like it. Next, take all the concerns, and report back to us so we can see if they are something we can help with. Base manjaro is quite stable, and you could potentially build your own manjaro spin off one of those using philms recent guide with different pre installed apps and themes.

I have recently been allowed to expieriment with a dead NO OS pc from my school and am testing a Manjaro KDE install there.


well make a script of all the apps you require
and use a base minimal xfce edition.install all those apps in it.
you need internet for installing
so if you are going to install in some 30 or so pc you might need 100s of gb internet for installing apps from repo.
its not optimal to install in many pc than just installing using an custom iso but its managable
if the apps you want are in aur then compile them and install using pacman -U
speaking of which you can just copy your cache folder and install using script.it will save internet data.
i also want a custom iso for my needs.but asking others is not the way.just make one yourself.


why would a distro with a focus on education have amazon prime, netflix & tubi :question:


Are you asking me?