Req Suggestion - Best OS for 32 bit Computers



Dear Friends,
Hope you are all doing well.

Need your expert guidance on deciding a proper OS for my wife’s 32bit Laptop.
The laptop is currently running Ubuntu Mate 18.04. But the update to 18.10 is not available as of now. Getting an error message that the update to x86 systems is being evaluated. Also I have read that several Ubuntu flavours including Ubuntu Budge are planning to drop 32bit support. Hence started my search for an alternate OS.

Request your help in selecting an OS with official 32bit support atleast for a few more years. Prefer an OS with up to date applications. Choice of applications is quite limited to several commonly used applications only. No rare applications used…I am aware that Manjaro already has a 32bit supported version. But would like to evaluate other available options as well. Thank you for all the help in advance.

RD :+1:


No need to repeat anything, a list is already available here:


Thank you so much @jonathon

I did go through the list, but was not sure how updated it was, but a very useful link nonetheless. Thank you.

Since the drop of 32bit support by Arch, most of the arch based distros are not available right ? I mean for 32bit computers, at least with official support…I am not really interested in debian or ubuntu based ones…

How is Fedora ? Any good suggestion from the independent ones list ?


I can offer no recommendation. As with most things, you will have to test those available to find the one you like best.

Personally, I like manjaro32. If you have specific questions about other distros you’re probably better off asking in the associate communities.


Yes, I understand. It is rather insensitive for me to ask for a recommendation for alternate OSes here…But as you know I trust the knowledgeable folks here than anywhere else…

Anyways appreciate the help and the link. Thank you.


MXlinux is a good one


Puppylinux,DSL,alpine,tinycore etc


Void Linux is a rolling release. If you can use Arch the arch way. You have not much problem with void linux. But it is different from almost any other linux distro.

But I know how much longer 32bit system have left till dev stop supporting them.


Opensuse tumbleweed or manjaro32 are probably worth looking at. Most of the debian/ubuntu based distros will not have up-to-date packages in the repos.

Void is great but it definitely requires some experience to manage and maintain. I am not sure how much experience your wife has with Linux but it is not a great choice for a beginner unless they are really willing to dig in and learn.


Not to hard to used. Just have the simple basic in using the cli. Just read the man page for xbps-{install, query, and remove}. Besides, it’s not hard to install. With it tui installer.


Debian, no doubt they’ll still support 32bit for another 15yrs.


Thank you all for your suggestions. I had considered Void Linux, but I am not sure how easy it would be…I will give it a try anyways…I have also been suggested Fedora, OpenSuse Tumbleweed and Siduction. Any idea how these three are ?


this will not be easy , like install archlinux ,
try MXlinux


Compared to a distro with a graphical installer, it is not easy. You will also have to deal with the limited number of packages in the repos.

Fedora’s package release cycle is fairly interesting. Some packages get updated as frequently as a rolling release and others will be 9 months old. I am sure there is some logic why you would have the absolute latest version of kde but an ancient gimp but I have never figured it out. I only bring this up because of your requirement for up-to-date applications. Does fedora still have a 32-bit version?

Opensuse tumbleweed is what I would recommend given your requirements. Easy to install, rolling. The two things that are potential gotchas. The first is that the easiest way to install software not in the repos is to add 3rd party repos. The second is that adding 3rd party repos often puts you dependency hell.

I can’t imagine running siduction at this point unless you really like unstable version of debian.


But… why not manjaro32… ? :sob:


+1 for MX Linux. I was selling an old, weak dell laptop and looking for a distro for it. Several distros either ran slowly or didn’t support the wifi or the built in card reader. MX was snappy on it and all the peripherals were supported without me having to manually fix something.


I hear the maintainer is a PITA. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

MX is a great distro, but I am not sure it really meets the OPs requirement of having up-to-date packages. Certainly, coming from Manjaro/Arch, they will be much older.


Thank you for your suggestions dalto.

I have been reading up on the Void Linux documentation and I am not so sure it is going to work out as you had said, but I am going to try in a virtualbox atleast for sure…

Regarding Fedora, it is definitely a curious thing, I did not know about such an anomoly existed, I checked a friend’s PC running XFCE and it seemed to have all the latest software. I will have to check again.

I had tried Tumbleweed a couple of times in the past and always felt frustrated with the way the repos worked. Whenever I perform a dist update, it would throw off all the dependencies and have me add the repos once again. Have to check if it had improved. It has been quite sometime now.

I am liking Siduction a lot, it is damn slow to install and update, but the software is fairly recent and since it is debian it has a big repo and lots of work arounds available…

Anyways thank you for your suggestions, I will surely check them out…


Trust me @jonathon, I absolutely love Manjaro have it installed on both my Laptop and the desktop, but I am a little hesitant with the 32bit version.

The manjaro32 website clearly says the installer is not well tested and the long term support for the OS is a question mark. Also if it were my system I would install it in a heartbeat, but considering the system is going to be used by my family, I really do not want it to be too complicated.

But I really do appreciate the hard work you are putting to keep manjaro32 version up and running. Thanks for all the work.


When I learned Arch is stopping support for 32 bit I started to research my options for my old slow netbook. I tried several and only three were fast enough for that really really slow computer:

  • Void, installation was OK, but when it went something wrong second time I couldn’t find solution for the fix. Forum wasn’t that good, not that active, my suggestions ignored, (like lets have designated forum category for Beginners and few other things, member Handy from here was not nicely treated). I liked speed, I liked how you install the packages, I liked simple init system, I didn’t like forum, support, help, not many packages available, unless you can package them yourself - my conclusion, it was not beginner friendly. Or put it another way, I’m too beginner for Void. I just felt too helpless.

  • Puppy - first, there are so many versions it takes some serious studying to figure out, which are current, which outdated, I never quite figure out which is which. I could never join their forum I don’t know why, never got confirmation email, tried to reach to them over reddit, nothing, so i could not clarify few questions I had. Some old Puppy (and probably quite outdated) works well and snappy on that slow computer but newer Puppy version are too slow or some even don’t run on 32 bit, so i finally gave up on Pups as well.

  • AntiX - I finally found what i was looking for! It is just as fast as old puppy or Void, also no systemd (a plus I always wanted something without systemd), very active and friendly forum, just like Manjaro’s (well, I’m using MX forum where are also AntiX developers and users). At first glance I didn’t like it, old funny and outdated looking file manager, but just right click on desktop and (on the fly) switch to something with “space” in it’s name and it is (for me) much better. It is Debian based, so stable, but with a kick! AntiX (and sisterly MX) do have software more or less updated, if not, package you are looking for, you can ask in forum to get it updated), they are porting in newer versions, so you get stability of Debian with newer packages, speedy and without systemd. Quite the combination.

As a beginner I had a problem, WiFi didn’t work out of the box on AntiX like MX did and I wasn’t sure what I did to get it to work, there are three different ways how to get it running, and I didn’t bother too figure out at first (Linux beginner) so i was intimidated and worried, how I will be able to do it again if needed, but it is quite simple once I decided to search for answer.

Later @jonathon started to support 32 bit, but I wanted something “for grandma” and I really don’t feel comfortable putting Manjaro on some relative’s computers.

I found Linux MX perfect for this. (same as AntiX, same base, no systemd, Debian based, newer ported packages, stable, very fast, good looking and good on slower computers.) That little slow netbook was too slow for MX so I put AntiX on it, but for relatives and other older computers I’m using MX. Since I’m putting MX on other’s (windows refugees) computers I of course need to know it better so i have one dedicated computer just for MX. (before I used Mint for relatives, but now a days is just too slow for older computers)

After using MX for a while I really really like it. A lot! I found few packages I could not get properly run on Manjaro that I got running on MX. Or packages that are only available in AUR, which I’m lately trying to avoid. MX has some really cool tools that are at disposal for beginners like me. So I’m glad I have two systems, based on two different main linux versions (Arch and Debian) and that way I feel I have all bases covered. :wink:

So back to your question, try MX first, looks better, comes with simpler (for beginner) Xfce and see if it runs well on your computer. If not, then try AntiX, (it only uses around 80MB memory for me) switch to Space something (3 options) and watch video or two from this guy:

Most videos are good for MX or AntiX, learn, how to use Live USB, how to use persistence, how to do remaster, how to do snapshoot.

For example, (speaking for MX here) set it up how you like it, install your software… then create your own ISO by simple running ‘snapshoot’ tool. You can use this ISO for three different things, first it is a backup of your system, second, you can use this iso to install exact copy of your system on another computer with all your data, software installed and so on… And third, you can use this same iso to install on someone else’s computer system that you have, with software installed that you have, but without your data. So, to sum it up, it is a backup, new install for you (exact copy with personal data), and new install for others, but without your data. And beginner friendly. That’s one of the tools available for this system. And there are others…

When I compared AntiX to Void, there is no comparison looking from beginner view point. I since deleted all my notes I had for Void, reading through forum, how to fix this and that, I’m not going back, if computer is really slow and 32 bit, then AntiX, otherwise if is faster 32 bit or newer and for others then MX. For me, Manjaro & MX, and AntiX for that really slow netbook.

Of course I didn’t (and newer will) look at some other light versions, such as Gentoo. I’m too old for learning new tricks, i want to use computer not tinker with it. Tinkering days are gone… :slight_smile: