It also helps that there are official Ubuntu spins available for each desktop environment so we can keep most other variables the same for the fairest comparison among the various environments — we’ll be using these.
Not only that, but the customization options are so great it might make your head spin.
I have previously mentioned the differences between the major desktop environments..., but I don’t think it’s ever wanted to be the leanest.
Lubuntu felt extremely responsive at all times — everything I wanted it to do occurred almost instantaneously.
I have a decently-powered system so it’s hard to tell exactly how it would perform on a very slow system, but its responsiveness was nonetheless impressive.
However, these desktop environments aren’t very friendly to Linux newcomers (despite what some of you might think), as they don’t offer a familiar desktop setup that such users are probably used to from Windows or Mac OS X.
So instead, I’m sticking with the most popular options for the “lighter” end of Linux desktop environments to help others come to a quick decision for a relatively easy and functional desktop.
These include: Love Ubuntu, but feel skeptical about 11.04's new Unity interface?
Try Lubuntu 11.04, an extremely lightweight alternative to the main branch of Ubuntu.
So, since I had 4GB of RAM in my system, I calculated that it was using somewhere between 286.72-327.68 MB of RAM.