Battle of the Best: 32-Bit Linux Distros Unveiled

(Last Updated On: November 13, 2023)

Last Updated on November 13, 2023 by tech pappy

With the growing popularity of 64-bit computers, 32-bit Linux distributions are becoming less common. This article takes a glance at the 10 leading 32-bit Linux distros available in 2023 to help you decide which one is best for your hardware.

We will inspect the benefits of Debian, MX Linux, Q4OS, NixOS, Void Linux, Zorin OS Lite 15.3, Porteus, antiX, BunsenLabs Linux, and Alpine Linux to assist you in making a knowledgeable choice.

So, let’s dive in and see which one stands out in the race of the finest 32-bit Linux distros!


Debian is a widely used Linux distribution that is still supported in 2023. Millions of people use it all over the world and it is well-known for its dependability. With clear tutorials and user guides, it has a well-defined roadmap for the future.

Debian can be used on all architectures and platforms and is often compared to other Linux distributions. Those who need a reliable operating system with a large user base could find Debian to be an ideal choice.

It is popular, dependable, and well-supported, making it a great 32-bit Linux distribution.

MX Linux

MX Linux is a 32-bit Linux distribution that is gaining traction in the Linux world. It is based on the Debian stable branch, providing a more reliable environment than other distros.

It offers three desktop flavors and has some useful applications developed in-house.

Furthermore, it uses the Xfce and Fluxbox window managers, which are known for their fast performance. When compared to other 32-bit Linux distributions, MX Linux stands out with its unique features and performance.

Additionally, it has a supportive and helpful community, making it the perfect choice for users looking for a lightweight distro.


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Q4OS is a 32-bit Linux distribution created to provide a consistent user experience while staying lightweight.

It has a well-defined plan, is based on Debian with long-term support, and provides KDE and Trinity desktop environments.

It has exclusive characteristics such as an installer that allows installation inside Windows and themes, a software center, and third-party application installers.

In comparison to MX Linux, Q4OS offers enhanced performance because of its systemd-free system and exclusive characteristics like the installer and application installers.

In the end, both are dependable 32-bit Linux distros, though Q4OS offers a slight performance advantage and exclusive features.


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Continuing on from Q4OS, NixOS is a 32-bit Linux distribution that offers a range of benefits due to its use of the Nix Package Manager.

It is ideal for DevOps and deployment pipeline activities, using atomic updates for seamless management.

Its configuration script makes installation simple, while the 32-bit variant is perfect for remote server and pipeline setups.

Those who need a reliable 32-bit Linux distro will find that Void Linux provides a clear roadmap for future updates and maintenance, as well as a unique XBPS package management system.

Plus, it supports all major desktop environments and is based on the cutting-edge Slackware Linux.

Both distributions offer powerful tools to users.

Void Linux

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Building on NixOS, Void Linux offers a reliable 32-bit Linux distro with a clear roadmap for future updates and maintenance.

Its advantages include: independence from Debian or Fedora, well-defined paths for future updates and continuity; and a unique XBPS package management system.

Void Linux stands out from other independent distributions by delivering improved stability, faster speeds, and a range of desktop environments.

Its XBPS package management system is easy-to-use and enables atomic updates, making it an ideal choice for DevOps and deployment pipeline tasks.

With its clear roadmap and long-term support, Void Linux is a great option for 32-bit systems.

Zorin OS Lite

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Following the lead of Void Linux, Zorin OS Lite 15.3 is a visually attractive 32-bit distro that features a combination of Xfce and GNOME 3 desktop environments.

It has a well-defined roadmap and is backed by Debian’s long-term support for over five years, which makes it unlikely to become obsolete.

It has a range of unique desktop themes, a software center, and third-party app installers.

Supports both KDE and Trinity desktop environmentsOffers three desktop flavor options to choose fromDoes not use Systemd, hence faster
A unique installer permits installation inside WindowsHas a strong community and user baseLimited support for 32-bit architectures
Attractive desktop and extra features;Special in-house applications for typical tasks;Discontinued in April 2023 due to Ubuntu dropping the 32-bit image

Installing Zorin OS Lite 15.3 is a straightforward process. Firstly, download the ISO file, then create a bootable USB drive or CD, and finally, set up the OS following the instructions provided on the screen.


We can’t ignore Porteus, a lightweight Linux distro based on the cutting-edge Slackware Linux. It has various benefits for setting up older hardware.

Porteus includes an old-KDE desktop environment, a speedy desktop experience, and an installer size of only 300 MB, adequate for CD-based hardware.

Additionally, it can run from a live USB or CD and provides users with a straightforward and secure environment.

Moreover, Porteus is a great pick for those who want a steady, rolling release-based distro. It is an outstanding selection for those looking for a dependable and trustworthy Linux experience.


AntiX offers many benefits when compared to other lightweight distros.

Built on the Debian stable version, users are provided with a more reliable system.

Plus, antiX is systemd-free, resulting in faster system performance.

Additionally, AntiX has custom applications to handle general tasks and presents users with three desktop flavor options.

BunsenLabs Linux

Based on Debian, BunsenLabs Linux is a lightweight operating system that offers a modern desktop environment while keeping a small footprint.

Unlike other lightweight options, it is compatible with older hardware and provides an easier user experience.

BunsenLabs is also known for its energy efficiency and low memory requirements, making it a great choice for those wanting to get the most out of their 32-bit system.

Moreover, it allows for plenty of customization, so people can customize their desktop to fit their needs.

Alpine Linux

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Alpine Linux is not as popular as some of the other 32-bit Linux distributions, yet it is an excellent option for users with older hardware. It is built on top of the musl libc and busybox, offering users a small footprint and fast boot times.

This makes it a top choice for security-focused IoT applications like routers, firewalls, and VPN gateways. Alpine Linux also ensures reliability with its independent design, atomic updates, and well-defined path for future updates.

Furthermore, it has a simple and secure environment, making it an ideal choice for servers.

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