Xubuntu Minimal: Opportunity to Build Your Own Distro

2 min

Xubuntu team introduces a minimal ISO with few components from the 23.04 releases onwards. Here are all the details.

A few days back, Canonical announced that an official minimal ISO installation file for the Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster” release is in the works. While the image is not yet available as of publishing this, the Xubuntu team managed to work out their own minimal ISO installation image.

Xubuntu is used by millions of people and has been a baseline for many other distributions. For some users, the default installation may come with too many pre-installed packages and features, leading to a bloated system that can slow down the computer’s performance. That’s where Xubuntu minimal install comes into play. In this article, we will take a hands-on approach to installing and explore the features of Ubuntu minimal.

Let’s look at what you get in the minimal Xubuntu installation and a comparison with the regular desktop installer.

Xubuntu minimal install

The first obvious difference is the ISO image size of the minimal installation with the standard desktop installer. It’s around 39% less in size.

Desktop installer (ISO) size1.7 GB2.8 GB

While installing Xubuntu using the minimal install, you won’t get the option of “minimal install” in Ubiquity. And rest of the installation steps are the same—no such difference.

However, the main difference is in the installed system. The minimal install takes only 7.2 GB of disk space compared to the standard installation of the same version, which is 11 GB.

Disk space used7.2 GB11 GB

Because many applications are stripped off.

Xubuntu minimal and standard install - comparison
Xubuntu minimal and standard install – comparison

In the minimal installation of Xubuntu, you get the following:

  • Terminal
  • File manager
  • All settings apps
  • Synaptic package manager
  • Screenshot app

That’s it.

If you compare this to the standard version, you won’t have the following applications:

  • Firefox web browser
  • Thunderbird email client
  • Media players (audio and video)
  • LibreOffice suite
  • Transmission torrent client
  • GNOME Software
  • Games
  • Gigolo remote connection client
  • Disk usage tool

Snap packages on Minimal Xubuntu

To my surprise, Xubuntu minimal doesn’t have Snap installed! Not even the snap daemon. And no Flatpak, either.

So, effectively you get a Snap-free Xubuntu system with a core Ubuntu base.

Look - no snap
Look! No Snap! 😲

But I am not sure the main Ubuntu minimal ISO will have the same. I guess we need to wait and see.

Note: Although snapd is not there, but the moment you try to install Firefox via “sudo apt install firefox”, the snap daemon will start, and Firefox snap will be installed. If you need a snap-free minimal system, you need to add the following lines in /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref. A detailed guide for removing snap is present here.

Package: snapd
Pin: release a=*
Pin-Priority: -10

What’s next?

So, now you have an elementary Xubuntu desktop. Using the Synaptic package manager, you can start building and installing your favourite applications.

For example, you might set up Flatpak and start with a basic browser, media player, LibreOffice, etc.

If you are a developer, you can install Visual Studio code or some IDEs.

With this version as a baseline, you can build any distribution for your workflow.


Xubuntu minimal Install is an excellent choice for users who want complete control over what is installed on their system and prefer a faster and more efficient Ubuntu-based distro.

Xfce’s customizability, lightweight nature, and package management using synaptic make it an ideal choice for any custom build.

You can download the minimal ISO from this page. Remember, it is not yet officially released and it’s a daily build copy. So use it with caution.


Creator and author of debugpoint.com. Connect with me via Telegram, 𝕏 (Twitter), or send us an email.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments