Please raise hardware recommendations

The download page for Gnome Shell based 18.04.2 states the following recommended (not minimal) system requirements:

  • 2 GHz dual core processor or better
  • 2 GB system memory
  • 25 GB of free hard drive space
  • Either a DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
  • Internet access is helpful

2 GB RAM is really little, especially since there is only 64-bit now. We just had someone in ubuntu whose mid 2010 macbook pro formally matches these specifications, and who was unhappy that there were still issues. Specifically, !nomodeset helped there, but this platform is really also too old, and slow to provide a recommendable user experience with the default Desktop environment. (It would probably work ok with one of the other flavours.)

So I suggest to raise the RAM recommendation to 8 GB (again, this is 64-bit only anyways), with a minimum of 4 GB. Equally, a more modern CPU (with some crypto acceleration, Spectre microcode and Intel ME / AMD PSP firmware upgrades available) should also be recommended (but phrasing this well will be difficult).

And maybe to point out that not every system with every hardware, firmware (and graphics card? Greetings, Nvidia!) will necessarily perform fine with these specs and provide a good user experience out of the box.


I liked your first draft better. :smile: I don’t think it’s helpful to mention Spectre, microcode, and firmware in our system recommendations.

In your first version, you also recommended 4GB. I think that’s going to be much easier to find consensus with than 8GB. We could add a note something like (more RAM allows running more heavy apps simultaneously)

I regularly use Ubuntu in VirtualBox and I’ve recently been bumping my instances from 1.5GB to 2 GB. I generally only do very minimal web browsing in those virtual machines but it is possible. VMs are a good way to experiment with how usable a minimal RAM system is.

I think there is value in presenting a single number to users instead of both “minimal” and “recommended”.

Comparison with other systems

  • Windows 10 recommends 2GB of RAM. Ubuntu ought to be at least as usable as Windows 10 with 2GB.
  • Fedora recommends 1GB which is astonishingly low if you want to use it as a GNOME desktop. I did confirm that it is possible to log in on a machine that minimal but I don’t think it’s practically usable for anybody.

I can confirm that Ubuntu 18.04 amd64 with Gnome Shell runs on a VirtualBox VM with 2 GB RAM assigned. Would I want to run a Desktop this way? Surely not. Windows’ “basic requirements” (so not “what you really want” / recommendations) you linked are indeed 2 GB RAM for amd64.

So I’d say either the Ubuntu installer will need to introduce Gnome Flashback as a fallback for low spec systems, then you could keep saying 1 GB RAM as a minimum. As it stands now, I think you have to say 2 GB is a minimum.

Or you provide a recommendation. Personally, if I had to make a recommendation to someone planning on using the 18.04 (and 18.10, and probably also 19.04) default desktop, I’d tell them to have 8 GB RAM if they want to work unencumbered at basically all times. Since then, with most standard workflows, you won’t ever have to swap to disk, and can run multiple graphical applications, such as web browser with several tabs opened, email client with multiple accounts and archives, as well either a word processor, an image editor, audio editor, or maybe even a video editor at the same time.

I understand the need to state something similar to what the other OS state. As such, it probably makes sense to list minimal requirements, so 2 GB RAM, and to make it clear that these are the absolute minimum by wording it accordingly. (Sure, 1 GB may technically work, in a VM, but not really on a system with shared RAM / VRAM, not in the real world where you actually want to get anything done).


I agree that the minimum memory requirement should be raised to 4 GB.

EDIT: I have to say that I had the recommended memory in mind, not the minimum one.


Currently there are still many net-tops and net-books with hardware maximal 2G of RAM, so it is great that their users can’t use JavaScript based glossy slow GNOME Shell.
Such users will use normal traditional feature-rich desktop as MATE DE or whole Ubuntu MATE flavor. Greek LTSP initiative is wide-auditory success story of using MATE in education.

As one of such users I can say thank you for development of modern resource hungry Ubuntu Desktop! :slight_smile:

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4 GB is well enough-4 GB on Windows 7 works well, but 8 on Windows 10 CAN get laggy.

So 4 GB will give you a SMALL and TINY wait, and I have seen that on Virtual Machines, so it should be raised to 4 GB of RAM.

Also for the disk space, 15 GB should work for people who wont really use Ubuntu a lot. 50 GB is for people who are just playing with Ubuntu and want to use it. 75 - 100 is if your people like me who are developers, or people just sticking with Ubuntu-for example, 100 GB/1000 GB on my new laptop (Dell Inspiron 15-3576) is Ubuntu, and the other 900 is full of Windows, and the EFI boot stuff.

But honestly, when I saw those recommendations, and I don’t really use 18.04, then those recommendations are honestly pretty sad.

Oh-and it roasts itself “Internet access is helpful”-you need the internet to pretty much install the operating system. Unless you want the ISO or whatever to contain 10 gigabytes of crap.

Minimum RAM spec should be 2GB for default Ubuntu. Anything lower than will be better served by other flavors.

I recommend at least 4GB of ram. I have some laptops like that running the latest Ubuntu desktop, and the performance isn’t really degraded.

I would definitely recommend either an SSD or a really fast HDD. Ubuntu desktop performs really badly on a small spinning disk. As an example, the loading spinners when you open an application or a file disapear before the program is loaded, making users think that nothing is happening.


I agree. The bare minimum should be 2 GB and the recommendation 4 GB.

The base system will consume about 650 - 900 MB but just browsing (regardless of Chromium or Firefox) will use about 500 - 1000 additional MB with just some tabs open. The modern web takes its toll these days.

And I agree with the SSD. That should be recommended as well.


That sounds like a bug, best filed with ubuntu-bug gnome-shell perhaps, if you could do that? Ubuntu should work flawlessly for all users and I don’t think its reasonable to recommend an SSD or fast HDD.

Why don’t you think so?

Because I didn’t think it was something required to run a modern operating system? But perhaps I’m wrong.

@jbicha - So we discussed this for a bit, and I guess we can now take the next step and make this happen, replacing the (IMO outdated) information provided in several locations.

How would you suggest to proceed from here?

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@tomreyn The initial post was about the download page, what other pages need to be updated?
(the tutorial on doesn’t have a RAM requirement for example)

also has the same list of specs found in the initial post.

@tomreyn if there are others, include this one and i’ll delete this post

Sorry, I hadn’t noticed those had been updated, yet, thanks for doing so.

So what else needs updating?

Just maybe the “Ubuntu Installation Guide” at (maybe also for other versions (s/stable/lts/) and architectures (s/amd64/.../) might need updating. However, this seems to be a generic guide listing the very minimum requirements, mostly duplicating (with different recommendations) the server installation guide at - so maybe that’s not actually needed.

Maybe Release Notes (for 18.04?) in the Desktop section should discuss the change: wiki.ubuntu. com/BionicBeaver/ReleaseNotes - and maybe also the Bionic Upgrade Guide help.ubuntu. com/community/BionicUpgrades (though it does refer to the Release Notes). Sorry for having to break these links - I’m only allowed to have two links…

Finally, notifying Flavors about the change may proof useful, possibly triggering them to re-evaluate their recommendations which is probably not a bad thing in general.


I opened a bug with the web team and they’ll be updating the memory requirement to 4GB. Thanks for raising this.


Thank you very much, the download page has been updated in June.

I revisited today. This location (targeting the latest stable release, currently 19.04) discusses both (default) Desktop (gnome-shell) and server installations and provides minimum and recommended hardware specifications for these. It then goes beyond this and discusses possibly lower memory requirements on different desktop environments / Ubuntu flavours and different architectures.

I believe that the memory requirements and recommendations provided there are (if we assume they are for the default gnome-shell based desktop) also (much) too low and need to be raised to the values provided on the desktop and server ISO download pages.

It should also be noted that not all Pentium 4 CPUs supported Intel 64 - especially the lower frequency models such as the 1.3 GHz Willamette did not. Also, many of these were single core CPUs, several did not support hyper threading.

I have not actually tried but my gut feeling is that I would not want to try to run default 19.04 Desktop on any Pentium 4 CPU, even if it had 4 GB RAM and a dedicated graphics card. (And I’m neglecting all the other reasons we know today that those CPUs should no longer be used - energy, reliability, security concerns.)

Maybe a dual-core CPU such as Core2 Duo or even Core i3 should be listed as a minimum instead?

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That’s odd, it looks like that guide has been synced from Debian. I wonder if there were some Ubuntu changes which have been lost.

Who owns those guides, does anyone know?

Nah, you can blame @popey for it.

Okay, seriously-the Canonical Board probably.