An updated version of Lubuntu was released last week, along with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu. This release brings Lubuntu, along with the rest of the buntus, up to version 10.10. Lubuntu is a distro designed to provide a lightweight alternative to Ubuntu itself. Lubuntu uses the LXDE desktop environment.
Here’s a bit of background if you aren’t familiar with LXDE:
The “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment” is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. Maintained by an international community of developers, it comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard short cuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing.
LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as, netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. LXDE can be installed with many Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. It is the standard for Knoppix and lubuntu. LXDE also runs with OpenSolaris and BSD. LXDE provides a fast desktop experience; connecting easily with applications in the cloud.
LXDE supports a wealth of programs that can be installed locally with Linux systems. The source code of LXDE is licensed partly under the terms of the the General Public License and partly under the LGPL.
Here’s a sample of what’s new in this release:
Autologin support in the Ubiquity installer
New theme by Rafael Laguna
Support for Ubuntu indicator applets
LXtask replaces Xfce4-task manager
Evince for reading PDF files
Slideshow during the install
I’m glad to see that Lubuntu now supports autologin, though I still prefer to login manually. Some users will no doubt appreciate the convenience of not having to login.
The new theme is quite attractive. It’s relatively subdued and easy on the eyes.
Xpad is a decent note application though there doesn’t seem to be any way to change the color of each note. I rather like being able to make different notes different colors. Perhaps I missed it though? If there’s a way to change colors, please post a note in the comments about it.
LXtask is a good task manager, though I would have been fine with the previous one. I can get by with either of them.
Evince is included for PDF files; however, I could not find it in the application menus. Instead I had to start it at the command line. I suspect this must be an error or bug that wasn’t changed before Lubuntu 10.10′s final release. It would be good if it were added to the menus at some point.
The slideshow works well though you cannot control it. It runs automatically during the install; I prefer to be able to move from slide to slide manually. Perhaps in a future release we’ll be able to control the slideshow directly.
Here’s what you’ll need to run this update:
Minimum requirements for lubuntu are comparable to Pentium II or Celeron systems with a 128 Mb RAM configuration, which may yield a slow yet usable system with lubuntu.
As with all of the Ubuntus, the install is easy and fast. As I noted above though, you cannot control the slideshow.
You can, however, download updates and install third party software while the install runs. Just be sure to click the check boxes on the screen shown below. It’s an easy way of getting both things done before you even boot into your Lubuntu desktop.
One of the strange things about Lubuntu is that it only offers Synaptic as its package manager. Xubuntu 10.10, on the other hand, offers the Ubuntu Software Center as well as Synaptic.
I’m not sure why the Ubuntu Software Center is missing from Lubuntu; it would make a lot of sense to include it since it is a much easier and more attractive way to manage software.
Synaptic gets the job done, but it’s less friendly to new users and can’t match the Ubuntu Software Center in terms of usability and comfort.
Lubuntu 10.10′s default software selection is acceptable. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find after you install Lubuntu:
Using Lubuntu 10.10
Lubuntu’s biggest appeal for me is its speed; and it’s no disappointment in that area. Applications load and open quickly, and my overall experience with Lubuntu was quite positive. I detected no stability problems, Lubuntu 10.10 was quite solid and reliable the entire time I used it.
I know some of you are going to ask me if it’s faster than Xubuntu 10.10. Frankly, I could not notice any significant difference between the two distros in terms of speed. I tried opening a large number of applications, browser windows and tabs, etc. and they both seemed to perform about the same for me.
You may find that the performance of each may vary depending on your hardware. If you see any significant speed differences between the two, please share your experience in the comments.
Lubuntu 10.10 will certainly be appreciated by most current Lubuntu users. It’s worth considering as an upgrade.
However, its minimalistic appeal is rivaled by Xubuntu 10.10 and Xubuntu has the advantage of offering the Ubuntu Software Center as part of its desktop. Which one would I recommend? I’d have to lean slightly toward Xubuntu right now; it seems every bit as fast as Lubuntu and it offers better software management.
On the other hand, Lubuntu does ship with Chromium as its browser. I prefer Chromium to Firefox; it’s performed faster and more reliably for me. So bear that in mind if Chromium matters to you.
Don’t be afraid to give both distros a spin though; both of them are Live CD distros so you can simply boot off the CD and try them out without having to install them. I’m definitely curious to hear from those who have tried both distros; please tell me which one you prefer and why in the comments below.
What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments. For full distro reviews, visit Desktop Linux Reviews.