Light Desktop Environment for Linux: LXDE (For Ubuntu and Fedora)

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If you are running the latest Ubuntu or Kubuntu (Lucid Lynx or the older Karmic Koala) or Fedora 13 on an older hardware, you might feel it to be slightly sluggish, especially if your machine has only 512 MB RAM. Because both GNOME and KDE are somewhat “heavy” X-desktop managers and it only makes sense to move to a lighter X desktop environment such as XFCE and LXDE. One can already get the Ubuntu-XFCE spin-off in Xubuntu and rumor has it that Lubuntu (LXDE+Ubuntu) is round the corner too. The evidence lies in the package name lubuntu available via synaptics, installing which would let you boot into the Light X Desktop Environment (LXDE). I ran LXDE on an old P4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM laptop and immediately felt it to have much lighter and crisper response. Launching Firefox and other usual applications felt faster and the menus also appear to exhibit better responsiveness.

While XFCE also seems to offer similar level of performance enhancement, I would prefer LXDE over XFCE for following reasons:

  • LXDE offers bolder colors and looks a tad bit brighter than XFCE.
  • XFCE asked me to unlock the keyring every time I logged in, to connect to the  Wireless, LXDE had its own wireless manager interface and it didn’t bother me with saving/retrieval of keyring.

You might prefer one over the other, but both of them are fairly competent X Desktop environments and are ideally suited for running XBMC or MythTV on older hardware, as against setting up XBMC Live (which has wireless issues) or MiniMyth (which requires some serious effort). Give Lubuntu a try by doing the following at terminal

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop lubuntu-artwork

and Fedora users can try “Ledora”

yum install @lxde-desktop

Once the installation is over, logout and choose Lubuntu as your desktop session while logging back in and give LXDE a shot. Strangely enough, if I choose LXDE (instead of Lubuntu) as my session, there is no wireless connectivity applet available to configure the wireless, but with Lubuntu session it is alright, it automatically uses my GNOME settings and connects to Wireless. If you are using Ubuntu 9.10 however, if you log in to LXDE, you would get a Wireless connection applet (as shown in figure below), which you can use to configure your wireless. Would have to check, why it won’t show up if you use LXDE session in Lucid.


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About the Author

has written 1314 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

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