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Lubuntu 10.10

October 20, 2010

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.

What’s New
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.

Xpad is now included in Lubuntu 10.10.

Xpad is now included in Lubuntu 10.10.

System Requirements
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.

The Lubuntu 10.10 install prep menu.

The Lubuntu 10.10 install prep menu.

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:

11 Games
Simple Scan
Pidgin IM

Synaptic is Lubuntu 10.10's software manager.

Synaptic is Lubuntu 10.10′s software manager.

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.

The Lubuntu 10.10 desktop.

Final Thoughts
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.


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17 Responses to Lubuntu 10.10

  1. rod on March 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I installed Debian 6 LXDE on a sparc Ultra60 and found it pretty quick, so I tested a few LXDE distros on my laptop (1 gig P3, 256MB RAM) and found Lubuntu to be the best out of the box. Plugged in my wifi dongle and instantly had a list of access points to choose from.
    Also it was the only one that had tapping enabled, and the touchpad scroll function is terrific. Miss it when using XP. These things were all missing from the other distros, and although I’m sure they could be enabled, that would take time and effort. Plus Lubuntu also looks great, better than Mint LXDE, and has the tidy Ubuntu menu (as opposed to the varying degrees of chaos in other distros). It goes at least as well as XP and is far less ponderous under load. I wouldn’t say that it is (much) faster than XP (FLP version) in use, but it does boot up and shut down a lot quicker.
    Lubuntu FTW!

  2. eric on December 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    having a couple of older pc’s, i was pleased to find lubuntu. it works quickly for me. i did install the software center to more easily get extra goodies i had wanted. having done so i might uninstall it. only thing lacking for me is usb creator but then again. thank you for a concise review.

  3. Nick on November 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Lubuntu 10.10 is the best distro I have tried on my Netbook in terms of speed, lightness and feel, and I have spent all year trying distros out. Peppermint is good, I have tried all the variants of it (Ice, One) but Lubuntu 10.10. is the best by far. Peppermint for me is just a re-working of Lubuntu 10.04 with a few tweaks. Lubuntu is lighter than any XFCE OS including the Debian based ones like Aptosid, and also doesn’t cause what I have come to call ‘linux crunch’ on my Netbook, i.e the CPU sounds a bit rattly and everything seems to overheat. Fully recommend this as the distro of choice for netbooks. P.S. avoid Ubuntu Netbook Edition like the plague!

  4. Barista Uno on October 27, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I installed Lubuntu 10.04 yesterday on my ancient IBM NetVista which has a 1.2GHz Celeron processor and 256MB of RAM. I can tell you it rocks. I am even getting better performance than my regular Athlon desktop rig which boasts a 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

  5. Brian Masinick on October 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I see that Linux Today now has a reference to this Quick Look article and a few other articles as well from the Eye on Linux series. Welcome Linux Today readers!

  6. blabla on October 24, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I haven’t encountered this mount problem (neither on Archlinux with xfce, thunar 1.0.2, neither on crunchbang (debian squeeze with xfce). May be a ubuntu-based thunar bug.

  7. Halfvulcan on October 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve been using Ubuntu with LXDE for a couple years and I wouldn’t go back to XFCE or any of the more bulky environments. The OS’s purpose is to sit there waiting to launch what you want to start, not to use lots of memory and CPU by itself. I’m constantly amazed at people’s reluctance to switch to the faster lighter environment. As for software, it’s Linux. Install what you want. Who cares if it’s not there by default? With Lubuntu or just LXDE in Ubuntu, you get speed and low memory usage from the desktop. In other words, you click something and it happens now. Sound good? It is. And it’s true that the difference may be less noticeable in a more powerful computer. But, there is still the difference. Why use more CPU and memory, regardless how strong the computer is? A faster desktop will always perform faster than a slower one, even if by a fraction of a second per application. And you can have that speed free of charge. No-brainer? I think so.

    • Brian Masinick on October 22, 2010 at 2:56 am

      @Halfvulcan: While I am glad that you found a light environment in LXDE and that it is working out for you, I feel compelled to tell you that Xfce need not be a filled up, bloated environment. There are some Xfce implementations out there that are every bit as light as LXDE, possibly even more memory conservative in some cases. However, the Xubuntu implementation is more memory intensive than the Lubuntu one.

      Also, there is an annoying bug in the Thunar file manager used in Xfce that is not seen in several other file managers, including the PCManFM file manager used with LXDE. The defect is that when you mount a removable USB volume, such as a stick or an external USB drive with Thunar, then attempt to unmount it later, Thunar does not give up the file handle. Killing the process instance of Thunar finally releases the file handle, allowing an unmounted device to actually get removed from the active mount table. The most recent Xfce releases I’ve used still seem to have this defect. Someone else reported it to me, so I tried it out and confirmed it to be true.

      All that said, that is the only Xfce defect that I know of offhand right now; everything else works smoothly and perfectly. There have been a few DIFFERENT reported defects with PCManFM, but I have not encountered any of them. LXterminal with LXDE seems to work well too. So if it’s working for you, by all means go with it! :-)

  8. Jim Lynch on October 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks, tlmck. Good to know. :smile:

  9. tlmck1234 on October 21, 2010 at 9:46 am

    It is OK, but I still prefer Peppermint OS One.

    BTW Jim, you are listed as the Lubuntu reviewer of choice over at Distro Watch.


    • Brian Masinick on October 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      tlmck, thanks for mentioning the reference to Eye on Linux over at DistroWatch. I’ve seen either DLR or Eye on Linux referenced in a number of reviews. Nice to see that this is one of the featured sites for a mini review of Lubuntu!

  10. GeeLo on October 20, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    A few things..

    Ubuntu 10.10 is faster then 10.4. I have it on my Pentium 3 @ 450MHZ with only 256MB of RAM and a 10GB Hard drive. Even Gnome is not that bad! I’m pretty happy with it.

    LXDE is a fast Desktop Manager, so is XFCE..
    To be really light, I would suggest for users to install Ubuntu, and then use a light Window Manager, like Fluxbox , OpenBox or Blackbox. From my tests, on both Virtual Machines and real hardware.. both current and legacy. Blackbox and also the very old FVWM and TWM are the fastest.

  11. Brian Masinick on October 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I downloaded a copy of Lubuntu 10.10 and I am burning it to DVD now. I plan to run it live first, then possibly in a Virtualbox and see how it behaves in each of these environments.

  12. homebaze on October 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Well, I installed Lubuntu 10.10 on my EEE 1000H last weekend as the 4th OS :) I’m impressed with it’s speed, low memory and energy consumption and lightness overall. As I do not use ubuntu software center (I prefer the old-fashioned “apt-get” way), I do not miss it. On the other hand, I use this platform to try the latest versions of chromium, firefox, gimp and libreoffice. As I said, I’m surprised by its quick boot time, the applications start very quickly and in comparison to Mint 9 KDE 4.5.1 netbook version (my “until now” main distro), it’s behaving like a salamander to a slow iguana. Thumb up for lubuntu!

  13. sec on October 20, 2010 at 6:13 am

    These “quick look” reviews are fine, but could we have more details that we cannot find on the distributions website. Something similar to what the folks at linuxbsdos.com does.

    Take for example this review if Kubuntu at http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2010/10/20/kubuntu-10-10-review/

    • Andy on October 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

      That would defeat the purpose of this website. He does more complete reviews at desktoplinuxreviews.com but this site is for quick impressions.
      And I think we have all been on the internet long enough to know what a linux review looks like. Most are pretty much the same.

  14. Brian Masinick on October 20, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Jim, I have not yet tried out Lubuntu 10.10, but I can tell you, based on past memory usage studies that I’ve done that there is not going to be a lot of difference between the two systems running roughly equivalent software.

    I was testing on antiX core with LXDE and Xfce, and I was shocked to find that Xfce was at least as nimble, if not more so, than LXDE. So it does not surprise me a bit that Lubuntu behaved similarly to Xubuntu, particularly if you were running them in a Virtualbox or other virtual environment, where the latency of the environment probably creates more overhead than either distribution.

    What I can say, based on running the 10.04 releases is that there is little difference in performance, but Xubuntu definitely comes with more software. To me, Lubuntu has the most value in being a base platform for remix and remaster efforts, such as the Peppermint OS One and Peppermint Ice efforts that many of us have enjoyed.

    I am going to grab Lubuntu 10.10 and give it a try in a Virtualbox and see how it goes. I expect a reasonably stable setup, reasonably fast, but a bit light on application software. If that is what someone is looking for, then I expect that Lubuntu would suit that need very well.

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