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Xubuntu 10.10

October 19, 2010

Last week I reviewed Kubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 10.10 over on Desktop Linux Reviews. This week I wanted to look at Xubuntu 10.10. I decided to do a quick look rather than a full-blown DLR review because less has changed in Xubuntu than in the other two distro releases.

If you aren’t familiar with Xubuntu, it’s essentially a combination of Ubuntu and the Xfce desktop environment. Xubuntu is designed to provide a lighter-weight desktop experience than GNOME (Ubuntu’s default desktop). Xfce is set up to conserve system resources while still providing a great range of desktop functionality. Xubuntu is a good to Ubuntu alternative for older hardware or underpowered hardware.

What’s New
Here’s a sample of what’s new in this release:

Xubuntu now uses Parole, the Xfce4 Media Player, to provide an improved audio/video experience.
Xfburn has replaced Brasero for a more resource consious CD/DVD burning tool.
Xfce4-taskmanager has replaced Gnome-Task-Manager, providing similar function with fewer resources required.
Gnumeric has been updated to version 1.10.8, and Abiword is now version 2.8.6.
A brand new theme from the Shimmer team has been introduced. Known as Bluebird, it is lighter in color than the themes in previous versions while retaining the full elementary icon set andthe darker panels.

Parole, the Xfce media player.

Parole, the Xfce media player.

The Xfce task manager.

The Xfce task manager.

System Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this update:

You need 192 MB RAM to run the Live CD or 192 MB RAM to install. The Alternate Install CD only requires you to have 64 MB RAM at install time.

To install Xubuntu, you need 2.0 GB of free space on your hard disk.

Once installed, Xubuntu can run with starting from 192 (or even just 128) MB RAM, but it is strongly recommended to have at least 256 MB RAM.

The install is extremely easy and fast. See the image gallery on the next page for screenshots that will walk you through the entire install process.

Suffice to say that if you’ve installed any of the Ubuntu variants, you won’t have a problem installing Xubuntu 10.10. You can watch a slideshow about Xubuntu 10.10′s features while the install completes.

The Xubuntu 10.10 install is easy and fast.

The Xubuntu 10.10 install is easy and fast.

There are two ways you can add or remove software to your Xubuntu 10.10 system: the Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic. I recommend that you use the Ubuntu Software Center. It’s easier and more attractive than Synaptic. So there’s really no reason to bother with Synaptic unless you simply prefer it.

There’s an enormous amount of software available in the Software Center; everything that you can get in Ubuntu you can also get in Xubuntu.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find on your desktop after you install Xubuntu 10.10:

5 Games
Pidgin IM

The default selection of software is definitely not overwhelming in terms of the sheer number of applications but, as I noted above, there’s plenty of other software available if you want it.

I would definitely not mind seeing some cloud-based applications included in Xubuntu in future releases (ala Peppermint OS One).

Abiword in Xubuntu's software center.

Abiword in Xubuntu's software center.

Using Xubuntu 10.10
Xubuntu 10.10 is very fast and uses less resources than Ubuntu. It’s very well suited to older or less powerful hardware.

I had no problems using Xubuntu 10.10. My system was very stable; I didn’t notice any application crashes or system burps. Xubuntu 10.10 is also very fast; applications opened and close very quickly. There was no noticeable system lag or sluggishness.

The new theme Bluebird is attractive without being garish; it fits in well with Xubuntu’s minimalist mission.

The Xubuntu 10.10 desktop features the Bluebird theme.

The Xubuntu 10.10 desktop features the Bluebird theme.

Final Thoughts
Xubuntu 10.10 was a pleasure to use, for the most part. It’s a worthy upgrade if you are already using Xubuntu 10.04. If you aren’t and you are just curious, give it a shot. It’s a Live CD distro, so you can load it up and run it right off the CD (no install needed).

Xubuntu 10.10 is well worth a download and works well as lighter alternative to Ubuntu 10.10.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments. For full distro reviews, visit Desktop Linux Reviews.


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4 Responses to Xubuntu 10.10

  1. wanda on April 4, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Xubuntu gefalt mir sehr gut und wirt Ubuntu Lucid Gnome verfangen .
    Da mir Unity und Gnome3 shell mir nicht gefallen.
    Wirt auf alle vier de Machines Xubuntu installieren. :biggrin:

  2. slumbergod on October 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    For me this has been the smoothest clean install of any of the last six Xubuntu releases. I had no major issues at all and it feels faster than any previous release. Of course, customising it plays a role in that (swappiness settings etc).

    Though this is supposed to be the latest xfce release 4.6.2 the bugs that drive me insane are still present:
    1. if you unmount a usb flash drive from an autohide panel, the autohide panel no longer autohides. You have to kill xfce4-panel and restart it.
    2. sometimes the panel item for restart, logout etc insists on only letting you logout of xfce.

    I’d love to report these bugs but I can’t seem to create an account in their bug tracker and I don’t like providing an email address which is going to be available in my postings. Also, I remember how rude xfce fanboys were a couple of years ago when I suggested the the file transfer countdown was (and still is) wrong in how it was implemented (as it counts down it eventually says 1 minute remaining…then at the end of that minute it changes 60 seconds remaining).

    I noticed a design fault in the xubuntu 10.10 installer too. I use English but it just happens that my laptop keyboard is Spanish. But the advanced option to manually set up partitions comes BEFORE the ability to set the keyboard…so you have to “guess” where the key for backslash is for entering mount points,

    That said this is a great release. When you get rid of pulse audio and all *their* choice of applications you get a great desktop environment!

    • Vincent on October 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

      As opposed to the GNOME bugzilla, the Xfce bugzilla actually hides your email address when reporting a bug :)

  3. Brian Masinick on October 20, 2010 at 4:42 am

    I installed Xubuntu 10.10 right when it came out (actually the week BEFORE it came out, then upgraded it after release day on 10/10/2010). This is excellent software, full featured, yet reasonably configured for modest resource consumption. You may be able to actually use this software and get something done on hardware that is nearly a decade old; until about a year ago, I used to run Xubuntu on a Dell Dimension 4100 desktop system that I got in 2001! Based on checking out memory utilization, the system I am running it on now, a Lenovo Y410 laptop, nearly always uses under 200 MB of memory for the programs I typically run, which means that Xubuntu 10.10 could still run on that old Dell if I were to fire it up again – it has 256 MB of RAM, so Xubuntu 10.10 could run, as long as I did not start up too many applications, either without swapping at all, or with very modest swapping. That says a lot when you consider how useful this system still is.

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