What's your rating of Lubuntu

Linux Lubuntu vs. Xubuntu

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The two Linux distributions Xbuntu and Lubuntu promise full-fledged desktop operating systems with minimal use of resources. Both use the same base, but different desktop environments. Read here how the Ubuntu derivatives differ and which one is better.

Ubuntu descendants

With the names Lubuntu and Xubuntu, it quickly becomes clear that both distributions are variants of the popular Ubuntu. Basically, Ubuntu wants to be a kind of Windows replacement: simple, modern look with gimmicks such as window effects, loads of pre-installed tools, its own software center, convenient administration and, in general, a beginner-friendly system for everyone. And with that Ubuntu has also charged itself with one of the biggest Windows problems of all: performance losses. Ubuntu requires a lot of resources for Linux and is therefore not really suitable for old computers or weak hardware like the Raspberry Pi. But there are also many users who want to forego the Ubuntu gimmicks and other Ubuntu aspects such as built-in advertising .

And that's where Lubuntu and Xubuntu come into play: Both use Ubuntu as a basis, but rely on other desktop environments that are more careful with resources. Ubuntu uses the desktop environment Gnome, Lubuntu LXQt (formerly LXDE) and Xubuntu Xfce by default. Another thing in common: Lubuntu and Xubuntu started as pure community projects, are still maintained by the community, but both have long had the status of official Ubuntu variants. So you get the solid base of Ubuntu, minus the "inconveniences" of the usual Gnome Ubuntu, i.e. integrated advertising, sole management by Canonical and, above all, the resource-consuming gimmicks, packages and effects.

Lubuntu

Up to the last version, Lubuntu relied on the LXDE desktop environment; LXQt is now running, an implementation of LXDE based on the Qt development environment. Anyone who knows Lubuntu from earlier should therefore take another look: LXDE has the optical charm of Windows 98 - black on gray, angular corners, no transparencies, a somewhat loveless icon set. A great working environment for old-school friends, but ultimately too conservative to really win the favor of normal end users. With LXQt, the desktop looks much more polished, there are pretty backgrounds, and the icons fit wonderfully into the overall concept.

This is matched by the really low hardware requirements: 512 megabytes of RAM, Pentium 4 processor, any graphics card and 4 gigabytes of hard disk space. Working is not fun in every situation, but such old hardware should very rarely be in any drawer. Even on single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi, Lubuntu runs smoothly and on an old laptop anyway, even if it's already a decade under its belt.

The operating concept is very classic, by default there is a familiar start menu at the bottom left of the equally well-known task bar. And of course this can also be used by typing, as is also known from more complex systems. The equipment may be a little less than Ubuntu, but everything you need is preinstalled, including Office tools and a complex control panel.

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There aren't too many surprises on the tool side: Firefox, for example, runs as a browser, but Trojita as a mail client, not Thunderbird. The LibreOffice suite is installed in the office area, VLC takes over the videos, PCManFM takes care of the file management, and tools such as screenshotter and image viewer are of course not missing. It is important to mention: Discover now has its own slim software center - of course without the advertising familiar from the Ubuntu Software Center; With Muon, a classic graphic package management is also available. And the energy management system that was missing for a long time or was borrowed from Xfce is now standard.

The equipment at Lubuntu is minimal, without missing anything important.

Xubuntu

Xubuntu relies on the desktop Xfce and this combination has long been traded as the number 1 slim alternative to Ubuntu. In contrast to the LXDE Lubuntu, you could search in the start menu, there has always been a power management, a more complex file manager and a much nicer, more modern look. However, Xubuntu is repeatedly criticized when it comes to the topic of resources, since all kinds of Ubuntu packages are used, which sometimes make the system appear hardly any leaner than Ubuntu itself. For example, Ubuntu's somewhat sluggish Gnome software. However, the Xfce desktop is still much more responsive than Ubuntu's Gnome. Xubuntu's minimum hardware requirements are officially exactly the values ​​of Lubuntu.

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The operating concept also corresponds to Lubuntu, i.e. the taskbar and classic start menu. This is structured a little differently with Xbuntu, but offers the same user experience. The same goes for system administration, personalization and standard software - small differences, but conceptually pretty much the same. For example, when it comes to the aforementioned power management, Xubuntu is still ahead because there are simply more options. In the graphics area you will also find the image processing Gimp, which is very useful on the one hand, but not necessarily typical for a lightweight Linux on the other.

Visually, Xubuntu is still a little more elaborate than Lubuntu, which is particularly noticeable in the icons. And elements such as the taskbar or context menus are more complex here and usually offer a few more options. The really huge difference that was literally obvious in the LXDE times no longer exists.

Which one is better?

The two systems are so similar that it should be largely a matter of taste. Ultimately, what has always been true of the two systems applies: Lubuntu is the slimmer, more fixed version and Xubuntu is the slightly polished version, which is a bit more appealing to the average consumer.

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When it comes to inferior hardware that is supposed to run a desktop Linux for normal users, there is still hardly a way around Lubuntu.

If there is enough power, you might prefer Xubuntu - with one but: if enough power is available, you can choose from hundreds of Linux distributions or dozen Ubuntu derivatives and desktop environments. Therefore, Xubuntu just doesn’t come to mind as often as Lubuntu.

A personal recommendation: Lubuntu. Since switching to LXQt, Lubuntu not only looks great, it also has all the important tools on board - and simply uses fewer resources in the background. And that can always be useful, after all, there are tasks that push pretty much every computer to its performance limits, from video editing to extensive surfing with dozens of tabs in multiple browser instances. Every little resource counts. And real eyecandy is neither Lubuntu nor Xubuntu.

Of course: Both systems can of course be adapted almost at will. Lubuntu can be puffed up optically, Xubuntu can be made slimmer. Hence the tip: Simply try out both systems via a live CD or a virtual machine and decide on your gut.