Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lubuntu 10.04 - Distro Review

Lubuntu is working towards gaining an endorsement from Canonical and thus becoming an official Ubuntu derivative. Lubuntu is an LXDE version of Ubuntu just as Kubuntu is a KDE edition or Xubuntu is an XFCE variation. Since I just recently acquired my T101MT I was looking for a solid lightweight distro to run on that would still provide we with the power and flexibility I was used to from Ubuntu, thus it is only natural that I should choose an Ubuntu derivative.

The first thing you will notice about Lubuntu is that unlike most distros that have to cram every megabyte they can into their LiveCDs, the Lubuntu ISO download is only 521 megs. The ISO loaded right up onto my USB drive thanks to unetbootin and I was soon installing Lubuntu on my tablet.

The installation of Lubuntu is decently standard. It is the same installer Ubuntu uses. It provides the option to install along side an existing operating, using the entire drive, or setting up a custom layout - all using gParted. About ten minutes later I had Lubuntu up and running on my hardware (I love USB installations).

Also if you already have some form of *buntu 10.04 installed on your computer you can add an LXDE/Lubuntu install by installing the lubuntu-desktop package via apt.

Look and Feel:
Lubuntu's default theme is a sleek looking blue that blends well with the Chromium and PCMan icons that are on the task bar by default. Those migrating to Lubuntu from Windows will also feel at home in the LXDE desktop due to the positioning of the main menu in the lower left and the tray icon in the lower right.

Lubuntu lacks the flair of Compiz or E17, but this is by design. It's goal is to be a fast, lightweight operating system.

I really like the default software the Lubuntu team has chosen to include. The first thing you will notice is that the stock webrowser is Chromium, this is a change I think we will be seeing a lot more in light-weight distros. Don't get me wrong - I like firefox, but compared to Chromium it is a snail at best (and a bit of a resource hog). Pidgin is the default messaging client, xchat is included for IRC usage, and transmission is there for all of your torrenting needs.

In respect to office software Lubuntu ships with abiword for word processing and gnumeric for creating spreadsheets, a refreshing change from the bloated OpenOffice that ships with most distros by default. In terms of media Lubuntu comes stock with Gnome MPlayer (my favorite media player), Cheese Webcam booth, Aqualung, and Xfburn.

For system tools the Lubuntu team has taken their pick of various gnome and xfce applications. From Gnome Lubuntu uses their sound applet, wifi applet, gdebi, and power manager. From xfce comes the task-manager and pyneighborhood (network browser).

In the means of terminal Lubuntu comes with LXTerminal. A nice extra that is included in Lubuntu by default is a copy and paste manager "parcellite"that is very similar to the KDE "klipper" tool. I'm glad that this is included as klipper is typically one of the first things I install on any non-KDE distro I use. Parcellite is not loaded at startup though, you will find it under accessories in your menu. While not as powerful as Gnome's gedit, but sticking with the lightweight theme, Lubuntu comes with leafpad as the default text editor. Also in a default Lubuntu install for graphics editing is "mtPaint", a basic image editor.

Memory Footprint:
On my system with out any applications loaded Lubuntu is using just over 125megs of RAM. Not too shabby :)

The only real "issue" I see with Lubuntu is the fact that the LXDE desktop does not support volume up/down/mute function keys on laptops by default. This is easily solved by mapping them using xbindkeys - but this is something most new user will not want to do.

Final Thoughts:
Lubuntu has come a long way from it's first release with 9.10 just last year. This 10.04 release is a fantastic addition to the world of light weight Linux distros and just like the others in the *buntu family I have no doubt it will adopted by many for use on slower/older computers.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. hello, good review, although i rather prefer #!crunchbang statler, but i've been also using a Debian+lxde netinstall of my own and i really like lxde.

    but there is something i can't agree with you, chromium vs firefox.
    it's true that chromium is faster in JS but even because of the way it's build (separate processes i believe) it makes use of much more ram than firefox (i'm using Swiftweasel and GNU Icecat and the last chromium build but also last chrome).
    Tomshardware already showed this, Firefox uses less memory and loads pages faster than Chrome. (Memory Usage Firefox Page Load Times
    Firefox) -,2558-10.html

  2. I don't care what those benchmarks show - on all of my personal systems running various forms of Linux Chrom(ium) always loads faster than FireFox

  3. It might load faster, but who cares when the page that loads is only half rendered or not rendered correctly at all.

    I would much rather wait ONE or two extra seconds and get a complete usable page.

  4. Chromium (google chrome) sucks. Only suckers use chromium (google chrome)

  5. Yes you are all right Chromium is crap, that is why it has gained large amounts of popularity on Linux

    I guess there are lots of "suckers" out there.

  6. I love when people post negative comments under and anonymous name.

    Someone posted that Chromium sucks and only suckers use Chromium. Um, why don't you tell us why you feel that it sucks?

  7. There is not much difference in the use of resources by different browsers. They are all resource hungry :-) Based on my experiences: Opera -> Firefox -> anything based on webkit -> Chrome (also on webkit but even more resource hungry).
    Chrome(-ium) is pretty fast on a decent machine but pretty slow on an old one. Not a good choice for a light distro. Honestly with all these applets, Xfce apps, Gnome apps I do not beleive it will save any resources at all. Btw. did you know that complete Gnome environment uses about 100MB RAM (tested on Gentoo)?

  8. Good but small review.
    I have been using Lubuntu 10.0.4 and by now i can say is the best from all the LXDE distros arround there. Runs perfect on my old athlonXP 2400+

  9. i'm running lubuntu right now with 9 tabs open in chromium and nothing else open, and im using 210MB of ram, i have 512MB its running really well, so far no problems. About firefox and chrome/chromium i have used both extensively and i honestly find that chrome loads faster, but thats just how it feels.

  10. Been using Lubuntu for a week or two on a P4 w/ 512MBs of RAM. Very impressed. Anti-aliasing is as good as GNOME (big sticking point for me with stand-alone Openbox setups on either Arch or Ubuntu).

    Chrome does seem to load faster but firefox handles multiple tabs more gracefully resource-wise IMO. With adblock & 'tabs to the front' extensions, Chrome/Chromium is FF's equal in all but one respect: fonts in FF look thin and ugly. I'm a Chromium convert.

    On a side note regarding Desktop Environments and resource usage, I installed GNOME-core using minimal iso (no gdm, no cups) and it actually uses fewer resources than Lubuntu on start up...

  11. For some websites, they can not be rendered with chromium (google chrome) but they can be rendered with Firefox or Opera. That's why chromium (google chrome) sucks. Chromium (google chrome) is even lousier than IE. So what should we call people who use chromium (google chrome) ?

  12. Has anyone tried the Linux Mint version of LXDE, seems quite polished to me...

    And same base as Lubuntu -

  13. Thanks for the link! If you poke around here you will see I am quite the fan on Linux Mint, however their LXDE based on 10.04 was not up for download when I was distro searching for my netbook a few days ago.

  14. I've been using Lubuntu for several weeks
    now. Its faster then Ubuntu and I like it
    better then Xubuntu. I've tried Puppy,
    DSL, Slax, Macpuppy and Jodicloud on this
    netbook and like Lubuntu the best.

    I didn't need Open office and Chrome is
    installed by default. Asus netbook with
    1gb of Ram. I've used various Linux distros
    including PC OS, Mandriva and others. The
    'butu family has 'em all beat in my view.

  15. Hi, im new on this world of Linux but im trying to spread all my knowledge to other ones and, after i installing this distro i wrote on terminal: "sudo apt-get updade" and after "sudo apt-get upgrade" and, after restart, my taskbar vanish. Someone known something about it? I try it on my desktop and same thing happen. Ty for your help. Ty for the review.

  16. I have to agree about the chrome = crap crowd. I have installed and run it on all the major distro's now and my system is quite powerful, but chrome always craps out and chokes on pretty much any page with special scripts on it, ie. pretty much all of them. It will sit and sit and finally pop a weak "sorry, cant load" page. Never had this many issues with a browser since IE6!

    No thanks, Lubuntu = fail in that decision. Firefox is the only cross platform browser in existence today second in world wide usage only to IE for a damn good reason.

  17. To all those complaining about Chromium: If you don't like, please just paste this command into terminal - sudo apt-get purge chromium-browser && sudo apt-get install firefox

    It really is that simple if you don't like it... Why all the complaining? That is still much easier than having to install LXDE on Ubuntu.

  18. The review is a very nice review but I have one quibble. And I do NOT want this to come off as a criticism it is not. I VERY WELL REALIZE that the distro is built for "old and slow", but I've run LXDE lite for a year or so on a three year old lappy, old and slow, and it runs fine...but on a nice machine it is VERY fast. I would REALLY like to recommend that people who have very NICE machines consider giving this distro a spin and add what other stuff you need. I have added some other "large" programs which i need for how i make my living and they did not slow the distro perceptibly....again, i'm not criticizing, i'm just suggesting that people with high end machines give this thing a whirl and see what the machine will do with a light weight distro.
    linux dev

  19. Chrom(ium) uses more ram for the initial first browser, but each subsequent tab uses less ram than firefox.

    Chrom(ium) is very smooth, has very well made extensions, and has lots of screen space.

    Its also incredibly fast. I like how it partially renders pages as the rest of the page continues rendering.

    Realistically, if you're using a top name (opera 10.6+, firefox 3.6+, or chrome5+) browser, the speed differences are fairly irrelelvant

    L-mint is a good way to make a low ram system run a lot of browser tabs... this is very true

  20. to the anon from june 9, 20:10, at 6:20pm

    That mostly applies to midgrade systems.

    On my phenom II 720 x3 2.8ghz with 8gb of ram, and a geforce 260 oc'd to 655mhz, with 896mb of gddr3 dedicated videoram, there is no purpose for me to use a fast, or light weight OS.

  21. I installed Lubuntu on my ASUS EeePC 4g Surf. One problem I have is setting the proxy settngs for chromium. How do I go about doing this and please note I am a noob to linux systems... a very very green noob

  22. I have Lubuntu running on a few machines. 2 of my laptops, one is a Celeron 4 dell Inspiron with 512 of ram. The other is a OLD Compaq Evo P3 800mhz with a whopping 128 of ram. OK it ROCKS. all the speed of Vector Lite, with the ease of operating of Ubuntu/Debian. The old Compaq didn't run this well with Windblows 98. My youngest son is running it on a Emachine with a Athalon 2100 processor 1 gig of ram, Nvidia fx 5100 card. This POS E Machine is fast!!! Whats better it is stable. My older son removed Ubuntu 10.04 and loaded Lubuntu up on his Dell Optiplex with Intel HT 2.4 processor 2 gigs of ram and the same Nvidia card. OK now we are talking FAST! So my the Linux geek, decided not to be left behind made a new partition and loaded it up.. My machine is a HP Pavalon dual core Athalon 5800 X2 64. OK no 64 bit......But who needs it!!! 3 gigs of ram, nVIDIA Quadro FX 1500 vid card yada yada yada. Ok ever had a PC open a program by just THINKING about it? Well neither have I but this is close!. This may replace Kubuntu as my main system. Give it a spin and see. Oh the Mint LXDE is a lot slower. Much more over head and it wont install on my low end P3's


  23. I have tried numerous so called light weight distributions for old systems, including the light weight desktop versions of Mint, PCLinuxOS.

    Lubuntu beats all of them.

    I highly recommend this. And if you don't like Chromium, just get seamonkey.

  24. If anyone is interested the newest version of Linux Mint LXDE came out today! you should check it out if you liked lubuntu since linux mint editions are usually a more complete experience.

  25. I dont care what distro its being used in but that damn firefox/iceweasel locks up, and pisses me off more than anything. First thing I always do is install chromium and purge any, and all other browsers. I absolutley HATE Lxde, but Lubuntu has done a nice job making it look nice. I broke down, and installed Lubuntu on an old lappy, and been on it ever since. Nice review BTW.

  26. Ever since 6.10 I've tried to use Ubuntu, it just seem to all ways fall apart/crash whatever. Now with 10.04 I really like, but running on a HP 7845 with Celeron 800MHz 256MBs and i810 chipset it's very heavy; but it runs. So I tried Lubuntu hoping it would be worth wild. For me Lubuntu turned hateful when I visit My guess would be adobe flashplayer. When I visit justintv Lubuntu appears to work with most of the channels. I think the best distro out there is Debian Etch/Lenny they never failed me.

  27. How does Lubuntu compare with PCLinuxOS Lxde?

  28. Not too sure anonymous. Never used PCLinuxOS personally.

  29. How does Lubuntu compare with PCLinuxOS Lxde?

    Excellent hardware support in PCLinuxOS.
    Crappy network setup in PCinuxOS.
    Very full package manager, but its hair pulling slow.
    Great forums, and community.

    Pretty good hardware support
    Excellent network setup (networkmanager)
    Have to do a little tweaking for MobileBroadband though, but mobile broadband is near impossible in PCLinuxOS.
    Pretty good amount of software in the package manager, and its fast.
    Alot faster boot time in Lubuntu.
    Looks damn good!
    Very little community so far, but it will grow.

  30. Lean and lovely. Finally, a distro that will stay on my netbook.

  31. Until recently, I was using Peppermint One Respin and thought it was the perfect distro for my netbook. But it got broken after what seemed like a routine kernel upgrade. I am now using Lubuntu and I must say it is a lot better - lean and mean yet stable as a rock. Thanks to the folks who gave this distro to the Linux world.

  32. I am quite new in this and I would like to change Xandros to an other distro, Lubuntu seems to me quite convenient for my eeepc 1000HD. However you unfortunately didn't mention the comparaison of battery autonomy when using Lubuntu to other distros such as UNE, Leeenux !!! With Xandros its autonomy goes to 7h00 but with UNE it's 1h45.

  33. I'm new to Linux and tried a few like Mint, Puppy, with bad results. Now on Lubuntu and it's great so far. Mulitple tabs in Chromium did lock it up though. For entry level Linux with similar GUI to Windows, it's the best I've found, apart from DSL which is just too stripped down.

    Finally ditched Bill. Well done Lubuntu.

  34. I just started using Lubuntu and I can seem to access my network drives. I tired File Manager and under GO --> Network Drives I get an error message "The Specified location is not supported". Help!

  35. LXDE doesn't have terribly many GUI tools for getting on the network. Try pyNeighborhood or just install and use nautilus.

  36. I started using Lubuntu on an old 256mb RAM laptop & it gave the machine a new lease of life. I've since upgraded the RAM to 2Gb and still use Lubuntu - I've developed a real soft spot for the distro (& the IRC community is VERY helpful).

    I've just installed it on the 1Gb RAM box at my parents house as the internet security for their XP is about to run out & Lubuntu will cover all the basics.

  37. Having a not to old system (Core2, 6GB RAM) I could run every Ubuntu flavour without problems. But I personally prefer a very lightweight OS and like very much a snappy, fast system. Already the lengthy login procedure of KDE or gnome annoys me.

    In the past I used no desktop, just WindowMaker. No I'm switched over to LXDE/Lubuntu. The performance is very good, and I like the slim system very much. It's definitly worth a try, especially on fast hardware -- if you like to keep it fast.