As Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr is all set to be released on April 17th, 2014, so are the variants Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu.
Lubuntu has long been dished out as the light weight alternative OS targeted towards low resource computers. Well, I can say that Lubuntu has gone a long way from being a resource optimised and ‘not-so-cool’ Desktop system TO a ‘super-cool’ and resource optimised Desktop system. It has become a form first and function next OS even though there doesn’t seem to be any compromise in the function part at all. Just that the form has taken new avatar.
In this article, we take a quick look into the install process and overview of the Lubuntu’s LXDE based Desktop. Following is covered:
Install Screenshot Tour:
For a typical install, you could follow these screenshots to quickly get up and running with a Lubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr Desktop:
The screen that comes up immediately after the first boot post installation looks simple and elegant. The user interaction is quite responsive too. LXDE which is the base for Lubuntu, is based on Openbox Window Manager. Openbox has been highly successful in lean-and-mean distros like the CrunchBang Linux which is one of my long time favorites as an efficient and distraction free computing machine.
Firefox (Browser), Synaptic (Package Manager), PCManFM (File Manager), LXTerminal (Terminal) and Leafpad (General Purpose text editor) come packaged as default applications. Of course, being a Ubuntu flavour and being a Debian derivative, you can install additional packages you need from the Debian/Ubuntu repositories. These repositories are used by the Synaptic Package Manager, one of the best, tried-and-tested package managers out there.
If you have an experience with the off-the-shelf Openbox, you’ll agree with me that Lubuntu looks nothing like the default Openbox desktop. This is where Lubuntu folks have made a subtle but beautiful difference by creating a Desktop which implements Openbox but looks like Ubuntu.
The gradient based merging of Title Bar with the Window, Borderless like Window Decoration are examples of this. What would have been even more elegant and usable is a theming to match the looks entirely with Ubuntu. What I mean is:
- Global Title Bar which doubles as Menu Bar/Systray/Indicator Tray
- Unity like Launcher
- Edge Snapping
But Linux ecosystem being what it is, one can always get it running with a little bit of tweaking.
I’ll shortly follow up with an article where I’ll show how to make Lubuntu look like Ubuntu. Watch out for update to this article to know when. Here is a preview screenshot for those who want a sneak peek :). This article shows how to do most of it.
Another thing I like about Lubuntu is the sobre color schemes. Blue has always been my favorite color and Lubuntu default theme sits perfectly well with my tastes. Been trying to get the blue color schemes into my Ubuntu desktop with third party themes like elementary but didn’t have much success so far. Only so far, since as I noted in my article on Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr release, the theming is now based on GTK 3, which means I’ll be able to do something of my own 🙂
As noted a couple of times earlier, the key thing that Lubuntu is supposed to do is run well on resource starved computers. It does that and does it well. Though I don’t have a computer with low resource per se, I tested this out in a Virtual Machine with 512MB RAM, Single Core processor. In fact the whole article is based on try outs from the VM. Lubuntu did not fail to impress. My specs:
Host: Mac OS X (MacBook Pro Retina)
Virtualization Sofware: VMWare Fusion 6
Processor: 1 Core
Memory: 512 MB
Hard Disk: 8 GB
Network: Standard Unix NIC emulation
3D acceleration: Disabled in VMWare Fusion
As you can see, I tried to throw as much a bare minimal spec as possible. Lubuntu 14.04 managed to still run smooth unless I went into some heavy lifting like GIMP, Eclipse with some weird plugins and so on.
All said, Lubuntu, this release, 14.04 Trusty Tahr, has managed to live upto expectations of an OS targeted towards low resource computing. Hope you would enjoy it too. Don’t forget to check out my article on how to make Lubuntu mimic Ubuntu in terms of Look and Feel.. it’s pretty cool and worth the time and effort spent. See this article on how to do this.
So, have you used Lubuntu in the past, or planning to use now? Share your thoughts.. leave a comment below..
Viva la Linux.. Viva la FOSS