My Lightweight Linux Quest Continues

August 18, 2009

Lately I have been looking into ‘lightweight’ Linux distributions. The confining approach used by Ubuntu-Remix and Moblin just don’t weem to work for me. Too much time with UNIX I guess, but confining the user to a ‘task menu’ of applications, just doesn’t work.

A fast, fast-booting, implementation of GNOME aimed at netbooks and older hardware has emerged, and shows “a lot of promise.” LXDEhas already stacked up a heap of distribution partners. Here is a screenshot of the desktop:


The biggest partner, gOS which moved from the Enlightment Interface to LXDE. The LXDE project has recently released its lightweight Linux desktop for general use. Built into the latest gOS 3 Gadget distro, LXDE is touted as being fast, fast-booting, compatible with old computers, and designed so that “every component can be used without LXDE,” say the developers.


So I have decided to try this one out and see what it can do. My hardware is old, and can use all the help it can get. The CPU is fine, 3.0 GHx PIV, but the graphics is sadly lacking, with not much hope for an upgrade. So you can say I am like an behind the times user. Yep I have a few quad cores, but for testing … From their site:

“Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment”, is an extremely fast, performing and energy saving desktop environment. It is maintained by an international community of developers and 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. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications like netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. LXDE can be installed with distributions like Ubuntu or Debian. It provides a fast desktop experience connecting easily with applications in the cloud. LXDE supports a wealth of programs, that can be installed with Linux systems locally. The source code of LXDE is licensed partly under the terms of the GPL and partly under the LGPL.

To add LXDE to your Jaunty Jackolope installation, just fire up the Synaptic Package manager and search LXDE, install at will, log out, select session LXDE and enjoy.


The GTK+ 2-based LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) first emerged in late 2006 when two Taiwanese Linux distributions adopted an early version. First came B2D Linux, which apparently no longer uses LXDE, and then came the Ubuntu-based PUD GNU/Linux, which does. Since then, the group, which appears to also be based in Taiwan, has been pretty quiet, but behind the scenes, they have been racking up bundling deals with a number of small Linux distributions that use all or parts of the LXDE code.

So will the gOS endorsement do the trick:

LXDE was catapulted into the spotlight in the latest gOS release, announced this week at LinuxWorld. gOS 3 Gadget swapped out Enlightenment E17 in favor of the LXDE desktop. It is not clear that the release will see commercial use, as LXDE is a young project that is not yet complete. However, gOS Founder David Liu said he believes the project has “a lot of promise,” describing it as a “scaled-down version of GNOME.”


I am impressed with LXDE, especially with google’s chrome browser. Fast! After a day of use, let’s hope the first impressions last.

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