18 Dec 2011

Users voted for best XFCE-based Linux distribution

Each Linux distribution has its own fans. Each desktop environment has its own fans.
Most Linux distributions use one or more mainstream desktop environments. To be honest with you, I prefer KDE. My next preference is XFCE, followed by GNOME. And LXDE brings up the rear of the mainstream desktop environments for me. Every user has his own preferences, of course. That's why arguments over Linux distributions and desktop environments will never end. People will always have differences of opinion.
There is a way to determine a current leader, though. The most democratic way is voting. Wouldn't it be interesting to know which distribution is doing better with each of the mainstream desktop environments? I had already announced a poll for the best KDE-based distribution. And I've previously announced the results twice. Now it's time for my second-favourite DE to be voted on. I announced voting for the best XFCE-based Linux distribution on the 1st of December 2011, and gave visitors of my blog 2 weeks to vote. Let's look at the results.

First of all, I must admit that I have adjusted the resulting spreadsheet a little. There are two reasons:
  1. Spam. There was a record with a link which was intended to attract attention to the Comments field, rather than to put a real vote into the voting bin. Minus one vote for Aptosid.
  2. Likely double voting. Two records had the same choice, and were separated by a few seconds. Unfortunately, I can't see the IP addresses of voters. That's why I excluded one out of of a pair. Minus one vote for Xubuntu.
And now ... Drum roll, please ... Nerves are stretched to the limit ... Here is a table of the results.
Xubuntu 31
Linux Mint XFCE 12
Debian XFCE8
Fedora XFCE 4
Salix XFCE 4
Aptosid XFCE3
Sabayon XFCE 2
Saline OS 2
DreamLinux 1

As you can see, Xubuntu is the undisputed leader among the XFCE-based distributions used by readers of my blog. Linux Mint XFCE follows it with less than half as many votes. Another with less than half as many votes is Debian XFCE. Option "Others" gathered quite a few votes, too. Who are those "Others"? They are Crunchbang, Arch, Slackware and OpenSuSE. Yes, OpenSuSE is still an option.
Voters left many comments, apart from naming their favourite XFCE-based distro for the "Others" choice. Here are the most interesting, from my point of view:
  • Out of these, Xubuntu is the only xfce distro that I have used. and it is pretty good.
    How can you vote for the Best XFCE distribution if you've only tried one?
  • Well I love xfce4. It's so easy and straight forward to use. I also don't like spending money, and as I need my own laptop for work, I usually get the cheapest one I can get away with. Currently, it's an unbranded zoostorm, and the only distro that has picked up all the hardware including the "fn" keys was xubuntu (as I knew it would). So that's why I voted for it, it's pretty brilliant, actually, except for the lack of compiz support.
    A close second would be zenwalk. It's what I have on my desktop, but it needs more setting up and has less hardware support.
    I have to disagree about Compiz support. Otherwise, I totally agree that Xubuntu is good for low-resource computers that you can buy cheaply.
  • You don't even have the best one on here. It's Crunchbang (#!) XFCE. Now after saying that, I have to be upfront and say that the developer just announced that he will no longer support the XFCE version (which is a pity). Why is it so great? It's lightweight, simple, elegant, and everything just works. Also, I really like the developer's one-app approach. He doesn't have 5 media players built in or anything like that. I had taken the time once to setup Debian XFCE, but after setting it up, I found that #! XFCE was almost exactly like my Debian setup. So after buying a new computer, I went the #! XFCE route, and I am loving it.
    I have tried neither #!, nor Debian XFCE. I should probably do it some time in the future. Alternatively, maybe you can offer me a review as a guest post.

What can I add myself? I have tried several XFCE-based distributions so far: Saline OS, Salix, Linux Mint XFCE, Fedora XFCE and Xubuntu. My choice definitely coincides with one of my readers. Xubuntu is the best choice for this XFCE lover.
Do you agree?

Do you want to try any of these distributions yourself? If you wish, you can order a CD with from Buy Linux CDs service, and the disk will be delivered to your mailbox anywhere in the world.

This post was edited by djohnston.


  1. Mine was the 3rd post that you quoted. While I'd be happy to offer you that guest post, I'm not sure that it's a worthwhile thing to do since #! is now only offered with the Openbox WM and not the XFCE DE. I have loaded the new #! image on an external hard drive and I am playing with it to see what it would take to setup XFCE to my liking with the new #! iso. We'll see.

  2. @Anonymous:
    I don't mind if you write a review of OpenBox version. Or comparison of XFCE vs OpenBox. Does it sound reasonable?

  3. I too am currently using #! Statler Xfce but plan to switch to something else (I'll probably go with Xubuntu) after coming back from out of town for Christmas. I too was not happy at all with Corenominal's decision to drop the Xfce version either, especially given how it's one of only a handful of distros that detects the Broadcom wireless card in my wife's laptop -- and now Corenominal up and does this to us. Gee thanks, Corenominal -- NOT!

  4. Regardless of the outcome, the important thing to observe is that XFCE itself now seems to be the big winner. Unsurprisingly, Linux users actually want desktops that work like desktops! Kudos to the XFCE people for giving us the software that lets us USE our computers instead of fighting with awful UI abortions like Unity.

  5. I am using Mythbuntu out of laziness, but I would never install ?buntu on a new computer. Mint has been my distribution of choice for new installations for the last year or so.

  6. @Fred:
    Yes, that's a pity !# decided to drop XFCE before I decided to test it.

  7. @IGnatius T Foobar:
    Somebody still prefers Unity / GNOME3. That's why I would say that people are free to choose.

  8. @Anonymous:
    I tried Mint XFCE. And now I use Xubuntu. I feel like Xubuntu is closer to my heart.

  9. !# is a superb distro, light and responsive. If people was a differenty exerience, either install it on top of vanilla !# or use another distro. I don't like all of the choices made in !# but repos and the Debian base make chages easy!

  10. I use mythbuntu for my dvi needs but if it is an example of xubuntu, forget it. I live with SalineOS on my desktop and find it much more satisfactory...have tried and used Mint xfce and Aptosid which I would probably use if I had the bandwidth for the frequent updates sid needs.

  11. @Anonymous:
    Another drop into my intention to try !#. :-)

  12. @Anonymous:
    I had Mint XFCE installed on my laptop. One day it broke because of updates. That thing disappointed me a lot.

  13. #! is a great distro, and openbox is easier than what you might think. Give it a try :)
    I've tried both #!openbox and xfce version, and stuck with openbox. Both versions are light as ever on my 5 year old cheap laptop.

  14. @Anonymous:
    I've tried OpenBox already. And another one review of OpenBox system will be published very soon. Stay tuned!

  15. OK, i agree Xubuntu 12.04 LTS is the best distro XFCE ever released. Is excelent.

    1. This voting was running when version 11.10 was the current one.
      Although, you're right: Xubuntu 12.04 is excellent.