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3 Aug 2012

Three LXDE-based distributions: race them face-to-face

I am in a very interesting situation. Some time ago, I promised myself to stay away from LXDE-based distributions. At the same time, I wrote about three of them in the last 6 weeks.

Can I compare them somehow? Probably yes. Let’s do it.


Zorin OS 6 Lite is an LXDE-based distribution with roots in Ubuntu 11.10. Its main task is to help ex-Windows users bridge to the Linux world in terms of desktop outlook.

WattOS R5 is similar to Zorin OS 6 Lite, because it shares all the same platforms: LXDE and Ubuntu 11.10. It is more targeted on the low-end computers than Zorin. As a result, some of the functions in WattOS have less resource-hungry applications. The best example is the browser: Midori versus Chromium. Also, WattOS, from my point of view, has a more complete set of tools for the beginner. A spreadsheet application and graphics editor are not in Zorin, but they are in WattOS.

In contrast to the above mentioned distributions, ROSA Marathon LXDE does not aim at the low-end computers. At least, not that much. That is why ROSA includes heavy-weight tools instead of lightweight ones, like Firefox and LibreOffice. Also, the boot time of ROSA is significantly more than WattOS or Zorin OS Lite. At the same time, ROSA LXDE is a godsend for multilingual users like me: the keyboard layouts switch is available in ROSA right after the boot.

All of these distributions help the users who want to get their system ready for multimedia playback, but neither was able to connect to my remote partition from the file manager, although ROSA LXDE includes very helpful Gigolo tool.

Of course, this is just a quick roundup, not pretending to be a complete comparison.

And what is your favourite LXDE-based Linux distribution? Why?

38 comments:

  1. As a PCLinuxOS KDE user I found the LXDE version very familiar, with the same set of systemtools, and snappy on older hardware.
    Including the language tool addlocale for international users and lomanager if you need to install LibreOffice.
    Best way to check it out is to testdrive on an older, forgotten, dust getting PC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LXDE, KDE and Xfce are all sticking to the Desktop layout proposed by Windows 95. No doubt, you find LXDE version very similar to KDE. LXDE indeed is for low-grade PCs.

      Under the "language tools" I understand out-of-the box support for users with multiple keyboard layouts, like English (Latin) and Russian (Cyrillic) with an easy switch between them. None of the distributions I tested so far, except for ROSA, has this support.

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  2. I like the use of LXDE with Peppermint LINUX. I think it goes well with the ideology of Peppermint.

    Peppermint tries to marry up web based apps with a traditional OS and LXDE just provides a simple way of navigating around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gary, I haven't tried Peppermint OS. Have you written any reviews of it?

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    2. I did but it was a very brief one and it was a while ago. I intend to do a better review for version 3. It is a very interesting project.

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    3. Peppermint OS is the beginning of the end of computing freedoms. Supporting any type of cloud based computing for personal use is quite literally handing over your computing freedoms to the corporations that run the cloud services. If you wake up one day and say, how did i loose control of all my information and personal computing freedom. You can look back on your support for such OS's as peppermint as the beginning of the end.

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    4. Just looked up your name Gary Newell seems your a peppermint os troll...

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    5. Yes since my previous comment I wrote a review about Peppermint Linux 3. Like I said before it is a very interesting project. I don't agree with the comment above about losing control of your computing freedoms because you embrace "the cloud". If someone produces applications like Google Docs and they work then yes I will use them in the same way I use Youtube and Twitter. If Peppermint provides a unique tool for making those web applications appear as desktop applications then that is a great unique selling point.

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    6. Gary Newell is a very real person. He wrote a guest post on this blog earlier, and comments quite often.

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    7. Even still to deny the threats of the cloud is sheerly being naive. Do you really think that they will keep the hard drive programs around forever if they force feed you cloud apps? Of course not,,, its called progression and not as in progress mind you but as in cooking a frog in a pot... cook em quick he jumps out, cook him slow he just sits there and does nothing until the next thing he knows hes dead... same goes here,,,, to say simply i dont believe it will take away computing freedoms is not enough,,, you've provided no reason why it won't happen.

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  3. I like OpenBox and LXDE uses openbox. So, LXDE is good for me.

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  4. a race should have a winner...

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    Replies
    1. There is no winner in this race. All the distros are targeted to different groups of users. That's why I asked about your preferences.

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  5. then don't call it a race... ;)

    IMHO rosa is an interesting new concept, even if sacrificing some LXDE lightness.

    I'd also consider the new knoppix, which should be LXDE based too
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  6. I use a highly customized Lubuntu. First I remove all the Lubuntu packages, Then I install the full lxde package along with compiz, emerald, and cairo dock. I then disable the lxde panel, and activate desktop cube, animations and scaling plugins along with others. I then install libre office, virtualbox and all my other favorite apps. I now have a fast and beautiful desktop setup just the way I want. It runs quicker than bodhilinux on my pc. Yes I am a big fan of LXDE!

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    Replies
    1. Basically, you're doing almost DYI distro on Ubuntu base. 8-)

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    2. Linux Mint 12: Install was very easy on a 12 year old Gateway. Like the uncluttered Desktop appearance. Used mainly for just browsing the internet, email, and audio streaming of internet radio.

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    3. I did not know that there's an LXDE version of Mint. :-/

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    4. Linux Mint 12 Lxde "Lisa" FLIES on my old MSI Wind U100-432US netbook--RAM already maxed out to 2GB, newer Western Digital Caviar Black 320GB 7200RPM 16MB memory cache hard drive! This Lxde distro is based on Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot".

      The Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 13 "Maya" distros come in Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, and Xfce--no Lxde this time.

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    5. I did hear that it's possible to install the Lxde meta package over any of the following distros: Cinnamon, MATE, or Xfce.

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    6. I have no doubt you can install Lxde packages on top of any other distribution. But why bother with Mint, if you can run it with pure Ubuntu then?

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  7. Loving Lubuntu at the moment. Death to Unity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone is free to have his own opinion...

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  8. I personally prefer fluxbox, but I also choose my own applications, because I build from the ground up. As far as a nice lightweight complete desktop goes, LXDE is lighter than XFCE and is what I give to new users that want familarity without complexity.

    May I suggest that any further exploration into LXDE-based distros include the choice of applications, to better reflect the goal of the distribution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you mean by "further exploration"? The distros mentioned in this "race" are reviewed in their own articles, and list of applications is somehow given there.

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    2. By "further exploration", I mean doing a review yourself, I mean including Lubuntu, Debian (the boot menu from the install disc allows for a base system with LXDE), and other distros or their derivatives that allow for a base install with LXDE, and I mean do more than gather other peoples work for flamebait.

      As far as listing applications, there is no need to list every single application, but it would be nice to point out when the default kernel is for a 586 or 686, instead of for 386 or 486. Also, letting your readers know that a particular distro decides to use Filezilla over gFTP, Firefox over Dillo, or Thunderbird over Claws-Mail would give a good indication of whether the distro is targeted to older hardware, is looking to save some resources in one place - to be used elsewhere, or if the decision-making process is erratic and/or irrational.

      If you need further explanation as to how to be a blogger, please feel free to embarass yourself with another response.

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    3. I generally don't like Lxde because of its failure to work normally for multilingual users (those who need several keyboard layouts to communicate with different people).

      Although, I wrote some reviews, apart from those listed in this roundup. In particular: Debian Lxde, Fedora 16 Lxde, PCLOS Lxde.

      These reviews have a slightly different content compared to what you suggested, because I have my own testing strategy. If you have your own requirements for the blog posts, feel free to open your own blog instead of trolling other people.

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  9. Hi,
    I also like the speed and "snappiness" of LXDE. I have also combined it with Compiz which gives some eye-candy.
    On the other hand, I like the totally new concept of gnome-shell or cinnamon (no, please, don't hit me too hard!). For me, those work fastest for me (in regards to finding programs and so on), but they are both noticeably slower on a netbook of course...

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  10. i love using rosa. it is a beautiful distro

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have tried lubuntu 12.04, fedora 17 lxde spin, linuxmint 12 lxde,and pclinuxos 2012.06 lxde on my netbook. but only pclinuxos 2012 can work well with my evdo modem prolink pcm100 without any sophisticated configuration, just plug in setting and connect. so i stick with pclinuxos for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your deciding factor is hardware support. 8-)

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  12. Hello !

    I found a distribution based on Puppy Linux with a full LXDE desktop. For me, it looks nice :D. It is called Checkmate. We can have two versions, a Slackware or an Ubuntu precise base ! It is even very updated, with pcmanfm 1.0, gpicview 2.3 etc ...
    Very handy on a USB key.

    If you want to see :
    http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=79810
    Can you give your opinion? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Puppy should be really very nice and quick. Although, I'll not test this particular distro, as I see no point to test "yet another disappointing LXDE" one. That's purely because of bad multi-language support of LXDE in general. So far, I only saw ROSA solving this issue, and it was visible straight away on their screenshots. The linked page also have the screenshots, but without this feature.

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    2. When I tried, I could easily switch to another language. At the startup, I could change locale to another one, and LXDE followed my settings.
      Maybe I don't understand ?^^

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    3. You misunderstand. I need to switch layouts on-the-fly between different languages, even different charsets: Russian with Cyrillic and English UK with Latin.

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    4. Aouch, okay. I don't know sorry... :/
      It is true that it should not be very practical for an advanced use.

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