Thursday, February 11, 2010

Setup a light weight Linux desktop with Lubuntu

Ubuntu is a great, easy to use Linux distribution. It's also (relatively) light weight when it comes to system requirements so it can be used on some older systems. That being said, if it's a really old computer, even Ubuntu may be too heavy to perform well. There is Xubuntu, which uses XFCE instead of Gnome, and is designed to be a lighter system but is still just as heavy as Ubuntu nowadays. There is a new project for Ubuntu that uses the LXDE desktop environment and is significantly lighter on the system.

Lubuntu is still in beta and so there is no official, stable release available for download. It does, however, exist in the repositories for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. If you want to try it out, make sure your system is updated and then run this command:
$ sudo aptitude install lubuntu-desktop
This will install the full desktop package, complete with all the programs built for the LXDE environment. If you don't want to install all the extras, you can run this command:
$ sudo aptitude install --without-recommends lubuntu-desktop
When I installed the lubuntu-desktop package over an existing Karmic installation, the full package required me to download about 80MB worth of files and by leaving out some of the unneeded packages with the second method, I only had to download about 50MB of files.

Once you have Lubuntu installed, you will need to log out of your Gnome or KDE or whatever other desktop environment you are running. From the login window select your username. Now, at the bottom of the screen click on the Sessions menu and select LXDE.


 After that you can enter your pass phrase and enjoy your new Lubuntu desktop.

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