Xubuntu 12.04 LTS Review
Xubuntu 12.04 is the only lighter weight distribution that is getting Long Term Support (LTS) from Canonical. Support for Xubuntu LTS will be for 3 years compared to the life-cycle of 18 months and shorter than the 5 years given to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
Xubuntu uses the XFCE 4.8 desktop which is less resource hungry than Unity or KDE and comes in two flavors, 32 bit and 64 bit. It is also an installable Live distribution and is based on Linux kernel 3.2 series.
Just like with all the ‘buntu flavors, the installation is practically the same whether installing Xubuntu, Ubuntu or even LUbuntu, the only difference is the theme. Installation was quite quick and times will vary depending on your hardware setup. Note that XFCE is a lighter desktop as mentioned above but you can use it on newer hardware.
Once installation was said and done, we are greeted with the bluish theme of Xubuntu. Its desktop has a few icons and also it has an auto-hiding panel at the bottom of the desktop and will appear once you mouse over the bottom part of your screen and could be easily missed. With the panel at the bottom you can easily add or remove applications that you frequently use so you don’t have to go through the menu each time.
The main application menu is on the top left hand side of the screen and where it contains a variety of categories of applications that come pre-installed with Xubuntu. The menu is plain and has no 3D or window effects keeping with the theme of lightweight and sleek. The icons in Xubuntu are very nice and well made. The settings menu is a nice simple way to configure the look of Xubuntu and change some of the settings as well.
The Ubuntu Software Centre comes as part of this distribution where one can search for applications to install for free or install paid applications. USC also gives you the option of uninstalling a program that you already have installed on your system. It is a nice and easy way to find applications you might want to use in one location with a description and categories of applications. Or if you prefer you can add and remove and upgrade programs through the Synaptic package manager.
There are quite a few applications that come with Xubuntu but we will list some of them here. Firefox and Thunderbird are your default browser and email clients respectively, for those who like creating and manipulating images The GIMP comes installed by default. For those who have a large music collection, gmusicbrowser is your program to play, and create playlists of the music in your library. We have Parole as your media player which is based on GStreamer. AbiWord and Gnumeric is our word processor and spreadsheet programs respectively in keeping with the lightweight theme.
Xubuntu’s strong points that it offers a great out of the box experience which does not have much eye-candy or effects going on. We don’t have the HUD that Ubuntu has but we have a simpler desktop that some people would like to have instead of Unity or KDE with all the flash that comes with it.
The panel at the bottom is nice with the launchers so you don’t have to go through the menu system to launch your favorite programs but feel there should’ve been something a little more there.
One minor detail which I’ve noticed is the help file that came included with Xubuntu is that it hasn’t been updated to the latest version and still shows 11.10 release info.