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October 27, 2012

18

Xubuntu 12.10 Review

Xubuntu is the lighter weight brother of the ever popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. At the forefront, XFCE is the desktop environment of choice and it removes all the bells and whistles that we currently see in the star of the show, Ubuntu. It’s not just focused on older systems but those who want a great looking desktop and don’t need the extras.

XFCE 4.10 is the forefront of this distribution and it uses less CPU and memory compared to its bigger siblings Ubuntu and KUbuntu as XFCE is focused on using less resources. What also makes XFCE also popular is the fact we don’t see drastic changes from one version to another which we see from Gnome or KDE.

Installation procedure has not changed but for those who never installed an Ubuntu derived distribution, the install steps were pretty much straight forward with you selecting how to install as to use existing space or completely wipe out your Windows xubuntu-12-10-2012-10-19-18-24-40 install and go full blown Xubuntu on your PC. Install times will vary depending on your system configuration.

Once installation was done, we were greeted with a much improved desktop that looks a lot more crisp and professional compared to its previous version in 12.04 LTS. The wallpaper is clean and simple and even the icons are much improved.

Software

Software applications are just right and you can easily work right out of the box. Some might want to add other applications and this is where Ubuntu Software Centre comes in play. It is the easiest way for one to install any application, but be forewarned that not every application is free. You can search their catalog of software by either typing in the name of the application or by browsing through the categories of applications that are made available to you.

Some of the default applications that come as part of Xubuntu are Firefox and Thunderbird for your web browser and email application respectively, Pidgin your IM client, AbiWord for your word processor and gmusicbrowser for playing your audio files.

Conclusion

I must say Xubuntu will always have a special place in my list of favorite Linux distributions. It keeps things nice and simple and I find it is the go to distribution you should go to if you don’t like Unity or KDE. Not everyone is fond of Unity and KDE is becoming a resource hog and seems a bit dated.

The kernel has been updated to 3.5 as well as GRUB has been updated so you can dual boot between Windows 8 and Xubuntu due to Secureboot being implemented.

Overall, the incremental improvements helped this distribution and the improved artwork that the distribution helps it visually. The desktop is stunning and the performance of Xubuntu is great and you don’t give up much in terms of functionality compared to Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

More Information

Homepage: Xubuntu
Screenshots: Xubuntu 12.10

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18 Comments
  1. Tanmay
    Oct 27 2012

    I completely disagree that unity is a memory hog.
    When you configure xfce memory usage is around 290-320mb and in unity you can reduce it to 300-320 by removing revices like onconf and ubuntu one as they come pre-installed.Unity is equally efficient, Yes KDE takes more memory than others (around 350-450 depending on you config) Please improve your points and don’t give biased reviews.

    • actually
      Oct 30 2012

      Actually its your comment thats biased, this review tweaks nothing but you’re automatically assuming that people know how to/have time to/ want to tweak their OS after install. Its like saying that vista is perfect once you change a few registry keys set the antivirus to scan regularly and fix the firewall ports.

  2. Helena
    Oct 27 2012

    Archlinux + xfce 110Mb on my desktop PC, why xubuntu is so heavy?

  3. claudecat
    Oct 28 2012

    Xubuntu is the single most resource intensive implementation of Xfce, as alluded to in the previous comment. It’s a decent distro for the linux newcomer, but this review is ridiculous.

    “KDE is becoming a resource hog…”

    This statement is patently false. KDE continues to improve in that area (among others), and is by far the most flexible and complete DE available. Arch with KDE is lighter on resources than Xubuntu, and Gentoo is even lighter.

    • actually
      Oct 30 2012

      Using KDE here on the new eeepc 125b and the memory being used is 560mb idling with just firefox open. Did you tweak/improve yours?

  4. Oct 28 2012

    Slackware 14.0 + Xfce 4.10 = 90 MB RAM consumption when desktop is launched. I don’t know what horrible things the Xubuntu developers do to Xfce, but they end up making Xfce heavier on resources than a full-blown KDE 4.8.5 install with Slackware.

    Here’s my “Enterprise Class” Xfce 4.10 desktop, based on Slackware:

    http://www.microlinux.fr/desktop_linux.php

    Cheers from the windy South of France.

  5. John
    Oct 28 2012

    Thanks for reminding me about Xubuntu. These days I’m more into Ubuntu (and lubuntu for my htpc), but defenitly will look at Xubuntu again after reading this.

    About the other mentioned distro’s… these are no suitable replacements for (x)ubuntu. These distro’s don’t offer the same usability and installing software is a pain in the ass or at least time consuming.
    While I earn my money developing on Linux, I don’t like my time burned on compiling and hacking while I’m free. Please don’t compare these distro’s to ubuntu… its silly to think they are even in the same ballpark when looking at usability.

  6. Daniel
    Oct 28 2012

    Xfce is not especially lightweight… that is Lxde, RazorQT or E17. Xfce is about as heavy as Gnome-shell… Unity and KDE is the heavy ones in the class.

    My Gnome-shell install with Arch uses about 200-250mb RAM. I have a lighter install on my wife’s which uses about 100-180mb with the same conf.

  7. claudecat
    Oct 28 2012

    @ John – installing software on Arch (or Slackware) is neither painful nor time consuming. While “these distros” are not chimp-simple like ‘buntu, they are certainly worthy of consideration for anyone familiar with linux. “Usability” is a nebulous concept, and I for one find Ubuntu less usable than many others. To each their own and all that…

    • actually
      Oct 30 2012

      Does familiar mean recognize the interface or “can hack and change processes and script”?

      • claudecat
        Oct 30 2012

        I’d say the former. For Arch, it can be easily installed using one of the live-cd spins like Bridge or CinnArch. Once that’s done it’s really simple to learn the 3-4 pacman commands necessary to keep it up to date. Slackware is similarly simple to use for the average person. The main obstacle for either is probably the pre-install partitioning.

        I’ve never written a line of code or otherwise “hacked” anything, yet I’m quite comfortable running both of these and even the dreaded Gentoo, which I admit is NOT for the faint of heart. Still, with a time and a desire to learn, it can be done by anyone that can read.

  8. Nov 21 2012

    This review and the comments have persuaded me to give Xubuntu a try.

    I just don’t believe any Linux distro is easy to use as *buntu or its derivatives. Call me a chimp if you like but I want an easy OS so I can spend my time on “fun” stuff like programming, NOT hacking the OS so it works the way it should have been configured to work in the first place.

    KDE does seem resource heavy to me in terms of CPU usage. I could care less about memory. An OS should be invisible.

  9. Doom3d
    Dec 2 2012

    Just installed AntiX linux +some DE’s on virtualbox, RAM usage:
    AntiX on 512 MB RAM + 1 GB swap +
    Fluxbox 33 MB, measured with Conky (32 MB without Conky)
    LXDE (light) 63 MB (htop)
    XFCE (light) 76 MB (htop)
    Gnome3 fallback 94 MB (htop, but not usable- no desktop icons..)
    Gnome3 – won’t start
    Unity – don’t want to try :)
    Enlightement,MATE, Cinnamon – not yet tested
    KDE (light) 177 MB (htop)

    AntiX uses Debian testing repositories. Real alternative to *buntu, if low resource usage is important.

  10. Doom3d
    Dec 2 2012

    Update: RAM usage of AntiX on 512 MB vbox +
    Enlightenment (E17) 88 MB
    Cinnamon(Mint DE repo, compositing/update check disabled) 118 MB
    Mate 108 MB

    Remark: Slim doesn’t auto update the list of installed DE’s and WM’s, so kdm was used in all tests.
    Tell me if you would like to have results for yet another DE.

  11. tom
    Jan 11 2013

    Who cares about ram usage anymore I got 8 GB for $40.00 XUBUNTU 12.10 Is my FAV. Distro. Has been for awhile..

    • rsg
      Feb 12 2013

      Perhaps in a wealthy country $40 is regarded as “small change”. However, in many parts of the world there are people who are desperately trying to keep an old machine going on its original 512 kB RAM. This might be because it is so old that RAM is no longer available or because they cannot afford it.

    • rsg
      Feb 12 2013

      The text “original 512 kB RAM” should read “original 512 MB RAM” – my apologies.

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