Sabtu, 29 Mei 2010

Lubuntu 10.04 - Distro Review

Lubuntu is working towards gaining an endorsement from Canonical and thus becoming an official Ubuntu derivative. Lubuntu is an LXDE version of Ubuntu just as Kubuntu is a KDE edition or Xubuntu is an XFCE variation. Since I just recently acquired my T101MT I was looking for a solid lightweight distro to run on that would still provide we with the power and flexibility I was used to from Ubuntu, thus it is only natural that I should choose an Ubuntu derivative.

Downloading:
The first thing you will notice about Lubuntu is that unlike most distros that have to cram every megabyte they can into their LiveCDs, the Lubuntu ISO download is only 521 megs. The ISO loaded right up onto my USB drive thanks to unetbootin and I was soon installing Lubuntu on my tablet.

Installation:
The installation of Lubuntu is decently standard. It is the same installer Ubuntu uses. It provides the option to install along side an existing operating, using the entire drive, or setting up a custom layout - all using gParted. About ten minutes later I had Lubuntu up and running on my hardware (I love USB installations).

Also if you already have some form of *buntu 10.04 installed on your computer you can add an LXDE/Lubuntu install by installing the lubuntu-desktop package via apt.

Look and Feel:
Lubuntu's default theme is a sleek looking blue that blends well with the Chromium and PCMan icons that are on the task bar by default. Those migrating to Lubuntu from Windows will also feel at home in the LXDE desktop due to the positioning of the main menu in the lower left and the tray icon in the lower right.


Lubuntu lacks the flair of Compiz or E17, but this is by design. It's goal is to be a fast, lightweight operating system.

Software:
I really like the default software the Lubuntu team has chosen to include. The first thing you will notice is that the stock webrowser is Chromium, this is a change I think we will be seeing a lot more in light-weight distros. Don't get me wrong - I like firefox, but compared to Chromium it is a snail at best (and a bit of a resource hog). Pidgin is the default messaging client, xchat is included for IRC usage, and transmission is there for all of your torrenting needs.

In respect to office software Lubuntu ships with abiword for word processing and gnumeric for creating spreadsheets, a refreshing change from the bloated OpenOffice that ships with most distros by default. In terms of media Lubuntu comes stock with Gnome MPlayer (my favorite media player), Cheese Webcam booth, Aqualung, and Xfburn.

For system tools the Lubuntu team has taken their pick of various gnome and xfce applications. From Gnome Lubuntu uses their sound applet, wifi applet, gdebi, and power manager. From xfce comes the task-manager and pyneighborhood (network browser).

In the means of terminal Lubuntu comes with LXTerminal. A nice extra that is included in Lubuntu by default is a copy and paste manager "parcellite"that is very similar to the KDE "klipper" tool. I'm glad that this is included as klipper is typically one of the first things I install on any non-KDE distro I use. Parcellite is not loaded at startup though, you will find it under accessories in your menu. While not as powerful as Gnome's gedit, but sticking with the lightweight theme, Lubuntu comes with leafpad as the default text editor. Also in a default Lubuntu install for graphics editing is "mtPaint", a basic image editor.

Memory Footprint:
On my system with out any applications loaded Lubuntu is using just over 125megs of RAM. Not too shabby :)

Issues:
The only real "issue" I see with Lubuntu is the fact that the LXDE desktop does not support volume up/down/mute function keys on laptops by default. This is easily solved by mapping them using xbindkeys - but this is something most new user will not want to do.

Final Thoughts:
Lubuntu has come a long way from it's first release with 9.10 just last year. This 10.04 release is a fantastic addition to the world of light weight Linux distros and just like the others in the *buntu family I have no doubt it will adopted by many for use on slower/older computers.

~Jeff Hoogland

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