Linux Distro Review #1: Xubuntu 9.04

My laptop is a piece or crap, I know this. 512Mb of RAM, Intel graphics card and a Intel Centrino Duo processor is nothing to write home about. This is why when I read that Xubuntu is a Linux OS designed for low-end machines, I downloaded the ISO, burned a live CD and had it installed in little over two hours. Now, if you are new to Linux and would like to know what Xubuntu has to offer you (Or any Canonical distribution for that matter) I suggest you take a look here. For everyone else, I’ll cut to the chase.

I installed Xubuntu because I wanted a very fast desktop that was stable and made the best usage of resources available. Xubuntu disappointed me on all these points.

Speed: I had previously been using Ubuntu 9.04, which I found slightly sluggish when using applications like Firefox and XBMC. Xubuntu did seem a bit quicker when navigating folders (Xfce being the desktop environment and thunar the file manager) but not a lot faster with resource hungry apps open. Worse, Xubuntu proved ABSOLUTELY unusable while installing new packages, something both the experienced user and the curious newbie do frequently. I also experienced several bouts of CPU 100% during each day with no obvious offender.

Stability: I never had problems with stability in Ubuntu, save when upgrading to a new release rather than installing it fresh. Xfce suffered a bug in where the entire system would stall, and even hitting standby would produce no results. This could happen every 3-4 days, taking into account I shutdown at least every two days.

Ease of Use: Ubuntu comes with a strong suite of applications included such as OpenOfice, Tomboy Notes, Firefox and Pidgin. Xubuntu sacrifices some of these for faster equivalents which is understandable. However, with the amount I use the former two apps I mentioned, I had to install them myself, which means an extra 300+ MB download at each new release.
On Ubuntu, it is simple to toggle touchpad preferences, and within 5 mins of install I had turned off the dreaded “tap-to-click”. There was no such similar GUI for Xubuntu, and this led to stressful editing of config files.

Worth a Install?: Simply, no. I appreciate the amount of work the community puts into a release like Xubuntu but if you’re system can’t handle Ubuntu, then you should look to other distributions such as Crunchbang Linux or even DSL (Damn Small Linux)

If you have any problems with my review, or would like to share your own experiences, please leave a comment.

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4 thoughts on “Linux Distro Review #1: Xubuntu 9.04

  1. Pingback: Linux Distro Review #1: Xubuntu 9.04 « The Android Life

  2. Pingback: TheChrisD » Rants » Random Shit – 22nd August

  3. well.. I installed xubuntu on my eeepc (actually dual-booting xp on its 15 gb sshd).works great. crinchbang was way too minimalist and pclinuxos was way too elaborate. of course, I do have a whole gig of ram (why haven’t you just added more ram?). I see that you complain about speed but would not settle for faster software alternatives… abiword is a good word processor. openoffice is great… but expect slowness. you cannot have it both ways. of course you could install openoffice in DSL, but the load of runnig openoffice will be the same… just a lower load from the os itself. but in the end, the difference between fluxbox and xfce is only a few megs of ram and I for one much prefer xfce! of course there is always jwm… ever tried vector linux? that distro rules. multiple desktop managers and very easy to customize! I have it running on a 166 mhz 96mb ram hinote digital laptop! should fly on your machine. definitely worth a try!

  4. My main problem with Xubuntu is 9.04 was actually slower than the equivalent Ubuntu distro. There’s tons of lightweight distros out there, a look at distrowatch.com confirms that! Lubuntu looks really promising and Ubuntu is getting better at managing itself all the time, the backend work in 9.10m is amazing.

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