July 24, 2011

Xubuntu is faster alternative to Pinguy OS

I have an older Intel Pentium-4 3.2 ghz single core desktop with 2GB of memory and an external nVidia video card that I use for testing new distros and such. I installed Pinguy OS 11.04 and it just seemed to crawl. So I gave Xubuntu 11.04 a try again and it runs a lot faster. I like the Docky launcher that comes pre-installed on it, the included Aquaish theme (looks like the Gnome Elementary theme), and Droid Sans fonts as well. After adding my favorite apps (Chromium browser, Deluge, Rhythmbox, LibreOffice, Audacioous, VLC, and Nautilus), and some tweaking, it really shines on this  class machine. Surprisingly it looks a lot like Pinguy OS, but a lot faster. See my results below. If anyone is looking for a state of the art Linux distro, that avoids the Unity desktop, Xubuntu is a great choice. At the end is some background on Xubuntu 11.04 from their wiki.

Xubuntu 11.04

Xubuntu 11.04 was released on 28 April 2011. This version was based upon Xfce 4.8 and introduced editable menus using any menu editor that meets the freedesktop.org standards. This version also introduced a new Elementary Xubuntu icon theme, the Droid font by default and an updated installation slide show.[46]
While Ubuntu 11.04 introduced the new default Unity interface, Xubuntu did not adopt Unity and instead retained its existing Xfce interface. Although the developers have decided to retain a minimalist interface, Xubuntu 11.04 has new dock-like application launcher to achieve a more modern look.[47]
Xubuntu 11.04 can be installed with one of 2 CDs. The Xubuntu 11.04 standard CD requires 4.4 GB of hard disk space and 256 MB of RAM to install, while the alternate CD, which uses a text-based installer, requires 64 MB of RAM and 2 GB of disk space for installation and provides additional options. Once installed, Xubuntu 11.04 can run with 256 MB of RAM, but 512 MB is "strongly recommended".[13][14]
In reviewing Xubuntu 11.04, Jim Lynch of Desktop Linux Reviews faulted the release for its lack of LibreOffice, its dull default wallpaper and the default automatic hiding of the bottom panel. In praising the release he said "Xubuntu 11.04 is a good choice for minimalists who prefer a desktop environment not bogged down with pointless eye-candy. It should work well on older or slower hardware. It’s also a good option for those who dislike Unity and want a different desktop environment. Xfce is simple, fast and doesn’t get in your way when you are trying to quickly launch an application or otherwise find something. And those who decide to use Xubuntu still remain in the Ubuntu family without the headache of dealing with Unity. So if you’re a Unity resister, you should definitely check out Xubuntu 11.04."[47]
Joe Brockmeier of Linux.com in reviewing Xubuntu 11.04, praised the inclusion of AbiWord and Gnumeric over LibreOffice, as well as the Catfish file search utility. He added, "Though I've usually used the mainline Ubuntu release when I use Ubuntu, I have to say that I really like the latest iteration of Xubuntu. It does a great job of showcasing Xfce while providing a unique desktop that gives all the pluses of Ubuntu while still being a bit more like a traditional Linux desktop."[48]

You can download Xubuntu here: http://xubuntu.org/get