Linux Lite 2.2

It’s been quite a while since I last looked at Linux Lite, the last version I reviewed being 1.0.6. Much has changed in Linux Lite since that release and now it’s reached version 2.2. If you aren’t familiar with it, you should know that Linux Lite is a distribution geared toward helping current Windows users transition to the Linux desktop.

What’s new in Linux Lite 2.2
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

New Program locations:

Backups – Menu > Accessories > Backups
File Search – Menu > Accessories > File Search
Date & Time – Menu > Settings > Date & Time
Lite Cleaner – Menu > System > Lite Cleaner
Light Locker Settings – Menu > Settings > Light Locker Settings
Linux Lite Welcome – Menu > Settings > Linux Lite Welcome

Other Changes:

New adjustable size mouse theme added.
Added File Roller as the default archive manager.
Added Light Locker.
Added new Login theme.
Clementine added to Install Additional Software.
Create System Report has been converted to GUI.
Added md5sum check to right click menu.
Added libreoffice-gnome to open files on a NAS.
Launchers now use exo-open instead of xdg-open.
Fixed power settings/screensaver conflict.
Mumble has been dropped.
inxi has been added by request.

Linux Lite 2.2 download and install
You can download Linux Lite 2.2 from the downloads page on the Linux Lite site. You can get Linux Lite 2.2 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. The ISO file for the 32-bit version weighs in at just 737 MB, and the 64-bit version is just 738 MB. For this review I opted for the 64-bit version of Linux Lite 2.2.

Linux Lite uses the same installer as Ubuntu, so it’s a piece of cake to install. During the install you have the option of downloading updates during the install, and also adding third-party software. I opted to do both so I didn’t have to bother doing them later on. You also have the option of encrypting your install, using the default partitioning or setting up your own. I went with the default partitioning setup and skipped the encryption.

The Linux Lite 2.2 installer is also fast, it didn’t take long at all for my install to finish. During the install you can watch a slideshow about some of the features found in Linux Lite 2.2. I had no problems with my install and when it was completed I rebooted to the Linux Lite boot menu.

Linux Lite 2.2 desktop
When your Linux Lite 2.2 desktop loads, you’ll notice a very helpful welcome menu that appears on the screen. The menu is broken into three sections: Start Here, Support and Contribute. Start Here contains links to install updates, read the release notes or see hardware recommendations. Support will link you to online support, a help manual and a hardware database. Contribute lets you access code, donate to Linux Lite 2.2 or find the distro on social media.

I’ve always been a big fan of these kinds of welcome menus. Yes, it’s true that experienced Linux users might not need or care about them. But for people new to a distribution or to Linux in general, they can be a huge help. Linux Mint was one of the first distributions to do this, and it seems that the Linux Lite developers have followed in their venerable footsteps.

Linux Lite 2.2 uses the Xfce desktop environment (and includes the Whisker menu), which is pretty much my favorite desktop. The panel at the bottom of the screen contains a menu link, an icon to show the desktop, Firefox, an icon for the Thunar file manager and an icon to open a terminal window. Farther to the right you’ll see multiple desktops, keyboard, networking, volume and the date/time.

The Linux Lite 2.2 desktop itself is completely devoid of icons. All you’ll see is what looks like a feather caught in free fall in the center of your screen. It’s a simple visual but it’s also quite elegant in its own way.

Clicking the Menu button will let you access settings, favorite applications, recently used applications, all applications, and applications broken down into various categories. Also at the bottom right of the menu you’ll find additional icons for All Settings, Lock Screen, Switch Users and Log Out. And there is also a search box available at the bottom of the menu.

Finding your way around the Linux Lite 2.2 desktop is very easy, even if you’ve never seen it before. The developers have done a good job making sure that it’s easy to access everything you need to use your Linux Lite 2.2 computer. Windows users should have no trouble jumping right into the Xfce desktop environment in Linux Lite 2.2.

Linux Lite 2.2 system settings
If you click the All Settings icon on the Menu, you’ll see the settings menu. All of the usual options are available there: Appearance, Desktop, Notifications, Display and many other desktop settings. All of the settings options are broken down into four categories: Personal, Hardware, System and Other. The only thing listed in Other is the Settings Editor and most casual desktop users will probably never bother with that part of Settings.

If you are new to Linux Lite then I recommend that you take a look at the Settings menu as one of the first things you do. Once you are familiar with its layout you’ll know where to go when you want to change something about your system. While doing my review, I kept the settings on default so I could use Linux Lite 2.2 without making any changes to it.

One other useful system tool you should be aware of in Linux Lite 2.2 is the Lite Cleaner. You can access it by clicking the Menu button on the panel, then click on System, and then Lite Cleaner. It will let you clean the package cache, automatically remove packages, clean your thumbnail cache, clean Whisker Menu’s recently used menu, locate large files and remove additional kernel files. Lite Cleaner definitely adds some real value to Linux Lite 2.2, and you should certainly check it out once you have this distribution installed on your computer.

Linux software included in Linux Lite 2.2
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
Available in Install Additional Software or in Synaptic

Graphics
GIMP
Image Viewer
Scanner

Internet
Firefox
Network Connections
Support
Thunderbird Mail

Multimedia
CD/DVD Burner
VLC Media Player
Volume Control

Office
LibreOffice
PDF Viewer

The selection of installed software is somewhat sparse, but functional. It covers most of the basic functionality needed in a desktop, but doesn’t really go beyond that. But that’s not a big problem for Linux Lite 2.2 and you’ll find out why in the next paragraph.

There are two ways to install more software in Linux Lite 2.2: Synaptic or the Install Additional Software menu. Synaptic lets you find individual packages via browsing or searching. The Install Additional Software menu provides a list of applications that you can quickly install and it includes the following:

Apple Trailers Plugin
Chrome
Chromium
Dropbox
File and Folder Search
Games Pack
Google Talk Browser Plugin
iDevices Manager
Instant Messenger
Java Web Applet Plugin
Music Player
Password Manager
PlayOnLinux
Remote Desktop Software
Restricted Extras
Skype
Steam
Teamviewer
Torrent Software
Video Editing Software
VirtualBox
Weather Monitor
Webcam Software
Wine
XBMC

So which option is best to install more software? Synaptic offers much more software and experienced users will probably prefer it to the Install Additional Software menu. Newbies might just want to hit the latter though since it contains quite a lot of quality software in one easy to find place.

I decided to be quite bold and install everything on the Install Additional Software menu to see how well it would perform. Unfortunately, there was a drawback to installing all of this software. Each time a new application started to install, a menu popped up asking me for a confirmation before the install would commence. Then another menu popped up after it installed and I had to click “Okay” to get past it. Ugh.

So I had to click and click and I finally just skipped installing the rest of the software on the list. All of these menus and their subsequent need to be clicked on was definitely a big pain in the ass. I think the developers need to make this a click-free process once the user has selected the software he or she wants to install from the Install Additional Software menu.

I freely concede that most users aren’t going to want to install all of the software on the menu, but even so the developers should revamp the application install process to remove all of the clicking for each application install. As it stands now the menu gives the user the impression that with just a few clicks then can install a whole bunch of software and that simply isn’t true.

If you decide you want to remove software that you installed via the Install Additional Software Menu, just go instead to the Remove Additional Software menu. From there you can quickly remove whatever it was that you installed previously.

If you need to update your system, click the Menu button on the panel then click on Install Updates. A terminal window will open, and you can type in your password, and then you can type in “Y” to start the update to your system.

I must admit that I was surprised that Linux Lite – a distribution geared toward Windows newcomers – is using the command line for updates. Personally I have no issue with the command line, it’s a great tool. But newbies coming to Linux Lite from Windows may be intimidated by it. I’d have thought that Linux Lite would have some sort of GUI-based update system in place a long time ago.

Where to get help for Linux Lite 2.2
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below. You might also want to check out these Linux Lite 2.2 resources:

Linux Lite Manual
Linux Lite Forums
Linux Lite Hardware Database

Final thoughts about Linux Lite 2.2
Linux Lite 2.2 mostly fulfills its mission as a welcoming desktop distribution for Windows users.

But I can’t help but feel that a little bit more software installed by default would be a good thing for this distro. What is installed covers basic functionality but doesn’t offer much beyond that. And, as I noted above, using the Install Additional Software menu requires too many clicks to get through the installs of a bunch of applications. And the use of the terminal to update the system seems to run contrary to the idea of welcoming newbies to Linux.

In Linux Lite 2.2’s favor, the desktop is well laid out and easy to navigate and use. Xfce works very well in that sense, and new users should not have a problem with it. The distribution also seemed very stable for me, and I didn’t notice any application crashes or lockups while using it. The installer is a breeze, and you get the options of downloading updates and adding third party software while it completes. Plus, Lite Cleaner has the potential to be an extremely useful system cleaning tool in certain situations.

Overall, I think Linux Lite 2.2 is well worth considering as a desktop distribution. It’s certainly well suited to beginners for the most part, and even more experienced Linux users might enjoy using it.

What’s your take on Linux Lite 2.2? Tell me in the comments below.

Linux Lite 2.2 screenshots:

Linux Lite 2.2 Lite Cleaner

Linux Lite 2.2 Lite Cleaner

Linux Lite 2.2 Welcome Menu

Linux Lite 2.2 Welcome Menu

Linux Lite 2.2 Updates

Linux Lite 2.2 Updates

Linux Lite 2.2 Settings

Linux Lite 2.2 Settings

Linux Lite 2.2 Menu

Linux Lite 2.2 Menu

Linux Lite 2.2 Install Additional Software

Linux Lite 2.2 Install Additional Software

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 1

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 1

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 2

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 2

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 3

Linux Lite 2.2 Install 3

Linux Lite 2.2 Desktop

Linux Lite 2.2 Desktop



Linux Lite 1.0.6

Linux has not always had the reputation of being simple and easy to use. Linux Lite 1.0.6 is a distribution that aims to change that by making Linux more accessible to less tech-savvy users. Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu, and it uses the Xfce 4.8 desktop environment.

Linux Lite is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. For this review I used the 64-bit version.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Preinstall Boot Menu

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Preinstall Boot Menu

What’s New in Linux Lite 1.0.6
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

This is our most feature packed release to date. We’ve relied heavily on feedback from the community to help guide the development of Linux Lite 1.0.6. New features include easier networking setup between Linux Lite and Windows/other linux operating systems, a system report tool to help troubleshoot problems, support for scanners, bluetooth and a brand new login screen. The Help and Support Manual is our most comprehensive to date and is available both offline and online. Thank you to everyone who contributed ideas, code and their support.

System Requirements for Linux Lite 1.0.6
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

700 MHz processor+ (your CPU must support pae for 32bit, or for 64bit you need a 64bit capable processor)
512 MiB RAM+
5 GB of hard-drive space+
VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
Either a DVD drive or a USB port for the iso 

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Download
You can download Linux Lite 1.0.6 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 758.1 MB.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Installation
Linux Lite 1.0.6 is a live distro, so you don’t need to install it to try it out. When you first boot off your disc you’ll be taken right to the live desktop. From there just click on the installer icon on the desktop to get your install started.

Linux Lite uses the Ubuntu installer, so it’s very fast and easy to install it. You can also watch a slideshow during the install that highlights some of the features found in Linux Lite.

I recommend that you click the “Download updates while installing” and “Install this third party software” check boxes on the Preparing to Install Linux screen. It will save you time later on. I did this for my install.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Prepare Install

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Prepare Install

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Install Type

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Install Type

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Disk Erase

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Disk Erase

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Slideshow

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Slideshow

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Multimedia  Slide

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Multimedia Slide

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Gaming Slide

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Gaming Slide

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Login

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Login

The Linux Lite 1.0.6 Desktop
I was very pleased to see that Linux Lite 1.0.6 uses Xfce as its desktop. I’m a huge fan of keeping it simple, and Xfce is one of the best desktops available for doing just that. Everything is laid out as you’d expect, it’s very easy to find applications, system settings, software updates, etc.

Just click the Menu button on the panel to get started. The panel also contains icons for showing the desktop, Firefox, your home folder and the terminal.

The desktop wallpaper is rather subdued, which works very well since it puts the focus on the feather that represents what Linux Lite is all about. Lite as in “light as a feather” and all that. It’s a cute way of branding this distribution, and it makes it stand out from other distros.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Desktop

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Desktop

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Menu

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Menu

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Home Folder

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Home Folder

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Settings

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Settings

Linux Software Included in Linux Lite 1.0.6
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release. The developers have picked the default applications wisely. There’s enough here to meet the needs of most desktop users without overwhelming them.

However, the developers did goof by not including a music player. You can download one to fix that, but it’s really something that should be included in the multimedia part of the applications menu.

Games
Buy Humble Bundle Games
Steam

Graphics
GIMP
Image Viewer
Scanner

Internet
Firefox
Mumble Voice Chat
Network Connections
Thunderbird Mail
XChat IRC

Multimedia
CD/DVD Burner
Audio Mixer
PulseAudio Volume Control
VLC Media Player

Office
LibreOffice
PDF Viewer

Linux Software Management Tools in Linux Lite 1.0.6
If there’s a place where Linux Lite 1.0.6 stumbles it’s in software management. Linux Lite uses Synaptic as its software management tool. Synaptic works well, but it’s not the easiest or slickest software management tool available.

For a distro that focuses on ease of use and simplicity, this could be a stumbling block for people new to Linux. The Ubuntu Software Center or Linux Mint’s Software Manager would have been better choices.

Experienced Linux users won’t have a problem with Synaptic, and folks new to it can learn how to use it fairly quickly. If you haven’t used Synaptic before then be sure to read about it in the Linux Lite documentation.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Synaptic

Linux Lite 1.0.6 Synaptic

Problems & Headaches Found in Linux Lite 1.0.6
I had no problems running  Linux Lite. It was fast and quite stable for me. Since it uses Xfce that wasn’t much of a surprise.

If you’ve seen any problems or issues, please share them in the comments for the benefit of other readers. Thanks.

Where To Get Help for Linux Lite 1.0.6
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Linux Lite forum, and the Linux Lite documentation.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Linux Lite 1.0.6
It’s still early for Linux Lite since it’s only at version 1.0.6, but I think it’s off to a fine start. With the exception of using Synaptic as the software manager, this distro has already accomplished a large part of its mission to make Linux simpler and easier to use.

I hope that we’ll see a different software manager integrated into future releases. The Ubuntu Software Center or Linux Mint Software Manager would be good choices. I’d particularly like to see user reviews and star ratings available for applications. I think that both things add real value to any software manager, and they also help Linux newbies pick applications wisely for their systems.

Linux Lite 1.0.6 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Linux Lite 1.06? Tell me in the comments below.