Lubuntu 13.10

Sometimes less can be much, much more when it comes to Linux distributions. Lubuntu 13.10 offers some of the advantages of Ubuntu but in a much more minimalist package. Lubuntu uses the LXDE desktop environment instead of Unity, and it contains less software than Ubuntu 13.10.

For example, you won’t find LibreOffice bundled into Lubuntu; instead you get Abiword and Gnumeric as your default office applications. Don’t worry though, if you really want LibreOffice then you can easily download it via the Lubuntu Software Center (more on that later).

If you aren’t familiar with LXDE, here’s a brief description from the LXDE site:

The “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment” is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. Maintained by an international community of developers, it comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard short cuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments.

It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. LXDE can be installed on many Linux distributions including Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. It is the standard for Knoppix and lubuntu. LXDE also runs on OpenSolaris and BSD. LXDE provides a fast desktop experience; connecting easily with applications in the cloud. LXDE supports a wealth of programs that can be installed locally with Linux systems.

The source code of LXDE is licensed partly under the terms of the GNU General Public License and partly under the LGPL.

Lubuntu 13.10 Preinstall Boot Menu
Lubuntu 13.10 Preinstall Boot Menu

What’s New in Lubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

New version of pcmanfm / libfm (1.1.0) including a built-in search utility.
Artwork improvements, including new wallpapers, community wallpapers, new icons …
Removing catfish, since pcmanfm has its own search utility
Fix a very old bug causing gnome-mplayer to crash with some CPU (P4)
Several fixes for the image viewer gpicview.

System Requirements for Lubuntu 13.10
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

A Pentium II or Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM is probably a bottom-line configuration that may yield slow yet usable system with a standard lubuntu desktop.

13.04 32 bit ISO require your CPU to have Physical Address Extensions, or PAE. “PAE is provided by Intel Pentium Pro and above CPUs, including all later Pentium-series processors (except most 400 MHz-bus versions of the Pentium M).” – If you have a NON-PAE CPU you can use 12.04 instead.

For PowerPC, it is known to run on a G4 running at 867MHz with 640MB RAM.

For Intel based Macs, lubuntu should run on all models.

Lubuntu 13.10 Download
You can download Lubuntu 13.10 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 736.1 MB. Lubuntu 13.10 is available in 32-bit or 64-bit for PCs. You can also get a 64-bit version for Intel based Macs.

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

Lubuntu 13.10 Installation
Lubuntu 13.10 is very easy to install, and the installer is also fast. Since Lubuntu 13.10 is a live distro, you also have the option of trying it without doing an install.

On the preparing to install screen you have the option of installing third party software and downloading updates, I did both for this review. I almost always do this since it saves me the headache of doing it later on after my system has been installed.

You can also watch a brief slideshow while your Lubuntu 13.10 install completes.

Lubuntu 13.10 Prepare to Install
Lubuntu 13.10 Prepare to Install
Lubuntu 13.10 Install Type
Lubuntu 13.10 Install Type
Lubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow
Lubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow

The Lubuntu 13.10 Desktop
The Lubuntu 13.10 desktop is free of icon clutter. The wallpaper is a bit generic, but it works well.

To access applications, click the button on the far left of the panel. and you’ll see all the usual application categories. You can also access your preferences and system tools, as well as the logout menu.

There are also icons on the panel to access your file manager (PCManFM), Firefox, show the desktop, and each desktop you have active (it defaults to giving you two desktops but you can increase that if you want).

If you hate Unity in Ubuntu 13.10 then you’ll love Lubuntu’s menu system. Since it’s based on LXDE, it’s pretty much old school. Frankly, this is the way a desktop menu system should operate. I find it much faster than navigating Unity in Ubuntu 13.10.

Lubuntu 13.10 Desktop
Lubuntu 13.10 Desktop
Lubuntu 13.10 Menu On Panel
Lubuntu 13.10 Menu On Panel

Linux Software Included in Lubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Penguin Canfield
Penguin Freecell
Penguin Golf
Penguin Mastermind
Penguin Merlin
Penguin Minesweeper
Penguin Pegged
Penguin Solitaire
Penguin Spider
Penguin Taipei
Penguin Taipei-Editor
Penguin Thornq

Document Viewer
mtPaint Graphic Editor
Simple Scan

Pidgin IM

GNOME Mplayer


Linux Software Management Tools in Lubuntu 13.10
Lubuntu 13.10 also has its own software center. Like the rest of this distro, it’s much more minimalistic in appearance than the one in Ubuntu 13.10 or even Kubuntu 13.10. The category icons aren’t even in color, but I actually like this. It totally fits in with the overall look and feel of Lubuntu 13.10.

There are three tabs at the top: Get Software (the default view), Installed Software, and Apps Basket.

If you want to add an application, click the Install button and it will be added to the Apps Basket. When you are ready to install all of your new applications, click the Install Packages button on the Apps Basket menu.

If you want to remove an installed application, click it then click the Remove from the System button at the bottom of the menu (you can also check for reviews).

The Lubuntu Software Center is a bit less polished than the Ubuntu Software Center and Linux Mint’s Software Manager. But that’s perfectly fine because this is a minimalist’s distro. If you want glitz and glamour, Lubuntu 13.10 probably isn’t for you anyway.

Note that Synaptic is also available if you prefer it to the Lubuntu Software Center. If you’re new to Linux I recommend sticking with the Software Center as Synaptic can be a bit confusing to newcomers.

Lubuntu 13.10 Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Graphics Category in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Graphics Category in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Installed Software in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Installed Software in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Apps Basket in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Apps Basket in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Blender in Software Center
Lubuntu 13.10 Blender in Software Center

Problems & Headaches Found in Lubuntu 13.10
Lubuntu 13.10 ran very well for me, it was quite speedy and seemed very stable.

However, there are some known issues with it that you should be aware of before doing an install:

PPC has several issues and workarounds, please refer to the documentation on the wiki.
Guided install has a bug when selecting ‘max’ (1163908).
Upgrade from 12.10 –> 13.04 gives a warning error (966451).
Upgrading slow machines Slow Machines

Graphics and Display
PPC issued are detailed above.

Blank boxes appear when hardinfo is started, and needed to be closed before accessing to the application (1029212)
Different spacing for the icons on the right corner of lxpanel (1056547)
Software sources takes 30 seconds to load (1073728)
Clicking on Ibus icon start the deamon, but doesn’t display an icon (1041933)
Some actions on the menu may cause an harmless crash of menu-cache (1098732)

Where To Get Help for Lubuntu 13.10
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 Lubuntu Wiki, discussion forum, documentation or contact page.

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 Lubuntu 13.10
One of the nice things about Linux is that there’s a distribution for everybody. Lubuntu 13.10 is a great choice for those who like Ubuntu, but who want to skip Unity and use a faster, light-weight and more traditional desktop environment.

It’s also a good choice for those who don’t want to be overloaded with bundled software, and who prefer to keep the number of installed applications on their systems down to a bare minimum. I tend more toward the minimalist side of things so I really liked Lubuntu 13.10.

Lubuntu 13.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate of advanced Linux  users.

What’s your take on Lubuntu 13.10? Tell me in the comments below.

16 thoughts on “Lubuntu 13.10

  1. This week Lubuntu 14.04 comes out. It will go on most of my computers. Some will dual-boot with XP. Some will stand alone. This version will be supported for FIVE YEARS. It doesn’t get any better than that for your old Pentium 3 or Pentium 4. My dual core machines will get Linux Mint.

  2. I just started using Kubuntu and realized after some research that Lubuntu is more suited to my needs. Do I need to uninstall Kubuntu and then re-install or is there any other way? I don’t want to keep Kubuntu on my system anymore but since both are based on ubuntu, i thought there might be a way I could just change the desktop without going through the full installation again. Thanks

    Also, I am total new-comer and would appreciate a step by step instruction.

    1. This is very simple. Just go to the Software Center and install the package “lubuntu-desktop” (search for it). You may want to install any Add-ons (these are the standard Lubuntu apps). If you are unsure, I recommend installing every Add-on.
      Anyway, you should be aware that you can access all your apps from every desktop (Lubuntu apps in Kubuntu and vice versa), but starting Kubuntu apps might take some time in Lubuntu.

      Next, when the package is installed, go back to the login screen and select “LXDE” as desktop environment. That’s it. Welcome to Lubuntu-Desktop. 😉

      PS: If you like it, I recommend installing a fresh Lubuntu 14.04 in April. Also, you can simply try all other desktop environments by installing the *buntu-desktop packages or the direct packages (like Lubuntu uses LXDE).

  3. After been a user of Ubuntu+Gnome since 7.04 about a year ago i decided to test Ubuntu+LXDE and i really found it EXCELENT. For me is the best and most functional OS/desktop i could use. Sincerely i don’t need more and i cannot ask for more.

    Indeed, if you didn’t test it: try to install and use SYNAPSE… it’s a fantastic LAUNCHER… you will love it. Sincerely, i think that i use the classical “main menu button” once per week…!

    Fast, simple, effective. You launch applications, recent files, etc… with 2 or 3 keyboard pressing in less than 1 second!!! Essential tool for an effective desktop (i think).

    These are my 2 cents 😉

  4. Lubuntu 13.10 is horrible, the display errors in the text are everywere, and it’s annoying when you are on your browser trying to read something and you see blurred letters, also the update from lunbuntu 12 has a lot of errors. I’m a Lubuntu user but I’m thinking to try another distro.
    Also I realize compatibility problems on the Lubuntu software center
    Please lubuntu team, when release another version, test it first


    Lubuntu 13.10 es horrible, los errores de visualización del texto esta por todas partes y es molesto cuando estás en tu navegador tratando de leer y encuentras letras borrosas, también la actualización de lunbuntu 12 tiene un montón de errores. Soy un usuario de Lubuntu, pero estoy pensando en probar otra distro.
    También me doy cuenta de los problemas de compatibilidad en el centro de software Lubuntu
    Por favor equipo de Lubuntu, cuando saquen otra versión, pruébela primero

  5. I often check out other distributions but have maintained Lubuntu as my main OS at home for over four years. It is uniquely situated in a sweet spot that I love – not to lightweight like Puppy and not too overloaded like Ubuntu. Basically I just want to be able to quickly run any application, run it well, run it fast and have the OS get out of the way. Lubuntu is perfect for this.

  6. Good points on Lubuntu:

    I like the fact that I have a choice between the Software Center and Synaptic (and for a true “minimalist”, the choice of apt-get and dpgkg as well!)

    I feel that LXDE as a desktop environment is maturing nicely. Frankly, LXDE is “barely” a desktop environment, when you use the definition of desktop environment commonly seen; it’s more like a window manager plus just a few apps, or a DE–, as opposed to DE++ or DE (bloat, bloat) that we see so much of. Therefore, for minimalists or for those who either don’t need a DE or if they use a DE, just a few features, then this implementation is “on the mark”. I’ve been using and watching this distribution for a couple of years now. The more and more I find myself moving from desktop centric applications to Web-based applications, the less and less I see the need for a full blown desktop environment, and the more and more I see distributions like Lubuntu, Peppermint OS, antiX, Absolute Linux, and other lightweight distributions, not only being useful, but actually making more sense than the bloated messes we’ve been seeing too much of (Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva, etc.)

    Though you can now also find LXDE as a desktop environment choice in many of the large, general purpose distributions, you can get the moderate, simple one right here, though I’d hasten to mention that it is possible to find even lighter LXDE implementations, such as the Puppy variation called Simplicity Linux 13.10, chances are that Lubuntu, being a bit more mature and developed, may still produce a smoother, somewhat more managed overall experience.

    I’ve found the versions of Lubuntu that I’ve used to be trivial to run live, easy to install, easy to maintain, and they generally remain on my systems until the next release comes out; that ought to tell you enough.

    1. wish these comments could easily be edited; found a typo in my comments: the low level package managers are apt-get and dpkg. (not dpgkg!)

      1. Hi Brian, I just installed a WordPress plugin that should allow you to edit your comments for up to 30 minutes. It also has a spell checker and a popup box to give you more room to write your comments. Sorry I didn’t think of this sooner, it just completely slipped my mind when I got rid of Disqus to speed up the page loads.

        I just tested it and so far it works pretty well. But let me know what you think.

        1. Spotted it for my most recent Kubuntu thread comments but just missed it for my previous comments here; thanks Jim!

          1. You are very welcome. I also looked for a formatting toolbar, but they are all outdated. I can’t find one that is being maintained. So no text formatting for now. If I stumble onto one I’ll give it a try.

  7. I… have a problem with this one.
    I think Lxde is brilliant, no doubt about that. But I think that this themeing has done all it could to look like Windows 95. Every time I use Lubuntu, I feel it misses “slick” just that little bit and passes into “dull” – especially compared to Xubuntu. If Lubuntu was themed like Xubuntu, it would be so much more.

    1. I would concede that the default appearance is nothing to get excited about with not just this release of Lubuntu, but every release of Lubuntu. If looks are the most important thing for you, then I would suggest one of a couple alternatives (and there are plenty of other ones)”
      1. If you like Lubuntu as is, except for appearance, just go out to forums or do a search to find more LXDE themes. They are out there, or you can even make your own.
      2. If you like Lubuntu, but you do not want the responsibility of modifying it much, if at all, take a look at an excellent Lubuntu variant called Peppermint OS 4; it’s really good, looks better than Lubuntu, is developed by one of the Lubuntu developers, and it adds more than just visual improvements; it offers a nice blend between desktop software and cloud software; it’s a “hybrid distro”, light, like Lubuntu, and it’s a very good alternative to Lubuntu.
      3. If Lubuntu just doesn’t cut it for you, and you are the type of person who wants to “do it yourself”, then I highly recommend antiX Base as an alternative; don’t go with antiX unless you are willing to put some of your own effort into it; if you do so, it’s one of the most easily modifiable distributions around, though Lubuntu is also quite good in this regard, so don’t write off Lubuntu prematurely.

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