Xubuntu 14.04 LTS

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS has been released in the wake of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS so it’s time for a full review. Xubuntu 14.04 is a long term support release, so the focus is really on stability and finesse, not on adding tons of new features. Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment instead of Unity, so it works very well as a lightweight alternative to regular Ubuntu. Xubuntu can be particularly useful if you have an older or otherwise underpowered computer.

If you aren’t familiar with Xubuntu, you can read the Xubuntu about page or the Xubuntu strategy document to discover more about it. You can also get a basic overview of what the Xfce desktop environment has to offer on its about page, the Xfce wiki, and you can connect with other Xfcse users in the Xfce forum if you have questions or comments to share.

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Desktop

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Desktop

What’s New in Xubuntu 14.04 LTS
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Light Locker replaces xscreensaver for screen locking, a setting editing GUI is included
The panel layout is updated, and now uses Whiskermenu as the default menu
Mugshot is included to allow you to easily edit your personal preferences
MenuLibre for menu editing, with full Xfce support, replaces Alacarte
A community wallpapers package, which includes work from the five winners of the wallpaper contest
GTK Theme Config to customize your desktop theme colors
Updated artwork, including various enhancements to themes as well as a new default wallpaper

More at Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Release Notes

Light Locker
Light Locker is a great replacement for xscreensaver, it comes with a GUI menu so you can easily change settings. Just go to Settings then click on Light Locker Settings to make it work the way you prefer. I must admit that I almost never bother to keep screen locking on as I’m lazy and hate typing in passwords over and over again. But your mileage may vary and if you like screen locking then you’ll probably enjoy Light Locker.

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Light Locker Settings

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Light Locker Settings

Whiskermenu
Whiskermenu is now the default menu in Xubuntu 14.04 LTS. I’m happy to see Whiskermenu bundled into Xubuntu 14.04 LTS, I really enjoyed using it. You can easily search for applications, or just browse through the categories to find the app you want. You can also quickly access Favorites and Recently Used applications.

One thing I found strange about Whiskermenu is that when you click on System it only shows you Gigolo and Task Manager. To get to Settings you have to click the icon at the bottom of the menu. It seems to me that Settings should really be included in the System menu, otherwise it might confuse newcomers to Xubuntu and Whiskermenu. This is not a huge deal, but I think the developers should consider a change in the next release.

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Whisker Menu

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Whisker Menu

Mugshot
Mugshot is also now included in Xubuntu 14.04. With Mugshot you can easily and quickly edit your user configuration details. You can add a photo, put in your name, email address, office phone and your fax number. I think most users will find Mugshot very useful since it allows user configuration information to be changed in a very intuitive and simple menu.

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Mugshot

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Mugshot

MenuLibre

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Comments

  1. ineuw says

    It sounds wonderful, until one begins to tweak the system – I can’t even begin to list the issues that have come up, even when one doesn’t touch anything fundmental. MenuLibre is not documented anywhere, its full of bugs and conflicts with the video which crashes the system. Xorg nouveau video driver has limited resolution and is also buggy. Nvidia drivers conflict with numerous display related components. . . . . . shall I go on?

    I am keeping a list of issues and post on Ubuntu as I resolve them. But please, don’t push the sofware for use in productivity. It’s only good for hackers to play with. I also doubt if you will print this.

  2. poltiser says

    Thank you for your review. My impressions are very similar. In LST form of Xubuntu important are the choices of an user. I am very happy that new version of Xubuntu Minimal Desktop (DE+Net+PulseAudio but no “programs”) is present in net install CD (XU14.10) as an option to choose from during installation steps… It works and it is easy to handle even for non professional like me. Good stuff! Well done!

    Best regards

  3. Mark says

    I recently installed Xubuntu 14.04 on my under powered Dell XPS M140 laptop with a 1GB memory card. I was amazed that it ran so very slow compared to Wheezy XFCE with upgrades Aterall, it is a lower demand desktop than Unity. I soon discovered that the real problem was that the swapiness setting was set by default way too high(for any normal machine). Once I adjusted it down to 10, the system kicked.

    Install Synaptic, VLC and Chrome and it is really an outstanding OS. For me, it means no more backports, testing programs and driver conflicts. Nice!

  4. Hate8LuvLinux says

    My first non-experimental, in Linux to stay distro was Ubuntu Studio, which uses the XFCE desktop and is almost identical to Xubuntu. Over the last two years I’ve used both distros, as well as Pear, Ubuntu Gnome, vanilla Ubuntu, Mint and Zorin, but always came back to Xubuntu. What kept me in the Mint fold for a few months was problems with the sound icon in the top panel, easy USB drive ISO writing and formatting in Mint and, most importantly, the fact that Xubuntu always loaded the previous session no matter how many times I told it not to. Long story short, the sound icon problem’s fixed, mintstick (Mint’s USB formatting and ISO writing program) is available to download and install from Mint’s package server, and I found the workaround to prevent reloading of the previous session. So now I have what I always loved about Xubuntu – a clean, fast OS, easy configuration and the ability to put dozens of program launchers at the bottom screen. Xubuntu 14.04 is sans doubt the easiest and most trouble-free OS I’ve ever used. And I’m lovin’ the five year support!

  5. rijnsma says

    Nothing has been said about how it does the jobs.
    For example I could not record with the recorders mhwavedit, audacity, qarecord. Not sufficient and working sources. While 12.04 and derivatives do great here for 2 years now..!
    So I wait a while and I’m going to try again or I will try Mint or something else. Clem is very good in sound. Everything is most of the time working out of the box.

    • Hate8LuvLinux says

      Are you trying to record internet streams or via USB or soundcard input? I’m having no problem recording streams with Audacity; the other stuff, I don’t really deal with.

      The problem may not be with Xubuntu per se but with all Trusty Tahr 14.04-based systems. Some changes have been made that are either the fault of Canonical or third parties, not necessarily the specific distro itself. E.g., Cool Edit in Wine worked perfectly up until 14.04, now regardless of the distro I need to specify ALSA as the default sound driver or I get static. This is either the fault of Canonical or the latest version of Wine, I forget which. Ditto for creating a bootable USB drive of Image for Linux – I have to install dependencies that used to be included in previous distro versions. Try a new distro on a separate partition or different computer before ditching Xubuntu. You could very well have the exact same problem on the new one.

  6. Brian Masinick says

    Jim, the way that the various menus are populated, if you ask me, is actually a software defect. If you understand the way that the debian packages are put together, the way in which the software components are categorized in Ubuntu is pretty sloppy at times; the issue comes at that level, not so much specific to Xubuntu. If I cared about it more, I’d write a defect report; it just isn’t a big issue to me; I tend to use other means to access the programs I most want to visit, otherwise I would have issued a report about this a long time ago.

    One other issue that bit me for a week or so until I found the answer was that Ubuntu has changed the organization and location of several of its firmware packages. In a lot of ways, it’s easier the way it is now, but because I had things set up the “old way”, when I first went to use this distribution I completely lost my wireless network access because I had redundant and conflicting copies of the Broadcom 4311 wireless firmware. I used to get it from b43-fwcutter. The linux-firmware-nonfree package now holds most wireless firmware; once I found that, and the way to clean up the cruft, I’ve had good results with this ever since.

    Overall, I see this as being solid and steady for a long time. Improving documentation and attention to small details like these are the only areas of improvement I could see, but there has already been steady improvement in many of these areas over the years. This is a good, solid long term release for those who don’t have real heavy, stiff requirements, but instead need a capable, no frills desktop system; this one delivers that very well.

  7. buntu says

    i tested xubuntu 14.04 in kvm and it works fine with vmvga driver but fonts are totally screwed up with QXL , any idea how to fix this.

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