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Desktop Linux Reviews
Xubuntu

Desktop Linux Reviews

Last week I did a review of Kubuntu 10.04, one of Canonical’s officially supported Ubuntu derivatives. Today’s review is about Xubuntu 10.04, an officially recognized but not supported Ubuntu derivative. According to the Xubuntu downloads page, it is based on the “feature-rich core of Ubuntu” Linux.

Unlike Ubuntu (which uses GNOME), Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment. Xfce is a lightweight environment that, according to its creator Olivier Fourdan, “…loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources.” Xubuntu is really geared toward those using older hardware or who simply prefer a no-frills desktop without the gobs of eye-candy found in GNOME or KDE.

What’s New In This Release

Here’s a sample of what’s new in this release:

  • Albatross theme updated to the latest version
  • Xubuntu now uses PulseAudio
  • You can choose an Xubuntu or classic Xfce session when you login
  • Xubuntu now includes the Ubuntu Software Center
  • SimpleScan replaces Xsane for scanners
  • Gnumeric updated to 1.10.1
  • Revamped selection of bundled games
  • Xscreensaver is now the default screensaver

If you aren’t familiar with PulseAudio, see the Wikipedia background article about it and see also this article on Linux.com for why PulseAudio matters to Xubuntu users. The article is a bit dated but explains some of the advantages to using PulseAudio in Linux distributions.

Being able to choose between Xubuntu and classic Xfce is a nice touch on the login screen. I doubt, however, that many users will opt for generic Xfce over Xubuntu. But it’s there if you want to do it.

One of the things I disliked most about Kubuntu was that it lacked the Ubuntu Software Center. That isn’t the case with Xubuntu and I’m very glad to see it. Please note that you can still access the Ubuntu Software Center in a classic Xfce session, as well as via the default Xubuntu session.

Although I don’t spend too much time gaming these days, it’s nice to see a revised selection of games. See the software section for a list of what’s available in this release.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice is how fast…REALLY FAST…Xubuntu is when you boot into it, reboot, or login/logout. Ubuntu 10.04 itself is fast but Xubuntu 10.04 is even faster. It takes just a couple of seconds and you’ll be staring at your desktop or you’ll have logged out, etc. Zippy is definitely an appropriate word to describe Xubuntu.

The classic Xfce desktop.