Still more LXDE desktops

I keep running into LXDE derivatives. Not physically of course, but it could be an unintended side effect of being on the lookout for distros to try on the Mebius.

For example, I mentioned the Lubuntu spinoff Peppermint about a few months ago, adding my own warning that little time would elapse before it too morphed into something else. I was right (of course); here is Peppermint Ice.

Peppermint rips out a lot of what Lubuntu throws in by default; if you can imagine, Peppermint Ice seems to go a step further by ripping out more of what was in Peppermint, leaving an almost-purely Internet-reliant operating system.

Naturally there are stipulations to be made with that, but it’s more-or-less true: Short of a calculator, file manager or terminal emulator, almost everything here will require a solid, speedy Internet connection to use.

In that sense it might be a completely online desktop system. Whether or not you like that is going to depend on your personal proclivities; myself, I’m not a huge fan of the cloud, so Peppermint Ice does not entice. (Ha! I made a kind of pun! 🙄 )

My prediction: The next step in the Peppermint evolution is of course Peppermint Icicle, which will boot directly from the Internet, no on-disk system at all. It can be done.

So is it faster? is it lighter than its progenitor? You tell me.

Here’s Linux Mint LXDE, which is another LXDE adventure.

Green and black is good. Mint fans seem to love the fact that they get codecs, etc., from the word go, so this is about what I expected. Applications are the standard LXDE-driven fare, which I don’t begrudge anyone at all.

And it’s quite a bit “fuller” than its Peppermint cousins Tools and programs you might prefer, as a regular user of a desktop Linux, are on hand in Mint LXDE and I see almost no Web-only applications.

So is it lighter? is it faster than its competition? You tell me.

Masonux is something I looked at a long time ago, then felt sorry I never mentioned because the developer called it quits. For old time’s sake, here is what it looked like (notice the past tense) in the 9.04 version.

Masonux’s call to glory — or claim to fame — may have been its early adoption of the LXDE tool set; before it was cool to have an LXDE spinoff, Masonux had dedicated itself to That Ideal. earthpigg said himself (herself?) a few months ago that the niche no longer existed, and perhaps he was right.

In any case, since it’s Ubuntu-driven there’s nothing stopping you from installing the last version and updating manually. As you can see, it’s functional and clean — and exceptionally slim. The ISO was only +/- 325Mb, and your choice of software on startup is quite thin. And that’s a good, because it gives you a solid starting point. Build up from there.

So is it faster? is it lighter than the newcomers? You tell me.

WattOS is something I have a hard time putting in a box mentally. I see that it’s supposed to be somehow more power-conscious, which in turn probably suggests it is more energy-efficient, which in turn is somehow better for the planet.

For what I’ve seen though, there is only one tool in particular that really sets it apart from any other distro: an amalgamated power control panel. I read somewhere that it’s not accessible until you install the system, but I am a sneaky person so I managed to get it on screen from the live environment.

I understand WattOS’s goal — even fawns over it for its power-conscientiousness. As far as I can tell though, by skimming through dpkg -l and poking around elsewhere, it seems to be using a standard Ubuntu kernel, standard applications (Abiword, Gnumeric, et al.) and quite a few Gnome underpinnings. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

No matter. You gotta have a gimmick these days, if you want to stick out in the crowd. An original power monitor is enough to draw a few eyes.

So is it lighter? is it faster? Is it more energy-efficient? You tell me.

I could go on and list quite a few more. Ubuntu seems to be the grandfather of most of these (and Debian the great-grandfather), and there are in-house versions of LXDE desktops in almost every major distro. And where there isn’t, you can usually put together your own rendition.

It’s a good thing. LXDE reinforces the idea that you don’t need a quad-core with 12Gb of memory to run a Linux desktop, no matter what the Gnome or KDE camps tell you. It also, in a roundabout way, reminds people that older machines are still viable.

Of course, everything I’ve shown you here still requires far more muscle and power than the Mebius has on hand. It might be that they are all better solutions for older machines … just not really, really old ones.

So in that sense, are they lighter? are they faster? Are they better than full-blown desktop environments? You tell me. :mrgreen:

6 thoughts on “Still more LXDE desktops

  1. spc

    LXDE rocks. PcmanFM is the best file manager IMHO…

    Currently I have lxterminal, lxappearance and aforementioned Pcmanfm 0.5.2 installed on top of fluxbox..

    When it comes to Mint camp these guys just simply are incapable of LEAN thinking. Their offshoots are huuumongous.
    If I remember correctly Mint Fluxbox was around 130MB. I’d thought that this was impossible. But hey.. there is always Mint.
    What i’m trying to say is that sentence: “Linux Mint {Xfce,Lxde,Fluxbox} Edition is lightweight” is pure fallacy.

    If one is looking for lightweight distro,it is quite safe call to pick one of slackware’s children. Some of them might even have LXDE branch. 😀

  2. anticapitalista

    I personally think a goood icewm or fluxbox set up is better, leaner and lighter than an lxde one.

    I really do not like pcmanfm, give me Rox filer anyday. Faster, lighter and smaller and does more than pcmanfm.

    Having said that, of the lxde distros I have tried, the Debian-live version was the best.

  3. Faelar

    I like the LXDE spirit : standalone applications, trying to balance the view of big players (Gnome/KDE) when it comes to desktop standards.

    I use lxappearance ans lxrander in openbox. I don’t want PCmanFM but they don’t enforce me to use it, that’s why I really like the LXDE project.

    When it comes to the distributions I somewhat agree with spc. Ubuntu is not famous for its “light” underlying system, replacing Gnome surely helps but does not resolve all the issues.

  4. Bill Reid

    In regards to Linux Mint, I don’t think they are trying to put out a light desktop with any edition. Clem always (i feel) focuses on as fully functional a desktop he can offer, regardless of DE/WM. I have found the LXDE edition to be lighter than the GNOME edition, but not so much lighter that I have replaced the 11th GNOME edition. I would use it on my laptop if I hadn’t spent so much time setting up a Xubuntu alternate install on it…

    Masonux guy is right, the mantle of “first” went to Masonux, and it was great at the time. Early editions of Crunchbang run Openbox/LXpanel/pcmanfm and offered all the codecs. For a time I missed my “menu” button and found the LXpanel really filled that role, but now I prefer tint2.

    I’d really like to see some evidence for WattOS (as “power-friendly” is starting to make me take notice. But I am skeptical…

  5. technologyunit

    Well my first experience with LXDE was with something called EasyDebian Chroot for the Nokia Internet Tablets. It allowed you to run your unhildonized(this means theme optimized) linux apps inside the LXDE environment. I really think that LXDE isn’t a very popular solution anymore because many users want a slicker interface. But the niche is still there for those who don’t have a very powerful system.


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