UVTC's Blog


Update 2012-05-28: Xubuntu is also very nice…

I stayed with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS until today. Upgrading has always been on the “todo, sometime … soonish” list, but I’ve been hesitant to switch to Unity, preferring instead the classic desktop interface.

Today though, I was bitten by the spring-cleaning bug and figured it was finally time.

Being 3 versions behind what’s current, I opted to back up my data and do a clean Ubuntu 11.10 install. The installer program has been updated since the last time I used it. It now asks you right at the beginning if you want to grab available upgrades during the install process, and also asks you if you want some non-free extras included with the install. It also does a sort of dual-process install now, where it begins copying files while at the same time asking you for some other bits of info it needs during the install. Pretty slick.

After the install, and the reboot, I was faced with a fresh Ubuntu 11.10 desktop, featuring the Unity UI. I’m sure the Canonical devs have put lots of excellent work into Unity, but the UI was not my cup of tea.

Looking for something more plain, minimal, and more like a “classic standard” desktop — but still wanting the user-friendliness I was getting before — I was happy to find Lubuntu: a lightweight variant of Ubuntu. When booting the Lubuntu cd, at first I got a console-based installer, but it automatically switched to a GUI installer that looked just like the one that Ubuntu used earlier. The (again, clean) installation seemed a bit quicker (though I didn’t time it), and soon it re-booted and I was logged in.

Nice! Exactly what I was hoping for! :) Classic desktop. One main bar (“panel”) at the bottom. A regular applications menu. Lots of open space. Still user-friendly. Simple, fast, and practical. Perfect.

Customizing the panel is easy: right-click to access the “Settings” menu item (at the top of the context menu) for whichever element within the panel you just right-clicked on. Further down that context menu is a more general “Panel Settings” menu item which applies to the panel as a whole.

A few notes about changes I notice right off the bat from Ubuntu 10.04:

Some quick changes I made right away:

Quite happy with Lubuntu so far! Aside from its own docs, another great resource is the LXDE wiki.

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Reference: summary of some packages installed (via sudo apt-get install <the-pkg-name>) right after Lubuntu was installed:

emacs emacs-goodies-el
git gitg