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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Experience Xubuntu

I have installed xubuntu 6.06 LTS in my pc about two weeks ago and, although I have had some problems, the experience was great. It is a totally different piece of software from the old Mandrake 9 that I had previously. This is not a full review, it's just my experience.

Xubuntu is Ubuntu with Xfce instead of Gnome as default desktop environment. The installed version, also known as dapper drake, comes with Xfce 4.4 Beta 1, so it is normal that appear some bugs, although I must say that those bugs have not been very annoying until now.

Live CD and Installation

I tested xubuntu desktop and was really impressive the speed of the system for a live CD although , of course, it is not as fast as Damn Small Linux, for instance. Booting was a little slow but it worth the while, the system recognized all the present hardware with the exception of the old isa sound card (CMI 8330) and the winmodem (an Intel 536EP), but they were configured easily once the system was installed to the hard disk.

Update: If you want to know how to set up the CMI 8330 sound card you should read this post: "How to configure an Old Sound Card in Xubuntu: The CMI 8330 Case"

The system requirement are relatively low, just 128 MB ram but if you already have a linux swap partition the CD will run with less memory.

After proving the main features from live CD I ran the installation utility. The process was fast and simple, it just took a few minutes to answer few questions and copyin the files to the hard disk was really fast.

On the Desktop

I always have been a fan of Xfce, it has a clean and elegant look and feel and is quite easy to use, but the most important feature of this desktop environment is that it's very fast! The version that comes packaged with xubuntu, nevertheless, is the most impressive until now.

The most noticeable change is the use of Thunar as file manager by default, which is more modern and easy to use than Xffm, the previous file manager. However, Xffm is still maintained for those people that like it best, although is not bundled in the xubuntu CD. Now it is also possible to show icons on the desktop.

All those changes make of xfce a modern looking and very usuable desktop without the overhead of other desktop environments. And was anounced Xfce version beta 2 promising many bug fixes and more usability.

Minor issues

Xubuntu is not perfect, of course. There are some problems to fix, most of them seems to be related with the beta stage of Xfce. It lacks of a trash bin, for instance.

Printer managing could be easier too. I have connected just one printer but the utility recognized three of them.

Live CD does not come with (OO.o) but it install some OO.o languages packs.


Despite of those problems, xubuntu is a great distro and it's getting better. If you don't want to change your distro then give it a try to Xfce, you won't regret.

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