Lubuntu: A Lightweight Version Of Ubuntu [Linux]

Ads by Google

lubuntu vs ubuntuLove Ubuntu, but feel skeptical about 11.04’s new Unity interface? Try Lubuntu 11.04, an extremely lightweight alternative to the main branch of Ubuntu. You’ll find the menu-driven interface familiar and the resources hit remarkably low.

Ubuntu 11.04, on my computer, runs better than Windows 7. Having said that, it’s understandable that many argue the latest version of Ubuntu is bloated and the new interface, while cute, isn’t quite ready for primetime.

Enter Lubuntu. One of the many versions of Ubuntu, Lubuntu is based on a desktop environment that strives to use next to no resources while still being easy to use. It’s what Unity refugees are looking for. Lubuntu uses half as much RAM as Xubuntu, according to Wikipedia, and offers much of the configuration Linux users expect. We briefly discussed Lubuntu while pointing out lightweight Linux distributions – let’s now take a closer look.

What It Is

Lubuntu is Ubuntu with LXDE as the primary desktop. Not sure what that means? The best way to explain is to take a look at the desktop:

lubuntu vs ubuntu

As you can see, there is only one panel. Similar to Windows XP, this panel features a menu button beside some shortcuts, with a clock and dock to the right.

Ads by Google

Click the menu and you’ll see something familar:

alternative to ubuntu

That’s right: it’s pretty close to the old-fashioned Gnome interface. The desktop includes icons, provided by file browser PcManFM. The file browser’s main interface should also be very comfortable for long-time Linux users:

alternative to ubuntu

If you’re not too happy with the default look, there are some controls for that too:

alternative to ubuntu

Take some time to explore Lubuntu’s interface; you’ll find it very comfortable. Make use of this operating system for a while and you’ll also find it runs really well, even on older hardware. Some advanced features may be missing, but if you mostly need a way to get onto the web and edit the occasional document this is more than good enough.

How To Get It

Go ahead and download Lubuntu over at; click the “Get Lubuntu” link on the right side of the page. You’ll then have a bootable ISO from which you can try Lubuntu.

If you’re ready to install, you’ll find the new installer from Ubuntu 11.04 is ready for you.

lubuntu vs ubuntu

This installer makes setting up Lubuntu painless, explaining exactly what you need to do every step of the way.

Included Applications

By default Lubuntu includes software for just about everything. Here’s a breakdown of the highlights:

  • Abiword – word processor
  • Audacious – music player
  • Chromium – web browser
  • Evince – PDF reader
  • Firefox – web browser
  • Galculator – calculator
  • Gnumeric – spreadsheet
  • guvcview – webcam
  • MPlayer – video player
  • MTPaint – graphics painting
  • Pidgin – instant messenger
  • Simple Scan – scanning
  • Sylpheed – email client
  • Synaptic – package manager
  • Transmission – bittorrent client
  • Update Manager
  • File-roller – archiver
  • XChat – IRC
  • Xfburn – CD burner
  • Xpad – notetaking

Want more than this? Don’t worry; you have full access to the Ubuntu repositories and the thousands of free programs it includes. Use Synaptic to access them; the Ubuntu Software Center isn’t included.


Based on the comments beneath my Ubuntu 11.04 review, a large number of you aren’t happy with Unity. I hope Lubuntu is more in line with what you’re looking for, because very soon Gnome 2 won’t be updated anymore. Lubuntu offers a classic interface and a lightweight footprint, two things many Linux users value. It may soon be an official version of Ubuntu.

Additional reading: Check out our “Ubuntu: A Beginner’s Guide

What do you think? Is Lubuntu cool, or just another unnecessary re-make of Ubuntu? Share your comments below.

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Master the Linux Command Line
Master the Linux Command Line
120 Members
Linux for New Switchers
Linux for New Switchers
99 Members
Best Linux Apps
Best Linux Apps
90 Members
Linux Distros Talk
Linux Distros Talk
76 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (35)

    I’ve used Ubuntu, Puppy, Mint, Bodhi, Fedora PC/OS and Lubuntu.   I like Puppy but
    its a bit of a pain to install to a hard drive and Debian Mint is sweet but new Linux
    users may find issues using G-Parted.  Lubuntu is a excellent OS.   Fast and little bloat.
    Its better in my view then Xubuntu and while Puppy, Vector, SliTaz and DSL are smaller
    in size its a easier install.

    I had issues with wireless with Vector and SliTaz.   I have all the eye candy going withMint and Ubuntu on other laptops.   The Macbuntu script for example but while fun itgot a bit old.   Lubuntu is excellent for new Linux users and more experienced usersas well.    To be candid, I don’t use Open office or many of the programs in Ubuntu orsome of the GOME based distros.   Lubuntu is great!

  • mvario

    Nice article, thanks.  I’ve been playing with Lubuntu on an old computer and it works well.  I recently put Xubuntu on my other computer and I think I like it a little better, but it’s close.

  • Tech Tony

     Why are there no hard numbers as to what Lubuntu requires? I want to rub XBMC on Lubuntu but need to know the actual hard drive space Lubuntu requires yet its NO WHERE to be found!

    • Sonickatanga

      I’m using about 2GB disk space so far, after additional installing a few applications like skype. I reserved a partition of 10GB for Lubuntu, 10GB for WinXP and the rest I formatted as NTFS so I can use it as a data partition for both systems, as Lubuntu is able to write on NTFS. 

    • Tina

       Thanks for addressing this question!

  • Pierre Champagne

    Lubuntu is great.  An alternative with some gaps filled in and as fast is Quelitu:

    #toc, .toc, .mw-warning { border: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170); background-color: rgb(249, 249, 249); padding: 5px; font-size: 95%; }#toc h2, .toc h2 { display: inline; border: medium none; padding: 0pt; font-size: 100%; font-weight: bold; }#toc #toctitle, .toc #toctitle, #toc .toctitle, .toc .toctitle { text-align: center; }#toc ul, .toc ul { list-style-type: none; list-style-image: none; margin-left: 0pt; padding-left: 0pt; text-align: left; }#toc ul ul, .toc ul ul { margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 2em; }#toc .toctoggle, .toc .toctoggle { font-size: 94%; }body { text-indent: 0in; text-align: left; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; font-variant: normal; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: 12pt; font-style: normal; widows: 2; font-family: ‘Times New Roman'; }table { }td { border-collapse: collapse; text-align: left; vertical-align: top; }p, h1, h2, h3, li { color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: ‘Times New Roman'; font-size: 12pt; text-align: left; }

    Quelitu–A Fast Lightweight OS for the Environment–Recycle/Reuse Your Old Computer by Doubling Its Speed

    Quelitu 2-11.04 Natty Narwhal–Release Notes and Screenshots–A Fast and Scalable Lightweight Linux Distribution with LXDE Desktop

  • Sonickatanga

    Hi Jhpot, seems like this is not a new issue between the acer aspire 1310 and ubuntu (in all flavours, and even with alternate CDs) as I discovered by googling for “acer aspire 1310 ubuntu”. the only thing I’ll maybe try yet is downloading the mini.iso and give it a try… would be a pity if it doesn’t work out … I’m using ubuntu on my other machines just fine. on the other hand – seems pretty ridiculous to build a lightweight distro that can’t install on a 1,5GHz CPU & 1GB RAM machine (yes, I added extra RAM since last time, no effect – kind of pissed off already).

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
New comment

Please login to avoid entering captcha

Log In