Sunday, June 14, 2015

Linux Lite 2.4: A good lightweight distro, but nothing to write home about

Linux Lite is a relatively new distro that is basically a trimmed down version of the Xubuntu LTS releases. Version 2.4 was released on April 1, 2015, based on Xubuntu 14.04.2 LTS, however remaining with the tried-and-trusted 3.13.0 kernel that has been the base of so many distros since the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

initial desktop.png

1. First impressions and ease of use

The Live ISO is 758 MB in size and can be downloaded from their website at A simple Xfce desktop greets us on boot, and VirtualBox Guest Additions appears to be preinstalled. This being an Xfce-based distribution, everything is where it is expected to be, although it is not full of eye candy:


Ease of use score: 10/10

2. Installer
Nothing much to see here; just another distribution using the (ubiquitous) Ubiquity installer. However there are a couple of design details I wanted to draw attention to. As you can see in this first screenshot here; the headings are not properly rendered and are hard to see:

bad design.png

On a positive note, there is a slideshow included, and it’s quite good:


Installer score: 9/10

Release dateISO size (GB)Distribution baseDefault filesystemInstall timeBoot timeSize of installDesktop RAM useKernel Version
KaOS 2015.022/24/20151.4IndependentXFS18:030:364.64153.18.7
Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 12/25/20151.1Ubuntu Vivid (15.04 Beta 1)ext412:570:274.24573.19.1
Manjaro 0.8.12 Xfce2/6/20151.4Archext411:330:274.73513.16.7
Netrunner 152/16/20151.9Ubuntu Utopic (14.10)ext416:200:416.47143.16.0
openSUSE 13.2 KDE11/4/20144.4IndependentBtrfs (used ext4 because of known bug)15:290:394.44223.16.6
Bodhi Linux 3.0.02/17/20150.6Ubuntu Trusty (14.04 LTS)ext45:500:342.23483.16.0
Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon11/29/20141.4Ubuntu Trusty (14.04 LTS)ext48:450:424.53433.13.0
Pinguy OS 14.04.23/22/20152.6Ubuntu Trusty (14.04 LTS)ext420:540:477.47453.13.0
Korora 21 Cinnamon2/6/20151.7Fedora 21ext413:241:045.06023.18.3
Fedora 22 Beta4/21/20151.3Independentext410:100:464.28434.0.0
Lubuntu 15.044/24/20150.7Ubuntu Vivid (15.04)ext411:550:222.42163.19.0
elementary OS 0.34/11/20150.9Ubuntu Trusty (14.04 LTS)ext411:200:262.63923.16.0
Linux Lite 2.44/1/20150.8Ubuntu Trusty (14.04 LTS)ext44:310:233.54163.13.0
Average of all distros1.612:230:364.3482

3. Design

Although the design of Linux Lite is nothing to write home about, it’s not bad at all. However, the font rendering is not very good, and to improve it, Hinting should be set to Slight under Appearance>Fonts in the Settings Manager. The default font used is Droid Sans, with DejaVu Sans for the window titles. As shown, the window titles are not very pretty.
sans font menu bar.png

With some customizations (Numix GTK and icons, custom wallpaper), I got it to look like this:


Not bad at all. Since Xfce is GTK based, there’s no shortage of themes, and if something isn’t up to your standards, customize away.

The login screen is also nicely done, and resembles the OS X login screen.

login screen mac like.png

Design score: 9/10

4. Applications

Linux Lite comes with the default set of Xfce applications.

Web Browser - Firefox
File Manager - Thunar
Email Client - Thunderbird
Text Editor - Mousepad (GEdit GTK+2 fork)
Image Viewer - Ristretto
Terminal Emulator - Xfce Terminal
Music Player - VLC Media Player
Office Suite - LibreOffice

Applications score: 9.5/10

5. Installing packages

Since it is based off of Ubuntu, we have a huge repository of packages extendable through PPAs. However, the GUI tool, called Lite Software is not very good, and doesn’t even have a full list of packages like Synaptic does. It is nowhere near the level of Ubuntu Software Center.

lite software.png

This is going to confuse new users to Linux and I am going with a lower score because of this.

Installing packages score: 7.5/10

Final Thoughts: Linux Lite seems to satisfy its goal of being a lightweight distro, but at the same time, it’s nothing to write home about. Furthermore, its graphical software installer is terrible, and therefore I would stick to Xubuntu, Manjaro Xfce, or Mint Xfce if you want to use the Xfce desktop.

Final score: 45/50 = 90%

Distro name
Final Score
Manjaro 0.8.12 Xfce
Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 1
Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon
Fedora 22 Beta
openSUSE 13.2 KDE
Korora 21 Cinnamon
elementary OS 0.3
Pinguy OS 14.04.2
Linux Lite 2.4
Netrunner 15
Lubuntu 15.04
Bodhi Linux 3.0.0
KaOS 2015.02

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