Monday, October 22, 2012

Lubuntu 12.10 Review: Upgrade to the latest Quantal Quetzal!

This is my fourth review of the Quantal series  with Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu already reviewed. Lubuntu, the fastest of them all but the one with the most boring look. Nope! Like the other three, in my article, I'll compare the latest release with Lubuntu 12.04 (no there was no 12.04.1 like others!). However, a reminder - the previous release was not a Long Term Release (with 3-5 years of support). Support is for 18 months in both and it makes sense here to upgrade to the latest distro, possibly.


From Ubuntu 12.10 Comparison
To the uninitiated, Lubuntu is a lightweight LXDE based operating system from the Ubuntu stable and it offers a complete package of applications for daily computing needs, plus it allows users to access and download thousands of applications from the very rich Ubuntu repository. Primary applications in Lubuntu are:
  • Graphics: GPicView, MTPaint, Simple scan
  • Multimedia: Audacious music player, Gnome MPlayer for videos, guvcview webcam
  • Internet: Chromium, Sylpheed email client, Pidgin IM, Bittorrent client
  • Office: Gnumeric spreadsheet, Abiword wordprocessor, Xpad notes, Osmo calendar, Evince pdf viewer and pdf writer
  • Accessories: Calculator, Leafpad (notepad), Screenshot, Xfburn CD burner, Archiver, Catfish search 
  • Games: Ace of penguins
  • Programming languages supported: Perl, Python, Bash 
I booted up both 12.10 and 12.04 on my Asus K54C laptop with 2.2 GHz Intel 2nd Gen Ci3 processor and 2 GB DDR3 RAM. Post initial live boot, I installed them on the same machine, to check and compare individual performances. High level results are given below:

High Level Results
Parameters Lubuntu 12.10 Lubuntu 12.04
Size of ISO 726 MB 722 MB
Booting time (post installation) 8 sec 8 sec
Desktop LXDE LXDE
Linux kernel 3.5.0-17 3.2.0-29
CPU usage (live boot) 1-5% 1-5%
RAM usage (live boot) 134 MB 149 MB
CPU Usage (post installation) 0-5% 0-5%
RAM usage (post installation) 123 MB 119 MB
Installation time (with 1 MBPS connection) 30 min. 30 min.
Wifi detection Immediate Immediate
Touchpad detection Works by default Wnorks by default
Ease of use Really smooth to use Really smooth to use
Eye candy factor Interface still looks bland in spite of a new icon theme and a new wallpaper Interface looks bland
Repository Lubuntu Software Center Lubuntu Software Center
File Manager PCManFM 1.0.1 PCManFM 0.9.10

Essentially, you see here not much difference between 12.10 and 12.04, except for an updated Linux kernel (3.5.0-17.28 Ubuntu Linux kernel which is based on the v3.5.5 upstream Linux kernel). The developers have tried to give a face lift in Lubuntu 12.10, through a new set of icon theme, Lubuntu Box and a new wallpaper but still eye candy factor is missing from this incredibly fast and high functional distro.

From Ubuntu 12.10 Comparison
From Ubuntu 12.10 Comparison
Incremental changes
 
Ubuntu did undergo a major change in the new release through web apps, but none of the other three did. The incremental changes in Lubuntu 12.10 are limited to:
  • A new version of pcmanfm (file manager), including at lot of bug fixes, external thumbnailer support, multiple screen support.
  • Notification-daemon have been replaced for xfce4-notifyd on the default installation, to display notifications.
  • Catfish, a searching utility, have been added to the default installation. 
  • A new grub to account for the UEFI secured boot in Windows 8 machines.
  • Migration-assistant removed: The tool responsible for migration of user profiles from existing operating system(s) is no longer part of Quantal.
  • Python 3: Still, Python 2 is supported. 
  • No OpenJDK6: Now Ubuntu has totally moved to OpenJDK7 as the default Java implementation.
So, in nutshell, more or less, very limited change from Lubuntu 12.04. The distro still retains its no-nonsense functionality, works very well on systems with limited resources and has every time worked out-of-the box for me detecting all the drivers, sound card and wifi/lan connection. In overall, inarguably a splendid distro - possibly the best of the Ubuntu clan in terms of resource utilization. Not surprisingly, today Lubuntu ranks higher than Xubuntu or Kubuntu in the distrowatch ranking.

Bottomline

Thus the bottom-line, in my mind, is to upgrade to the latest 12.10 to avail the latest applications and security features. Desktop is slightly better in look and feel in Quantal. You can upgrade through the upgrade option or by typing the following on the LXDE terminal:

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Lubuntu 12.10 is a good stable OS and really smooth to use. Alongside, it is very light on resources and very useful for low resource computers as well. 

Only thing that goes against Lubuntu, in my mind, is its bland looks. Even the face lift hasn't helped much and the other themes, provided by default, make Lubuntu worse than the default theme; I tried them all! Even a bit of web search didn't actually provide me useful suggestions to transform Lubuntu. I did my experiments and here is the result:


From Ubuntu 12.10 Comparison

From Ubuntu 12.10 Comparison
It can be made to look whatever you want to, just an hour or two of experiment can do wonders to the look of the distro and make it really appealing. Possibly the developers want to retain the no-nonsense look of this amazing distro but who is stopping us, the users? The more I use Lubuntu I fall in love with it! It is and will remain in my mind as the most amazing distro from the Ubuntu stable. Thanks developers for working hard to make it better. LTS or no LTS, I don't mind, till I get such a functional and efficient distro!

50 comments:

  1. Nice. I love lubuntu. Thank you for review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow what did you do to make your desktop look so good???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :). Simply by moving Lubuntu panel top, appearance set to solid color with opacity, space wallpaper search in google and a cairo dock ;)

      Delete
  3. It seems to me that a major factor to consider in whether to upgrade hasn't been considered in this or any of the reviews (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu or this one.)

    12.04 was an LTS release of Ubuntu, the base for Lubuntu. As such, it is intended to be solid and stable, and after a couple of months to get the bugs out, LTS releases do tend to be solid.

    12.10 is not only not an LTS release of Ubuntu, it is the first release following an LTS release and so tends to be where many new features get their first trial. It isn't Beta, but probably nobody would argue seriously that it will be as trouble-free as a six month old LTS system.

    For Ubuntu and Kubuntu the arguments are strongest because in addition to the expected stability, one gets five years support. For Xubuntu one gets three years support. In Lubuntu, even without an extra support period for 12.04, I'd suggest the likelihood of added stability is worthwhile in and of itself.

    bc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, definitely stability is a compelling argument. But, given that Lubuntu hasn't changed much from the last release, my argument is in favor of upgrading to the latest release. Regards, AS

      Delete
  4. does Lubuntu 12.10 have the same problem with the older AMD cards like Ubuntu 12.10? Meaning so you need the work around to get it to work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried Lubuntu on any AMD PC. So, not sure on this. Does Linux Mint too have issues with older AMD cards?

      Delete
    2. Yes, Lubuntu 12.10 has the same problem with ATI Radeon 4xxx series and older, but has the same workaround as regular Ubuntu - https://launchpad.net/~makson96/+archive/mesa

      Delete
    3. correct link:

      http://www.unixmen.com/ubuntu-12-10-and-amd-catalyst-problem-solved/

      Delete
  5. Excuse me sir, may I know if your Lubuntu 12.10 does not have issues on some of the tooltips that is on a black background with black fonts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the reference is to GTK 3.0 applications (Gnome MPlayer). If you take a look at settings.ini file for the default theme you'll see:
      tooltip_bg_color:#000000
      tooltip_fg_color:#000000

      Black letters on black background. Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken

      Delete
    2. Sorry, my mistake. Yes, I checked, it is, black color with black background in GTK 3.0 apps. I didn't try but can't we change it as root?

      Delete
  6. I've been using Lubuntu on and off for a couple of years. It has gotten steadily better with each version.

    12.10 has a noticeably quicker, smoother Software Center.

    12.10 has a new desktop "WNCKPager" that has all of the Gnome pager's features.

    The panel is VERY customizable...once you finally figure out how customize it.

    I love the way Lubuntu is so "modular." Your OS is'nt so tangled up in gnome dependencies and filled with junk like Compiz and Pulse Audio.

    The PCManFM is lacking in two ways: It doesn't have Nautilus's easy file sharing feature and when you open a compressed file you can end up with a mess of files to organize. Nautilus automatically creates a pre-named folder to contain your files.

    HOWEVER, PCManFM can transfer large of amounts of encrypted files at over 10 times the speed of Nautilus!!!!!!! So one needs only to install Nautilus for most uses and use PCManFM for fast efficient backup duties.

    The "Customize Look and Feel" and "Openbox Configuration Manager" are confusing and overlapping in their functions they should be merged.

    All in all I much prefer Lubuntu 12.10 to Ubuntu with Unity or Gnome 3. It's wickedly fast and far more efficient to work with when using a desktop or laptop computer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "HOWEVER, PCManFM can transfer large of amounts of encrypted files at over 10 times the speed of Nautilus!!!!!!! So one needs only to install Nautilus for most uses and use PCManFM for fast efficient backup duties."

      Since these GUI Apps are front-ends of the terminal commands, I found that closing the GUI allows the background file transfers ... but not sure if this increases or affects the speeds / times.

      Thunar is my preference, since it has the most flexible file-renamer in Linux. Open 2 of these, then copy files. Close the GUI. Seems ok to me

      Delete
  7. It's wonderful. Built in GMA 500 (poulsbo) kernel support, fast choice of standard or netbook desktop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I recall I had a tough time with 11.04 Natty which didn't have GMA 500 support. Now all of them works well with Intel GMA 500 support. Lubuntu worked really well with my netbook.

      Delete
  8. Please do a review of Quelitu 12.10 when it comes out at the end of November. It is Lubuntu with many improvements and better looks. It has an HUD-like feature, a few custom apps (Qx Backup, Qx Maintenance Center...).

    See description in blue on this page:
    http://wavesofthefuture.net/computers/download-telecharger-descargas-free-gratuit-gratis-quelitu.shtml

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, I'll do it once it is released.
      Thanks.

      Delete
  9. Lubuntu is my favourite linux distro and I'd like to mention that you can change its "bland look" with some of GTK3 themes from gnome-look.org. Some of them works very well with most of applications in lubuntu and can improve its look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point. Thanks, I'll try out some GTK3 themes from gnome-look website.

      Delete
  10. Ok I need help here... I've recently switched from Windows to Linux. Started out with Ubuntu 12.04 - then I switched to 12.10, then I switched to Xubuntu 12.10 (mostly because of the increased speed and I don't feel like I really need the HUD, cool as it is, its just glitter sprinkled on top).

    So as pleased as I am with Xubuntu - would I benefit switching to Lubuntu? I'm not that great working outside of a GUI-thingy (see? I'm learning the lingo!) and as eager as I am to learn I would prefer to not HAVE to.

    I work allot on my computer as an illustrator and need that to work smoothly but beyond that (and the future steam-release) its really nothing heavy weight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Xubuntu is less cluttered than the original Ubuntu (with Unity DE) but it uses the same amount of RAM (around 160MB idle) while Lubuntu uses almost a third of this (57MB). If you think you need the 3 year support to have a stable and reliable system all the way then stay with Xubuntu 12.04
      If you want to try something else/something possibly snappier (the difference is mostly notable on aging hardware) then try Lubuntu. You may need to perform a clean upgrade every 18 months, or just enjoy the recovered usability.
      Eventually your motto here should be:"If it ain't broke don't fix it" so if Xubuntu works great on your computer then don't mess it up.

      Delete
  11. Bland desktop etc. really isn't such a problem, (for me anyway).
    Majority of my time is in a browser (Chrome for me), so DE isn't an issue.
    Or even OS

    I never really see it, and appreciate the extra responsiveness of Lubuntu (on refurb netbook).

    I have a 30gb SSD, done all the tweaks, (no swapfile, paged stuff to RAM etc,), really zippy.

    I would like to see booting to RAM though.
    Regards
    gvnmcknz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point! Lightweight Linux like Puppy, etc. can boot to RAM. It'll be really awesome if Lubuntu does it too.

      Delete
  12. problem installing via usb ... tried both unetbootin and linux live installer ..... not working

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a Windows installer as well, if you have Windows XP or 7 installed. Also, could you please provide details of the problem you are encountering? Problems with live boot or in installation after live boot?

      Delete
    2. Arindam,

      Please do a review of Quelitu. I have read some of your other review...

      Delete
  13. Quelitu 12.10 is out. It is a much improved Lubuntu with better looks and more lightweight. It has both an Lxde and an E17 (lighter) interface.

    See Release Notes/Download:
    http://wavesofthefuture.net/computers/download-telecharger-descargas-free-gratuit-gratis-quelitu.shtml

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for your comprehensive review. I intend to use Lubuntu loaded on a live memory stick to allow for a fully portable operating system. By using the Universal USB Installer I can set it up with persistence and about 3GB of extra space for expansion and download captures.
    As long as any computer has USB boot capability, all I need is my memory stick. Makes for very light packing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a good idea to use a USB stick for more than just testing. Thumb drives have low-quality memory chips and their lifetime is already short without OS-intensive writes.
      Good quality memory cards could be an option, but the more important is still to have all your important data (/home) on a HDD (and/or sync'ed with your safe and secure cloud space).

      Delete
    2. I agree Viktor. Actually I have observed operating systems to perform better and faster when installed on hard disc, even if you set aside the short shelf life of memory sticks. Anyway, it takes mere 8-10 GB of space on hard disk.

      Delete
  15. Fellow linux users, I have found that the most recent Lubuntu releases tend to crash when doing a full install on older amd desktops with nvidea cards? However, the older Lubuntu distros have no problems with the full install! This tells me that, in fact, that this wonderful distro has regressed not improved. As for it claiming to be a solution for older computers,that remains to be seen.Lubuntu has had many years of refinements and bug removal, unlike Linux Lite's first distro that for claiming to be fast, light and free, it is riddled with bugs,Lubuntu should need no excuses. When Lubuntu works, it is indeed, the fastest and most versatile distro in Linux land.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I primarily used Lubuntu on a Netbook with Intel graphic card and it didn't crash. For Nvidia, I guess the default option in Ubuntu is responsible. With Linux Mint 13, Ubuntu 12.04.1 and PearOS, all of them crashed in the Core i7 laptop with 2 GB Nvidia Geforce graphics I have. Later I found out a better way of installing Nvidia graphic drivers from Ubuntu forums. Please try it with Lubuntu and let me know if it works for you.

      For the driver related issue;

      "The solution lies in the bumblebee configure file. For anyone else with this problem, here's my process:

      Make sure that nvidia-current-updates and nvidia-settings-updates are uninstalled and nvidia-current and nvidia-settings are installed (sudo apt-get remove nvidia-current-updates nvidia-settings-updates sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings.

      Run sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable, sudo apt-get update, and sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia.

      Change line 22 in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf to say "Driver=nvidia" and line 47 to say "KernelDriver=nvidia".

      Run sudo bumblebeed restart.

      Run optirun glxgears and admire the pretty graphics.

      Line 22 in /etc/bumblebee/bumblebee.conf is originally "Driver=nvidia-current" which is not the name of the nvidia module."

      Taken from this thread ---> http://askubuntu.com/questions/180104/accelerated-graphics-with-an-nvidia-card

      Delete
  16. Nice review thanks man :)

    one day i may make a full switch to linux but i still need windows sometimes

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is interesting and I may be giving it a try. I am running a Pentoim 4 Mobile 2.8Ghz on 1GB RAM and a 40GB HDD. HP Compaq NX9010 circa 2003. Ubuntu 11.04 does well on it but then I tried Ubuntu 12.10 and saw it boot into a dead desktop space with no HUD or Gnome. I had to insert a flash drive to invoke Nautilus and from there, being a novice, tried to use dconfig to get a usable desktop, but to'no avail.

    I use LibreOffice for compatability with MS Office's ''X-files'' and Thunderbird with Lightning and Zindus as PIM organiser. No need for eye candy at any level as there is work to be done. If I need something nice to look at, Table Mountain is always there and so is Table Bay.

    The OS just needs to be efficient and stable with the minimun fuss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hmmm ... I have a similar spec desktop and even Lubuntu was a bit slow after the first update. Please check Lubuntu's performance and let me know if it runs well. Currently I am using Archbang on the same machine and it runs blazing fast.

      Delete
  18. I installed Lubuntu 12.10 in dual boot config on my Asus Eee PC 1005HA netbook. It runs very fast and smooth on this machine, much better than Win7. The only problem I've had is it won't connect to my dd-wrt flashed Linksys e1200 repeater, though Win7 does with no problem. It connects to every other router I've tried (all with OEM firmware). I've tried about everything, including ndiswrapping a Win driver, but no joy. I suspect the combination of this Linux kernel (I tried several other flavors of it before picking Lubuntu, and they all did it), the Atheros ar9285 network card, and dd-wrt is the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  19. How much RAM do you have in your 1005HA? please email me back. antifa7 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To run both those OSs, I mean.

      Delete
    2. I have only 1 GB ram on my 1101HA and Lubuntu and LM 13 XFCE runs very well on it.

      Delete
    3. I should have also said it connects to the router wired, but not wirelessly. WICD gives a bad password error while trying to connect wirelessly; and yes, it's the right password, and it does this no matter what type of encryption I have turned on.

      Delete
    4. Hi Baz,

      On 2 GB RAM, Lubuntu will just fly! Anyway, I use netgear wifi router daily will all my Linux installations (I have 2 laptops, 1 netbook and a PC, all running on different Linux distros). I never faced the problem you mentioned. Which router are you using?

      Delete
  20. How do you use USB headphones in Lubutnu?

    What do you have to do when you plug them and don't hear anything? That is a very very common thing when you use, as it it claimed, an old PC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I use an USB headphone from my Lubuntu installation without any issue. Could you please let me know what brand of USB headphone you are using?

      My non-descript USB headphone and keyboard, both work well with Lubuntu.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  21. i have a intel celeron processor 857MHz and 512 mb of ram.lubuntu will work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosu:

      Lubuntu should work for basic requirements on a celeron dual core processor and 512 MB RAM but you need to check if you are able to watch online live streams and movie files. I would recommend a lighter Manjaro linux with openbox DE. It looks good and runs like a demon on my Pentium 4 PC with 1 GB RAM. You can please give it a try.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  22. Dear Arindam sir,

    I have octacore AMD processor with 4Gb of ram and 500HDD, want to use Lubuntu using vmware. What kind of resources (processore/ram/HDD) should i provide to guest machine?

    BTW Thank you for writing this page....:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lubuntu works well with 1 GB RAM and dual core processor. For space, I guess 8 GB is sufficient to begin with.

      And thanks for liking my article :).

      Delete