After increasing the ram on my trusty Dell Precision 380 to 4Gb, it still seemed to struggle a bit with KDE4. Opensuse 13.1 worked well but seemed slow, I decided that I needed a lighter system and had heard good things about xfce 4.12 and xubuntu. With a heavy heart it was time to take the plunge and re-install with Xubuntu 15.04.
Installing xubuntu 15.04 was a breeze and took about 30 minutes. The installation screens are easy to use and I simply went for the wipe disk and install option. This creates ext4 and swap partitions automatically and then starts the install. I didn’t bother with install updates or 3rd party software like mp3 etc – you can get all that stuff later.
After the install I added the ubuntu partner software repositories in system ‘software & updates’ and then updated the system using the usual
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
After that the packages to install are: xubuntu-restricted-extras and vlc. The ‘extras’ package installs all the codecs you will need for audio/video, installs flash-player and ttf core fonts – basically all the essential stuff you will need. I added ppa:webupd8team/java to get java jdk.
I download my printer driver from the brother site as a deb package and that installed without any trouble. Xubuntu detected my wireless pci card and worked from first boot (phew!)
Xubuntu 15.04 comes with xfce 4.12 which works like a charm, usb and cd/dvd mount works without a hitch – my android phone mounted without any problem.
The debian deb packaging system is much easier to use than rpm and the packages for xubuntu download and install in a logical way. All the main apps I use were available and installed without any problems eg:
VLC, cherrytree(notes app), chromium-browser, xubuntu-restricted-extras, ffmpeg, gnucash, bleachbit, virtualbox, geany(ide/editor), openoffice-4.1.1(from debs), v86d(for boot splash), gparted, numlockx(turns numlock on), xfce4-clipman, xfce4-clipman-plugin, python-software-properties (for java jdk), oracle-java7-installer (for java 7 jdk), gnome-system-log, radiotray(internet radio)
I don’t like the interface to Libreoffice so I installed Apache Openoffice after downloading the deb bundle from the site. Geany is a brilliant, lightweight ide/editor for c++ that was a suprising slot-in replacement for the mighty Kate editor in KDE. Xfce 4.12 does not install a clipboard manager by default installing clipman and clipman-plugin solved that in a few minutes. Virtualbox was very easy to install and worked without problems.
I have been using xubuntu 15.04 for about 2 months and only came across a few little niggles. Xubuntu makes use of a process called tumblerd which hogged the cpu – this happens when you write audio/video files to usb or dvd, tumblerd goes bonkers creating thumbnails. However, it’s easy to turn off – just edit /etc/xdg/tumbler/tumbler.rc (as root) and turn off the video thumbnailers.
Numlock has been a mystery. It’s not a big problem, all you have to do is turn it on at the keyboard after all – but using the system setting, it seems to turn on/off whenever the mood takes it.
For some reason the boot-splash didn’t work after the install, by following the instructions here I have it working:
I found chromium browser was a bit faster than firefox but started to hog memory too much so I switched back to firefox and am happy with it’s performance.
I really like Xubuntu 15.04, It’s easy to use, very quick and xfce4.12 has all the options you need to get your desktop working just how you like. I like the way the panel adjusts to your use – start Thunderbird email for the first time and an envelope icon appears on the panel.
Xfce’s look is a little basic, but to be honest I haven’t tried to add any bling nor can I be bothered looking for flashy themes. I wanted a system that worked out of the box, and just got out of the way when I wanted to get some actual work done. Xubuntu feels like it’s working with me not against me (I will admit to some frustrations with kde4 at times) and I actually like it’s clean, simple uncluttered look and feel. I have been very impressed with Xubuntu 15.04 and must admit to being surprised at it’s no 30 odd rank on distrowatch.
I installed xubuntu 15.04 on a friends old Acer Aspire 5315 laptop. He had problems with accumulated windows junk and a few viruses – he phoned me to tell me how slick and easy xubuntu is to use – even the fan works properly again, can’t be bad.