Xubuntu 9.04: Where’s the beef?

The best way to download and install the latest Ubuntu? Avoid the rush, and download the Release Candidate a couple of days before the official release. I’ve been testing each and every Ubuntu release since the first one, so this time I thought to try something different and install Xubuntu on my girlfriend’s Dell Inspiron laptop (the one I had previously installed Arch + XFCE on).

The result leaves me with mixed feelings, I must say. To make things perfectly clear, everything works. All I did after the install was change some programs (replace Pidgin with Emesene and Listen with Rhythmbox for example). Wireless worked, printing worked, the default screensettings were correct, suspend worked, downloading and installing extra codecs worked…everything worked as expected, and since this is Ubuntu, I did expect everything to work.

But it’s hard to see the point of Xubuntu. Most of the polish and new features Canonical comes up with are reserved for Ubuntu itself, and I feel that side projects like Xubuntu and Kubuntu just can’t keep up with that. What you get is basically Ubuntu with vanilla XFCE slapped on. without much added value. Okay, it’s made to look like GNOME, but I don’t prefer the whole two-panel layout, and it has another GTK-theme…supposedly better looking because it’s blue. Can’t argue about tastes, but it’s worth noting that my girlfriend preferred the orange icons…µ
Another point is the language support, which isn’t as good in Xubuntu: many of the menu entries remained in English, resulting in a rather messy multilingual menu.

I guess the lesson here is, if you want Ubuntu, just go for the real thing, so that’s what I’ll do tonight. Maybe Ubuntu will be much slower on that laptop, but I doubt it. We’ll see.



9 Responses to Xubuntu 9.04: Where’s the beef?

  1. S. Christian Collins says:

    Xubuntu runs much better than Ubuntu on my old P-3 desktop at work, so for me, Xubuntu has a very strong reason for existing.

  2. Ken Bundy says:

    For me, Xubuntu is the best of both worlds – a well-supported distro with a bloat-free desktop! It’s ideal for hardware that’s reaching end-of-life in terms of running XP.

  3. cherax says:

    Let’s see – you installed Xubuntu and it did everything you needed it to do, had all the programs you needed, recognized all your hardware, etc. etc.. That sounds pretty good! But you didn’t like it because it isn’t Ubuntu. If you want the latest Gnome bells and whistles, then that’s what you should use. XFCe is not Gnome.

    Those who use XFCe like its speed and its relative simplicity. It offers a reasonably complete desktop (no need to manually edit config files, e.g.), but without all the overhead that makes Gnome run sluggishly. Like Gnome, it also develops incrementally, which avoids the kind of disruptions that KDE has inflicted on its users in its move to version 4.x.

    But, if you don’t like it, why use it and then complain that you don’t like it?

  4. elfgoh says:

    There is an LXDE flavour of Ubuntu in the works. Hope this will be better.


  5. lefty.crupps says:

    I agree with cherax in that, if you want Ubuntu, use Ubuntu. I also agree that the *buntu spinoffs are never nearly as nice as the Gnome version, but even that I feel isn’t all that nice (because I am a KDE lover).

    Try something with KDE4 on it (but please NOT Kubuntu) and see how she likes that?

  6. celettu says:

    Cherax: my point was not that I prefer GNOME over XFCE, because I don’t. I use Openbox myself and if I’m forced to use a DE, I use XFCE.
    My point was that Ubuntu offers GNOME + Ubuntu polish and integration, Xubuntu offers Ubuntu + XFCE, and nothing more.
    Meaning, if people wanted a distribution that uses XFCE I’d point them to Zenwalk, which does everything Xubuntu does, but faster.
    I guess I just expect that something more from a distribution ending in *buntu.

  7. semko says:

    But I want Ubuntu base and xfce and not zenwalk 🙂
    I agree that Ubuntu has more polish and is an excellent distro, but something always brings me back to xfce (or xubuntu) although it is not as polished as ubuntu.
    As of openbox lately I’ve been using crunchbang linux (which is based on ubuntu but uses openbox as wm) and I would call it a perfect distro if it would use xfce4-panel and other xfce parts instead of lxde-parts. But that’s just me 🙂

  8. L4Linux says:

    I really hope Canonical will put more effort on the next version of KUBUNTU. KDE 4.2 is very good and 4.3 looks more than great! I am considering to use mainly KDE from now on, but Kubuntu never seemed as good as Ubuntu.
    Maybe I’ll use Fedora as my main distro.

  9. flammenwurfer says:

    Maybe I missed it, but why did you get rid of Arch with Xfce?

    I’ve used Xubuntu in the past and liked it, but not enough to stay with it.

    I also agree with lefty.crupps. KDE4 is wonderful! I would suggest Arch with KDEMod. That’s what I’m using and I absolutely LOVE it. It looks incredible works great. KDE4 is really starting to shine.

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