Friday, November 25, 2011

Goodbye Ubuntu, Hello Xubuntu

Ubuntu has been my main operating system since Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft). Throughout this time I tried several Linux distributions: Grml, Chrunchbang, OpenSuse, Arch, etc; but Ubuntu remained as my main preference. I even gave Kubuntu a serious try, but then KDE4 came... and now history repeated itself.

I think that neither Unity or GNOME 3 are mature enough to use them on a daily basis.
There is a huge the lack of support for customization and, for me, one of the most beautiful things about Linux is that you are able to do things your way; you don’t have to conform to default behavior.

With this problem in mind I began to seek for an alternative. But I didn’t wander for long. I read that some people (including some important people like Linux Torvalds[1][2]) were switching to XFCE and I knew that Xubuntu had XFCE as its desktop environment, so I'm giving it a try.

In the upcoming posts I’ll be documenting my experience with Xubuntu (starting with Xubuntu 11.10).
I hope to continue to see you here :)

This post was written for the cash giveaway by Successful Blogging and RocketFuel who connect brands with bloggers.


  1. I also transferred from the Ubuntu train after a long ride starting with Dapper Drake (6.04). I realized that my 10.10 install was getting stale and wanted to avoid Unite/Gnome3. While Xubuntu is not perfect, it is far better than other offerings, and I appreciate you taking the time to write about your experience smoothing out the bumps.

  2. Well, looks like this is as far back as I need to go. I also switched to Xubuntu (after much the same distro-hopping) with the introduction of Unity & Gnome 3. I continue to dip into them with spare partitions. There are aspects of G3 that I like (along with Unity), but there are always some crucial parts missing (simple things like being able to shade my windows with the mouse scroll button - Gnome Shell) that I miss. I always come back to Xubuntu/XFCE with a sigh of relief. I love being able to customize my desktop however I like. KDE gives us that capability but KDE, for one reason or another, has always been problematic, either because it's WM is incompatible with a video card, it's too slow on an older machine, or because there are simply too many moving parts that don't always add up to a coherent and efficient whole. I notice that it's almost been exactly a year since you started this blog. I hope you will follow up this initial post with another to tell us whether you've enjoyed your time with Xubuntu and if you plan on sticking with it; and how, a year later, your opinion of the other desktop environments has developed.

    1. Yes, it's been almost a year since I started blogging about my Xubuntu experience. In this year some nice features were introduced to Xfce and its applications (tabs, a more organized settings manager, the application launcher, etc). The more I learn about the system the more I love it. I still have the ability of customizing things my own way and the desktop experience is nice and modern without sluggishness. If not only for this, I intend to continue to use Xubuntu.

      When I'm satisfied with something I don't have the habit of searching for alternatives, so I don't use Gnome 3 or Unity for more than a year. Besides, when I do feel like try something different it's always related to improving my experience with Xfce. I did gave KDE4 a try a few weeks ago (KDE3 was my favorite desktop for a couple of years). The thing I liked most was the Wacom settings manager. I would very much like to see something similar in Xfce, for now a couple of scripts using xsetwacom and zenity will do. Switching to KDE4 is far from my mind. KDE4 looks very pretty and it's by far more stable than when it was released, but still feels too heavy and I don't find it as customizable as Xfce.

      One more thing: I use Xubuntu on a 15" screen laptop, on a 9" screen netbook and on a tablet pc (touch and stylus). Xubuntu works great on all of them :)