xubuntu, ubuntu and others.... (rather long message :D)

Luzi Thoeny lucius.antonius at gmail.com
Fri Apr 21 15:52:00 UTC 2006

Stefan wrote:
> Hi there...
>     I have a pretty old computer... Celeron 466Mhz, 128 MB RAM, 8.4 GB HDD,
> Matrox 8 MB AGP 2x card on a 440BX chipset. Not really fast then... but back
> in the day, when it was my primary computer (to be read quite some years
> ago), I did manage to play with Windows 98, Visual C 6.0, and much about
> anything... it did run Windows 2000, and Me at various stages in its life.
> Not to mention Red Hat 7.0, 7.1, 7.2 - rather well I might add.
>     Now my (dear) sister is using it - and she mainly wants Firefox and
> Gaim, and perhaps XMMS... And yep, you've guessed it - Linux. Well she
> doesn't really WANT Linux, more like I only give her Linux.
>     As such I've surfed distrowatch, and the net (to be read google) to find
> a lightweight distro to use on that aging piece of hardware - which still
> runs well considering.... First stop was Ubuntu 5.10... really slow... till
> I put IceWM on it. Next stop was Ubuntu Dapper Drake, Flight 5 - and Gnome
> 2.14 is really a lot lighter than previous versions were. But, again, IceWM
> proves lighter still so that was nice. Then I thought I might try Ubuntu
> Light, or... wait a sec... xubuntu! So I fetched xubuntu Flight 6, new
> install... and... guess what?
>     Really disappointed here guys... and when I say really I mean REALLY...
> Flight 5 with IceWM is faster than xubuntu in all respects... and xubuntu
> somehow doesn;t even have the good and thorough menus ubuntu has... in IceWM
> I simply migrated all the Gnome menu entries... in xubuntu... I don't have
> any. (again, the computer is to be used by a really novice Linux user - my
> sis)
>     And why the sluggish performance? Someone over here said he had an
> Athlon at 1+ Ghz... well... that's simply too fast to be able to make a
> succesfull "light" distro. My Celeron 466Mhz stubles... it takes some good
> seconds to simply display the gdm background... and in its day the Matrox
> was really a damn good 2D card... (hell, it can even run Quake 3 / Wolf)
>     The bottom line is - regular Ubuntu with IceWM is faster and more
> convenient than xubuntu, so what is the point behind it? and trust me -
> xubuntu IS slow... too slow to enjoy anything...
>     I've tried a DSL Live CD - boots faster than xubuntu, and works faster
> than xubuntu - but you might argue that it doesn't really have many things
> on it - true.... but a Knoppix derivate proved really succesful, and so I
> went for "Feather Light Linux", another Knoppix / Debian derivate... this
> one has a (small) 128 MB Live CD and guess what... it works flawlessly! It
> has pretty much everything an average user needs (to be read - my sis)
> including Firefox, Gaim, XMMS, Abiword, and a lot of other things such as
> Rox-filer, and a few window managers to choose from, including IceWM.
>     Right now? That Celeron is running Feather Light Linux - installed on
> the HDD, and I am really happy with the results. Considering that... in its
> day that old computer did a very good job of running Red Hat 7.2, I was
> expecting a "light" distro to perform much like the old Red Hat - reliable
> and pretty fast... xubuntu doesn't, but Feather Light does! (and it even has
> synaptic).
>     All in all, I wish you good luck with your project, though my personal
> belief is that your project is more or less pointless. Better results can be
> achieved by simply using Ubuntu and IceWM, and really better results can be
> achieved with DSL, or Feather Light Linux.
> Kind regards,
> Stefan Vrabie.
i think you missed the 'nice user experience'-part of the official 
announcement ( "[...] providing a nice user experience even on older 

xubuntu is fast, but not fast *at any price*.

btw: IceWM is not an real desktop, just a window manager. if you want to 
compare it, compare it to xfwm4. and if you didn't miss any 
functionality in IceWM, you either did not look closely at Xfce or you 
did not look closely at IceWM.


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