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LXLE Desktop Linux - First Impressions

LXLE Desktop Linux is a distribution based upon Lubuntu LTS 14.04 (Long Term Support). LXLE is a nicely polished Linux version that runs well on older hardware; I installed on an older T-series Lenovo laptop with 2GB RAM - a pretty typical Windows XP-class system. After a few days use, I really like this distro; it has a nice selection of software, including ClamTK antivirus and an installer for Steam (which worked nicely). 

The LXLE web site is quite open about their goals for the distribution, and the fact that they do allow closed-source software in their product, which can be a bone of contention for for some Linux users who like to stick to Open Source software whenever possible. The distro also defaults to the DuckDuckGo search engine, which is a page that does not filter search results without "profiling" it's users, and being more respectful of their privacy.

The ISO image is around 1.5GB and is in the form of a Live CD. Performance is good on the stated hardware, and the installation was typical Ubuntu-style, with straightforward options for a side-by-side installation, or a new install, and choices for an encrypted Home partition and the like. Hardware detection was successful, including allowing two-finger scrolling with the mouse trackpad, and the ability to hibernate properly.

There is a pretty comprehensive selection of software in all the categories, Office, Internet, Games and so on, including a couple of pleasant surprises in the aforementioned Steam client and the ClamTK antivirus. In addition, there is a large selection of included high-quality wallpapers with a quick switcher utility. The small desktop performance widget is unobtrusive and moderately useful to quickly determine what's going on - it can readily be hidden, in any case.

The only app that had me scratching my head a little was the weather widget, which had a sort of jarring "Windows 8" look and feel to it, and seemed a bit out of place among the other supplied applications. I don't doubt that the appearance can be tweaked, it just seemed a wee bit out of place at first.

The Desktop environment is a tweaked Gnome 2 set up, with a bottom "start" button and taskbar, and also a pop-out dock along the left side of the screen for often-used items. Quite a thoughtful layout, and it works well. Individual windows also have a "roll up" button, which shrinks that window down to it's menu bar, and restores it when clicked again. The overall polished feel extends to the start up splash screen, a dark affair with simple but pleasing graphics.

The brief video below shows the way the end result looks, and I apologize for the low audio - I had to use the laptop mic and wanted to get the video done quickly. Best to view full screen if you can. A very accomplished and likable distro.


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