Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good and Bads of LXDE


KDE4 has given much to the computing world at the cost of its bloated composition. GNOME is fast & flexible but mostly liked by hardcore conventional Linux users. LXDE is a relatively new and highly adoptable free and open source desktop environment . Although designed to work on the older resource-constrained computers it works very well on new generation computers .

LXDE is fast , uncluttered  & easy to work on . As a home user I prefer one package per task distribution installation and LXDE works very efficiently fulfilling my this demand.

LXDE puts less strain on my computer`s physical memory making it much easier for me to perform my daily tasks without my mind being diverted to the response rate of my computer as it happens on KDE4.

The one bad thing about LXDE is the lack of ability to move and place icons on desktop which is really annoying . I like to place and group different icons sets on my desktop according to my needs so I don not need to think and locate icons of different packages at times of need. LXDE leaves icons glued to one place and I feel pissed off with this always. 

LXDE panel also has limitations and it takes some time to learn how to adjust to LXDE according to one`s needs. 

LXDE also lacks a well defined control center as is offered by KDE and GNOME and this is a real big short coming. Many distributions supply custom made tools for LXDE management because of lack of a native LXDE control center. Openbox is used along with LXDE and it helps to overcome many shortcomings of LXDE.

To become a fully adoptable and popular desktop environment for home computing LXDE development team has to concentrate on these shortcomings . Home users who want to escape the bugs of Windows would not want to fall prey to the complexities of how to set a desktop environment according to their requirements and the decades of windowing will relapse back if Linux stops racing for the "latest & greatest" things and seriously address the pitfalls which are constantly ignored. Home users can never be Linux gurus and the will not bother to learn new computing skills . They need a flexible, safe and easily adoptable working operating systems and desktop environments. LXDE is one such highly suitable desktop environment but needs serious combing out for things which will play a role in its popularity in home users.







19 comments:

Anonymous said...

"That is true, hackers, that is true"

I really like simplicity of LXDE (in contrast to KDE and GNOME). Go LXDE !

thegzeus said...

I honestly found your first paragraph... patently false.
The rest of the entry was just a rant.

I know I didn't have to read it (in fact I skimmed it) but I really don't think this should have been written.
You should feel bad.

Dr.Saleem Khan said...

Thanks for dropping by thegzeus and for your valuable remarks. Infact I do not feel bad with voicing out things, you may disagree with my thoughts but then everyone has got his/her own opinion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with thegzeus that the first paragraph is just failed

Anonymous said...

Yeah... really bad article, I'm afraid.
From the very first paragraph (no hardcore linux person actualy uses gnome...they are all on tilling or *box).
I don't use LXDE, but Openbox, nevertheless, I wonder what is the "control center" supposed to have? If LXDE was meant for newbies it would be XFCE...

Dr.Saleem Khan said...

Thanks for spending time to read my article..KDE4 is bloated and many people like me who want to have a basic home computing as efficient as KDE3 are turning towards LXDE.

GNOME is liked by hardcore conventional linux users,its not a desktop environment of choice for home users as compared to KDE or LXDE.

Control center is lacking in LXDE and custom made are offered by Remastersys LXDE Lite by Tony "fragadelic" Brijeski, TinyCC from Tinyme and some sort by Neal on PCLXDE.

Once again I appreciate all your comments.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Saleem,

Re. thegzeue comment, it is not a matter of disagreement, it is a matter of misunderstanding the meaning of bloat and lack of factual information.

I believe you misunderstand the definition of software bloat. More code does not necessarily equal bloat. More code could mean more flexibility, extensibility, and more features. The widely known definition of bloat is to indicate badly written code. Unless you looked at the KDE code and did a benchmark test to compare it with Gnome performance, I would say you don't have factual information. Do you have data to prove your point? Otherwise, calling an application bloated is nothing more than copycat attitude we see a lot on the Internet?

If you have any data to prove your point, please disclose it.

Dr.Saleem Khan said...

I call it bloated as an end user with all its applications which a home user does not need and not on the basis of its code. I find myself much comfortable with the ease of whatever tasks I want to do on LXDE than with KDE4. I am not a programmer nor a developer,for me and anyone else like me what counts is the ease of how an operating system performs on my daily tasks.

Bobby said...

The only advantage that LXDE has over Gnome or KDE4 is SPEED, nothing more. Once one is used to working with KDE4 then LXDE feels just naked, just basic. It's like compareing Win95 with Win7.
LXDE is a basic desktop. KDE4 is a luxury desktop. If it only had the speed of LXDE then it would blow away every other DE on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Valid perspective but, and I am sure you know this, Linux is very flexible and very easy to add and remove applications without any impact on its overall performance. Besides the applications that you don't need or want could be the favorites of many others. Also, most distros come with basic applications that everyone needs and wants. Take K/Ubuntu for instance, they both basically come with the same applications. If any application is missing, you add it, any application you don't want, you can easily remove it without leaving any trace of it. Even if you leave many many applications installed, it doesn't impact the overall performance. It is not like Windows where many traces are left in the Registry and who knows where else.

I wouldn't label many applications as bloat, I would rather consider it a choice offering and accommodating to the needs and preferences of many different users, which is one of the major strengths of FOSS.

In terms of ease of use and user friendliness, they all are the same. Everyone knows how to point and click, no one should have a problem. It is just a matter of exploring and getting familiar with.

I don't see anyone faulting you for choosing LXDE, it is your choice and all they are saying is to not bad mouth theirs just to justify yours. Your choice doesn't need to be justified.

Nothing personal but this is going to all those who try to bad mouth KDE 4.x for no other reason than a moment of fame.

By the way, you have a pretty nice site.

Dr.Saleem Khan said...

Thanks Anonymous for all your valuable comments and for liking my humble site. I am not against any strengths of FOSS , rather I strongly support them. Regards KDE 4, I can`t escape it , my 9 years old daughter is a big fan of KDE4 and only use KDE4, she keeps telling me that old men like me should stick to LXDE or KDE3 :)

Have a good day

Dr.Saleem Khan said...

Thanks Bobby,

I agree with you and I am learning to adjust myself with KDE4 but it will take me time to get out of KDE3 nostalgia and LXDE addiction.

Bobby said...

@ Dr.Saleem Khan
As long as you stick to Linux then you are my friend ;)
I love luxury and bling on the desktop (since I can't afford it otherwise) so KDE 4 is like just made for me but I still have LXDE installed. I am really facinated by it's speed.
But like someone said, Linux is about choice and something is there for every taste not like it is in the one DE fits all Windows world.

Anonymous said...

I fail to fully comprehend this light desktop mentality! For a typical home user's needs (which excludes any technical computations), can we exclude a browser and an office suite? If not, then all this lightweight movement is for what? You install firefox and/or openoffice and your machine is flushed down the gutter!

How is LXDE going to save you? On the other hand if you are a sysadmin who can work with ssh, vi/emacs, to manage some network machines, then yes, LXDE might work for you.

Anonymous said...

"Home users can never be Linux gurus and the will not bother to learn new computing skills ."

Exactly. This is why they are irrelevant. Linux is still a cooperative effort based on the fact that a group of people can get more by free sharing then by selling and purchasing between members. Those who do not belong to the group are, well, out of the loop.

Those who insist on having zero skills and still want to have their needs addressed are doomed to pay. Free Linux for "home users" is a pipe dream at best and a Microsoft psycho war against Linux at worst.

This understood, it should be clear that the absolute majority of FOSS projects are exactly what their developers want them to be and most likely LXDE is not an exception.

Stating that some icons cannot be moved is a nice observation, but the idea that they SHOULD be movable because YOU (or "home users") would like them so is unwise. What would be really interesting to know is WHY they cannot be moved, but these kind of reviews never bother to find such things out.

"To become a fully adoptable and popular desktop environment for home computing LXDE development team has to concentrate on these shortcomings." That assumes that the LXDE team dreams about LXDE being "a fully adoptable and popular desktop environment for home computing" in the "home users" sense of "home". I doubt they are. Some of the shortcomings you mention may be addressed in the future, but for some quite different reason.

Anonymous said...

I guess you'd call me a hardcore Linux user. I dropped Windows for 10 years ago and have never looked back. For several years, I was a Linux/BSD/Solaris admin at an ISP. I currently work in the email security industry. The list of window managers/DEs I've used as my standard desktop is (in order): FVWM95, AfterStep, WindowMaker, Gnome 1.x, KDE 3.x - KDE 4.4.x, Gnome 2.x (my current choice).

Out of the lot of those, I like KDE 4.4.x the best, and don't find it bloated. I'm using Gnome again now for two reasons: 1) It easily handles dual monitors properly without having to resort to the proprietary ATI driver, and 2) It works better with Avant Window Navigator, and I find an Apple-style dock to be far superior to the Gnome/KDE/$Other_DE panel approach.

This "hardcore Linux user" thinks that you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand, you criticize KDE for being bloated (for some undefined value of "bloat" - and KDE is no more or less bloated than Gnome) and praise LXDE for being light and fast. On the other hand, you then go on to criticize LXDE for the things that make it light and fast: fixed icon positions, more basic panel functionality, lack of a control panel. There are more that you don't mention, but those will do for a start.

Those features that you are complaining about the lack of in LXDE all cost lines of code and CPU cycles. You can have a fast, light DE or window manager, or you can have a comprehensive, feature-rich, "includes everything _AND_ the kitchen sink" DE, but no one has found a way to have both. KDE 4.4.x, however, is quite fast for all the things it provides. Gnome is no slowpoke, either.

You might want to take a look at XFCE; it isn't quite as feature complete as Gnome or KDE, but much more so than LXDE, while delivering speed more like what you find in LXDE.

I tried LXDE but didn't care for it. If I wanted to give up that many features, I would give up the few that LXDE provides and go back to using WindowMaker.

Tshann said...

Hi, for me, the "bloat" of KDE & Gnome is about it's memory cost and responsiveness. In various systems I've run, booting into Gnome or KDE can cost me 500 to 700 megs - with NOTHING running - just the desktop.
I know/assume all that RAM is being allocated for things. So I'm not saying it is without use. However, I've noticed on slimmed down Distro's like Crunchbang linux, Dream linux or peppermint, that I'm using 100megs to boot the desktop or less. In addition, those Distro's are quicker to respond. Are those differences NECESSARY? No, that is my own inclination, towards a distro that is configurable, quick and runs more efficiently. That's my trip - NOT the right way or wrong way, just my way.

Contrary to what someone posted, I find that a light distro has all the same bells and whistles as the Fatties - but it's just more responsive.
I do agree that most of those distro's require more configuration - (hacking). That is certainly not appropriate for everyone. I think there's plenty of room for those of us who are picky about our desktops, and those who just want to turn on their machine, send an email and edit and print a resume. that's the cool deal about Linux, you can have any shade of the above - for free.

Peace

Tshann said...

Hi, for me, the "bloat" of KDE & Gnome is about it's memory cost and responsiveness. In various systems I've run, booting into Gnome or KDE can cost me 500 to 700 megs - with NOTHING running - just the desktop.
I know/assume all that RAM is being allocated for things. So I'm not saying it is without use. However, I've noticed on slimmed down Distro's like Crunchbang linux, Dream linux or peppermint, that I'm using 100megs to boot the desktop or less. In addition, those Distro's are quicker to respond. Are those differences NECESSARY? No, that is my own inclination, towards a distro that is configurable, quick and runs more efficiently. That's my trip - NOT the right way or wrong way, just my way.

Contrary to what someone posted, I find that a light distro has all the same bells and whistles as the Fatties - but it's just more responsive.
I do agree that most of those distro's require more configuration - (hacking). That is certainly not appropriate for everyone. I think there's plenty of room for those of us who are picky about our desktops, and those who just want to turn on their machine, send an email and edit and print a resume. that's the cool deal about Linux, you can have any shade of the above - for free.

Peace

Anonymous said...

uh, you're a doctor. Buy a new computer. With windows 7.