Lubuntu 16.04 LTS: the power of simplicity

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1. Lubuntu is a genuine lightweight. This extra light version of Ubuntu, consists of the excellent "Ubuntu engine" with the LXDE desktop environment on top of that.

Lubuntu is an officially recognized member of the Ubuntu family, and very suitable for older and weaker computers. So I've collected some tips and tricks with which you can tweak your Lubuntu, to make it even better!

Click on a blue button to get your free copy of Lubuntu:

Lubuntu 16.04 LTS (the default edition, 32-bit):

Lubuntu 16.04 LTS (64-bit):

Note: you have to burn the .iso file on a DVD in a special way.

Lubuntu 16.04 is not the latest but it's definitely the best, because 16.04 is built on an LTS versionĀ of Ubuntu.

When your hardware is up to it, I definitely advise to choose Lubuntu or Peppermint OS, and not some other lightweight Linux distribution: the Ubuntu engine is excellent, and you have the full wealth of the Ubuntu repositories at your disposal.

For good measure: the amount of eye candy in Lubuntu is noticeably less than in Xubuntu or Ubuntu. Furthermore, Xubuntu and Ubuntu offer more features. So if your computer can handle Xubuntu or Ubuntu, I advise to choose either of them instead.

Get Lubuntu

2. You can get Lubuntu 16.04.1 here.

System requirements

3. The system requirements for Lubuntu are the following:

Reasonable performance (my own measure):
RAM: 512 MB
Video card: 32 MB
Hard disk space: 10 GB

Note: definitely reduce the inclination to use the swap (swappiness)! With the above minimal system features, Lubuntu will run reasonably well, provided that the swappiness has been reduced. You can only apply that reduction after installation, so don't be alarmed when the system is very slow after first boot.

Tip: reduce the swappiness before you download the first series of updates. That may speed up the update process considerably.


4. The desktop environment is simple and traditional. You'll quickly be able to find your way in it.

See this screenshot of the desktop of Lubuntu 16.04 (click on the image to enlarge it):

Default applications

5. The default web browser in Lubuntu 16.04 is Firefox. The office suite consists of Abiword (a lightweight word processor) and Gnumeric (a lightweight spreadsheet application).

The file manager is being called PCmanFM. In the terminal without capitals, so pcmanfm. Useful to know whenever you want to copy a terminal command which contains nautilus (the file manager of Ubuntu).

The text editor is Leafpad. In the terminal without capitals, so leafpad. Useful to know whenever you want to copy a terminal command which contains gedit (the text editor of Ubuntu).

The terminal is LXTerminal. It can be found in the main menu under the header System Tools.

Note: naturally you can install as many extra applications as you like. But don't overdo it, because it's of course a pity to defeat the purpose of this distribution: to be lightweight....

This is especially important for the supporting files that some applications need. When you install a particular application in Lubuntu, it might pull half the Gnome or KDE desktop environment with it, as supporting files.... Your lightweigt Lubuntu will then become a lot heavier, and less responsive.

So check in Synaptic Package Manager, which payload an extra application brings with it. And consider whether this payload is worth it....

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Version 16.04 is not a full LTS version, but almost

6. Lubuntu 16.04 LTS is an extra important version, because it's based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which will receive security updates until April, 2021.

But both for Lubuntu LTS and Ubuntu LTS, it's safest to upgrade after three years at the utmost and not after five years.

Main differences between Peppermint and Lubuntu

7. The other contender for the ultralight championship is Peppermint OS. The main differences between Peppermint OS and Lubuntu are as follows:

- Lubuntu has a pure LXDE desktop, whereas Peppermint is a mix of LXDE and Xfce.

- Peppermint contains some very useful tools from Linux Mint, which Lubuntu lacks. The presence of Linux Mint's Update Manager (mintupdate) in Peppermint, is a big advantage: its protective level system is there for you to use.

- By default, Peppermint is very cloud-oriented and contains the infrastructure for a seamless integration of cloud apps into the desktop. Of course you don't have to use the cloud at all, but the infrastructure is in place in case you want it. Lubuntu doesn't have all that.

- Peppermint simply looks much better out of the box.

An irritating networking bug: how to fix it yourself

8. The network indicator on the panel might not launch automatically at login. If this is the case, you can launch it manually like this:

Menu button - System Tools - LXTerminal


Press Enter.

Automate this launch like this:

Menu button - Preferences - Default applications for LXSession

Click Autostart

Click Add - type in the box: nm-applet

Click Add again

Some other autostarted applications might also be affected by this same bug (such as automatic updates).

10 things to do first after installation of Lubuntu 16.04

8. Tip: 10 things with which you can round off and polish your freshly installed Lubuntu 16.04.

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