I put this info together initially to help a friend install Xubuntu. Then I added my complete list of set-up tricks which I picked up from Google while using Ubuntu and Xubuntu. You could use it like a methodical check list to get a good install made in about four to five hours. I was on Oneiric 11.10 when I last used Xubuntu and I probably won't be updating the notes ever again (hehe I just did), but most things should still work.
By D Quinton, Jan '12 updated Jan '14
(1) my desktop after new install, (2) after some panel and launcher building and new background (own pic)
These pages run through setting up Xubuntu Oneiric 11.10Xubuntu is a new experience if you're coming from a Microsoft Windows life and it takes some learning -much because Linux operates a lot differently and the directory structure is totally different to that of Windows. The programmes are all of new names, but they are powerful. Compatitbility with Microsoft Office documents is all possible, even though Libre or Open Office use their own open document format (which are way smaller-sized than .doc or .rtf etc).
But with Linux, and Xubuntu, configuration of the desktop and environment has massive possibilities.
Plus system resources (CPU and RAM usage) are not sucked up in the basic running of the desktop or general tasks, as they are, often, with Windows. You can have multiple programmes opened up and there's no noticable lag, even on low-end or old processors.
Installing is very straight-forward and it's fast. Then setting up preferences, configurations and removing/installing applications will take about four hours for the main part, with further tweaks as you go along.
I've only been with Linux since June 2011 (after using Windows with Black Box for a few years -which replaced WinExplorer and Start for me). Ubuntu was my choice after a quick read up of various distros, including Debian and Mint. It looked like it was fast out of the box and ready and gentle on an ex-Windows fellow. I put up with Unity that ships out with Ubuntu for a while, with no time to make a change, but with desktop freezes quite common place.... I switched to Xubuntu which is loaded with Xfce.
But I'm interested to learn about Debian (where Ubuntu came from) because X-ubuntu still comes with extras that I don't need on my machine. From using the Ubuntu distro's it would be easy to make a move there, although it looks somewhat more complicated.
It's begun.... my debian install notes.... at the link above. But I recommend Xubuntu or Lubuntu for Linux beginners as it works very much "out of the box".
Other user-friendly distro's would be Lubuntu, which installs with LXDE desktop (very system-lite) and does a good job too...
Then the heavy-weights, Linux Mint which installs with Gnome and, in my opinion, doesn't do as well as Xubuntu or Lubuntu for desktop customization... Kubuntu, which installs with a fully developed KDE desktop and programs (so its heavy).
Windows users can get LinuxLive USB Creator to put a Live CD ISO onto a usb stick.