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An Introduction to the LXDE Desktop

The LXDE Graphical User Interface (GUI)

LXDE stands for the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment - and is based on the standard X-Windows subsystem. Unlike Gnome and KDE, the main ethos behind LXDE, as it's name implies) is on low-resource usage, allowing it to run comfortably on old hardware (-for example, machines with Pentium II processors).

For this reason, all the big distributions - such as Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint all provide an LXDE alternative to their standard Gnome distributions, allowing you to standardize your favourite Linux across all your PCs.

[..] Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint [..] all supply an LXDE alternative [..] to their default Gnome distributions

One way of minimizing the resources used by LXDE is by avoiding the temptation of using sophisticated 3D graphics animations: in this way, LXDE can be seen as a perfectly functional desktop that is not overly showy, unlike some of it's rivals.

LXDE Minimum Requirements

The LXDE minimal requirements (-as of 15th March 2012) are as follows:

  • Processor: Pentium II or above
  • Memory: 45Mb (running)
  • Disc Space: 750Mb (running)

Of course, unless you are a Linux expert, you will normally download LXDE as part of a Linux Distro. Most of the major Linux Distros provide an LXDE alternative, including:

You can also download it as a package (-e.g. sudo apt-get install lxde) for an existing Linux installation.

If you have old (-but not ancient) or low-specification hardware, then, provided you can meet the minimum requirements above, then LXDE is an excellent desktop choice!

Can I run Gnome/KDE Applications under LXDE?

As long as you download the respective Gnome or KDE libraries first - and you have the resources to run them - you can run Gnome or KDE-based software under LXDE.

References and Further Reading:

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