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LXLE Linux | Jumpstart your Old PC/Laptop now!

by on May 14, 2015
 

Do you have an old PC/Laptop gathering dust in the corner of your house? Well, this post is exactly tailor-made for you. Now you can magically breathe new life in that old/obsolete hardware. Probably it used to run on Windows XP back in the day but with Microsoft officially ending the support for XP, it is not cyber-safe to use it anymore. If you fell into that audience then I bet most of your hardware is atleast 6-10 years old which simple implies that you can’t even upgrade to Windows 7 and above. Well now you can change all of it by booting up LXLE linux on that machine & get ready to fall in love with the simplicity and fluidity of this distro!

Some History..

I have had a similar scenario. My first *personal* PC which I got when I was in 8th standard, sometime in 2006 which by the way is 9 years back! :O Time really flies, doesn’t it? Anyways, that PC used to be pretty kickass for that time with 3.0 Ghz Pentium 4 CPU, 40gigs of HDD and 512 MB DDR1 RAM(later upgraded to 1 gig) paired with a 17″ CRT monitor(HA!).  It used to run Windows XP which used to be a de-facto standard. I still remember throwing lot of games, web-browsing, coding(good old TurboC++) and pretty much everything on that machine and it used to handle it all smoothly. Then times changed and I got myself a shiny HP Pavillion DV6 laptop running Windows 7 out of the box with beastly specs(Intel i5, 4gb DDR3, Radeon 6450m, 500gigs hdd) for 2011 and my PC love was forgotten and neglected as it was becoming sluggish with new updated apps (mainly browsers and office suite) taking a toll of old hardware. It used to sit in corner waiting for my dad using it rarely to check emails and stuff. Time moved on and this year when I got a Dell Latitude E7440 from Adobe(office!) I gave my HP laptop to my dad and suddenly that rare use-case scenario of that PC also died with it.

Linux Love?

You like Linux - LXLE Linux - Bitsnapper

That’s right, Jesus!

I am huge linux fan and had a Triple-boot setup on my HP Laptop with Windows 7/Backtrack Kali Linux/Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. So last week I was tinkering with VMware on my Dell Laptop and honestly, I am not a fan of VMs as I prefer dedicated workstations. I simply do not get that Linux-feel (which may sound weird to you) in VMs 😛 So I was getting pissed up and suddenly I saw my old PC in the corner and it was all clear. I could use that ageing warrior to run Linux easily, right? Well, Yes and No. It’s almost 10 year old hardware, I surely knew I couldn’t run any modern Unity based flavour like Ubuntu or Mint smoothly as even being easy on resources they still require bare-minimum hardware to give best experience and here started my interesting journey to find “THE ONE” B-)

Journey begins..

Finding the perfect flavour for my PC was ton harder than I imagined. I took up my trusted SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 32GB and started with flashing Ubuntu 14.04 LTS iso despite knowing it won’t be even close to my expectations, well ex-love is a bit hard to dismiss 😉 As expected it was sluggish but not that much as expected. It was “usable” but I had higher expectations so I started digging.

Type of Linux Users - LXLE Linux review - Bitsnapper

Type of Linux Users #lol

After love-hate attempt with Ubuntu, I tried the following flavours which either weren’t smooth and slick or were way too complex to set up/use (as I was on a mission to find THE ONE asap). Overall, I wanted a flavour closest to Windows XP in terms of ease of use and familiarity for my parents to adapt it easily (Yep! Mom loves Facebook) 😉

So here we go with my journey:

  • Arch Linux (NO! Why? because [1] [2] [3] [4])
  • Linux Mint (Was a bit sluggish!)
  • Kali Linux (I personally love it but wasn’t what I wanted)
  • Elementary OS (Gorgeous UI but not stable and under heavy development)
  • XUbuntu (Nearly there but still felt something missing)
  • Puppy Linux (Ran almost perfectly but I missed the elegance in UX)
  • AntiX (WOW! This was super slick and almost my final choice when..)

LXLE Linux – THE ONE!

LXLE Linux elegant bootscreen - Bitsnapper

Be Free, Be Open

When I encountered this gem – LXLE Linux! Man, this linux flavour blew me out of water. I downloaded the ISO and booted it up via USB using unetbootin and gave it a live run straight from usb without installing on my hdd. It worked really well and was smooth. LXLE linux is so elegant, gorgeous looking and visually pleasing that I was mesmerized by it and decided to install it straight away. The whole installation time took <10 minutes which was pretty easy and similar to Ubuntu. Out of my 80 GB HDD, I created a 70 gigs partition for OS and 10 gigs for Swap partition to speed up things. Finally it asked me to remove the installation media and reboot.

During whole installation time, I was sitting on edge of my chair like a kid eagerly waiting for a bag of candy.

When you first boot to the Desktop, you are greeting with this amazing desktop with 100 crystal clear HD artworks to choose as a wallpaper from. (Sorry couldn’t resist sharing the screenshots).

Shown here is LXLE’s Windows XP desktop layout which is designed by taking cues from Microsoft’s long-lived OS in mind. LXLE Linux aims to provide users with “a complete drop-in-and-go replacement for XP” so that you can get it up and running with minimal learning curve.

LXLE stands for Lubuntu Extra Life Extension.

The purpose of LXLE Linux is to take the base Lubuntu LTS distribution which offers official support through 2019 and enhance it so that all the features the average person requires is available out of the box. Let’s look at all the feature this light-weight performer boasts of:

  • Light on resources; Heavy on functions.
  • Always based on Ubuntu/Lubuntu LTS.
  • Uses an optimized LXDE user interface.
  • Four familiar desktop layout paradigms.
  • Prudent full featured Apps preinstalled.
  • Latest stable versions of major software.
  • Added PPAs extends available software.
  • Weather, Aero Snap, Quick Launch
  • Random Wallpaper, Panel Trash access
  • Theme consistency throughout system.
  • 100 gorgeous wallpapers preinstalled.
  • Numerous other tweaks/additions.
  • 32 and 64 bit OS versions available.
  • Boots & is online in less than 1 minute.

It is also well packed with power-tools as it comes pre-installed out of the box with LibreOffice suit to take care of your Office needs, Java, Flash, all types of drivers. It did recognize my HP 1500 series printer which I bought last year under 5 seconds which is awesome as I remember downloading ~20mb worth of driver on my Windows 8 laptop just to get it detected 😉 Such is the power of linux.

As you can see in the gallery above, We have Mozilla’s Seamonkey build to take care of our browsing needs and Chrome can also be installed anytime desired. We get plethora of apps preinstalled (Gimp, BitTorrent, Filezilla, Pidgin, Audacity...), you name it, it’s there. For n00bs who doesn’t want to use Terminal (apt-get) for downloading and installing applications, we also have a Software center (much like an app store) for you to browse and download with a few clicks and you will be ready to go.

-Verdict-

LXLE Linux is really light on resources as it claims! On idle start it just consumes ~17% of RAM which is pretty respectable. The UI is butter smooth and fluid once you download all pending updates patiently and reboot it. It never hung up on me in my 1 week of usage which is great. Although for resource intensive apps like mail client or gimp could take a second or two to load but that’s more of hardware limition (Old proci and DDR1 RAM).  Overall I am pretty satisfied with LXLE Linux and plan to use to carry out my Linux learnings.

LXLE Linux directly runs most of  the hardware out of the box without any additional driver downloads!

So, if you are looking for a lightweight distribution, for an older computer (or a computer with limited capabilities), which really does have everything you need out of the box without having to install any extra software then download and boot up LXLE Linux now! 😀

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