Flavors of ubuntu? if i install lubuntu and change its desktop environment to xfce. is it same as xubuntu?

  1. i have lubuntu installed i wanna know what’s difference bw installing xubuntu and just changing the de of lubuntu to xfce or lets say lxde.

  2. does it act the same as xubuntu. and does ram resource decrease significantly if i change my de from lxqt to lxde or open box.

  3. which distro /de one gives fastest performance like open app fast, load fast, play fast, not hang/freeze etc.

  4. i noticed both xubuntu and lubuntu are giving same resource usage nowadays. i’ve read a article where lubuntu allegedly shifted its focus from being lightweight to being accessible user friendly etc & went from lxde to lxqt. which one distro of ubuntu works faster no hanging etc.


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I’ll answer this, but I’ll describe it as a I see it.

To me, both Lubuntu and Xubuntu are still Ubuntu systems… but with different defaults installed.

I’m running a Lubuntu session right now, so its the LXQt desktop, and configs as created by the Lubuntu team, except I’ve replaced the default WM (openbox) with xfwm4 (an Xfce WM actually) for reasons relating to my setup. It’s a Ubuntu system as I see it, my session chosen at login is a Lubuntu session.

As I’m logged in with a Lubuntu session, my desktop is LXQt, almost all configs are Lubuntu’s (because I changed the WM, I won’t have access to the Lubuntu configs that require openbox though), but it will act like a Lubuntu system, and not a Xubuntu system.

My actual install was made using Xubuntu media though; and I know that, and can confirm using

guiverc@d7050-next:~/uwn/issues/844$   cat /var/log/installer/media-info 
Xubuntu 23.10 "Mantic Minotaur" - Daily amd64 (20230829)

I’d attempted a re-install on that day (30 August actually; ISO was 0829) using Lubuntu media & encountered an issue… I didn’t want to wait until the next day to try the next daily; so just used a Xubuntu daily ISO to make the install, as to me the install media didn’t matter… had I used a Xubuntu daily, Ubuntu Desktop daily or Lubuntu daily I knew I could achieve what my system was post-install via package changes, thus I opted to avoid waiting a day (for the next Lubuntu daily) & use a Xubuntu daily to get my system re-installed.

All of Ubuntu Desktop, Lubuntu, Xubuntu are Ubuntu systems as I see them, thus I wanted this, my primary system re-installed & back operational… and I wasn’t really fussed about which I used for install, as they’re all Ubuntu as I see it… The differences I can effect myself as they’re just package differences.

Xubuntu is a GTK desktop, so the desktop itself will already be using many GTK libraries, so it’ll be fastest if using GTK apps that also use those same libs/toolkit…

Lubuntu is a Qt desktop, thus will perform best if you’re using Qt apps that are already in RAM being used by the desktop itself…

ie. there are apps where Lubuntu/LXQt will perform best, yet other apps you’ll find Xubuntu/Xfce will perform better… Neither will perform best with all apps.

FYI: I doubt you’ll find many for LXDE though; but there are some… LXDE was GTK2 back when Lubuntu used it, and I’m only aware of one app that still uses GTK2 today (an IRC client I still actually use!), with LXDE has now finally ported to GTK3 (alas most GTK apps are now GTK4 anyway, so LXDE is still behind the times anyway, but there are still some not-yet ported to GTK4 apps).

All Ubuntu and flavors are still Ubuntu systems underneath, so in most cases they’ll respond very similarly. I’ll provide some differences.

  • Lubuntu uses LXQt desktop; Qt5/6 itself is light (lighter than GTK) which will leave more RAM available for apps than heavier desktops (inc. KDE Plamsa which is also Qt5/6, but required KF5/6 as well)
  • In my opinion, the desktop & apps being run should be sharing resources so as to get the lightest/fastest out of your hardware; thus don’t just consider desktop itself as for what’s fastest… in fact as I still occasionally use devices with only 1GB on a single-core processor; I find WM alone usually wins over any DE

You appear to be quoting something really old (2018), such as https://lubuntu.me/taking-a-new-direction/ back when when switched the deprecated LXDE desktop to its replacement LXQt… That was long ago.

To me, all Ubuntu flavors are mostly the same, and any differences between them can be changed post-install anyway…

In my view Lubuntu is the lightest and fastest out of the box; but who actually runs an OS out of the box without any additional programs or changes? I suspect almost no-one, so does it matter. I suspect we’ll be adding extra apps, and to keep a system light, my own view is you need to consider what apps you’ll use, as Lubuntu using LXQt will lose a little if you’re using GTK apps; or those that favor the second-lightest flavor of Xubuntu… ie. you need to consider everything, and not just what is installed.

I’ll also add the following

  • Lubuntu allows a snap free install, ie. no snapd is installed, meaning even the command snap list generates an error because the snap command is unknown on a Lubuntu 24.04 LTS minimal install! Not all flavors allow that minimal an install (but it can be achieved on all though post-install)

  • I have some [rather] old hardware that actually prefers the Xubuntu desktop than the Lubuntu desktop using the 6.8 kernel… but that is hardware specific, and not everyone is using hardware that is 20+ years old (like the hardware I’m thinking of that prefers Xfce)… I’m actually expecting when 24.10/oracular jumps to its own newer kernel that Xfce will act identically to LXQt on 6.8 anyway (its what’s happened before when I see what I saw; though with issues appearing first on GNOME & KDE Plasma… then MATE & others… with Xfce & LXQt always last; on the device I’m talking about here it was Xfce last here though, but is often LXQt last)… but specific hardware can create individual issues with any software

  • Lubuntu on old/resource limited hardware does in my experience require tweaking of the SWAPFILE size for maximum performance… This is one area where the installer used by Xubuntu actually performed better than calamares used by Lubuntu… but we (Lubuntu) have documented that on this site since 2020 anyway so its not new.

On this install I have Lubuntu session(s), Xubuntu session, Ubuntu sessions (ie. GNOME) & more… and I get ~identical performance from each. The major difference I really note is the media keys on one of my keyboards acts differently between desktops, as GNOME (Ubuntu Desktop), Xfce (Xubuntu) & LXQt (Lubuntu) treat the key differently… On one desktop pressing PLAY will pause whatever player(s) I have paused & PAUSE whatever players were playing audio/video… on my current Lubuntu/LXQt desktop the media key only impacts my music player (my preference) & its different again on the other desktop… next difference is GNOME’s differening behavior for my primary monitor contrasted with the other 4 monitors… ie. very minor differences. I’ve setup this system so I decide at login which session I’ll use, they (GNOME, Xfce, LXQt, MATE) look and act rather similarly; with the biggest difference being media key, then workplace.monitors… and I don’t notice speed differences on this box.

Xubuntu & Ubuntu Desktop don’t have snap free installs, as the ubuntu-desktop-installer they both use doesn’t allow it (the installer itself is a snap package). That difference to me is moot anyway, as I’m on the Ubuntu News team, thus am very aware of the myriad of Ubuntu devs & members who’ve written blogs on how to remove & prevent snap from re-installing on systems over the years.

I very much believe you can swap out one desktop/flavor with another, and have written about it many places over the years… After all, decade(s) ago I always installed Ubuntu Desktop as I could download that quota free (bandwidth quota) from home, thus always installed that (so as to avoid my DSL connection dropping to dial-up speeds late in the month for exceeding quota) then switched to a quota-free mirror to change packages to achieve the flavor desktop I really wanted to try… ie. my starting point was Ubuntu Desktop, which I’d then change via packages to make it Lubuntu Desktop, Xubuntu Desktop, Kubuntu Desktop… and as other flavors became official Ubuntu-MATE etc too. In time I stopped removing desktops, and decided I liked a *bloated or multi-desktop install; thus that’s what I run now.

You can explore packages using https://packages.ubuntu.com/ , or even look up the seed files that we use to create our ISOs… eg. for noble or 24.04

even go & contrast with Ubuntu Desktop, varies releases etc…

As I started, to me anyway, they’ll all Ubuntu systems.


Cited from an article titled Which Ubuntu flavor is best suited for you? as comment to your question (3):
If you are looking for speed, Lubuntu might be the way to go.
Ultimately, however, Lubuntu is all about speed.


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