Thursday, September 6, 2012
Lubuntu 12.04 is very impressive
Last weekend I setup my Linux Sawtooth to dual boot Ubuntu and Lubuntu. As I wrote about last week I used the GNOME GUI in Ubuntu to replace Unity which has really improved performance and the overall usefulness of the OS. Running Lubuntu makes Ubuntu (even with GNOME) look like a sick dog. The difference is very much night and day on the G4 400 MHz chip. When running Openbox there isn't even a proper comparison that could be made because the difference is so vast.
For those who don't know of Lubuntu it's a lower resource and more streamlined version of Ubuntu but with LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) and Openbox as the built in GUI's rather than Unity/GNOME. LXDE is a very capable GUI while still without any unneeded fluff. All the built in apps are very light on the system but if all this isn't light enough for you just logout and go into Openbox.
Openbox is about as bare bones a GUI as you will find but it screams like a banshee. It makes this old Sawtooth seem like a modern system which is enough to cause at least a few to give Lubuntu a go I would hope. When it comes to being new to Linux this is a very good place to start. All the Ubuntu based OS are all very easy to install because they provide a full GUI install if you download the desktop images. Debian and Mint are both very solid OS but they are not nearly as easy to install for a Linux newbie. I luckily have command line skills from BSD which has helped me a great deal but for those that don't these GUI installs are very helpful. A person who is Mac only is used to the GUI installs and most would have no idea what to do at any type of text prompt so the most seamless way into the open source OS world is a nice easy 100% GUI install.
I would put performance about 20-30% faster than Tiger/Leopard when running the LXDE GUI but when running Openbox the performance is noticeably better than that. Linux is the best way for people running PowerPC hardware in the modern world to get modern secure software where it really matters like the OS and browser. No need to give up Mac OS either because you can dual boot as you make the transition to Linux.
The performance is so good on my 400 MHz that I am contemplating making my 1.8 GHz G4 dual boot this and Leopard. Lubuntu also seems to have better PowerPC support vs Ubuntu which makes sense because it's geared for older hardware. Give it a try because it may just convert you when you see how well your old Mac can run new software.
Lubuntu 12.04 PowerPC (G3/G4/G5)
Lubuntu - LXDE - Openbox