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"UbuntuLite" reviewed
Aug. 27, 2008

The "DeviceGuru" has posted an installation walk-through and preliminary review of UbuntuLite. Designed for systems as old as 266MHz Pentium IIs, with 192MB or more of RAM, UbuntuLite now uses the new LXDE (lightweight X11 desktop environment), a downsized GNOME alternative aimed at netbooks and nettops.

UbuntuLite has been ongoing for several years. It is not clear what affiliation, if any, the project has with Canonical, the company that sponsors popular Ubuntu distributions for servers, desktops, and MIDs (mobile Internet devices).

Currently, UbuntuLite is distributed as version 0.8. However, it is considered a "release candidate," and according to DeviceGuru, shows a lot of promise despite a few rough edges. It switched to the LXDE environment in May of this year.

One rough edge is a two-stage installation process, although that will not seem all that rough to those familiar with Debian installers. A CD or other medium is used to install a minimalist Ubuntu system (likely using Debian's "bootfloppies" installer), after which the user reboots and, in place of the normal tasksel stage, runs a shell script that downloads the UbuntuLite environment. The finished installation weighs in at 1.2GB, DeviceGuru reports.

Included are a few of the usual "lightweight" Linux application suspects, including the recently much-improved Abiword word processor, gnumeric, and alsaplayer. Firefox 3.0, and most any other Ubuntu packages, can also be added using graphical or commandline package management tools.

UbuntuLite's featured desktop environment is LXDE, a GTK+ 2 based software collection that first emerged in late 2006, when two Taiwanese Linux distributions, B2D and the Ubuntu-based PUD GNU/Linux, adopted an early version. More recently, LXDE was catapulted into the spotlight in the latest "gOS 3 Gadget" release, which traded Enlightenment E17 for LXDE.

To learn more about UbuntuLite, visit the DeviceGuru blog, here.

Full disclosure: DeviceGuru is run by Rick Lehrbaum, who also founded

-- Henry Kignman

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