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Home » , » The Xubuntu Difference: Xubuntu is yet another contender in what is already a highly competitive world.

The Xubuntu Difference: Xubuntu is yet another contender in what is already a highly competitive world.

There are many different operating systems based on Linux: Debian, SuSE, Gentoo, Red Hat, and Mandriva are examples. Xubuntu is yet another contender in what is already a highly competitive world. So what makes Xubuntu different?

Xubuntu is part of the Ubuntu family of Linux distributions, and is based on Debian, one of the most widely acclaimed, technologically advanced, and well-supported distributions.

Xubuntu aims to create a distribution that provides an up-to-date and coherent Linux system for desktop and server computing. Xubuntu includes a number of carefully selected packages from the Debian distribution and retains its powerful package management system which allows easy installation and clean removal of programs. Unlike most distributions that ship with a large amount of software that may or may not be of use, Xubuntu's list of packages is reduced to a number of important applications of high quality.

By focusing on quality, Xubuntu produces a robust and feature-rich computing environment that is suitable for use in both home, commercial, and educational environments. The project takes the time required to focus on finer details and is able to release a version featuring the latest and greatest of today's software once every 6 months. Xubuntu is available in flavours for the i386 (386/486/Pentium(II/III/IV) and Athlon/Duron/Sempron processors), AMD64 (Athlon64, Opteron, and new 64-bit Intel processors). A community-supported PowerPC (iBook/Powerbook, G4 and G5) architecture architecture is also available.

Updates (via Distrowatch):

Xubuntu Xubuntu 11.04, an official Ubuntu flavour featuring the Xfce desktop, has been released: "Xubuntu 11.04, code-named the 'Natty Narwhal', is the latest and greatest version of Xubuntu." What's new? "Xubuntu wallpaper has been updated for this release. The wallpaper is designed to integrate well with the new graybird theme. The installation slideshow has been updated, and really displays the best of Xubuntu. The Elementary Xubuntu icon theme has been updated. Xubuntu is using the Droid font by default, since it is a lightweight, good visibility font. The newly released Xfce 4.8 is included. The menus in Xfce 4.8 are now editable with any menu editor that meets the freedesktop.org standards." See the release announcement and release notes for a list of major changes. Download (SHA256): xubuntu-11.04-desktop-i386.iso (689MB, torrent), xubuntu-11.04-desktop-amd64.iso (688MB, torrent).

Recent versions:

 • 2011-04-29: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 11.04
 • 2010-10-11: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 10.10
 • 2010-04-30: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 10.04
 • 2009-10-29: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 9.10
 • 2009-04-23: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 9.04
 • 2008-10-30: Distribution Release: Xubuntu 8.10

The Xubuntu Desktop
As mentioned above, the default desktop environment for Xubuntu is Xfce, one of the top three Unix and Linux desktop and development platforms. In the words of Olivier Fourdan, the creator of the Xfce desktop environment, "Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources."
Because of this emphasis on conserving system resources, Xubuntu is an ideal candidate for old or low-end machines, thin-client networks, or for those who would like to get more performance out of their hardware.

Another leading UNIX and Linux desktop is GNOME. Gnome is the default desktop environment of the Ubuntu project. Xubuntu users are able to easily install and use the Gnome desktop on their system. To get a working install of Ubuntu on a Xubuntu system, install the ubuntu-desktop package. Once ubuntu-desktop is installed, you can choose to use either an Xfce or Gnome desktop environment.

A third leading UNIX and Linux desktop is KDE. The Kubuntu project offers Ubuntu users an alternative choice to the Xfce or Gnome desktop environments. Thanks to the efforts of the Kubuntu team, users can also install and use the KDE desktop on their system. To get a working installation of Kubuntu, just install the kubuntu-desktop package. Once kubuntu-desktop is installed, you can also choose to use the KDE desktop environment when logging in to your computer.

Version and Release Numbers
The Xubuntu version numbering scheme is based on the date we release a version of the distribution. The version number comes from the year and month of the release rather than reflecting the actual version of the software. The first official release of Xubuntu (Dapper Drake) was in June of 2006 so its version was 6.06. This version of Xubuntu (Intrepid Ibex) was released in October 2008 so its version number is 8.10.

Backing and Support
Xubuntu is developed and supported by a quickly growing community. The project is sponsored by Canonical Ltd., a holding company founded by Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical employs the core Ubuntu developers and offers support and consulting services for Ubuntu. More information about Canonical's support offerings can be found on the Canonical website.

Although Canonical does not provide professional consulting services support for Xubuntu at this time, Xubuntu user support is available through the Xubuntu community. Information regarding community support can be found at the Help & Support page of the Xubuntu website.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for unix-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.

Xfce 4.4 embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of the desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment.

Another priority of Xfce 4 is adhereance to standards, specifically those defined at freedesktop.org.
Xfce 4 can be installed on several UNIX platforms. It is known to compile on Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Cygwin and MacOS X, on x86, PPC, Sparc, Alpha...

Xfce Features
  • Cross platform: Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Cygwin, and MacOS X
  • Lightweight desktop environment
  • Basic and lightweight applications
  • Goodies for maximum features
  • Real multiscreen and Xinerama
  • Kiosk mode to restrict the configuration
  • Translated in more than 40 languages
  • Freedesktop specifications compliance
    • Extended Window Manager hints
    • Desktop Menus
    • Icon themes
    • XDG Base directory
    • XSETTINGS protocol
    • Drag-and-Drop protocol
Xfce provides a lightweight desktop environment with default icons and themes. First it is completed with a desktop manager providing icons, next with multiple panels for a default menu, preferred applications and extra plugins, and a window manager with Xorg's composite feature for transparencies and shadows. Moreover it suits a session manager for startup and shutdown functionalities, and a settings manager for global Xfce components and general items.

Xfce provides common applications, designed to be lightweight too for the desktop environment. These applications are: a modern terminal emulator with tabs, an iCal based calendar to notice events and appointments, and a mixer to control the volumes. Some Xfce applications comes with a panel plugin. For example the calendar provides a plugin to show a customizable date, and the mixer provides a control on the master volume.

Finally Xfce provides end-user applications, always designed lightweight, which are: a simple and fast text editor with printing feature, an easy-to-use file-manager, a media player based on Xine, a CD's and DVD's burner, and an archive manager supporting multiple compression formats.
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Some screenshots of Xfce, ordered by version.

Xfce 4.4

Xfce 4.2

Xfce 4.0

Download Stable version (4.4.3)
Most distributions ship with Xfce. But if you want a newer version or you want to build Xfce from scratch, you can find the packages below. You can also take a look at a list of Xfce-oriented distributions here.

Source code
All Xfce modules are available in one single tarball from our SourceForge repository, and from several mirrors (in one single tarball or separate tarballs):

Graphical installers
Xfce-Installers is a collection of packages which noticably simplify the installation process of Xfce and some extensions. Read more about the installer here.

Debian Debian Testing / Unstable
Debian Xfce Group
Mandriva Mandriva & Mandrake
Suse openSUSE (SUSE Linux)
Repositories for openSUSE (SUSE Linux)
Solaris Solaris SPARC/x86/AMD
Xubuntu Xubuntu

Download Unstable version (4.5.92)

Below you can find download locations for the latest development/unstable release of Xfce. Note that this software almost certainly contains bugs, many of which might affect your desire to use it in a production environment. You should back up all configuration files before installing and using these releases. If you're uncertain about downloading this release, you should probably use the stable version above.

Plugins for Xfce: Goodies Project
The Xfce Goodies Project includes additional software and artwork that are related to the Xfce desktop, but not part of the official release.
The Xfce Project itself provides a lightweight desktop environment, which includes only the core compoments required for a desktop environment, like a window manager, a file manager, a session manager, a panel and a few utilities. Additional software packages and plugins to existing software, like the panel or the file manager, are provided by the Xfce Goodies Project. more...

News can be found on a separate page.

The most recent releases can be found on http://goodies.xfce.org/releases/

Anonymous Subversion access allows you to fetch and build development source code of all goodies.

Getting Involved / Help
Everybody is welcome to contribute to the project. So if you feel you can help us in any way, please visit this page. You’ll also get information about mailinglists and IRC channels where you can get help on this page.


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