Lubuntu Vs. Xubuntu

lubuntu vs xubuntu

Over the years, Lubuntu and Xubuntu have been two popular flavors that have provided an alternative to a lot of folks who have preferred something other than vanilla Ubuntu with the Unity desktop. Lubuntu and Xubuntu have been the choice of Linux enthusiasts and users who would rather have a lean or lightweight Linux distro or one that will provide the best performance on an old desktop or laptop. But how do these two distros compare, which one would I recommend and why? Let’s read along as I weigh the strengths and weaknesses of these two awesome Ubuntu flavors.

Xubuntu Vs Lubuntu

​Most of these two distros are put in the same brackets because there is a lot of commonness between them. They are always recommended when one is looking for a lightweight Linux desktop OS. When you have a really old PC and you are looking for a replacement for something like Windows XP to bring the life back to it, or even if you want to devote all of your “new” PC’s resources and power to your software and tasks, these two distros are always recommended. This is because these two specialize in taking your PCs resources to the barest minimum. Also, these two distros are official Ubuntu flavors. That is why they pack all you’d expect from vanilla Ubuntu with Unity minus the Unity desktop plus either XFCE or LxQT(LXDE). This means they both provide the stability and security of Ubuntu.  

When to choose either of them?

Lubuntu for sheer leanness

​Lubuntu achieves shear leanness by virtue of two things; one being the choice of the LxQt(LxDE) desktop environment.  LxQt(LXDE) is a desktop environment that seeks to do one thing and do it well; run on low spec systems. This means it makes a lot of compromises in ease of use and aesthetics. You are provided with the barest of bones of a desktop meaning all the tweaks and features that you would expect on a modern computer desktop are all but completely missing. You are provided with a barebone desktop reminiscent of Windows XP with a similar menu XP-like menu to access your installed applications.

lubuntu login screen

​The desktop is also simple and allows you to place icons. It also supports a right-click menu and that’s about it. There are no desktop effects or animations, there is little you can do in terms of customizations and what you get is well what you get. The second reason Lubuntu achieves leanness is the choice of applications and software that come packed with this particular distro. Instead of LibreOffice or something similar, you are provided with Gnumeric and Abiword as replacements. There are just a handful of applications provided by default. These are the kind of choices Lubuntu makes to provide you with the barest minimum a distro can. It will run perfectly on a PC with as low as 256MB of RAM.

lubuntu desktop lxde application menu

Xubuntu for the better performance and modernity

Xubuntu achieves leanness but without compromising or performance or aesthetics. Xubuntu provides a desktop with a lot of bells and whistles while still striving not to impact too much on your PC system’s resources.

xubuntu desktop xfce desktop environment

​Unlike Lubuntu, Xubuntu comes with the sort of refinement you would expect from a modern desktop. It does not compromise on aesthetics or features in order to provide the lean desktop it seeks. Xubuntu ships with the XFCE desktop. XFCE is not as bare as LxQT(LXDE) but it is way lighter when compared to GNOME, Unity or KDE. Xubuntu does not skimp on software either. It comes with LibreOffice and not any washed down alternative. It requires at least 512MB of RAM.

xubuntu deskotp application menu


​So there you have it, Xubuntu vs Lubuntu. If you are looking for the most lightweight, Lubuntu is the choice to go. It uses the least system resources and comes with the fewest installed applications, unlike Xubuntu which packs some punch in polish and features meaning a lot more resource use. Xubuntu is relatively lightweight, as in, it’s lighter than Ubuntu and Kubuntu but Lubuntu is actually lightweight. If you prefer some polish or can spare little more system resources, then go with Xubuntu.

Xubuntu is more elegant and better looking, and it comes with more features and is more user-friendly than Lubuntu which looks outdated and bare allowing very minimal customization. Unless you have a very old PC with some pretty old specification. I recommend that you go with Xubuntu. Xubuntu because of the polish, user-friendliness and the customizations. Have you tried either of these distros? Why and what was your experience? Still not convinced on which way to go? Just take them for a spin on live USBs and decide for yourself. Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading.


User June 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm

I don’t think this article is entirely accurate, in my personal opinion Xubuntu looks much more dated than Lubuntu

djinnsour June 27, 2020 at 11:15 pm

I think most of us who use Xubuntu don’t really care what the OS looks like, not much anyway. We just want the OS to get out of the way. My desktop screen should be full of the applications I am running, not the OS effects and annoyances.

Carlos Etchegaray September 27, 2019 at 3:29 am

The most important thing about a distro is that it does not present problems when watching a movie online or on YouTube, that video and audio are synchronized and there is fluidity in the images, also it must have good compatibility with the different websites.

Paul A Donlan October 4, 2019 at 10:20 am

You hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head with your exact and complete analysis of Lubuntu and Xubuntu and of Ubuntu and Kubuntu in passing. I have used them all over the years, beginning with Kubuntu, after giving up on Windows, then Ubuntu (GNOME), then Xubuntu -after a brief experiment with Lubuntu (as well as Mint). I am very happy with the XFCE desktop and everything about Xubuntu. IMO it’s a perfect OS, at least for my simple purposes.

Victor October 4, 2019 at 8:22 am

Hola tengo una duda, quiero correr unity y blender en mi linux y ver videos de youtube en 1080p, y talves algunos videojuegos de bajo recursos. Querria saber cual de ellos dos me recomiendan para mi notebook que es un amd de 1 nucleo que va a 2,20 hz. y tengo 6 de ram expandible a 8 ram. Lubuntu o Xubuntu?
Tambien una aplicacion para filmar la pantalla. Se que es mucho pedir pero es la unica computadora que poseo! la que mas o menos me valla mejor. Perdon la molestia y gracias!

Diego August 4, 2020 at 12:33 am

Yo usaría Lubuntu. Para ver videos en 1080p yo recomendaría usar el reproductor MPV, y forzaría a Lubuntu a rodar los videos de Firefox con la tarjeta de video onboard (a través de opengl).
Para la grabación yo uso el software Kazam, Google es su amigo, busque cómo instalar y configurar lo que he escrito aquí.

Keith April 10, 2020 at 2:10 pm


I have used Linux Mint since version 7! Lubuntu Xubuntu, none of them will actually install on a Lenovo Ideapad 100s 11BY.
Manufacturers are now making it very difficult to install Linux (Any Distro) most manufacturers are in the pockets of Microsoft.
Ask yourself how many manufactures produce computers with only Linux and fully support it. Most laptops produced in the last 3 years have difficulty installing Linux THIS NEVER USED TO BE THE CASE

Kindest regards

Lubuntu user May 14, 2020 at 1:18 am

In 2012 this was probably true; In 2020 (New current version Lubuntu: 20.04 LTS! } I noticed significant space & performance issues after upgrading; I have a browser & several apps that are *HUGE* resource hogs, so sys needs 2 be as lean as possible!
Lubuntu 20 just isn’t lean anymore; Despite what this review says, I’d say *BARE MIN* 2 GB ram; 4 if you plan to do flash browsing or movies/streaming etc anything video or streaming;

*PLUS* i’ve already noticed some things that worked fine in earlier versions (including opening things from PCManFM file man) sometimes crash while worked fine older version. [*STABILITY* tops my list, w good specs/low resource usage 2nd]
Going to try Xbuntu, but what we *REALLY* need is a tested comparison *BY VERSION*, since it’s painfully obvious that newer versions are much more resource hogs than old ones;
For example, Lubuntu 10 might run fine on 256 MB of RAM, but L 20 *DOES NOT* !
[Tested w 2.9GHZ CPU (dual core) in case anyone’s wondering]

Frustrated August 7, 2020 at 11:16 pm

I totally agree with “Lubuntu user”. Lubuntu 20.04 is slow on my old Dell desktop where version 18.04 ran great. Plan to downgrade.


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