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What is LXDE?

LXDE is the abbrevation of Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, and also LX means LinuX. You'll find it different from other desktop environments, for it's independent components whick can be used independently with few dependencies.

The LXDE project aimed to provide a new desktop environment which is useful enough and keep resource usage lower at the same time. Useabiliy, speed, and memory usage are the main concern of the developers.

Why use LXDE?

We use LXDE for it's exellent features such as:

  • Lightweight, runs with reasonable memory usage (After X11 and LXDE are started, the total memory usage is about 45 MB on i386 machines.)
  • Fast, rund well even on older machines produced in 1999 (The hardware requirements of LXDE is similiar to Windows 98)
  • Good-looking, gtk+ 2 internationalized user interface
  • Easy-to-use, the user interface is simple, but usable enough
  • Desktop independent (suprise! Every component can be used without LXDE)
  • Standard compliant, follows the specs on freedesktop.org
  • Suitable for old machines ( Though LXDE itself doesn't require better hardware, other applications under X do need it. For example, Firefox and OpenOffice.org 2 are quite memory-hungry. So it's recommended that you have RAM more than 128 MB.)

What components it contains?

  • PCManFM: File manager, provides desktop icon
  • LXPanel: Feature-rich desktop panel
  • LXSession: Standard-compliant X11 session manager with shutdown/reboot/suspend supports via HAL and gdm
(There are some bugs in lxsession related to session management. lxsession-lite is a version of lxsession which does not have the session mqanagement capability. The stability of lxsession-lite is better than lxsession, however it can not save and restore sessions. Thus it is recommended to use lxsession-lite till the problems in lxsession are fixed.)
  • LXAppearance: LXAppearance is a new feature-rich GTK+ theme switcher able to change GTK+ themes, icon themes, and fonts used by applications
  • Openbox: Lightweight, standard-compliant, and highly-configurable window manager (This is not developed by LXDE Project, but it's used as default window manager). This can be replaced by any other window manager like icewm, fluxbox, metacity, ...etc.
  • GPicView: A very simple, fast, and lightweight image viewer featuring immediate startup.
  • Leafpad: Lightweight and simple text editor(This is not developed by us, but we suggest using this as default text editor).
  • XArchiver: Lightweight, fast, and desktop-independent gtk+-based file archiver (This is not developed by LXDE Project, but you are suggested to use this as default archiver).
  • LXNM (still under development): Lightweight network manager for LXDE supporting wireless connections (Linux-only)

How to Install LXDE?

LXDE is modular. You can pick and choose packages, all of whick can be grabbed from Pacman. You have to enable [extra] and [community] repository. The required packages which you have to install to run LXDE are lxde-common, lxsession, and Openbox.

LXDE also has a bunch of Arch packages. For example, you can install LXDE like this:


# pacman -S lxde

Note: you cannot choose to install lxsession and lxsession-lite at the same time.

Running LXDE

  1. If you are using display managers like GDM or KDM, you should be able to select LXDE direclty from them.
  2. If you don't have display manager, and want to start lxde in console, add this line at the end of ~/.xinitrc:
exec startlxde

External Resources