General Question

VoodooLogic's avatar

Ubuntu or Xubuntu?

Asked by VoodooLogic (724points) February 1st, 2008

My coach, a professed technophobe, has been given a laptop by the rugby team. While slow, (500 mhz 1/2 gig ram) this Dell laptop will be used for light web browsing and email client mostly. I’m going to install one of these flavors of free Linux software and recreate his XP environment.

While Xubuntu seems like the logical choice, I believe that the functionality of Ubuntu might be good too. Xubuntu doesn’t use open office by default, it doesn’t have automatic update check. However, all in all, it’s faster than Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has more drag and drop functionality, its design makes it much easier for anyone to navigate. However, Ubuntu might be a bit bloated to run efficiently on this machine…

Anyone have an opinion?

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16 Answers

ishotthesheriff's avatar

hmm, this is a difficult decision haha. well, concerning the fact that he doesn’t really like technology. . . ubuntu might be a bit easier for him. however yeah, the fact that it may not be as “fast” as xubuntu might be a problem if he has no patience waiting for a computer to do it’s thing. you might have to just go in it the trial and error way. try ubuntu and see how it runs. it may perform just fine and will probably require less help in the long run ( updating, etc.)

Vincentt's avatar

Try installing the latest version (7.10) of Xubuntu, it’s made great strides in terms of user-friendliness. Abiword and Gnumeric are excellent applications. Automatic update check is also default in Xubuntu.
I’ve also found that Xubuntu looks cleaner in general, less bloated while easier to configure. The only real thing it’s lacking is, as you mention, the drag-and-drop of application launchers to and fro panels.

Personally, I’m not using Xubuntu as a last resort for my computer but because I like it better, and I’m trying to advocate this.

PS. Did I mention it looks better? ;-)

MedivhX's avatar

If he wants speed – Xubuntu is the choice. If he wants ease of use – Ubuntu is the choice. He can also install both if he wants, and then switch between the two environments (XFCE and GNOME).

VoodooLogic's avatar

@MedivhX He can barely do email (he types up game plans then emails them as word doc attachments). He will definitely freak out if his icons are not on the desktop. I only plan on setting up and teaching him two things. First, we’ll put together some websites and install the morning coffee extension for firefox. Second, I’ll set up thunderbird to get his email with the fewest clicks possible. If that goes well, a bonus might be to teach my coach the copy and paste commands.

Bottom line: Linux is ready for the average user, I intend to prove it.

VoodooLogic's avatar

You’re right, I’ll just install them both. I can change the default settings easily through the login screen depending on Coach’s preference.

I love the power of Linux. <3

felipelavinz's avatar

what about Ubuntu with XFCE desktop?

VoodooLogic's avatar

@felipelavinz That’s what I’m gonna do.

livejamie's avatar

Aww where’s the love for Kubuntu? :)

The new KDE is killer, I love it.

MedivhX's avatar

@ livejamie

There’s no chance that KDE will run on such machine…

livejamie's avatar

@MedivhX: That’s not correct at all. Said machine probably can’t do fancy things like Compiz, etc but it can for sure run KDE.

felipelavinz's avatar

@livejamie: maybe it can… how it will run, it’s a totally different question… is it? :)

Maybe it would be a nice testing scenario for KDE 4, which is supposed to use way less resources than KDE 3.5

Vincentt's avatar

@livejamie – oh, it sounds like that machine can very well do Compiz. I don’t know about my processor, but I’ve had extra RAM placed pumping it up to an astonishing 512MB, so it’s probably fairly similar to this machine, and I’m running Compiz on Xubuntu just fine.
In fact, I’ve never even consider it an outdated machine because it doesn’t even feel slow.

MedivhX's avatar


Read felipelavinz’s answer…

VoodooLogic's avatar

it does have 8megs of video memory. My biggest problem right now is getting the wireless to work without ndiswrapper and device drivers. Ubuntu appears to be running fine with the processing power.

MedivhX's avatar

Well, if the native Lnux drivers don’t exist for your WiFi card, you’re doomed to ndiswrapper.

VoodooLogic's avatar

FYI, printers in Xubuntu can get complicated.

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