Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 22:10

This is a review for Lubuntu 17.04, the ultra-lightweight and energy-saving desktop OS which is complete and user friendly. It features daily desktop apps including full multimedia support (MP3/WEBM) and provides more than 70000 software packages on official repo, instantly ready to use for desktop PC and laptop users. You can run Lubuntu mainly to revive old computers or to replace any resource-hungry OS. It's amazing to see a full-power desktop OS as lightweight as Lubuntu on 2017! Finally, I hope this review helps you to choose Lubuntu for all your computers.

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This article is a review for Lubuntu 17.04. If you need anything else, we have the installation guide, download links, and reducing download cost using zsync.

1. Characteristics

Lubuntu by default is a super-minimalistic desktop OS. It brings a small number of software (enough for daily uses), small set of running services (hence the resource-saving), but it powered by gigantic set of software available on official repo + PPA and also it's an Ubuntu-based OS with worldwide community support.

2. Memory Usage

Lubuntu uses around 250MB of RAM when idle. By this, then Lubuntu is the most lightweight OS among the 17.04 official "brothers" (Ubuntu Unity ±1GB, Kubuntu ±400MB, Ubuntu MATE ±550MB, Ubuntu Budgie ±800MB, even Xubuntu ±300MB).

From the picture above, we know that the most RAM consuming processes are Xorg (±50MB), then update-notifier (±33MB), and then lxpanel (±29MB). It's amazing to know that user still can reduce the RAM usage by disabling for example update-notifier, snapd, and whoopsie. It's extremely lightweight for a complete-functional desktop OS in 2017.

3. Appearance

This is the desktop view  of Lubuntu. It's a traditional desktop with minimalistic Windows XP (or you can say, 98) style with a bottom panel, cascading menu on left corner, system tray on right corner, and control-buttons on top-right on every window. By default Lubuntu doesn't use drop shadow effect.

4. File Manager

The power of a desktop OS relies on its file manager. Lubuntu brings PCManFM, the ultra-lightweigth graphical file manager, simple on interface but complete in features. Picture below showing Lubuntu File Manager with many important features enabled (split vertical, multitab, right-click context menu, sort files by date, Open in Terminal, Compress, Bookmark, Cut/Copy, Rename, status bar with space indicator, etc.). The version it ships is 1.2.45.

File search: in PCManFM, it is located at menu Tools > Find Files or by shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F.

5. Default Apps

This is table of preinstalled apps on Lubuntu 17.04.

Category Name
Web browser Firefox
Word processor Abiword
Spreadsheet Gnumeric
File manager PCManFM
Email client Sylpheed
Internet messenger Pidgin
Image viewer GPicView
PDF reader Evince
Download manager Transmission, GNU wget
Terminal LXTerminal
Image writer Startup Disk Creator
Disk management GNOME Disk Utility
Audio player Audacious
Video player MPV
Text editor Leafpad
Desktop notes Xpad

6. Application Comparison

If you are switching from Windows, then you need a table comparing apps on Lubuntu towards apps on Windows. Here the comparisons:

Preinstalled on Lubuntu
This table compares default apps on Lubuntu and popular apps on Windows:

Windows Lubuntu
Windows Explorer
Microsoft Word Abiword
Microsoft Excel Gnumeric
Internet Explorer Firefox
Yahoo! Messenger Pidgin
mIRC Pidgin
uTorrent Transmission
Outlook Sylpheed
Notepad Leafpad
Command Prompt LXTerminal
Adobe Reader Evince
WinAmp Audacious
Windows Media Player MPV
Microsoft Paint mtPaint
Nero Burning ROM Xfburn
Add/Remove Programs Synaptic Package Manager
GNOME Software
Task Manager Task Manager (LXTask)

Availabe on Repo
If you want to install more software (available on Lubuntu's repo) by yourself later, or because you won't find them preinstalled, this table compares Lubuntu software and Windows software.

Windows Lubuntu
Microsoft Office (full suite) LibreOffice
Adobe Photoshop GIMP
CorelDRAW Inkscape
Adobe InDesign Scribus
Corel PaintShop Pro Krita
Windows Movie Maker Flowblade
3D Studio Max Blender
ACDSee Shotwell
Foxit Reader QPdfView
Google Earth KDE Marble
Google Chrome Iridium
Outlook Thunderbird
GOM Player VLC
IDM DownThemAll!
Skype GNU Ring

You can install applications using the preinstalled tool like GNOME Software, Synaptic, or APT. Read about Package Management System to do it.

7. Repository

Or, what you can install on Lubuntu 17.04. You have more than 70000 packages available on official repository. You have large number of apps available via Launchpad PPA. You have many apps available as AppImage, runnable on Lubuntu. You can install them all if you want. It means you have complete support of applications for all computing fields possible for this lightweight OS, Lubuntu 17.04. To install them, Lubuntu provides Software Center and also the powerful apt-get console tool.

More explanation about repository you can find on Package Management System article.

8. Daily Life

These are some examples to utilize Lubuntu for daily life.

Surprise, Lubuntu can play MP3 and MP4 by default as well as OGG and WEBM. The players, Audacious and MPV, doesn't need additional installations of codecs anymore. So Lubuntu is so ready for users switching from Windows or Mac OS X when they want multimedia playback.

PDF & Ebooks
Lubuntu ships with Evince PDF Reader preinstalled. You can read your ebooks as soon you installed Lubuntu. Evince can read another ebook formats such as DVI, XPS, DJVU, TIFF, PS, and Comic Books.

It has preinstalled spreadsheet and word processor software. Gnumeric supports Excel document formats (.xls/.xlsx) where Abiword supports Word document formats (.doc/.docx). Also, they support LibreOffice document formats (.ods and .odt). They can also export directly to PDF as well.

It features Sylpheed, the user-friendly, lightweight mail client that supports both IMAP and POP. It is very simple to setup Gmail account on Sylpheed like this.

9. Technical Details

  • OS name: Lubuntu
  • Version: 17.04
  • Codename: Zesty Zapus 
  • Support lifespan: 9 months (until January 2018)
  • Release date: April 13th 2017
  • OS family: GNU/Linux
  • Distro family: Debian derivatives 
  • Architecture: 32bit & 64bit
  • Image size: ±900MB
  • Desktop environment: LXDE
  • Package manager: apt, dpkg
  • Window manager: Openbox
  • Display manager: LightDM
  • Developer: Lubuntu Team
  • Website:

10. Conclusion

For whom Lubuntu 17.04 is? I can recommend it especially for users having low-end or old computers, and I can also recommend it for users having modern & high-end computers when they need minimum resource usage and maximum energy-saving. This is the most resource-saving OS among all 17.04 official flavors and is suitable for those can't use another varian but still want the user-friendliness of Ubuntu family.

Get Involved!

Lubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution project based on Ubuntu with LXDE desktop (hence the name Lubuntu). If you wanto to contribute to Lubuntu Project, first visit Get Involved page. You can help, if you have technical experience, to give support on official IRC #lubuntu on freenode. or join the mailing list. Lubunt Project also has a forum here.

Release Notes