Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 21:28

It is very unique. It is the only among Ubuntu brothers coming with Chromium browser, with the distinct Budgie Desktop, with a whole different user experience. Its desktop has its own tweak tool, its own Extensions, even you can add global menu and NetSpeed-like applets to it. It is not similar to Windows, not similar to Mac OS X, neither to Ubuntu Unity nor Ubuntu GNOME. It is Ubuntu Budgie. You will see in this short review for its beta 2 version how it looks and what it give you.

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Basic Info

Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is an LTS version which will be supported in 3 years (2018-2021) and available in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions. It's codenamed Bionic Beaver, using the Linux kernel 4.15, Budgie Desktop 10.4, and Ubiquity graphical installer. And, it includes many GNOME 3.28 applications like Calendar and Settings.

1. Wallpaper and Desktop

See, this is the unique desktop of Ubuntu Budgie, with its default wallpaper and live clock at bottom with a top panel and Raven as right sidebar plus Plank dock as left sidebar. The clock at bottom is live and also showing date. And... the menu is ready to open by Super key.

And this one is another new wallpaper included:

2. Memory Usage

Honestly, it is around nine hundred mebibyte of RAM or in number it's 930MiB at idle time on my first login. This makes Ubuntu Budgie grouped in the middle class along with Ubuntu MATE (~640MiB); and separates it from the lightweight class consisted of Lubuntu (~230MiB), Lubuntu Next (~260MiB), Xubuntu (~350MiB), and Kubuntu (~370MiB); but it is still under the heavyweight class that consisted only of Ubuntu original (~1.2GiB).

3. A Lighter Alternative To GNOME 3 Desktop

You know, GNOME 3 needs around 1.2 to 1.4 GiB of RAM at idle time. So either Ubuntu GNOME (17.04) or Ubuntu original now (18.04) is heavy because it uses GNOME 3. But if you use Ubuntu Budgie, you will have similar experience and even same set of software compared to Ubuntu original but it is more lightweight. It needs only around 800-900MiB of RAM.

The clock on panel is configurable instantly to show date and seconds, not like in the GNOME 3:

It has its own Tweak Tool called Budgie Desktop Settings, similar to GNOME Tweaks:

4. Desktop Customization

Yes, the default appearance is Xubuntu-like if you ever use Xubuntu. But believe me you can make it to be Windows-like (see below) by customizing via Budgie Desktop Settings included. You can make it to look like anything you want. Picture below showing the same Ubuntu Budgie with panel on bottom.

Furthermore, in fact Ubuntu Budgie now supports Budgie Applets (very similar to GNOME Shell Extensions) you can install from the Welcome greeter. What applets available, you may ask, and some of them:

  • System Monitor applet (to show upload/download speed)
  • Weather applet
  • Global menu applet   
  • Workspace Wallpaper applet (place different wallpaper on different workspace, like KDE Plasma)
  • and more!
Remember, if you install any applet you should relogin to see the changes.

Find this on menu > System Tools > Budgie Applets

5. Global Menu? Yes!

Does Ubuntu Budgie have global menu? Yes, it does, although it is not built-in. You just need to install Global Menu applet from menu > System Tools > Budgie Applets > Global Menu and then relogin and finally add it to panel using Budgie Desktop Settings. It works greatly! See picture below while global menu works on Chromium.

6. Welcome Greeter

Just like Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie also has a Welcome window. I see this Welcome at my first login time and it explains what Ubuntu Budgie is and everything a new user would love to see.

It explains what features it brings to the user:

7. LibreOffice 6.0 and Applications

Ubuntu Budgie Bionic beta 2 brings LibreOffice 6.0 (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw). And, it is the only Official Flavor to bring Chromium web browser. Yes, this means we get the faster than Firefox browser by default.

Here's applications showing:

Chromium, Nautilus, Rhythmbox, GNOME MPV respectively in clockwise

See the 2x2 tiles on the center? That is a new feature called WindowShuffler to instantly arrange 4 windows on 1 screen like above or to manually select any window for any position. You enable it by pressing Super+S keys.

8. Software Installation

No difference with majority of Official Flavors, Ubuntu Budgie also uses the GNOME Software as its application store.  You find it from menu > System Tools > Software.

9. System Installation

In beta 2, it is still Ubiquity, the same graphical installer in the older Ubuntu Budgie versions and the same as the Ubuntu original's installer. This means you don't need to learn again if you have previous experience with any Ubuntu system.


It is the most unique among the Official Flavors in the 18.04. It's the only to bring Chromium browser, and it gives you the unique Budgie Desktop experiences. It is really a good place for everyone who wants new, distinct desktop experience with modern version of software and broad space to explore. And ultimately it is still available for 32 bit, which has been abandoned by Ubuntu original. We will wait until the planned release on April 26.


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.