Xubuntu 30-Day Challenge

Xubuntu Desktop - Benjamin KerensaAs a result of my growing concern over privacy and for other purposes, I decided I would take up a 30-day challenge. Yeah…like the one that Matt Cutts gave a TED Talk about. I would switch to a Community Flavor and see how it worked and see if I could keep it as my desktop instead of Ubuntu.

The requirements I had for desktop challenge:

  • Must be Ubuntu Community Flavor
  • Firefox shipped as default browser
  • Preference to lighter weight DE
  • Solid Support and Dev Sub-Community
  • Must respect privacy

The conclusion for me based on those requirements was that Xubuntu was the best candidate for my 30-day challenge although I did consider Kubuntu. But their lack of shipping Firefox as a default was a deal breaker for me even though they still have an equally crisp desktop.

Will you be taking up a 30-day challenge?


  1. says

    I hope you like it. I’ve never used Xubuntu, but Xfce is quite nice as the default desktop included with my OpenPandora’s OS.

    (I’d probably have given it a try, but I ended up getting comfortable with a mix of LXDE and Firefox before I switched to an Ubuntu-family distro and, if it already meets my needs, why switch to a heavier desktop with no tabbing support in the default file manager?)

    • says

      You know PRISM and the general lack of respect companies and governments have for it.

      James Vasille did a good talk on the issues facing society in regards to privacy and censorship last week. In a nutshell he said metadata is all governments need versus actual content. He suggested open source developers were poised to solve these issues by building tools inside software that prevents such breach’s of metadata.

      Because the community flavors do not send metadata over the wire there is no concern there.

  2. Martin says

    you cannot defend your machine against skilled and determined attacker, however better than mac or windows OS :)

  3. says

    Because Firefox comes from the Mozilla Community and I believe in their principles. Sure its easy enough to install but I believe choose a browser that respects privacy and choice is a solid feature.

    • says

      That sounds like a bit of a non sequitur.

      How does the choice of default browser have anything to do with that? Are you assuming it’ll act as a proxy for the distro’s views on user privacy?

      (If so, I’d recommend against disqualifying Lubuntu based on that metric since it’s very inaccurate. As far as I can tell, Lubuntu guys see the privacy difference between the specific versions of Firefox and Chromium available at packaging time to be insufficiently significant to overcome Chromium’s superior UI responsiveness on older machines with limited CPU time.)

  4. DigDug2k says

    I realize its probably out for you, but Fedora’s XFCE spin is pretty nice (and they’ve shown a bigger commitment to privacy IMO).

  5. c_smith says

    definitely gonna go back to Xubuntu (Unity has been getting on my nerves, and KDE is a bit too bloated for my tastes), been on Arch for a bit, but getting bored of that, not doing a 30-day thing knowing myself, being as I do a reinstall literally every week or so on my laptop (don’t ask why), but I might try Midori as a backup browser for what few sites refuse to load in FF.

    • c_smith says

      the desktop has had the same OS pretty consistantly, though, a dual-boot of an Ubuntu spin and Win7 (which is for what few games just refuse to run in Wine)

    • Israel says

      unfortunately Chromium is default browser there…. I use Lubuntu on my old machines. I actually like it more than Xfce, though I do use Thunar for its automounting abilities. The support is also limited to 6 months for each release. There is no LTS (though you can obviously use the LTS) so it also doesn’t have “Solid Support”…. at least not yet.

  6. Dragonbite says

    I’d be interested in hearing how you make out with it, and security insights.
    Ive been using Xubuntu for a little longer than a 30-day challenge. That is because my computer is old-and-slow and Xubuntu runs much lighter on it.

    Could try gNewSense for the ultimate in “free”, though Fedora got very close to being “approved” (only issue is they ALLOW you to install proprietayr codecs, even if they don’t come with them).

  7. luisfpg says

    Disqualifying Kubuntu because it doesn’t ship Firefox as default is not fair, because it does include an app to install Firefox right from the Internet menu. I think it doesn’t ship i by default is because it depends on several GTK / Gnome libs, and it would be too much space on the live media to have it installed by default. But having the dedicated app to install it should qualify Kubuntu as well…

  8. Marc-Antoine Lamoureux says

    I’m in. Installed Lubuntu this morning on my HP G6 AMD based laptop and loving it. Much snappier than Win8. I like Chromium. I’m using X Marks for bookmarking. Installed gtkpod. Got Steam installed. Had an issue with audio but fixed that with a little bit of searching. So far very happy with performance and usability. I’ll update as I think up projects.

  9. Tanmay says

    Could you share your wall ? I have been using xubuntu for 8 months and made a switch from unity. Its solves the bridge between lightweight DE’s which dont have much development and those like unity, gnome or kde.

    Pros :

    Excellent Default Keybindings
    I use only one top panel.

    Cons :
    More Resouce hungry than other xfce spins.

  10. Marc-Antoine Lamoureux says

    Day 2. Laptop fan was running like crazy. Tried to figure out what was going on. dmesg indicated the Radeon card was posting tons of errors that made no sense to me. I downloaded the official drivers from AMD/ ATI. Install keeped failing but ATI log file pointed to the fact I didn’t have MAKE and GCC installed. Once that was done the drivers installed fine. Now fan is behaving.

    Point of all this. For a noob, if make and gcc were not installed, maybe the ATI installer should be able to download them without the poor git having to search for answers in the log file. The installer new exactly was it required. So do it..

    Aside, installed Firefox. I really Chromium though. Renders seem faster.

    Laptop is now behaving very well. Today I thinkI’m going to look at managing my music collection. Played with Audacious a bit. See what else is out there. Looking for a good MP3 tagger.

  11. Ryan A. says

    I’m on ubuntu gnome, still using 3.6. I’ve been using Fedora for the past couple of years but wanted to give Ubuntu another try now that gnome-shell was an official, community sponsored project.

  12. Winfried Maus says

    Xubuntu has been my Ubuntu flavor of choice for a year now. I use 12.04 LTS with the Xfce 4.10/4.12 PPAs and Cairo Dock on a Zotac Zbox ID41+ – it works beautifully as our smplayer/Guayadeque machine.

    I’ve also used Xubuntu on an older Dell XPS M1330 notebook for a while, and Xubuntu runs great on it (when you have tlp and i8ktools installed).

    However, since certain software that I want to use either only exists in usable versions for Windows or OS X, I’m now taking up the challenge of using Windows 8 for more than a few minutes…