Another Xubuntu convert!September 17, 2007 at 8:36 am | Posted in reviews, xubuntu | 13 Comments
Over the past week I helped my sister switch over from Ubuntu to Xubuntu. (Maybe I was a little biased about Xubuntu as she was making the switch, but c’mon…I write a blog about it, I might as well be! )
She had reasons for doing so: she wanted something faster, preferred Thunar over Nautilus, and just wanted it looking nicer.
Point by point, here’s what impressed her the most:
1) It’s simple.
Q: How do I run Thunar to open my home folder?
Q: What’s the command for the terminal?
Now that’s semantic! Things in Xfce are logical, simple, and obvious (Or, as she put it, “I type in what I want and I get it”).
I’ve already covered some of this, but she prefers Thunar over Nautilus for two main reasons:
a) You can easily switch the address bar from pathbar to toolbar style. I like to type. For me (and my sister) it’s quicker to type than to click through each and every folder. And it also has a similar feel to the terminal: it even has auto-complete.
b) Restore from trash. I find it hard to believe that Nautilus still doesn’t have this. As my sister put it, “now I don’t have to constantly remember where to reput my files.”
So really, it doesn’t matter if one file manager has network support or support for backgrounds. In the end, people just want the basics.
3) It just looks nice.
She REALLY likes the compositor in xfwm4. (I previously had her set up with Compiz-Fusion, but all the wobbling windows bothered her.) So now her computer has nice, stable shadow and transparency effects. She especially likes being able to see through the windows.
It’s also surprising to see how good the desktop can look using just the default icons and themes. As my blog partner Vincent put it:
Yesterday I returned back home from holiday. In my holiday, I have not touched a decent bike for quite a few weeks. True, I’ve used a mountain bike, but the saddle was very hard and the big tires cause you to cycle slowly while still using a lot of force. The result was that when I used my own, decent bicycle this morning, it was a very pleasant feeling.
Now what does this have to do with Xubuntu? Well, my holiday also meant: two weeks without touching a computer, two weeks without seeing the slightest bit of Xubuntu. So when I then turned on my computer, I realized, once again, how pretty Xubuntu is. And it was a pleasant ride
She likes docks. Not necessarily a Mac-like dock, but just a row of icons to click on. Because see, she doesn’t like digging through menus. She likes icons. (See folks, when I had mentioned that in my joke topic at Ubuntu Forums, I was only half-kidding!)
I tried setting her up with cairo-dock, but that just confused her. You see, in the newest version you have to add launchers from /usr/share/app-install, and neither me or my sister’s system have anything in /usr/share/app-install. Then something screwed up her workspaces (which she doesn’t even use) and turned her entire background grey.
Needless to say, I got her off of that and set her up with a size-48 panel with her icons, the trash applet, and a weather report. She has it on the left side of her screen, which I don’t understand but, it’s her system.
So, now she has a system that does exactly what she wants and how she wants it…with Xfce.
If you’re an Ubuntu user who’s interested in Xubuntu…why not give it a whirl? If you’d like, just open up a terminal and run
sudo aptitude install xubuntu-desktop (or, if you’re a point-and-click kind of person like my sister, you can do it from Synaptic or Adept, depending on your system.)
If it still doesn’t satisfy, just use
sudo aptitude remove xubuntu-desktop to take it off. If it does, however, you can take it one step further and follow aysiu’s guide on having a system with only Xfce (this is what my sister did, albeit without removing OpenOffice).
Nothing’s stopping you…it’s free.