Getting to know Ubuntu Lite

The community-run Ubuntulite project aims to extend the useful life of aging, under-resourced hardware, as might be found in schools or nonprofit organizations. Accordingly, instead of using a high end, video-hungry desktop environment, such as GNOME or KDE, this parsimonious OS incorporates the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE), a platform being honed for use on nettops (aka mini notebook PCs) and MIDs (mobile Internet devices).

LXDE provides “moderate” performance on systems with Pentium 2 processors clocked as slow as 266MHz and equipped with as little as 192MB of RAM, according to the LXDE website. That should make Ubuntulite a good match for my old Thinkpad 2662-35U testbed, with its 600MHz Pentium III CPU, 192MB of SDRAM, and 16GB hard drive.

Incidentally, until recently Ubuntulite came with IceWM, a popular reduced-footprint window manager. Earlier this year, however, the project migrated to LXDE as its default desktop, in an effort to provide “a modern desktop feeling,” among other benefits.

Two-part installation process