Install minimal LXDE desktop

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sbroccolo
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Install minimal LXDE desktop

Post by sbroccolo » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:36 pm

I originally added this to a very old thread just in case someone found it doing a search for LXDE desktop on Linux mint.
Since the admins moved it to the Tutorials section I've edited it for clarity.

If you have a very old machine the LXDE DE can make a real difference in the speed and responsiveness.

The LXDE DE can be added to any 18.2 Linux Mint Ubuntu based distro.
Probably the rolling Debian distro as well, but I have not tested it yet.
Personally, I prefer starting with Cinnamon.

The minimum specs say 512MB RAM and 5GB HDD available.
I suggest 1GB RAM and 10GB HDD available.

Cinnamon comes with their largest selection of software packages. Not an issue if HDD space is available. I prefer the tools that come with Cinnamon and you will have access to them across any DE you install without effecting the base memory usage. If space is a an issue then start with the XFCE version.

If you only have 512MB Cinnamon will run very slowly until you replace the DE because it will have to rely on the HDD swap file to run. Again, you can start with the XFCE version. Additionally, the XFCE version comes with the Whisker Menu, so the look and feel is so much like Cinnamon you will barely notice the difference.

My results of memory usage on an old Toshiba Satellite with 2.2GHZ AMD CPU, 2GB RAM, and a 160GB HDD was:
Cinnamon: 600MB
XFCE: 386MB
LXDE: 305MB

To install LXDE, go to the Synaptic Package Manager, in Preferences, check "Consider recommended packages as dependencies"

Search on LXDE,

Mark for installation all packages except those that are dbg. I missed it the first time, so make sure you select the LXSession-Logout manager or you won't be able to logout or shutdown from the menu. Also, review "Mark Recommended for Installation" and "Mark Suggested for Installation" for each package. Especially the main LXDE and LXDE-common packages. There will be software packages listed there designed to run on smaller machines as well as i386 versions. You can skip adding any at this time and go back and add them later if you have issues.

Click on Apply. During the installation it will ask which DM to apply changes to. The one that you are currently using should be the default shown.

Logout of your session.

For LightDM - there will be a drop down icon containing a list of the installed DEs on your system next to your user name. LXDE should be there. Select it and enter your password.

For MDM - The location of the icon containing a list of the installed DEs on your system will depend on the theme that you are running. However, you must click or enter the user name prior to selecting the DE you wish to switch to or it will revert to the Default. Then you can enter your password

An entirely different looking desktop will verify your success. However, in the case of XFCE with Whiskers it looks so similar to Cinnamon that I had to go into a terminal to check.

Code: Select all

echo $DESKTOP_SESSION
.
Htop is a good simple tool to check memory usage that has very little of its own overhead.

Hope that this helps someone.
Last edited by xenopeek on Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: split from solved 5 year old support topic and moved here

wedjlok
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Re: Install minimal LXDE desktop

Post by wedjlok » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:40 pm

Thank you so much for this. I was just trying to find these very answers and yours has seemed to work.

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NessM
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Re: Install minimal LXDE desktop

Post by NessM » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:41 am

Thank you. The Software Manager doesn't seem to work as well as Synaptics (apt) to install LXDE, I forgot this.

I agree LXDE is perfect for old hardware.
Code. Find bugs and report them. Support Developers by donations. Provide feedback. Make suggestions. Support other users. Keep in mind support is provided you for free. Take a shower regularly.

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