Fedora with the LXDE desktop

Let There Be Light

© Lead Image © lovesiyu, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © lovesiyu, 123RF.com

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If you plan to run Linux on older or less powerful hardware, say a netbook or a pre-2010 laptop, you might want to try the LXDE desktop environment.

In Windows, the graphical user interface (GUI) is integrated with the operating system itself. You can change the theme or wallpaper, but the basic collection of desktop tools, and the way these tools interact with the system, is always the same. On Linux or Unix systems, the user interface is a layer that you can easily add or remove from the underlying system. The collection of tools, themes, and programming libraries that make up the user interface is known as the desktop environment (or "desktop").

Linux supports several desktop environments. The default desktop for Fedora (as described elsewhere in this issue) is called Gnome. Gnome is a powerful and versatile system that provides a useful constellation of desktop applications, but it is designed for modern systems with contemporary processor speeds and abundant RAM. Linux has a number of smaller, lighter desktops that often work better on older systems with less memory and slower processors.

One popular desktop for older, lower power systems is LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) [1]. LXDE has garnered some attention recently as the desktop of choice for the tiny and light Raspberry Pi computer, but LXDE also runs on conventional PC desktop and laptop systems. For older computers that are light on hardware resources, the Fedora project provides the "LXDE Spin" [2], a special version of Fedora that uses LXDE instead of Gnome. If you're installing Fedora on an older system, you might want to try the LXDE Spin instead of the standard Fedora version. The LXDE Spin is on the DVD included with this issue.

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