Lubuntu 17.04 – simple evolution

Some of you may find it bizarre, but BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk, the commercial arm of this blog Linux notes from DarkDuck really gets orders for disks with different operating systems. We recently looked at Kubuntu 17.04 that was the leader for the number of orders this April when the newest version of Ubuntu family of operating systems was released.

Lubuntu was also in the top 3 of these distributions, along with Ubuntu itself. As long as I had a disk to be sent to the customer, why not use the chance to write a review of this operating system for you, my readers?

So, I downloaded the ISO image of Lubuntu 17.04 32-bit, which is 916 MB in size, and burnt it onto a DVD-R disk. This disk is in the drive of my Dell Inspirion 17 laptop.

Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Fasten your seatbelts! Let’s go!


Booting up

The boot process of Lubuntu does not change with time. You still have the boot menu with multiple options and multiple configuration options. I selected the English language there along with English UK keyboard.

Once I selected “Try Lubuntu without install” and hit the Enter button, the boot sequence started. While it continues, you can see the Lubuntu logo with the famous five dots indicating the Ubuntu family underneath.

Boot process was reasonably short and soon I landed onto the default desktop.

Initial impressions

Lubunut 17.04 gives you the classical desktop most of you got used to. There are only two icons on the desktop: Trash and Install Lubuntu 17.04.

Lubuntu 17.04 welcome screen

The desktop itself is in bright blue and purple tones. There are no alternative wallpapers in the default distribution.

The panel is at the bottom of the screen. The left part of the panel contains the menu button, file manager and browser shortcuts, Show Desktop icon and a switch between 4 virtual desktops.
The notification area is on the right. It has the Power Off button, clocks, volume, network and battery indicators.

The freshly booted operating system took a very decent 290 Mb of memory.

Lubuntu 17.04 resource usage

Network connectivity

No wonders here.

Lubuntu 17.04 showed me no tricks, and quietly recognised and configured the Intel wireless network card of my Dell laptop.

I only had to type in the password after selecting my home network.

Network drive

The default file manager in Lubuntu 17.04 is PCManFM. It has the Network option in the Go menu. Using it, I was able to navigate to the network shared drive I have at home and connect to it.

The partition mounted through the file manager was working as it should be in LibreOffice Save interface, but unfortunately was not available for GMail drag&drop or file attachment interface in Firefox. It means that I would still recommend you to use the fstab mounting if you wanted to install Lubuntu 17.04 on your computer and mount a remote network partition there.

Keyboard layout

I selected the English UK layout on the initial boot screen of my Live run of Lubuntu 17.04, and that was the layout I got my system with.

If you need to change the default layout or add another one, you need to use the approach that I had already mentioned in the article about Lubuntu 16.10.

First, add the Keyboard Layout Handler to the Panel, then right-click on it and call up the Settings interface, where the configuration can be done.

Applications

As usual, Lubuntu does not come with too many applications. You only get the very basic tools.

Firefox 52.0.1 is the default and the only available browser. It comes with Sylpheed mail client, Transmission torrent client and Pidgin internet messenger.

Gnumeric and Abiword are the only representatives of the Office tools.

SimpleScan, mtPaint and Document Viewer are the only graphical tools in this operating system available out of the box.

The Multimedia menu section includes most of the available applications in the menu: Audacious, GNOME mPlayer, mpv Media Player – these are 3 players that come along with Xfburn disk burning utility, Pulse Audio control and guvcview webcam utility.

Of course, there are many smaller utilities and system tools like LxTerminal, GParted, Image Viewer, Leafpad and so on.

There are no games in the default distribution.

In general, the selection and menu structure are somewhat questionable. Why are there 3 multimedia players? Why is ImageViewer in the Accessories, but not in the Graphics section?

Of course, the whole range of Ubuntu applications and PPAs are available for your convenience. The software management tool is called Software and located in the System Tools menu section. When started, it first took some time to load the “software catalog”, probably updating the repositories from the Internet. There was no progress bar or any details during that update, which actually took quite a long time.

What goes straight into your eyes is that Software tool has a different theme from other applications. It’s a foreign body here.

Whatever it looks like, it worked for me. I was able to navigate through the different sections and search function. Just to try the process, I installed the 3d Chess game – the small application that is easy to download and check. It simply worked.

Multimedia

Lubuntu comes well prepared for multimedia playback.

MPV media player started playing the MP3 files from my computer without any additional requirements.

Firefox was able to play videos from YouTube in Lubuntu 17.04. Sites like Vimeo and BBC iPlayer also worked straight away.

Lubuntu 17.04 multimedia

Conclusion

Lubuntu 17.04 continues to deliver a nice and friendly environment for those who like a light and snappy uncomplicated experience without many graphical bells and whistles. And it still lacks a common theme for applications and their design, because LXDE is not fully a “desktop environment” per se.

The Live session of Lubuntu 17.04 felt quick and snappy for me, which is no wonder on my new laptop.

The only small problem I mentioned in this review was the set of default applications. But that’s easy to fix, isn’t it?

How do you find Lubuntu 17.04 yourself?

Video used on the screenshot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlghAHMHbY

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