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I've had the pleasure of taking a special Debian 5.0 distribution (Debian 5.0 i386 XFCE LXDE) for a recent test drive as a virtual machine in Citrix XenServer 5.0.

This single CD distribution comes with two selections for a graphical interface, XFCE and LXDE. XFCE works great and is very similar to the Mac OS X look and feel although your PC is probably equipped with a two or three button mouse.

I didn't have good luck with the LXDE, Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, although it does look promising. I couldn't use the interface at all. Every time I selected an application, it minimized and the screen started to jitter uncontrollably. I had to shut down the VM and remove it. It's possible that LXDE doesn't like being virtualized. XFCE, on the other hand, works flawlessly and quickly as advertised.

My default installation with XFCE is 1.4GB but includes the full OpenOffice.org suite, graphics programs, support for scanners, and much more.

The system performs well with a single processor and 512MB of RAM for the VM. Once XenTools were installed the graphical interface, in undocked mode, performs at near-native speeds.

If you have a small or old computer or laptop, I highly recommend this distribution but I'd choose XFCE instead of LXDE for the time being. You'll have a computer that's ready to connect to the Internet, create spectacular graphics, and run a full office suite. One of the best parts about this distribution is it's name: Debian. You can't beat Debian for simplicity, ease of updating, ease of upgrading, small footprint, support for the latest hardware, and for being one of the most popular distributions in the world.

If you haven't tried XFCE, you haven't enjoyed the power of a lightweight desktop. Additionally, it's fast and attractive. I don't know what XFCE stands for but for me it's "What Else Do You Need?"

Write back and tell me what you think of this distribution and XFCE. If you have better luck with LXDE, let me know that as well.

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Last Post by meckel
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Just to note,

On debian if you do a netinstall, then apt-get X and Gnome manually , you can get a light system which runs very well on 256mb ram.

Kind of negates the need for XFCE

P.S if you like XFCE and debian based distros, try out Dreamlinux.

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But GNOME is anything but light. I haven't seen DreamLinux--I'll have to check it out.

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Funny you should mention it.... I tested this out last week with VMplayer. Today I checked out Ubuntu 9.04 in VM. I use Xubuntu normally so I was kind of surprised when both came up looking like my own pc and acting like it too :)

I'm having trouble finding a lot of difference (yes, Ubuntu is based on Debian).

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Seriously, if you do a debian netinstall then install gnome it installs much less crap than ubuntu

when idling my lenny box with gnome uses 70-90mb of ram, compared to ubuntu which is about 120-160mb when idling

maybe it isnt running things like beagle indexer or something

But yeah try dreamlinux its nice. Quite OSXey but not a copy, its nice.

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The LXDE runs perfect for me. I see this Debian XFCE+LXDE CD as a hidden gem. On my old 1Ghz, PIII, 384MB this distribution runs very fast. I've tried many, miniMe, Puppy 4.2.1, Vector Light 5.9, PCLinuxOS, Antix, Slitaz, GoblinX, DSL. The only ones that are probably faster than Debian 5.0 with LXDE are Puppy and DSL, but Debian has so much more to offer.

Most think of the big Gnome with Debian. This is unfortunate. The Debian XFCE+LXDE CD is the way to go for old low resource PCs. Fast and convenient, but not ideal for beginners.

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