I’m such a fickle Linux user! A few weeks ago Kubuntu was my Linux distro of choice and I was loving the K Desktop Environment. I also had Xubuntu (actually the modified version of Xubuntu called Voyager) installed on my kids desktop computer and my old Dell laptop, and I was becoming very fond of using Xfce.
Then about two weeks ago, just as I was preparing to install the new Kubuntu 12.04 on our main computer, Kubuntu started behaving very strangely. When I’d reboot, it would start in my wife’s secondary user account instead of mine. It happened every time, and I’ve never known any Linux distro to do this. There have been other odd little irregularities while using KDE/Kubuntu, but nothing this strange. Although back in late February, after I’d been using Kubuntu 11.10 for about two months, the system started freaking out with some weird visual anomalies; items in the control panel disappearing and huge RAM usage, and I had decided to re-install it. Everything was good for a while, but now it was acting weird to the point where the system was becoming unusable again! Having to reinstall a distro twice in four months was just too much for me. So I thought about the one distro I’ve been using on the other computers for months and finding nothing I didn’t like about it; and I decided to install Voyager, which just came out with the new version based on Xubuntu 12.04.
I loved the beautiful look of the KDE Plasma Desktop very much, and it’s configurability and many of the native KDE applications. But after using Voyager/Xubuntu for a while now I totally love this operating system and Xfce! The operating system is very quick! I’m only using the native Xfce compositing instead of installing Compiz, Metacity or Emerald; and I must say; even though I’ve always enjoyed fancy desktop effects and fading, wobbly windows and all the other eye candy, I’ve found I really don’t miss it all that much. In Xubuntu windows snap open and close and applications launch quick as a wink. RAM and CPU usage is much lower with Voyager. And the basic compositing lets you adjust window transparency and shadows. The Xfce panel also supports transparency and can be configured with a right-click, very much like Gnome 2. In fact I find that I prefer Xfce to Gnome 2 or Gnome 3. It’s simple yet gives you many options. It has a nice Settings Manager, themes, icons, and is very responsive. The Voyager remix of Xubuntu also comes with a great set of pre-installed apps and a wonderful Conky Control app with numerous pre-made setups that makes using Conky a snap! See the screenshot. (I switched AWN (Avant Window Navigator) bottom dock for Docky, though Voyager’s default AWN looks cooler). And I just upgraded from Xfce 4.8 that comes in Xubuntu 12.04 to the new version, 4.10. It went without a hitch and works great!
I have to admit: I feel a little odd about running the same distro on three different machines! I love the choices with using Linux-based operating systems, and there are several distros that I really like and are quite different from each other (Bodhi Linux, Mint, SolusOS, Kubuntu, Pinguy OS, Linux Deepin, to name a few). But since running Xubuntu for many months now on different machines I’ve come to enjoy Xfce immensely, and Voyager is the best Xfce distro I’ve used. It’s fast, stable, attractive and easy to use. It just feels comfortable!
For those of you who like Gnome 3, or have been trying to like it; The new version of PinguyOS will be released shortly. I’ve been checking out Pinguy’s refinements to Gnome Shell, which will be their default Desktop Environment, and it looks promising. More to come…