Linux Mint LXDE is the edition of Linux Mint, a distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop, that uses the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE), which, as the name suggest, is very well suited for computers with low hardware resources. The latest release is Linux Mint 12 LXDE.
If you currently use another edition of Linux Mint 12, like Linux Mint 12 KDE or Linux Mint 12 GNOME, you will find that there is very little difference, if any, in functionality between this LXDE edition and those other more popular editions, other than for some LXDE-specific applications.
However, if you are new to Linux Mint, this brief review will take you through some of the features of this user-friendly desktop distribution. For starters, it is available as an installable Live CD ISO image. The installer sports a point-and-click interface, same as on other Linux Mint editions, with the minimum set of features that you need to install the system. Do not expect to be able to install the system on a Linux Logical Volume Manager file system or with full disk encryption configured. Those features are not supported. You do have the option of encrypting your home folder, but not if it is on a separate partition.
The installer will inform you that 4.1 GB of disk space is required for a default installation, though, the actual disk space used by a new installation is about 3.1 GB.
The installer’s automated feature will auto-partition your disk and install the system. If necessary, it will also shrink the space used by an existing operating system on the target hard drive, and install the system. But if you like to create a custom set of partitions, the advanced partitioning tool, the main window of which is shown below, makes that possible. If you would like to do that, but are new to disk partitioning in Linux, guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux and manual disk partitioning guide for Linux Mint 11 are highly recommended.
The desktop is very much like that of Xfce. The menu is the classic style, and does not have a search feature. The default wallpaper is ok, except that the logo to the left interferes with the beauty of the one to the right.
The file manager, PCManFM, named after the online handle of Hon Jen Yee, its developer, is just like Thunar, the file manager of the Xfce desktop environment. Like Thunar, it lacks many of the features of Dolphin and Konqueror, file managers for the K Desktop Environment (KDE).
Since I like beautiful graphics, here is another look at the desktop. This time, sporting a different wallpaper.
In terms of installed applications, Linux Mint 12 LXDE ships with just the bare minimum. There is no full office suite. Instead, you have AbiWord, a standalone word processor, and Gnumeric, a standalone spreadsheet application. Aside from those two, and other LXDE system tools and accessories, you will also find Banshee and Exaile music players, GNOME MPlayer and VLC media players, Pidgin Internet Messenger, Dropbox, Mozilla Thunderbird email client, and Firefox Web browser. A new installation ships with Firefox 7, but the update manager will have an update to Firefox 10 ready when you first boot into the system. With libdvdcss installed out of the box, you will be able to play your favorite encrypted video DVDs using either VLC (preferred) or GNOME MPlayer.
Any application not installed out of the box, can be installed using Software Manager, Linux Mint’s graphical software manager. It is the user-friendly interface to apt-get, the command line application that is part of Debian’s Advanced Packaging Tool (APT). The main interface of Software Manager is shown below.
This one show some of the featured applications installable via Software Manager.