Actions

Ubuntu LXDE Desktop

From Ever changing code

Light Ubuntu LXDE desktop

This is a light weight Ubuntu desktop guide for everyone who wants install minimum packages but have Graphic User Interface. The alternative choice is Lubuntu which comes pre built using [LXDE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LXDE] (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) along with all recommended applications.

The approach in this tutorial is to achieve following objectives
  • Use Ubuntu as a base system
  • LXDE as light weight desktop environment
  • Firefox, Network Manager as only necessary applications
LXDE environment makes following core applications
  • Pcmanfm, a fast and lightweight files manager using gio/gvfs.
  • Openbox, the fast and extensible, default windows-manager of LXDE.
  • Lightdm, cross-desktop display manager using the simple GTK greeter

Installing LXDE on Ubuntu

Installed lubuntu-core

sudo apt-get install lxde-core

It then had none of the extra software install. Originally I tried with --no-install-recommends but this left it too bare and seemingly with missing dependencies. After doing this I installed lxappearance and obconf to allow me to change the themes easily

sudo apt-get install lxappearance obconf

Install firefox without any recommended software as the addons are for Gnome.

sudo apt-get install firefox --no-install-recommends

Start LXDE

Install startx if no display managers are available

sudo apt-get install xinit
startx

Select session manager

~$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager
[sudo] password for piotr: 
There are 3 choices for the alternative x-session-manager (providing /usr/bin/x-session-manager).

  Selection    Path                      Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
* 0            /usr/bin/startlxde         50        auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/lxsession         49        manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/openbox-session   40        manual mode
  3            /usr/bin/startlxde         50        manual mode
Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 0

Optional. If you have errors in xsession-errors to clear up

sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-pixbuf

Logging Out LXDE

To log out from the session you can run the command lxsession-logout. This will show you a dialog asking if you want to shutdown, reboot, change session, etc.

lxsession-logout

Change Resolution in LXDE

LXRandR is the standard screen manager of LXDE. It manages screen resolution and external monitors.

sudo apt-get install lxrandr x11-xserver-utils

After installation you will it in Start > Preferences > Monitor Settings. There is a bug when it runs in vmguest - 'Unable to find monitor information' therefore we needed to install x11-xserver-utils to have native xrandr helping detect the monitor information. If you installed vmtools screen will resize to the window size from now on.

Troubleshooting
sudo lshw -numeric -c video
xrandr -q

Installing Network Manager

Install Network Manager this will be around 155Mb but without --no-install-recommends it is only ~10Mb. Then you need to restart X session by logging out and in. You will see NM icon in right bottom corner.

sudo apt-get install network-manager

By default it does not control network interfaces. Network Manager needs configuring after bare LXDE has been installed: Unmanaged_Wired_Network. The nm-system-settings.conf is now called NetworkManager.conf as written below:

Change Network Manager settings Start an LXTerminal session, then issue:

sudo vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

In section [ifupdown] find the line managed=false and change to true and restart NM service:

sudo service network-manager restart

After a short while you should see "Connection established" message above the Network Manager applet tray icon.

References