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Ubuntu vs. Lubuntu: Everything you need to know

by Emmanuel
Ubuntu vs Lubuntu

The availability of several Ubuntu open-source Linux distribution variants is one reason why Ubuntu has remained so popular for so long. However, picking the right one for your needs is critical when it comes to PC operating systems. Thus, we compare the original Ubuntu with the most common Ubuntu flavor, Lubuntu, in this post, highlighting both similarities and differences.

Despite the variation in their names, all of these are based on the same Ubuntu operating system. As a result, the Linux kernel and low-level machine utilities are the same in both. However, each one of them has its desktop and flavor-specific applications. As a result, some are more feature-rich, while others are more lightweight, giving each a unique feel.

What are the different Ubuntu flavors?

Ubuntu flavors are the different versions of Ubuntu, with the first variant released in 2004. Below is a list of the most common flavors of Ubuntu.

  • Kubuntu
  • Edubuntu
  • Ubuntu GNOME
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Lubuntu
  • Ubuntu Budgie
  • Ubuntu Kylin
  • Xubuntu
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • and Mythbuntu

Although all the ten flavors share the same update repository and the same base, they ship with different packages and target different use cases. However, just because a piece of software isn’t available in one flavor doesn’t mean it can’t be installed using the provided package management tools.

In principle, you might start with any Ubuntu flavor and end up with an operating system perfectly tailored to your requirements. That said, rather than wasting hours and hours trying to adjust the default configuration, it’s much better to start with a flavor that’s already similar to how you want your operating system to feel and work.

What exactly is Ubuntu?

ubuntu operating system (Desktop)

Ubuntu operating system (Desktop)

Ubuntu is a complete Linux operating system available for free and has both community and technical support. The Ubuntu community is based on the Ubuntu Manifesto’s ideas that software should be available for free. In addition, software resources should be accessible to people in their native language regardless of their disabilities. And that people should be able to modify and change their software in any way they see fit.

To make Ubuntu accessible to as many people as possible, Ubuntu includes the best translations and accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community offers.

Ubuntu is distributed in stable and predictable release cycles, with a new release every six months. In fact, Ubuntu will release long-term support (LTS) every two even years, which will be supported for five years. In addition, the interim Ubuntu releases (known as progress or non-LTS releases) are each supported for nine months.

Ubuntu is suitable for use on both the desktop and the server.  AMD64 (x86-64), IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper I+II/Emporer I+II ARMv7, ARMv8 (ARM64), IBM POWER8/POWER9 (ppc64el), IBM Z zEC12/zEC13/z14, and Intel x86 (IBM-compatible PC) are all supported in the new Ubuntu update (s390x).

A plethora of applications

Thousands of applications are available for download on Ubuntu. The majority of them are free to download and install with only a few taps.

Technology for the workplace

LibreOffice, an open-source office suite compatible with Microsoft Office, allows you to create professional documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on Ubuntu. That means you can quickly and easily open and edit files such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, as well as share them with other users. Google Docs can also be accessed directly from your laptop.

Surfing the internet

Ubuntu and Firefox, known for their speed and stability, make surfing the web enjoyable once more. Chrome and other browsers are also supported by Ubuntu and can be downloaded from the Ubuntu Software Center.

Thunderbird, Mozilla’s common email client, is included with Ubuntu, so you’ll have quick access to your email from your desktop. In addition, email works regardless of the email service you use: Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Hotmail, POP3, or IMAP are also supported.


Ubuntu has a plethora of free software to help you enjoy, manage, edit, and upload your images, regardless of the camera you use. You won’t need any additional drivers to get started because of the excellent support for cameras and tablets.

Editing and visualizing

Tools like Gimp and Krita, both available in the Ubuntu Software Centre, can edit images or make professional diagrams and designs.

Sort through your photos

You can quickly and easily import, organize, edit, and display your photos with Shotwell. You can also easily post your favorite photos on popular photo pages and social media platforms.

Videos on Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, you can watch HD videos in your browser or with the default Movie Player, VLC, and OpenShot from the Snap Store. Use Shotcut or kdenlive to edit your videos, then watch them in Movie Players.

Playing video games

We have various games that will keep you occupied for hours, ranging from Sudoku to first-person shooters. Thousands of games, including titles from the Unity and Steam platforms, are available for Ubuntu. Choose from games like Dota 2, Kerbal Space Program, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Borderlands: The Prequel, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Source code is freely available

Downloading, using, and sharing Ubuntu has always been easy. However, because Ubuntu believes in the power of open-source software, Ubuntu would not survive without the contributions of its worldwide developer community.

Ensure your safety

Ubuntu is one of the most stable operating systems available, with a built-in firewall and virus security features. In addition, long-term maintenance releases provide security fixes and upgrades for five years.

All, regardless of nationality, gender, or disability, will benefit from accessible computing. Ubuntu provides critical assistive devices and is completely translated into over 50 languages.

Ubuntu gets the most out of your phone, with high definition and touchscreen support everywhere it’s used. In addition, Ubuntu 20.04 comes with a new default theme, Yaru, and integrated light and dark themes, giving it a fresh new look while keeping its signature feel.

Ubuntu is available on the widest variety of hardware ever, thanks to Canonical’s near collaboration with Dell, Lenovo, and HP to ensure that it runs on a wide range of laptops and workstations. It means that an integrated Ubuntu experience is available right out of the box on a wider range of hardware than ever before.

Enterprise-ready Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu isn’t just for the desktops; it’s still used in data centers worldwide, running any server imaginable, and it’s by far the most common cloud operating system.

Canonical’s support

Canonical is a multinational software corporation and the leading provider of Ubuntu services. Companies may pay a fee to obtain expert training, assistance, or consulting, with the benefits going to Ubuntu’s ongoing growth.


Lubuntu Desktop

Lubuntu Desktop

Lubuntu is a full-featured operating system that includes all of the necessary software and utilities for everyday use, such as office suites, PDF readers, image editors, music and video players, and so on.

If you need additional software, you can use the Discover Software Center to obtain a free download of the appropriate app.

Key features of Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a Linux distribution built on a rock-solid Ubuntu Linux foundation, with thousands of free apps available from the secure Software Center. The latter are virus-free.

Lightweight and fast

Designed to be fast, friendly, and energy-efficient. In addition, it is built on Open-Source software with a strong community behind it.

Inside and out, everything is brand new

Lubuntu also has the most sophisticated user environment available, with widgets and the entire ecosystem rendered using Qt technologies. That is, from the installer to the smallest parts.

The new Lubuntu desktop is easier to read and less cluttered, thanks to the winning combination of Arc theme and Papirus icons. The symbolic symbols and glyphs are now easier to recognize when combined with sharp edges and vivid colors. It also adds visual dynamics to the overall design without overwhelming it.

It can be used for a variety of purposes

Lubuntu supports a wide range of file types, including photos, songs, movies, spreadsheets, text documents, internet radio stations, and much more.

Everything works right away. However, if you need additional (usually proprietary) codecs for unusual file formats, you can install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package and access all of that content.

What’s more in Lubuntu?

Lubuntu 20.04 LTS differs greatly from previous LTS releases. Rather than relying only on older computers, it aims to provide a more refined experience. Note that Lubuntu relied on LXDE for a long time to provide a lightweight Linux experience. The desktop environment is now LXQt.

LXDE is based on GTK (the GNOME libraries), specifically GTK+ 2, released in 2020. LXDE developer Hong Jen Yee chose to port the entire desktop to Qt after being dissatisfied with GTK+ 3. (The libraries used by KDE). LXQt was created by combining LXDE, its Qt port, and the Razor-qt project. Even though LXDE and LXQt coexist as different ventures today.

It makes no sense for Lubuntu to stick with a desktop environment that had its last stable release more than three years ago, particularly since the LXDE developer is focusing on LXQt.

Lubuntu 18.04 is the most recent update of the LXDE desktop environment. It’s a good thing it’s a long-term help version. The Lubuntu team will officially support it until 2021.

LXQt is designed not only for users of older hardware but also for those who want an easy and traditional experience on their new computer. There’s an application menu in the lower-left corner, a taskbar for pinned and active programs, and a device tray in the lower-right corner.

Lubuntu’s LXQt version allows for easy customization, and everything is in the preferences menu, with the majority of main items under LXQt Settings. It’s worth noting that LXQt comes pre-installed with the famous Openbox window manager.

Like the previous three updates, Lubuntu Arc is the default dark theme in 20.04 LTS, but it is simple to modify if you don’t like it.

Lubuntu 20.04 has proved to be trouble-free in everyday usage, as has any Ubuntu flavor.

Disparities between Ubuntu and Lubuntu

Ubuntu and Lubuntu share the same core system components and repositories, as we’ve already illustrated. So, what makes them different? The operating environment and programs that come installed by default.

A desktop environment (DE), as you might know, is made up of toolbars, icons, windows, widgets, and other graphical user interfaces (GUI) elements that allow the user to manage programs, access files, and modify various settings.

GNOME 3 is Ubuntu’s desktop environment, and it’s the most recent version of the same free and open-source desktop environment that came with Ubuntu’s first update, Ubuntu 4.10. (Warty Warthog). Thanks to its modern approach to user interface design, GNOME 3 does an excellent job of optimizing vertical screen space. Combining a vertical program switcher on the left side with a space-saving horizontal multipurpose top menu bar and a virtual desktop manager on the right side is its most distinguishing feature.

GNOME 3’s creators claim that the modern desktop environment was designed from the ground up to make basic tasks straightforward. For example, it includes the activities overview, which allows you to access all open windows, launch apps, and search for new messages with a single button click.

On the other hand, Lubuntu makes use of the LXDE desktop environment. LXDE stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, and it’s an open-source desktop environment known for its low resource use and adherence to a desktop metaphor that should be immediately familiar to all Windows users.

LXDE includes a GTK+ theme switcher (LXAppearance), terminal emulator (LXTerminal), desktop panel (LXPanel), and file manager (PCMan File Manager).

Why do you use Lubuntu instead of Ubuntu?

Because of its low resource requirements, the LXDE desktop environment can run on almost any old or low-end computer with at least a 266 MHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, 3 GB of hard drive space, and a simple graphics card.

On the other hand, Ubuntu needs a dual-core processor with at least 2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 25 GB of hard drive space, and a VGA-capable graphics card with a minimum resolution of 1024 768 pixels.

Lubuntu’s low resource requirements also enable it to run more quickly on newer computers. Modern web browsers like Chrome and, to a lesser degree, Firefox, which is infamous for being memory hogs. You will have more RAM available for applications if you choose Lubuntu over Ubuntu.

Lubuntu could be more sensitive because it has almost no visual effects to make tasks like switching between visually appealing applications. GNOME 3 in Ubuntu heavily relies on animations and other visual effects, which many Ubuntu users quickly disable using the GNOME Tweak Tool.

Finally, Lubuntu is appropriate for users who are accustomed to Windows, especially Windows XP. Lubuntu, like many of the included programs, closely resembles the look and feel of Windows XP.

Lubuntu key points:

  • Lubuntu is a Linux distribution that works well on old and low-end computers.
  • Lubuntu uses fewer resources than other Linux distributions
  • Lubuntu has fewer visual effects, which can be frustrating at times
  • Users of the Windows operating system should be familiar with Lubuntu.

Why do you use Ubuntu instead of Lubuntu?

Ubuntu is much more common than all of its variants. As a result, its user base has grown and become more active. As a result, if you ask Ubuntu in a Linux discussion group, you can get a much faster answer than if you ask the same question about Lubuntu.

Despite using more resources than the LXDE desktop environment, GNOME 3 is easily one of the most visually appealing desktop environments available. It includes many useful features that render tasks such as document searching and application opening much easier. Furthermore, GNOME 3 is designed for high-definition screens, which is a struggle for LXDE.

Ubuntu is the first to receive updates and bug fixes since it is the original form from which all of its variants are derived. In addition, the Ubuntu Advantage program allows businesses to pay for the commercial phone and web support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Participants can also gain access to a landscape systems management app, Canonical Livepatch Service, and Canonical Knowledge Base, as well as IP legal assurance, which offers indemnification against allegations of intellectual property infringement and other valuable features.

Ubuntu key points:

  • Ubuntu, like Lubuntu, has a significantly wider user base than any of its variants.
  • Ubuntu, on the other hand, is unquestionably more visually pleasing than Lubuntu.
  • Ubuntu has a lot of useful features that make basic tasks like document searching a lot easier.
  • Canonical offers commercial support to Ubuntu users for a fee.

Final Thoughts

Despite sharing a common foundation, Ubuntu and Lubuntu are two distinct operating systems with their look and feel. Lubuntu is a lightweight operating system that works well on less powerful hardware. In contrast, Ubuntu is known for moving the Linux desktop in new and exciting directions regularly.

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