LXQt Review – the replacement for LXDE. Very, very fast, even on old hardware.

Hi everyone. This time around, I decided to review LXQt, seeing at it will replace LXDE in Lubuntu soon. I thought it would be fun to see how much faster it was, and simulate a slow system to see how it responds.

LXQt – a hands on review in VirtualBox

As with a good few of my reviews, this is primarily a video, accompanied with a write-up and some discussion. Note that I recorded this video a while ago, so the chatter is kind of out of date – Cygwin part 2 and the Mint 19 review are both already out. The DSL post is already out as well, by the way.

The writeup

The (virtual) machine

Simulating a Pentium 4-era machine in VirtualBox seemed like a good idea, seeing as this is probably about the oldest hardware you’d run modern Linux on; while you technically can even run Gentoo on a 486, for it to be easy / user friendly, a Pentium 4 or higher is probably a better bet. Bear in mind that I was installing to and running from an SSD. Given the CPU execution cap, I think the CPU would have slowed it down a lot anyway. The VM had 1 GB of RAM, and a simulated single-core CPU running at 1 GHz, and 32 MB of RAM without 3D acceleration – not very fast.

First Impressions

LXQt started up and installed pretty quickly, which is impressive given our virtual hardware specs. I thought it was a bit of a shame that they didn’t adopt a more KDE-ish theme, because I like KDE, but then it makes sense to keep it looking familiar.

Probably the biggest thing I noticed though is that it was FAST. LXDE was never slow, but LXQt was amazingly fast, so much so I could almost forget what (simulated) hardware it was running on! It really felt almost like a new computer. That is very, very impressive, and I now totally see what people were saying about Qt being better than GTK for old systems.

Installation

This was very easy and fast, and I like the Calmeres installer, which I don’t think I’ve used before. It fits LXDE pretty well, and it got the job done quickly. I did speed it up by reducing the execution cap, because I didn’t have too much time to get this done, but even with that I think it would have installed inside 30-45 minutes, which is impressive. Even on new hardware, that’s pretty good. I can think of a certain popular operating system that sometimes takes an hour or even twice as long as that.

Default Applications

Note: Bear in mind that this is an unstable release of Lubuntu, so the preinstalled programs might change. It will also depend on which Linux distro you use.

Not a bad selection at all, especially for a lightweight distro. It came with Libreoffice, Thunderbird, a web browser, and K3B for burning CDs and DVDs. It even comes with an ebook reader and a software center. This is pretty good, especially for a lightweight distro.

Customisation

There is a fair bit of room for customisation out of the box, which is nice. It was also easy to do, which is always a good thing. There weren’t any really beautiful themes, but who needs those when you have the Windows ME theme? I bet that brings back good memories XD.

In all seriousness, it would be nice to have some prettier, if more heavy themes to pick from by default. I imagine you can install them, but it’d be nice to have the option out of the box. I do like that you can change the taskbar theme though, it’s a bit easier to do than it used to be in LXDE. All the applications fit in nicely with it as well, so they’ve done a good job with the themes.

Verdict

A nice new desktop environment that appears to run very quickly even on pretty old (simulated) hardware with no 3D support. There are some nice default applications, and a good set of themes. Installation was also fast and easy. All in all, a good experience, especially given this is a development release of Lubuntu, and, presumable of LXQt as well. I found really very few bugs.

That’s it from me for now, but I’ll have some more posts coming out soon 🙂

Hamish

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About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm currently studying for a Computing and IT degree with the Open University, and am a software developer as well. I enjoy coding in Python, C++ (still learning), and Java. Having written 4 open-source programs (hosted on launchpad.net), set up my own website, and started volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system, I still find the time to enjoy cycling, acting, photography, and playing bass guitar. I go climbing every now and then as well. As you may have guessed, I also enjoy blogging :)

2 Responses to LXQt Review – the replacement for LXDE. Very, very fast, even on old hardware.

  1. Javier Navarro says:

    Hi. In my humble opinion, I guess the simulation on a virtual machine doesn’t represent the reality in a P4 machine. Virtual machines are only useful to verify compatibility stuffs. However you can configure or emulate cpu clocks and a few other hardware things, you cannot assume the performance in a real “motherboard” because of its bus speed, RAM access timing and other real hardware stuffs. I worked around 14 years repairing computers and I used programming in assembler by hobby.

    • Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right, I just thought I’d try for something like a P4, so I gave it 1 GB of RAM and a ~1.2 GHz CPU, knowing that pentium 4s can be both faster and slower than that. I figure it’s probably not a million miles off, but yeah, it won’t be perfect. 🙂 There are some pretty good ways of emulating raspberry pis and classic games consoles though I note, but I haven’t used them.

      I would have used a real P4 if I had one, but I don’t 🙂