UbuntuLxdeDesktop

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== Assumptions ==

For the most part, all packages that are needed for a lxdebuntu desktop either already are or will shortly be available in the archive.

Summary

LXDE is a very lightweight and minimal desktop environment using the openbox window manager, the pcmanfm file manager, and a very select list of default applications. It is compatible with basic freedesktop standards and all needed parts are already packaged in Ubuntu today.

Release Note

Lxdebuntu has been introduced as a lightweight and minimal desktop environment that works particularly well with older legacy PC hardware and devices with less than 256 megs of Ram.

Rationale

LXDE fulfills a goal that currently Xubuntu, while often suggested, actually fails at, which is working well as a very lightweight desktop environment on "minimal" or very old legacy hardware. This may also be particularly relevant to the introduction of early arm and sub-netbook (such as handheld) devices which may have as little as 64 - 256 megs of ram.

User Stories

Lxdebuntu is designed to serve several distinct interests:

  • Reuse of old PC equipment where a need for a true lightweight distro exists, while still offering Ubuntu branding and visibility. This is a community driven end user story.
  • Prototype and development of new and lightweight platforms where we need to have something that can be initially made running quickly and easily. This is an internal development story.
  • Use on handheld devices. Apparently lxde is already used in this role for some devices sold in Asia. This is a potential vendor and end user story.

Assumptions

For the most part, all packages that are needed for a lxdebuntu desktop either already are or will shortly be available in the archive.

Design

Although we are not explicitly spinning a lxdebuntu distribution (that is, a live cd or usb) at this moment, the goal is to make it possible and easy for someone to do so or otherwise create a lxdebuntu root image. Hence, an explicit ubuntu-lxde seeding meta package will be created, which brings in lxde itself, along with a selection of packages that match the environment, and any ubuntu-izing artwork or default configurations that are chosen. This gives the community a baseline to spin an effective lightweight distro if the community wishes to do so.

Implementation

  • A new ubuntu-lxde seed/meta-package will be created that can be used to generate a base "lxdebuntu" desktop or root images with root from scratch / livecd creation scripts.
  • conman will be packaged for the ubuntu archive, or alternately wicd selected, for a lightweight connection manager.
  • Selection of human GTK & Ubuntu-Look for lxde and lxde apps as part of meta package install.

Effort

  • It is estimated perhaps a week or two would be required to setup a seed for this, including tracking down / deciding on base applications.
  • Maybe a few days design (art) team & usability to review with human GTK/Icon theme for "Ubuntu-ness" consistency.

  • Maybe a week to get a variant of conman updated and to work in place of network manager for user level wifi/network support.

Test/Demo Plan

Unresolved issues

  • Minimal resolution of a LXDE device may be 800x600. GDM configuration GUI is not usable at this resolution.
  • This spec depends on connman spec.

BOF Notes

Upstream site: http://www.lxde.org/

* What is LXDE?

  • LXDE is a very light desktop environment widely used in Asia with a large user community, runs fast and currently fits in 64MB memory.
  • It's themable, adjustable, has a light filemanager (although horrible usability, maybe something worth investigating)

Could possibly leverage the usability team in order to ready lxde for ubuntu

* current gnome infrastructure (network manager, gnome-keyring, etc): are there any light replacements ?

  • xfce just uses the existing gnome tools, runs gnome-settings-daemon and gconf
  • there is a Soc project for writing a lightweight NM frontend in its early stages
  • there is also a gconf like system in the works for lxde
  • .xsession or similar file may be required to launch network manager, update manager, etc since LXDE doesn't load xdg startup apps

* What would it take to integrate it into Ubuntu?

  • Connman was mentioned for Network management potentially
    • wicd as well
  • Ubuntu'ish theming
  • Update Manager
  • See if the configuration menu has everything the user expects
  • Launchpad Integration (ie, translate this application/desktop environment)
  • About Lxdebuntu(whatever) menu entry
  • The filemanager (pcmanfm) needs usability review and likely having to be cut down on options in the UI
  • Gnome Power manager will be massively cut down in the next release
  • test lxde in context with the 2D UNR launcher
  • we will not build an image but a metapackage (i.e. ubuntu-lxde or ubuntu-light) should be created, so users can for example use https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/RootfsFromScratch to roll an arm rootfs

  • lxrandr is the display management tool used in lxde
  • examine the already existing ubuntu based lxde images out there
  • check if lxde tools work properly on 1024x576

ACTION items

  • lxde testing: ogra, Dan Martin (ARM)
  • missing packages: NCommander
  • highvoltage will give an ubuntu'ish theme a bash (just switching to the Human GTK and icon theme already makes a *massive* difference)


CategorySpec

Specs/UbuntuLxdeDesktop (last edited 2009-06-27 14:42:15 by dyfet)