Linux Lite 2.2 Review – Consumes Low Memory, But Failed to Wake My PC from Sleep

‘Linux Lite’ is a GNU/Linux distribution based on the Ubuntu’s Long Term Support releases. It includes the lightweight & fully functional XFCE desktop environment, comes with full support for proprietor multimedia playback & a few applications of its own (software updater, additional app installer, a ‘cleaner’…) that should assist a novice user for easily managing the installed operating system.

Like many other, it consists pretty much all the software applications that most users would require to get things done (Office suite, PDF viewer, GIMP editor, VLC, Optical disc burner, Web Browser & an E-mail client, Backup utility etc) but can still be considered lightweight due to the low memory consumption (more on that later). According to its developers, being intuitive & simple are its primary design goals, and from the look of things, I would say that so far they have done a pretty decent job.

You can freely download this distribution’s disc images in 32-bit or 64-bit versions, I used the 64-bit one for this review (about 773.8MB, the file size shown in Windows will be slightly different). The current version is 2.2 and it is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS core and ships with Kernel 3.13.0-24 and Xorg 1.15.1.

Linux Lite 2.2 64-bit XFCE desktop

Below is a brief information about the hardware setup on which it was tested:

Intel Core i3-2330M CPU, Intel HD 3000 GPU, 4GB RAM (DDR3), Toshiba 7200 RPM (320GB) SATA HDD, Intel N-1030 Wireless adapter, Realtek network adapter ('RTL8168'), LED display with 1366x768 resolution (60Hz/60FPS). It's a Dell Vostro V-131 notebook.

As my regular readers are aware of, I always include a performance based comparison (with a similar distro), and I decided to use the Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE for the comparison. I always take a great care while measuring the performance of an operating system. So for achieving a acceptable level of accuracy, for each ‘test’, I took five samples, before arriving with the average values. I measured them first, trying my best to keep the OS at a ‘unspoiled state’ (minimal amount of manual tweaks), although I did disable the start-up welcome screen & added the system monitor to the task-bar. Those were the only changes I made.

The Installer…

Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu, thus it is the same installer (so I will not go into details). I never encountered any issues & as always, enabled the user auto-login feature.

First Boot-Up…

Linux Lite 2.2 comes with the default color theme of GRUB (if I’m not mistaken). It is not bad, but I would have preferred a theme that exposes the prominent, or the default, color theme of the OS, though.

GRUB menu of Linux Lite 2.2

Below is the boot-logo and it includes a progress-bar, accuracy of which, is questionable.

Boot logo of Linux Lite 2.2

As an example, usually when the progress-bar reaches the half limit, the logo disappears and the system executes the login screen and starts to load the desktop. Perhaps the progress-bar then represented the whole boot process (from ‘init’ till the desktop got fully loaded), but I think it should have displayed the progress from ‘init’ to login-screen only, otherwise it can be a bit confusing.

The Desktop…

Linux Lite pops-up a welcome screen when you first login to the desktop. Through there you can install updates (if available), read the online documentation, release notes… though it is not terrible useful, it is nice.

Linux Lite 2.2 'Welcome Screen'
There are other options, this is a cropped out image only…

The desktop is a standard XFCE (4.11) desktop with a task-bar at the bottom, coupled with the ‘Whisker menu’, that many XFCE based distributions seem to include these days, and a very ‘rich’ desktop context menu that is slightly different from the Manjaro XFCE (4.10) edition that I encountered last year.

Linux Lite 2.2 64-bit XFCE desktop

Desktop context menu in Linux Lite 2.2, XFCE

The file manager is ‘Thunar’ (of course). Unlike under Manjaro, ‘Thunar’ under Linux Lite 2.2 failed to generate video thumbnails, a necessary feature in modern day computing, wouldn’t you say?

No video thumbnails in 'Thunar' - Linux Lite 2.2

Other than that, as far as the new features were concerned, there really isn’t much to say about the desktop (keep in mind though, I am not a heavy XFCE user, so I may have missed a few).

Other Applications…

As shortly mentioned in the beginning, Linux Lite ships with a couple of in-house built, useful tools. One such utility is the ‘Lite-software’ tool using which you can easily install additional software applications such as Chrome, Chromium, Dropbox, PlayOnLinux, Wine, Skype, Teamviewer and many more (there is a separate tool for uninstalling them later).

'Additional Software Installer' of Linux Lite 2.2

If you have used system cleaners in Windows such as ‘CCleaner’, well, Linux Lite comes with a similar one (though not as features rich) called ‘Lite Clean’, that lets you get rid of temporary files (your web browser, package & thumbnail caches) and delete the files in ‘Trash’. It can remove unused packages (leftover packages of apps that got installed when you installed certain applications but were not removed when those applications got removed) and locate large files (any large file, not necessarily unused ones, so use it with caution!) too.

'Lite Cleaner' app of Linux Lite 2.2

It also comes with a few scripts that help you to setting up a Samba share. You still have to enter things like the shared folder path, through a text editor, but if you are familiar with the basic setup, then it is quite easy to use.

Linux Lite also comes with LibreOffice 4.3.4.1, GIMP 2.8, Firefox 33.0, Thunderbird 31.2.0, VLC 2.1.4, Document viewer 3.10.3, NTFS configuration utility that lets you enable/disable read & write operations and a few more.

Proprietary multimedia codec playback was pretty smooth. I threw a couple of 720p videos at VLC and it handled them without any issues, and the fan kept running at its lowest possible speed. But when playing the same file in Windows 8.1, it usually runs a bit loudly!. Adobe flash player playback was also excellent.

Boot-up Speed…

Linux lite 2.2 vs Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE - Boot-up time graph

As shown in the above graph, Linux Lite 2.2 was 0.6% slower to boot compared to Manjaro 0.8.7.1, but it really is nothing.

Memory Usage…

Linux lite 2.2 vs Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE - Memory Usage Graph

Linux Lite 2.2 to its credit however, used 16.9% less memory compared to Manjaro, at the initial desktop loading. An important factor for those with aging computers 🙂 .

CPU Usage at Idle…

CPU usage at idle on Linux Lite 2.2

CPU usage at idle was also pretty good. Except for the system monitor process itself which kept consuming about 1-2% of the CPU cycles, the rest just did not intervene.

Power Usage it Idle…

When measuring the power usage, I try to keep all my operating systems & the hardware, at a near exact state as in the past, which involves keeping the Wi-Fi turned on (connected to my router), Bluetooth turned OFF, screen dimming & screensaver & automatic suspension disabled, and the brightness set to its maximum. Then I let the OS to idle (for the non-geek users 😀 , this means I close all running programs initiated by me, and let the OS be, with the exception of executing the power usage measuring utility, ‘powerstat‘, manually).

As you can see, and if I remember correctly, I have never encountered a more energy efficient distribution as Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE was. And as such, I suppose it is unreasonable to judge Linux Lite’s power consumption readings based on Manjaro, because even though its are slightly higher, without any major tweaks, this is (13 Watts) within the normal range of power consumption for my notebook under those above mentioned conditions (may that be under Windows 8.1 which includes native driver support, or in most other GNU/Linux distributions).

'powerstat' readings of Linux Lite 2.2

Linux lite 2.2 vs Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE - Power usage at idle

Now I did not try, but you can install ‘laptop-mode-tools’ or ‘TLP’ (through its PPA) for reducing the power usage a bit more (I have done it in other distributions where the power usage readings were not optimal).

Hardware Recognition and ACPI…

Linux Linux 2.2 recognized and configured my hardware well (yes my fingerprint reader is still not supported by Linux). The Bluetooth gets turned ON & the brightness gets reset to its maximum every time I log into the desktop (it happens under most distributions), but they are fixable. However, then I encountered a major issue after suspending the computer.

When I tried to wake it up, although the OS presented me with the screen lock utility, but as soon I hit Enter (after entering the password), the screen went to blank!. When this happened, I had a video being played (before suspending the computer) by VLC, and I could hear it playing it. In other words, everything seemed to be working from the background, except for the damn screen!. And this happens all the time!.

The only fix, although I am reluctant to call it such, I have found so far is to switch to a different console (Ctrl + F1….) and then login to a terminal session and restart the ‘LightDM’ service. But that in effect, though it brings up the desktop, destroys all the previous running instances of your applications. Now, I put my laptop to sleep quite often and this is a major issue. This might be Intel GPU (HD3000) related, so if you have a different hardware setup, then perhaps it might not trouble you. I have not tried to find a solution, but if I do, then I will update this post.

Anyhow, other than that, the rest of the hardware, with their usual ups and downs under most GNU/Linux distros, worked well.

System Responsiveness…

I tried to get an idea about the responsiveness of the OS by trying to open a couple of programs while a file (about 1.5GB) was being copied within the ‘Home’ folder (while the hard disk was busy, in other words). This involves trying to open a video through VLC, executing LibreOffice Writer, Terminal emulator, Firefox, GIMP, Desktop settings & opening another app or two. So what was the outcome?

It sucked!, I’m sorry to throw it into your face like that, but it did. The mouse pointer movements were horrible, and until the file copy was finished, I could not open any other application. A ‘déjà vu’ I thought, for I had observed a similar situation, though on Ubuntu 14.10, and I blamed it upon the ‘Deadline’ disk I/O scheduler (that which governs disk read/write operations in an OS). So I had a quick look to see what Linux Lite 2.2 is using, and unsurprisingly, it was ‘Deadline’. So I did what I did on Ubuntu 14.10, I switched back to ‘CFQ’ (a disk I/O scheduler that is more ‘fair’ than ‘Deadline’). Then after a reboot I ran the same test, and was delighted with the results!.

System responsiveness test running on Linux Lite 2.2

Not only all the programs were opened, the mouse pointer sensitivity was excellent & the video playback through VLC was carried out without any interruptions.

P.S: Some say that ‘Deadline’ is optimized for SSDs, so perhaps that was the reason for I have a rotating disk drive. But then again, I have used ‘Deadline’ on the same hardware in the past, and never encountered any such issues, interestingly.

Shutdown Delay…

Linux lite 2.2 vs Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE - Shutdown delay graph

As you can see, Manjaro 0.8.7.1 XFCE was the fastest while shutting down (17.1%), still, 4.1 seconds is not bad.

Final Words…

If you are looking for a lean distribution that works out of the box (note: I cannot give an opinion about whether it’ll run smoothly on older hardware or not, by other than looking at the memory usage, as I only have & tested it upon, somewhat a newer notebook computer) and comes with 5 years of support, then Linux Lite 2.2 a good operating system, only though, if you are willing to take the risk to know that your hardware is not affected by the above mentioned, crucial suspension related bug. For if your hardware is affected by it, then you are in for a treat 🙂 . You can download Linux Lite 2.2 from here. Thank you for reading.

11 thoughts on “Linux Lite 2.2 Review – Consumes Low Memory, But Failed to Wake My PC from Sleep

  1. I was wondering ….. Manajro is a Rolling Release an have the Release No. 0.8.11 which kind of testing is this to compare a old version ?

    The same is you compare a Porsche 911 2000 with a Ferrari 2014…….

    Sorry this test is made for nothing.

    Regards

    • Hi Michael,

      I agree with you up to a point, but Manjaro 0.8.7… is the most ‘recent’ XFCE distro that I have reviewed in this blog, that’s all I had.

      That said, in my defense, from my experience, these various ‘release methods’ have really twisted users’ minds, or shall I say, their perceptions. Just because these two distro are more than a year apart and include different software versions, doesn’t mean they are all that different. If you read XFCE 4.10 and 4.11… release notes, you’ll see nothing major has changed that could have effected the performance dramatically, though there might be a few. With the Kerenel and others it could be the same…

      But again, if I had data from a newer XFCE distribution I would’ve used it, but I don’t. Sorry about that.

  2. Having video thumbnails in Thunar usually requires the addition of one package, there are some users that seem to prefer not to have thumbnails for videos etc.
    Make sure that tumbler and ffmpegthumbnailer are both installed.
    Tumbler usually is but ffmpegthumbnailer is optional rather than a dependency.

  3. I have a an HP Pavilion dv2-1000 and Linux Lite 2.2 has some kind of problem with a keyboard. The scroll light comes on and won’t turn off so the keys on my keyboard are mis-configured. It still happens with the latest release. I don’t have this problem with the other distributions … Everything else seems fine.

  4. I’ve been using the previous release of Lite for some months now.
    It is a beautiful and professional piece of work.

    I have two installs for different purposes in VirtualBox. I do have a very powerful desktop. Lite boots up lightning fast and is crisp and responsive. It is the perfect lightweight OS, especially for VB. Btw the host OS is linux too.

    I would not make a big deal out of “suspend”. Never use it myself. It can be very problematic and not worth the hassle. There are issues with the display not reopening on laptops once the lid is close. This is easily fixed by editing a couple files. This is with Xfce window managers.

    Other than specific software needs the only major change I make is installing PcmanFm file manager. I’m not a Thunar fan as it does not handle permissions well. PcmanFm does.

    I can’t think of any bugs or issues with my installs. Rare. I will be upgrading two older machines with Lite.

    • Thank you for the suggestions, however, running an OS on a virtuliazed environment is a completely different scenario since your hardware does not get directly exposed to the guest operating system.

  5. I have used Linux-Lite in its previous version and now this current 2.2 version on my Lenova netbook and also it is currently my main distro for work on my generic Intel board box. I also have it as the main os on my kids older (Compaq) box. All boot from suspend without a problem. I have found it a highly configurable (thanks to Xfce) and very polished.

  6. tanks for the post. i’ve got linux lite installed on a dell latitude d420 with 2gb memory. it runs well enough – when it finally loads. not as slow as windoze, but slow compared to ubuntu.

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