|Original author(s)||Hong Jen Yee ("PCMan")|
|Developer(s)||The LXDE Team|
0.10.1 / 25 February 2021
|Written in||C (GTK 2, GTK 3)|
LXDE (abbreviation for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) is a free desktop environment with comparatively low resource requirements. This makes it especially suitable for use on older or resource-constrained personal computers such as netbooks or system on a chip computers.
LXDE is written in the C programming language, using the GTK 2 toolkit, and runs on Unix and other POSIX-compliant platforms, such as Linux and BSDs. The LXDE project aims to provide a fast and energy-efficient desktop environment.
In 2010, tests suggested that LXDE 0.5 had the lowest memory-usage of the four most-popular desktop environments of the time (the others being GNOME 2.29, KDE Plasma Desktop 4.4, and Xfce 4.6), and that it consumed less energy, which suggests mobile computers with Linux distributions running LXDE 0.5 drained their batteries at a slower pace than those with other desktop environments.
LXDE uses rolling releases for its individual components (or for groups of components with coupled dependencies). The default window manager used is Openbox, but one can configure a third-party window manager for use with LXDE, such as Fluxbox, IceWM or Xfwm. LXDE includes GPL-licensed code as well as LGPL-licensed code.
The project was started in 2006 by Taiwanese programmer Hong Jen Yee (Chinese: 洪任諭; pinyin: Hóng Rènyù), also known as PCMan, when he published PCManFM, a new file manager and the first module of LXDE.
Comparing Linux distribution rankings for DistroWatch in early January 2011 for the year 2010 versus 2009, Ladislav Bodnar noted the increase in popularity of LXDE versus other desktop environments. He said:
Looking through the tables, an interesting thing is the rise of distributions that use the lightweight, but full-featured LXDE desktop or the Openbox window manager. As an example, Lubuntu now comfortably beats Kubuntu in terms of page hits, while CrunchBang Linux, a lightweight distribution with Openbox is still in the top 25 even though it failed to produce a stable release for well over a year. Many other distributions started offering LXDE-based editions of their products, further contributing to the dramatic rise in popularity of this relatively new desktop environment.
On 3 July 2013 Hong announced a Qt port of the full LXDE suite, and on 21 July Razor-qt and LXDE announced that they would merge the two projects. This merger meant that the GTK and the Qt versions would coexist for some time but, eventually, all original team efforts focused on the Qt port, LXQt.
Despite the original team moved to LXQt development, some other developers continued to maintain LXDE on GitHub and, as of March 2021, there are fresh commits to keep updated the GTK 2 version. As of July 2019 LXTerminal release is based on GTK 3 to avoid dependencies on the old VTE lib.
GTK 3 port
As of May 2020, there is an experimental GTK 3 port developed by the Arch Linux community. GTK 3 versions have already been developed for the following components: LXAppearance, LXAppearance-ObConf, LXDE-common, LXDE-icon-theme, LXDM, LXhotkey, LXInput, LXLauncher, LXPanel, LXRandR, LXSession, LXTask, LXTerminal, Openbox, PCManFM. One advantage of using GTK 3 is that GTK 3 programs run natively on Wayland. PCManFM is a popular file manager for use with tiling window managers and hence, having a Wayland-native PCManFM is useful for people that use Sway.
Former default desktop
Software components of LXDE
Unlike other major desktop environments such as GNOME, the components of LXDE have few dependencies and are not tightly integrated. Instead, they can be installed independently of each other or LXDE itself.
|PCMan File Manager||File manager and Desktop metaphor provider|
|LXInput||Mouse and keyboard configuration tool|
|LXLauncher||Easy-mode application launcher|
|LXSession||X session manager|
|LXAppearance||GTK theme switcher|
|LXMusic||A frontend for the XMMS2 audio player|
|LXTerminal||Terminal emulator||LXTerminal can be configured to hide the menu bar and the scrolling bar|
|LXRandR||A GUI to RandR|
|LXDM||X display manager|
|LXNM||Lightweight network connection helper daemon. Supports wireless connections (Linux only).||Discontinued|
|Leafpad||Text editor||Not developed by the LXDE project|
|Openbox (Fluxbox, IceWM and Xfwm are also supported)||Window manager||Not developed by the LXDE project|
|ObConf||A GUI tool to configure Openbox||Not developed by the LXDE project|
|Xarchiver||File archiver||Not developed by the LXDE project|
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