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LXDE desktop full.png
Default LXDE desktop
Original author(s)Hong Jen Yee ("PCMan")
Developer(s)The LXDE Team
Initial release2006; 15 years ago (2006)
Stable release
0.10.1[1] / 25 February 2021; 2 months ago (2021-02-25)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC (GTK 2, GTK 3)
Operating systemUnix-like
PlatformLinux, BSD
TypeDesktop environment
LicenseGPL, LGPL

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[2] 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.[3][4]

There is also an experimental GTK 3 port of LXDE.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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),[5] and that it consumed less energy,[6] 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 is the default desktop environment of Knoppix, LXLE Linux, Artix and Peppermint Linux OS - among other distributions. For many years it was the desktop for Lubuntu until replaced by LXQt in 2018. Further the PIXEL desktop environment of Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian, the official Raspberry Pi operating system) is a slightly modified version of LXDE.[citation needed]

LXDE uses rolling releases for its individual components (or for groups of components with coupled dependencies).[7] 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.[8] LXDE includes GPL-licensed code as well as LGPL-licensed code.[3]


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.[9]

Qt port[edit]

Dissatisfied with GTK 3,[10] Hong Jen Yee experimented with Qt in early 2013[11] and released the first version of a Qt-based PCManFM on 26 March 2013.[10]

On 3 July 2013 Hong announced a Qt port of the full LXDE suite,[12] and on 21 July Razor-qt and LXDE announced that they would merge the two projects.[13][14][15] This merger meant that the GTK and the Qt versions would coexist for some time but, eventually, the GTK version would be dropped and all efforts focused on the Qt port, LXQt.[16] However, even if the original team moved on to LXQt,[citation needed] LXDE was still maintained. As of March 2021 there was an experimental GTK 3 port as well as the GTK 2 version.[citation needed]

Software components of LXDE[edit]

Unlike other major desktop environments such as GNOME, the components of LXDE have few dependencies and are not tightly integrated.[17] Instead, they can be installed independently of each other or LXDE itself.[18]

Components Descriptions Notes
PCMan File Manager File manager and Desktop metaphor provider
LXInput Mouse and keyboard configuration tool
LXLauncher Easy-mode application launcher
LXPanel Desktop panel
LXSession X session manager
LXAppearance GTK theme switcher
GPicView Image viewer
LXMusic A frontend for the XMMS2 audio player
LXTerminal Terminal emulator LXTerminal can be configured to hide the menu bar and the scrolling bar
LXTask Task manager
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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ LXDE (2021). "LXDE - Lightweight X Desktop Environment". lxde.org. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  2. ^ Christopher Smart (9 September 2009). "Lubuntu: Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like a Bee". Linux Magazine. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
  3. ^ a b LXDE Team. "LXDE". Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  4. ^ LXDE Team. "About LXDE". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  5. ^ Larabel, Michael. "Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce". Phoronix. Archived from the original on 3 September 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  6. ^ Larabel, Michael. "Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce (page 2)". Phoronix. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Description of current release process". Article.gmane.org. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  8. ^ "LXDE". Archived from the original on 20 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  9. ^ Bodnar, Ladislav (January 2011). "DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics in 2009 and 2010". DistroWatch. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  10. ^ a b "PCManFM Qt 0.1.0 released". LXDE Blog. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  11. ^ "PCManFM file manager is ported to Qt?". LXDE Blog. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  12. ^ "LXDE-Qt Preview". LXDE. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  13. ^ brother (22 July 2013). ""The future of Razor and LXDE-Qt"". Blog.lxde.org. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  14. ^ "The future of Razor and LXDE-Qt at Razor-qt Google group". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  15. ^ ""The future of Razor and LXDE-Qt" at the LXDE-list archive". Sourceforge.net. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  16. ^ "The Future of Razor and LXDE-Qt". Blog.lxde.org. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  17. ^ Łukasz Bigo. "LXDE - lekka alternatywa do GNOME". Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
  18. ^ "About LXDE". Lxde.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 19 May 2014.

External links[edit]