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ROSA 2012 LXDE review

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ROSA 2012 LXDE uses the ROSA Theme icon set, the same theme used on the distribution’s KDE editions. As you can see from this screen shot of PCManFM, LXDE’s file manager, the icons are really beautiful.
ROSA 2012 LXDE PCManFM

More than just a file manager, PCManFM, also functions as an application menu, giving you access to installed application. This screen shot show the application categories.
ROSA 2012 LXDE PCManFM App Category

While this one shows installed applications in the Multimedia (Sound & Video) category. Note that ROSA Media Player is not installed by default.
ROSA 2012 LXDE PCManFM Apps

Talking about applications, there are very few, aside from system tools and desktop accessories, installed by default. Here is a very short list of applications installed out of the box on ROSA 2012 LXDE:

  • Firefox
  • Pidgin Internet Messenger
  • LibreOffice
  • DeaDBeef
  • VLC Media Player

Just the bare essentials and no more. But you can install any application you want from the repository. And because non-free and restricted repositories are enabled (not by default, but they are, when you add updates media), you have access to a wide range of applications, including games.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Software Sources

An installed application (accessory) that I think is the best in its category, is GPicViewer, a simple and fast image viewer for X. It has more features than any other image viewer that I have used. It is developed by Hong Jen Yee, the same guy who wrote PCManFM, LXDE’s file manager.
ROSA 2012 LXDE GPicViewer

VLC Media Player is the installed video player. It is one of the best available. Note that libdvdcss, the library required for viewing encrypted DVD videos, is not installed out of the box, so be sure to install it before attempting to play any encrypted DVDs. It is in the repository.
ROSA 2012 LXDE VLC

Installing and updating applications is made possible by the same graphical package manager available on other editions of ROSA Linux, and on Mandriva and Mageia. You could perform the same tasks from the command line, but for most users, I am sure that using a graphical application is a better option.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Software Manager

One of the best aspects of ROSA 2012 LXDE is the LXDE Control Center, the hub for all graphical management applications on the system. But this is not the same control center on a standard installation of an LXDE desktop, but rather, a unified interface for Drakx and LXDE management applications. Drakx refers to the management applications in ROSA Control Center, which are the same ones available in Mandriva Control Center. This is the main interface of LXDE Control Center.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Control Center

And this is what it looks like after you click on Options at the application’s bottom left. Being able to access all graphical management applications from a single location is nice, and it has some cool effects that make it fun to use.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Control Center Options

The release announcement states that ROSA 2012 LXDE “is designed primarily for users with old legacy hardware,” but my take is this: If it runs well on “old legacy hardware,” it will run even better on the latest and greatest hardware. And it does. This is the best LXDE desktop that I have used. If you are tired of what is going on in the GNOME/MATE/Cinnamon world, and you want a desktop that just works, I think you should give ROSA 2012 LXDE a try. See if it floats your boat. Note that this is a Long Term Support (LTS) edition with a 5-year support period. The security conscious will be very disappointed with the default network security posture, but that can be corrected with just a few mouse-clicks.

Resources: You may download a 32- or 64-bit installation ISO image of ROSA 2012 LXDE from here. And you may read the release announcement here.

Screen Shots: View more screen shots from my test installations of ROSA 2012 LXDE.

The login screen.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Login Screen

I think LXDE has very colorful logout options.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Logout Options

Changing desktop appearance from the LXDE Control Center.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Control Center

The desktop showing entries in the Preferences menu.
ROSA 2012 LXDE Desktop Menu

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12 Comments

  1. matfx says:

    Agreed with finid. Rosa LXDE much better than other LXDE distro.

  2. tablethater says:

    I’m not interested if it’s the best OS in the cosmos:

    http://linuxblog.darkduck.com/2011/09/does-linux-community-needs-corruption.html

  3. mansynet says:

    I try to find distro like this witch will be fast and light for old PCs… so is it good one for that???????

    is it better than lubuntu??????????

      • tablethater says:

        Thank you for the review, but can you please elaborate a bit on this? In what ways is it much better than Lubuntu apart from the brilliant minimal applications approach and the Rosa theme? Its resource (esp. cpu) usage etc?

        • mansynet says:

          in fact I try it on my old laptop with 512 ram, it was faster than lubuntu and more stable.. good supporting for hardware… but hard to find what you want from application to install… I can not stay with it more than 1 day.

  4. crabbos says:

    I tried this one a few days ago and it was pretty good until I realized that there was no battery meter. Of course there are ways to do this yourself in LXDE but for something that’s aimed at notebooks and lower spec systems I don’t see how they could have overlooked this.

    On the upside, that omission led me to discovering Voyager XFCE which is now installed on my laptop and is my current favorite distro.

  5. Sergio says:

    Thanks for the review.
    Looks polished as usual for ROSA, and LXDE really needs a team like that that chooses the components well, avoid bugs and gives it some extra polish.
    I didn’t try it myself (satisfied with my Fedora Xfce).
    Just a little warning: when the beta was released, I posted a question in their blog if it would be possible to boot the iso from the HD. It wasn’t answered (no problem, maybe asking in the forum would be wiser) but I got a lot of spam in Russian in the email I entered there.

  6. crabbos says:

    I’m usually a fan of the bells and whistles type desktops but after the amount of problems I’ve been having with Gnome and KDE lately I might just give this a go.

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