This is not a review – just my thoughts on Xubuntu 13.10.
As soon as it was out, I grabbed the torrent and installed it on my laptop (a 3rd Gen Ci5 with 4 gigs of RAM). After using it for a little over a week, here are my observations.
As saucy as Natsu Dragneel
13.10 Saucy Salamander is the first release I’m trying since 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Xubuntu and Xfce are known for not making any earth-shattering changes to the UI, unlike GNOME. Nonetheless, when you come back after three releases, you do notice the difference.
In the new Settings Manager, all system apps and tools have been wrapped up into a single UI, rather than being individual items in the menu. These include Software Updater, Settings Editor, IBus (renamed to Keyboard Input Methods for good) and GPartEd (if you install it). Then there are two new items: Theme Configuration, which lets you change your theme’s colors; and Users and Groups, whose purpose is obvious. Looking at the sheer number of options, I’m sure I’ve missed out on something else that wasn’t there before.
As speedy as Speedy Gonzales
Out of the four distros I’ve used during the three months of having this laptop, Xubuntu has had the fastest boot time (~20 s) and the fastest shutdown time (~3 s). You might argue that my laptop has reasonably fast hardware, but I’ve noticed the same shutdown time – 3 seconds flat – on my old desktop (1.6 GHz Sempron, 1.2 GB RAM). This very same desktop used to take one full minute to shut down Windows XP.
Even after booting, Xubuntu’s resource consumption is pretty low. With just a Conky running, it takes up around 140-150 MB of RAM and 1-3% CPU (my CPU; YMMV). It could easily run on a 256 MB machine.
As sexy as <your_fav_model_here>
The simple but beautiful wallpaper, combined with Greybird theme and elementary icon set, gives Xubuntu a professional and easy-on-the-eyes look. This is in contrast to the default look of Xfce, which, in my honest opinion, is ugly. Developers, forgive me for the use of that word, but it’s just what I feel. The great thing about Xfce is that it is easy to customize and beautify – and Xubuntu does exactly that.
The themes included by default in Xubuntu, though lower in number than earlier, have been chosen more wisely – they have only provided those which look actually 2013. One addition I noticed, is the popular Numix theme, which I instantly activated, before switching to my own fork Numix Holo a few days later. (Pardon my shameless self-publicity.)
As superb as ever
All in all, I find Xubuntu one of the most dependable distros, even on newer hardware. I do recommend it if you like sp33dz and are not into animations. Get your copy from here. If you’d rather read a proper review with stats and comparisons, head here.